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There are some fairly good reasons in favor of Russia’s decision to intervene in Syria, which is why I have always been modestly if unenthusiastically supportive of it:

  • It is basically a giant and continuous live training exercise for Russian pilots and generals, making it almost “free” in financial terms.
  • The value of the Khmeimim base is modest, but not entirely negligible.
  • It supported Russian weapons sales.
  • Fighting Islamic State made for good PR.
  • Could potentially be used as a bargaining chip for concessions elsewhere (e.g. the Ukraine).
  • One commonly cited but fake reason: Supporting an ally. As I have long been pointing out, it was Vladimir Putin himself who pointed out that prior to the war, Assad had visited Paris more frequently than Moscow.

However, there were always a couple of major downsides:

  • Supporting Assad placed Russia at odds with all of the powerful players in the region – the US, its European allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arabs, and Turkey. The only exception was Iran, and even its interests are far from synonymous with Russia’s.
  • The modest Russian expeditionary force in Syria there is completely overawed by, and surrounded by, military assets belonging to states that don’t really want them there. This makes it highly vulnerable.

With the defeat of Islamic State, Russia’s continued presence in Syria has become much more dangerous, since neoliberalism.txt could now revert to its old mantras about Assad “killing his own people” without the superlative evil of Islamic State spoiling the optics.

Indeed, as I speculated at the start of this year, the drone attacks on Khmeimim could have been a message to Russia that it was time to pack up its bags.

Recent developments over the Douma false flag gas attacks have basically proved that my gloomy presentiments were correct, e.g. see this from February:

And the Russian air presence in Khmeimim remains absolutely overawed by the resources at CENTCOM’s disposal.

Hopefully Syria doesn’t launch any more large-scale chemical weapons attacks, false flag or otherwise (admittedly, controlling for false flags is hard). Because while the kremlins might be forced to swallow the deaths of a few dozens “They’re Not There” mercenaries, explaining away RuAF hunkering down in Khmeimim as Turkish/Israeli/US-backed jihadists overrun Syria – or worse, getting themselves wiped off the face of the earth in a futile attempt to fight back – will be orders of magnitude harder.

Indeed, this is a theme that I have been noting since the very start of Russia’s intervention in Syria, in both my posts and many comments on the Unz Review, in the face of persistent and often vicious naysaying – no matter that this is a rather obvious geopolitical reality.

I do know know the immediate outcome of the immediate crisis. Most likely, it will be a much larger-scale repetition of the mostly symbolic strike on Shayrat AFB in April 2017. Maybe a miracle will happen and it is called off entirely.

But maybe things will go in a much more disastrous direction, in a scenario that will be the subject of this post.

However, even if the outcome for now is relatively “good”, the underlying issues that got us where we are will not go away. As I noted in the aftermath of the 2017 strikes – indeed, as Putin himself pointed out – the Syrian rebels, and/or their sponsors, now have a perverse incentive to stage further false flag attacks, in the sure knowledge that Trump will no longer have any option but to respond with ever greater force. As this cycle of escalation increases, the chances of Russian soldiers getting hit by US/coalition strikes rises to unity.

I do not know if the present crisis will culminate in conciliation or catastrophe.

I do think that the probability of catastrophic outcomes will continue increasing so long as the Assad government remains in power. Contra the trolls who will bloviate about hasbara troll Karlin’s defeatism in the comments, this is not an argument for Russia bailing out of Syria. Nor, for that matter, is it an argument that Russia should stay. To the contrary, it is just a reality that needs to be confronted, in the eventuality that the Americans start going beyond the limited, one-off strike that they committed in 2017.

khmeimim-damanged-fighter

1. The Khmeimim Crisis

I hope it goes without saying that Russia has absolutely no way to win in Syria should its forces enter into a full scale regional conflict with CENTCOM.

It is not going to be a trivial fight by any stretch of the imagination:

  • There are two S-400 complexes guarding Khmeimim, and several Pantsir systems.
  • Though composition varies from month to month, there are usually around a dozen air superiority fighters (Su-35, Su-35) and a dozen other fighters, as well as a few military helicopters.
  • Around 4o Pantsir systems total in Syria
  • Two Kilo submarines are currently in the region, though not the formidable Moskva cruiser, with its S-300 system
  • Two Bastion anti-ship coastal defense systems
  • Stand-off cruise missiles (Kh-32, Kh-50, Kalibrs) can be fired from deep within Russia, or from Caspian/Iranian airspace

But here are the forces ranged against them:

  • A single carrier such as the USS Harry S. Truman has around four to five dozen F-18s
  • Hundreds of F-15s and F-16s in US bases in Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, and the UAE
  • Hundreds of Tomahawks can be fired from US Navy ships
  • The air forces of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France and Britain, and possibly that of Israel and Turkey
  • B-52 bombers from half a world away

This is a totally lopsided match, which even the optimistic Russian military analyst Andrey Martyanov acknowledges:

Of course, US can unleash whatever it has at its conventional disposal at Khmeimim and it will eventually overwhelm whatever the Russians have there, from several SU-35s to S-300s and S-400s and, possibly, make Peters’ wet dream of keeping the whole ordeal confined to Syria very real. This would work, say against anyone’s military contingent except Russia.

The true extent of Russia’s defeat will depend on the precise composition of its forces and enemy forces come the day, as well as on the specific circumstances in which the showdown happens.

(a) If Russia is able to strike first, for instance, during a US attack on Syrian units when they are not expecting Russian interference, it’s plausible that it could down a few dozen fighters and two to half a dozen frigates and destroyers.

(b) If on the other hand it is the US that attacks without warning – for instance, including Khmeimim in its upcoming Tomahawk barrage – then Russia would be lucky to get even just a dozen kills. The Kilos and Bastions might still be able to sink a few a ships.

(c) A third scenario, and I suspect the likeliest one, is a mistake or “mistake” in which Russian air assets or air defenses gets targeted by a sweep of Syria by coalition air forces after the initial Tomahawk barrage – perhaps by an incompetent Saudi airman, or Israelis seeking to provoke a major escalation that would lay the groundwork to finish off Assad once and for all.

In this scenario, Russia’s air defense systems will be partially depleted from knocking down the initial Tomahawk barrage, and its responses will be confused rather than planned. However, a majority of the attacking force will not be expecting the Russians to turn hostile either. Consequently, the damage inflicted on the US in this scenario is somewhere between that of (a) and (b).

I doubt that Russia will manage to sink or even disable an aircraft carrier in either of the latter two scenarios. Contra the War Nerd’s fantasies about suicide motorboats taking them out, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is a 100,000 ton metallic honeycomb with hundreds of watertight compartments, protected by a screen of smaller ships, submarines, and fighters. Sinking these leviathans is really, really hard.

Of course it would be trivial to do so by launching a couple of ICBMs that disperse nuclear warheads in a grid pattern around the carrier’s general location. However, the US will treat this as a full-fledged nuclear attack. In any case it’s not even clear what such a cardinal violation of ethical and military norms would change in the big picture. The US would still have 10 aircraft carriers left.

In any case, the ultimate outcome is clear and near certain: The Russian military presence in Syria will be eradicated within a week (mostly within the first two days).

Furthermore, US and EU sanctions will be drastically stepped up in the following weeks. In particular, I expect the latest US sanctions against the companies of Deripaska, which bar US nationals from any dealings with them, compel US nationals to sell any shares they have in them, and freeze their US based assets, to be extended to all the major Russian corporations – with their consequent expulsion from the wider Western financial system. And I also expect this to be the point at which Russia gets cut off from SWIFT.

defcon-game

2. Retreat or Escalation?

Putin will now have to make some hard choices between dishonor, war, or some combination of the two. These constitute a number of non-exclusive options.

2.b. Hunkering Down

Militarily, this is the least risky option. However, Putin will face rising domestic discontent as Western attempts to strangle the Russian economy transition to a new and far more intensive phase, and living standards collapse.

How long will the “buffer” of 80% approval ratings hold up? People don’t like losers, as the Argentine junta discovered.

And it’s not only internal affairs that people will Russia will have to worry about. Not only does nobody like losers, but this period will see secular trends in the post-Soviet space coming to their logical conclusions. The ageing post-sovok rulers of Central Asia are getting replaced by nationalists and Islamists. The overthrow of Lukashenko by the Belorussian nationalists (zmagars) his regime has been quietly cultivating. The Ukraine will continue to recover economically and consolidate politically. By the early 2020s, oil prices may start to collapse due to the exponential rise in adoptions of electric vehicles.

If the Americans supported Chechen rebels even under “Boris and Bill” in the 1990s, it goes without saying that Western efforts to stir up separatism and color revolution will be doubled and redoubled.

Russia may partially mitigate this by intensifying its reorientation to the East, especially China. But this will not be a silver bullet that solves all its problems.

In my assessment, in this scenario there is a significant chance that Russia will eventually be forced or manipulated into acceding to Western terms, if not capitulating entirely.

syria-civil-war-2018-future-map

2.b. Syria

1. The most obvious option, and the one pushed most energetically by The Saker, would be to continue the struggle in the Middle East, especially Syria.

Obvious objection: Using what, to do what? At this point, shorn of Russian air support, incredibly demoralized, and getting swept up by continuing air strikes – Israel in particular will use the opportunity to wipe the Iranian presence from the Syrian map – the Syrian Arab Army, which has never been a very functional fighting force, will collapse once again as jihadis take the initiative.

Within months, they will overrun much of the country, with perhaps only Latakia and Tartus continuing to hold out (and even that’s not certain, considering the extent to which those regions of core Assad support have been bled out since 2011).

There will also probably be a genocide of Alawites and the remaining Christians in Syria, which the Western media will most certainly not televise.

As for Turkey, here is what I wrote about it at the start of the year:

Erdogan would prefer an Islamist Syria to Assad, but would prefer a unitary Syria even under Assad to a powerful Rojava occupying half the country’s territory. This largely explains his heel turn in Syria. Even so, there is nothing stopping him from doubling back should circumstances on the ground change yet again.

It will be largely immaterial whether or not Turkey closes the Bosphorus to Russian shipping (which would be a formal act of war). By this point, the Mediterranean will be a completely American lake anyway.

This in turn makes the logistics of supplying any further expeditions to Syria untenable.

On the off chance that the infamously deceptive Erdogan actually refrains from placing yet another “knife in Putin’s back”, the best that could be hoped for from him is providing cover for Russia to evacuate what remains of its shattered forces in Syria.

strait-of-hormuz

2.c. The Persian Gulf

The American victory in Syria will be an even greater defeat for Iran in terms of both geopolitics (unlike Russia, Iran really does have a vital interest in breaking out into the Mediterranean) and legitimacy (its pretensions to leadership of the global Shiite community).

Just like Russia, Iran too will have a choice between hunkering down/capitulating or carrying on the fight.

If it chooses the latter, its best bet would be to close the Strait of Hormuz and hold it in place long enough for the ensuing oil price spike and ensuing recession to force the US to the negotiating table.

The best ways of doing that at Iran’s disposal are:

  • Anti-ship missiles
  • Mines

Anti-ship missiles: The bulk of the Iranian arsenal is based on Chinese C-802 missiles, which are similar to Harpoons and Exocets. Unless fired in salvoes, the USN can probably deal with them, though they would pose a credible threat to passing oil tankers – enough of a risk, possibly, to get insurers to stop covering the Strait of Hormuz route (which is ultimately what really matters). Ironically, at this point, many of them might start using the Northern Sea Route.

Mines: Iran’s naval mine stockpile is opaque, though its possible that it would be even more of a threat to shipping. It would be helpful to begin mine-laying operations before open outbreak of hostilities if at all possible, since doing so would become far harder afterwards. (However, since the US will be very much on the watch out for this in the wake of its destruction of Syria, a covert mine-laying operation will not stay secret for long).

One solid option would be to keep most of the anti-ship missiles in reserve, and use them primarily to attack US mine-clearing ships (which are less well defended than its capital ships, and far more fragile than double-hulled, multi-compartment oil supertankers). This might even force the US into launching ground operations on the Iranian coast, which will add body-bags to economic pain and possibly plunge it into political crisis.

Iran might also consider launching IRBMs at Saudi oil installations, which are very densely clustered on its east coast, or sabotaging them with special forces. However, oil and gas pipelines can be easily repaired, and Iranian missiles aren’t all that accurate, so I don’t see this having much of an impact.

Without Russian intervention – for instance, if Russia goes down the Capitulation route – Iran’s attempts to strike back are likely doomed to failure. But its prospects improve cardinally with Russian help.

Bastions can proliferate on the mountainous coasts of southern Iran, and Russia can launch long-range cruise missiles from Tu-22M3 bombers to shut down sea traffic through the Persian Gulf (at least so long as China acquiesces). The success prospects of any US landing operations also decrease drastically.

2.d. The Ukraine

Options here range from formal recognition of the LDNR to a resurrection of the Novorossiya project.

russia-vs-ukraine-military-power1. Recognizing the LDNR, or even incorporating them into Russia, will temporarily assuage dissatisfied nationalists and send a signal that Russia is not backing down before the West.

However, this will come at the cost of even more sanctions from the West and what is sure to be even greater support of the Ukraine in the wake of the Syria imbroglio. In particular, it seems likely that NATO will start pushing through expedited membership for the Ukraine. It is also unlikely to add all that much to Putin’s approval ratings.

2. A full-scale invasion and occupation of Eastern Ukraine and/or Novorossiya is still plausible, but it will be an order of magnitude more difficult than in 2014. The Ukrainian Army is more experienced, better funded, has been purged of its pro-Russian elements, and its disposition is no longer concentrated in the west of the country.

Here is what I wrote about Ukrainian military developments a few months ago:

If there was a time and a place for a Russian invasion of the Ukraine – in reality, not in Western/Ukrainian propagandist fantasy – it was either in April 2014, or August 2014 at the very latest.

Since then, the Ukrainian Army has gotten much stronger. Since 2014, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have grown from no more than 100,000 troops (almost none of them combat-worthy) to around 250,000. It can now carry out complex tactical operations: In an August 2017 report at Colonel Cassad, Vladimir Orlov noted how night vision equipped Ukrainian spec ops used highly technical means to kidnap a Russian citizen serving with the NAF.

It has been purged of its “Russophile” elements, and even though it has lost a substantial percentage of its remnant Soviet-era military capital in the war of attrition with the LDNR, it has more than made up for it with wartime XP gain and the banal fact of a quintupling in military spending as a percentage of GDP from 1% to 2.5%-5%.

This translates to an effective doubling to quadrupling in absolute military spending, even when accounting for Ukraine’s post-Maidan depression. Russia can still crush Ukraine in a full-scale conventional conflict, and that will remain the case for the foreseeable future, but it will no longer be the happy cruise to the Dnepr that it would have been two years earlier.

Of even greater import is that the Ukrainian military now completely overshadows the Novorossiya Armed Forces.

The latter have no more than 40,000 troops, and with the exit of the more “idealistic” warriors in 2014-15, it has succumbed to low morale. Alexander Zhuchkovsky, a Russian directly involved in the NAF, estimated that they would be unable to hold out for longer than a week against a full-fledged Ukrainian assault without help from Russia. The Maidanists dream of a repetition of Operation Storm and – absent serious Russian intervention – they are probably already capable of it.

In reality, fighting the Ukraine in the wake of a debacle in Syria will be even more difficult.

stratfor-russia-invasion-of-ukraine

In 2014, the US geopolitical analysis website Stratfor war gamed three scenarios of a Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

The maximal one involved an advance to the Dnieper, which they estimated would require 91,000-135,000 troops and could have been accomplished in 11-14 days. They also estimated that Russia would need counter-insurgency forces of 28,000-260,000 to secure the area, depending on the intensity of partisan resistance. Since considerable percentages of people throughout putative Novorossiya supported joining Russia in 2013-14, I would have leaned towards the lower end of those estimates at that time – especially considering that “Russophile sentiment” went up by about a standard deviation in Crimea after its annexation, with support for joining Russia going up from ~40% to ~90%. However, in the rest of the Ukraine, “Russophile sentiment” collapsed by a standard deviation in the course of 2014; support for joining Russia in Novorossiya collapsed from ~25% to ~5%. Consequently, assuming this collapse was “deep” as opposed to temporary, the garrisoning forces required now might be much larger than four years ago.

Nonetheless, it could probably still be accomplished – the Ukrainians still have no counter to Russian air power and advanced EW capabilities – although there would now be thousands of Russian military deaths, as opposed to hundreds in 2o14. Even if NATO were to have decided to mount a major air intervention, Stratfor estimated that the deployment of 22 fighter squadrons to forward areas in Eastern Europe would take 11 days – that’s around the time at which Russian spearheads would be reaching the natural defense line that is the Dnieper, along with their mobile air defenses.

A huge NATO ground mobilization would still be able to overwhelm and push Russia out of the Ukraine in the long-term. However, it is very unlikely that even the Americans – let alone Germans – would want to do that for the sake of a non-NATO member, especially since Russia would likely still not be formally at war with them.

Meanwhile, even the maximal estimate of the needed numbers of occupation troops – 260,000 for Eastern Ukraine – could be matched by the 340,000 troops at the disposal of Russia’s National Guard.

This “regathering of the Russian lands” would restore the legitimacy of the Putin government.

Nor would the financial cost be unduly high.

For instance, out of Novorossiya’s eight oblasts, Donetsk (mining) and Kharkov (science, heavy industry) would be net contributors to the budget immediately or almost immediately. Donetsk has coal, and generated something like 25% of the Ukraine’s foreign currency earnings and as well as a disproportionate share of gov’t revenue. Kharkov is the Ukraine’s second hi-tech/science city after Kiev, as well as a major industrial center. Odessa (main Ukrainian port), Zaporozhye (Motor Sich), Nikolaev (shipbuilding), and Dnepropetrovsk (industrial) would have started off as recipients but could have been expected to transition to net donors after a few years of convergence. Only Lugansk and Kherson would likely remain net recipients indefinitely.

Still, 6/8 is a great deal. Much better, say, than the North Caucasus ethnic minority republics (0/7). If anything, it would be Kharkov subsidizing, say, Pskov, as opposed to “Russia” subsidizing Kharkov.

This demonstration of force would also rescue Russia’s much diminished authority amongst countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan, which in the wake of its humiliation in Syria would otherwise be rushing to disassociate themselves from Putin’s Russia.

Nonetheless, it’s pointless to pretend that this strategy will be without its risks.

First, Russia will be injected with a certain demographic highly hostile to it, especially if this project was to extend beyond Novorossiya. Second, Moldova might join up with Romania, making Transnistria officially part of a NATO country with all its attendant consequences. Third, sanctions will be ramped up to a near total level, and the prospects of reconciliation with the West, including the EU, will go from minimal to effectively zero.

suwalki-gap

2.e. The Baltics

By far the riskiest but highest potential pay-off strategy would be to invade the Baltics immediately after the Syria debacle, perhaps after giving them a 24 hour ultimatum to denounce NATO (which will certainly be declined).

In the first days of the war, the residents of Saint-Petersburg will see their Internet speeds slow down to a crawl, as NATO trawlers cut the submarine fiber-optic cable linking Western Russia to the global Internet. The Unz Review and other alt media sites that host Russian propaganda will also be shut down right about this time. In general, communications and trade links between the two blocs will be rapidly severed, while traditional wartime mechanisms of authoritarian control reappear.

The main advantage of this strategy is that a fast and relatively bloodless victory is all but assured, as Russian armored spearheads sever the Suwalki gap to connect Kaliningrad to the mainland, while others race towards Tallinn and Riga.

This is not just my opinion, but that of the RAND Corporation in its 2016 report Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO’s Eastern Flank: Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics:

In a series of wargames conducted between summer 2014 and spring 2015, the RAND Corporation examined the shape and probable outcome of a near-term Russian invasion of the Baltic states. The games’ findings are unambiguous: As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members. Across multiple games using a wide range of expert participants in and out of uniform playing both sides, the longest it has taken Russian forces to reach the outskirts of the Estonian and/or Latvian capitals of Tallinn and Riga, respectively, is 60 hours. Such a rapid defeat would leave NATO with a limited number of options, all bad: a bloody counteroffensive, fraught with escalatory risk, to liberate the Baltics; to escalate itself, as it threatened to do to avert defeat during the Cold War; or to concede at least temporary defeat, with uncertain but predictably disastrous consequences for the Alliance and, not incidentally, the people of the Baltics.

The obvious downside is that Russia will now likely be formally at war with much of NATO, assuming that most of its members choose to honor Article V, at least in words.

The upside is that retaking the Baltics would be prohibitively expensive – Kaliningrad represents one of the greatest concentrations of military power on the planet, while the Baltic Sea itself would become a death zone under Russia’s A2/AD bubble. Western nuclear escalation is unlikely to be credible, since it’s hard to imagine the US trading New York for Riga. Meanwhile, a failure to mount a credible intervention risks demoralizing and cracking NATO itself.

My guess is that the likeliest outcome is (1) a consolidation, rather than cracking, of NATO; (2) a long and possibly permanent “phoney war”, such as the one that prevailed between France and Germany for the first eight months of World War II.

Still, the risks are extremely high.

If NATO fully consolidates and fully mobilizes, then Russia’s conventional defeat becomes inevitable – the military-industrial divergence between the two blocs is simply too great. But here’s the crux of the matter – such a conflict will go nuclear, at least if Russia follows its own military doctrine, which relies on the concept of limited “de-escalatory” nuclear strikes (a strategy that bears a resemblance to NATO’s during the Cold War when the Warsaw Pact had military superiority in Central Europe). If NATO checks or raises instead of folding, Russia will continue reraising, up to and including a full scale nuclear apocalypse. It’s a reckless strategy, sure, but as a weak player with no other chips left, it has no other choice.

Conversely, if it is NATO that fails to consolidate and enters an existential crisis after Russia conquers the Baltics, it is the US that might escalate to the use of nuclear weapons in a bid to preserve its global hegemony.

Consequently, it is highly unlikely that the highly cautious men in the Kremlin would embark upon such an adventure.

2.f. China

cmp-usa-russia-china-1940-2015

There’s a small possibility that China will use the opportunity to seize Taiwan and solidify its hegemony over the South China Sea, though it’s not really militarily ready for that yet (many of its weapons system are close to qualitative convergence with the US, but it has yet to mount a credible buildup, which will take another decade or two).

Still, the US being so preoccupied elsewhere might be too juicy of an opportunity to miss out on.

Although it is uncertain to what extent China will help out Russia, it is not in its interests to allow it to collapse and drift over to the Western camp. Russia is China’s strategic rear, and a secure source of hydrocarbons and minerals should tensions with the US increase to the point that they shut down its sea routes to the Middle East.

Still, on the off chance that China decides to join the West in pressuring Russia, then the latter’s situation becomes hopeless, and it might as well capitulate sooner rather than later.

metro-2033-moscow

3. Nuclear War

It is unlikely but not impossible that World War III will escalate to a major nuclear exchanges between the US and Russia.

Since the tone of this article has so far been pessimistic, now is as good a time as any to inject a “positive” note.

Even a full-scale thermonuclear exchange between Russia and the US is patently survivable. The theory of “nuclear winters”, at least in its wilder variants (drops of many tens of degrees), has been long discredited. The eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 was approximately equal in megatonnage to that of all the world’s current nuclear arsenals, and yet it merely led to a single “year without a summer” that did not even produce any major famines in a pre-industrial world. Fallout radiation levels decay rapidly, and it will be safe to emerge from shelters almost everywhere after just two weeks. Most rural areas and many small towns would be almost unaffected, at least directly. Sadly, there will be no monster mutants roaming the post-apocalyptic plains – even in the Fallout video games, that was the result of a biological weapon, not of nuclear weapons.

Now to be sure, some modest percentage of the world population will die, and a majority of the capital stock in the warring nations will be destroyed.

However, this destruction would have been far from total even during the 1950s, when missile accuracy was lower, urban population density in the US was higher, and total megatonnage was much larger. Here is a table of the percentage of capital stock that nuclear war theorist Herman Kahn (On Thermonuclear War) expected to survive in the US following a nuclear war with the USSR:

nuclear-war-capital-stock

As Herman Kahn might have said, this is a tragic but nonetheless distinguishable outcome compared to a true “existential risk” to the human species.

Now to be sure, they will be some pretty cardinal changes.

There will be a modest global cooling, and a collapse of the global economy. Many Third World countries may indeed slip into famine due to the breakdown of global trade.

The US, Russia, and chunks of Western Europe will be economically and demographically shattered, having lost 10%-25% of their population and perhaps 80% of their GDP.

Although the majority – probably the vast majority (90%+) – of the world’s population will survive, that is extremely unlikely to include myself. Although Moscow has the A-135 anti-missile system, which uniquely uses 10 kiloton nuclear missiles to knock down incoming nuclear missiles – in the process flattening much of the surrounding Moscow oblast – it cannot stop a barrage of hundreds of missiles. The most it can do is buy a bit of extra time for the Kremlin elites to descend into the D6 secret subway system and spirit themselves off to remote control bunkers such as the one at Mount Yamantau.

Meanwhile, the world’s new hegemon – assuming it managed to mostly stay out of the line of nuclear fire – will be China.

Although some Europeans, especially our best representatives, might rue this development, it would on some level be quite well deserved and even appropriate.

That is because getting manipulated into rage quitting on your own civilization by some Middle Eastern tribes is really, really retarded, and stupidity needs to be punished.

 
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  1. tbh, exactly Russian imperialists are the only ones getting manipulated into rage quitting on your own civilization by some Middle Eastern tribes as no one else is even contemplating escalating to nuclear strikes because of Syria deals, except them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    This is bigger than Syria. We're talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can't just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.

    For the first time in a long time US is being forced to consider the costs of its agressive foreign policy. Mattis said it himself today: the reason why USA is not bombing Assad already is because of a risk of "uncontrolled escalation" in the region, i.e. they are scared that Russia will kick their ass. Trump also apprears to have backtracked today.
    , @Joe Wong
    By posting military forces 6000 miles away from home on the other side of the oceans and near other nation's border by definition is aggression. American will be recorded in the history as aggressor and perpetrator in the next world war by this fact alone.
    , @Maine
    Russia only has 2 military bases outside Russia , and the USA has 800 -1000 military bases outside the USA , occupation bases around the world .

    The US does about 50% of the military spending of the world , and if you add all the NATO countries we do 75% of the world military spending

    What do you think of these figures sudden death ? who are the imperialists ?
    , @Wally
    BREAKING: British-US Toxin, Not Novichok used in Salisbury Attack

    https://principia-scientific.org/breaking-british-us-toxin-not-novichok-used-in-salisbury-attack/
    Swiss lab says ‘BZ toxin’ used in Salisbury, not produced in Russia, was in US & UK service
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. Just have to rush in down here before the door closes.

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    • Replies: @Joe Wong
    This article can be an evidence in the international criminal court to convict the American as war criminal after the WWIII like convicting the Nazi and the unrepentant war criminal Japanese after WWII.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. There will be a modest global cooling

    That sounds quite positive as well, at least one wouldn’t need to have to worry that much about global warming then.
    Very gloomy scenario on your part, looks to me like you see no good way out for Russia.

    That is because getting manipulated into rage quitting on your own civilization by some Middle Eastern tribes is really, really retarded

    Fully in agreement. If it does come to a general conflagration, I hope that at least a few nukes will also land on Tel Aviv, Ryadh and Ankara.

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    • Agree: AndrewR
    • Replies: @fredyetagain aka superhonky
    "If it does come to a general conflagration, I hope that at least a few nukes will also land on Tel Aviv, Ryadh and Ankara."

    Ditto. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Hey, you'd probably be fined or jailed for that kind of "anti-Semitic" or "racist" comment in Germany, since your proposed targets are cities full of Jews, Arabs, and Turks, respectively. I hope you're im Ausland.
    , @Joe Wong
    The unrepentant war criminal Toykyo and inhumane caste system New Delhi also deserve to be on the list "at least a few nukes will also land on."
    , @dfordoom

    If it does come to a general conflagration, I hope that at least a few nukes will also land on Tel Aviv, Ryadh and Ankara.
     
    Perhaps that's the one thing that might restrain the American leadership? The thought of Los Angeles or Chicago or Moscow or London being reduced to a pile of radioactive rubble doesn't bother them in the least but the idea of Tel Aviv being reduced to a smoking ruin would horrify them.
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  4. The reality is that risk of nuclear war in the near future, is probably somewhere like 0.1% chance. Sometimes in tense moments the risk increases – maybe as far as 0.2% or 0.3% chance (illustrative numbers- but you get the idea.)

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    • Replies: @c matt
    Well, Hurricane Harvey caused a 500 year flood, which means 0.2%. It was preceded by two earlier floods which were supposed to be only 1%. So, in three consecutive years, 1%, 1% and 0.2% occurred. Humans are less predictable than nature.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    The meta-risk is that because everyone thinks the risk is that low, it increases. It’s taken some luck to avoid it up until now.
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  5. @sudden death
    tbh, exactly Russian imperialists are the only ones getting manipulated into rage quitting on your own civilization by some Middle Eastern tribes as no one else is even contemplating escalating to nuclear strikes because of Syria deals, except them.

    This is bigger than Syria. We’re talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can’t just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.

    For the first time in a long time US is being forced to consider the costs of its agressive foreign policy. Mattis said it himself today: the reason why USA is not bombing Assad already is because of a risk of “uncontrolled escalation” in the region, i.e. they are scared that Russia will kick their ass. Trump also apprears to have backtracked today.

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    • Agree: Randal, Ron Unz
    • Replies: @sudden death

    We’re talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can’t just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.
     
    It is more than ironic that the main beef of Russian imperialists and their propagandists against Putin is that he did not invade whole of Ukraine and overthrow their government on the whim :) So they indeed do not care about rules of international order at all.

    It is needed to concede, however this argument so far cannot be used against Putin himself as he left about 85% of Ukraine directly untouched yet ;)
    , @animalogic
    "This is bigger than Syria. We’re talking about rules of international order here"
    Absolutely.
    Really, what options does Russia have: either bend over or draw lines in the sand?
    Look at the Western provocations over the last 10 or so years: Chechna, Georgia, Ukraine, downed airliners, sanctions, sanctions, sanctions, (Iraq, Libyia) Syria, alleged chemical attacks, all hyped to the point you'd think Russia guilty of crucifying you-know-who.
    If Russia is guilty of anything it is grossly under estimating the pathological nature of Western politics. At least the Stavka has been initiated.
    As an aside, I am increasingly disappointed in China. Do they not see that Russia is merely the first course ? THEY are the main meal. Its about time they asserted themselves: old story - hang together, or be hanged alone.
    , @Colleen Pater
    Ah but we can we do it all the time have been for centuries, we are actually creeping up on the roman record.
    , @Kevin O'Keeffe

    For the first time in a long time US is being forced to consider the costs of its agressive foreign policy. Mattis said it himself today: the reason why USA is not bombing Assad already is because of a risk of “uncontrolled escalation” in the region, i.e. they are scared that Russia will kick their ass. Trump also apprears to have backtracked today.
     
    Thankfully, they seem to have realized the gravity of the situation, and sobered up.
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  6. In a cheerful mood this morning, I see.

    Worth considering one point. The vulnerability in extremis of the Russian expeditionary force in Syria was always obvious to anyone informed, and undoubtedly will have been uppermost in the minds of Putin and all the senior military men in the Kremlin at the time the decision was made to deploy. These are not reckless men. If it was and is a gamble, it’s a calculated one.

    The point is they’ve already got plans for how to respond to a full US attack, whether it’s to fold or to escalate elsewhere, or whatever.

    The way I see it, there are only really Russia, Iran and China and their allies standing between the world and return to complete unipolar US dominance, which this time would be pushed all the way to full world government from Washington – the fabled leftist boot stamping on humanity’s face forever, with nowhere to escape to or to show a different way, because there’s nowhere “outside”. So there isn’t really much choice – retreat or appeasement just means fighting them later in a less advantageous position. But longer term, time is against the core US sphere, as their share of world gdp shrinks inexorably. All that is needed is to sustain resistance for a little longer. Then we can all breathe a sigh of relief before moving on to fighting desperately against the next major threat to humanity – probably how to deal with excess Chinese power.

    Accepting the risk of nuclear devastation rather than giving in is a necessary part of that resistance. It’s no big deal, really. If it happens, it happens. Those of us older than about 40 years old grew up with it and only some of us let it break us and drive us to drooling unilateralism.

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    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Agree.

    Except for

    It’s no big deal, really. If it happens, it happens. Those of us older than about 40 years old grew up with it and only some of us let it break us and drive us to drooling unilateralism.
     
    On my way to work I pass by a couple of kindergartens and primary schools. Doesn't feel right.
    , @nickels
    Simple order:
    America leave the Med in 24 hours or we nuke DC and Tel Aviv. Any counter attack will mean full nuclear launch.
    And retake Alaska if it goes down just to humiliate.
    Let the Orange clown chew on that one.
    There is no defense against a morally just threat to nuke.
    , @Kairos
    Randal : you say " The way I see it, there are only really Russia, Iran and China and their allies standing between the world and return to complete unipolar US dominance " ......

    Do you realize that now most of the people of the world does NOT wish to return to US unipolar dominance ?, you have bombed too many nations , your culture has produced too many perversions , you have abused too much , you have bragged too much ...

    Maybe just the english speaking : usa , usa -north ( canada ) , australia , and england would .... But the rest of the world NO , not asia , not africa , not latinamerica , not Russia , and not england-free europe .....

    You must live in hollywood , or maybe you watch too much american TV , come back to earth man , we are in 2018 !!!!
    , @Joe Wong
    Chinese is not the West which is a remorseless and hypocritical tribe. Chinese believe Five Principle of Peaceful Co-existence that treats all nations large and small equal with respect. Chinese believes peace, harmony, cooperation, developments and mutual benefits are the trend of times.

    After few hundreds of years of experiment, the Western system, culture and framework has proven inadequate, flawed and not working for the long term survival of humanity not to mention the building prosperity for humanity.
    , @dfordoom

    The way I see it, there are only really Russia, Iran and China and their allies standing between the world and return to complete unipolar US dominance, which this time would be pushed all the way to full world government from Washington – the fabled leftist boot stamping on humanity’s face forever, with nowhere to escape to or to show a different way, because there’s nowhere “outside”. So there isn’t really much choice – retreat or appeasement just means fighting them later in a less advantageous position.
     
    That sums it up pretty well.
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  7. @German_reader

    There will be a modest global cooling
     
    That sounds quite positive as well, at least one wouldn't need to have to worry that much about global warming then.
    Very gloomy scenario on your part, looks to me like you see no good way out for Russia.

    That is because getting manipulated into rage quitting on your own civilization by some Middle Eastern tribes is really, really retarded
     
    Fully in agreement. If it does come to a general conflagration, I hope that at least a few nukes will also land on Tel Aviv, Ryadh and Ankara.

    “If it does come to a general conflagration, I hope that at least a few nukes will also land on Tel Aviv, Ryadh and Ankara.”

    Ditto. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

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  8. This is bigger than Syria. We’re talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can’t just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.

    Exactly. Either the US comes to terms with that, or they’ll have to be made to behave – probably ultimately by increasing Chinese power and influence.

    In the meantime, they need to pay a price whenever they resort to brutish threats as in this case. The best way in this case would be to beef up support for the Syrian government – the one thing guaranteed to make the lobbies pushing for US attacks grind their teeth.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    What would the US government warmongers and tough-talkers do if CHINA sent some "military and technical advisors" to a Russian-run base in Syria?

    Would the US government be willing to risk killing Chinese personnel?

    I fear and distrust China, but this warmongering crew in charge of "my" country's government and economy needs to learn that they are not invincible, that threats have consequences whether they are backed up or not, and that not everyone in the world lacks the strength to say "mind your damn business and back off."
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  9. Carriers are not easy to sink, but I think you overestimate them, and underestimate the various missiles that can deal with them, including the newest Kinzhal. Carriers do not have the armor of the battleships of WW2.

    As for all the bases nearby, a a bunch of nuclear tipped cruise missiles will quickly erase that advantage.
    So then the Americans will be the ones who will face the tough choice – strike Russia itself and commit suicide, or back off? Precisely because NATO has so many bases around and Russia doesn’t, once these bases are wiped out (which can be done with nuclear tactical weapons like cruise missiles and Iskanders, not ICBMs) then NATO will have a balance sheet of 2 destroyed Russian bases in Syria against many more NATO bases destroyed in the Mideast and Europe.

    Of course, wiping out all nearby NATO bases with tactical nuclear weapons still takes balls, and looking at the latest incident with the Russian fishing ship arrested by Ukraine (which Russia can absolutely ruin in so many ways without even trying, and still doesn’t respond) doesn’t give me much hope.

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    • Replies: @Per
    they can take out the nato bases without using nukes,.-
    , @Anon
    Carriers don't have to be sunk to be made useless. Just mess up the surface and jets can't land. Just hit the command tower, and it can't maneuver.
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  10. I doubt that Russia will manage to sink or even disable an aircraft carrier in either of the latter two scenarios. Contra the War Nerd’s fantasies about suicide motorboats taking them out, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is a 100,000 ton metallic honeycomb with hundreds of watertight compartments, protected by a screen of smaller ships, submarines, and fighters. Sinking these leviathans is really, really hard.

    The truth is that we have no idea.

    The gayvy refuses to conduct objective tests of the Aegis BMD, rolling airframe missiles, or standard missiles.

    This suggests their performance is not what is claimed.

    We also don’t know how good Russian antiship missiles are. How many of them are there?

    Regardless of the size of American carriers, enough missile strikes will at least result in a mission kill if not a sinking. They are also not armored in the way earlier naval warships were, something that was shown to be critically stupid during the Falklands War.

    Damage control will be non-existent owing to the fact that one-fifth of the crew consists of women. The moment the ship is hit all the women will become hysterical, and men will focus on the women instead of the ship.

    The justification for not armoring warships was the Operation Crossroads Test Baker, but this was a dubious conclusion. The ex-German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen for instance only sunk because it had no crew and thus succumbed to flooding.

    Owing to the short range of the F/A-18 Sucker Hornet the gayvy might need to put its carrier(s) in range of coastal batteries, which means that aircraft (or ships) don’t need to get in missile shot range and expose themselves to Aegis or fighters.

    Tankers and AEWC aircraft will need to stay far away from Syria owing to the S-400. Deployment of MiG-31s and more Sukhois can increase this.

    Russia obviously can’t win any extended campaign in Syria, but it’s quite possible that by prepositioning enough anti-ship missiles and firing platforms that it could defeat an allied naval squadron. This would then put NATO+GCC in the gloomy situation you described for Russia following a defeat in Syria, with the exception that NATO+GCC can double down on Syria which Russia cannot.

    So a deterrent strategy could be very publicly deploying Tu-22M3 and MiG-31 squadrons to Syria. The Tu-160 units could also be deployed to Southern Russia. A squadron of Tu-160s could penetrate Turkish airspace unintercepted and fire a salvo of perhaps 100 or so anti-ship missiles.

    The gayvy’s doctrine is to prevent its ships from being found by an adversary, but I really do not see how this is possible in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Martyanov is ridiculous but he may have a point on this matter.

    Then there’s submarines. Unfortunately for Russia there is no way to introduce additional boats into the Mediterranean without detection, but this could be a feature rather than a bug. The gayvy in its own exercises with NATO allies routinely gets its carriers sunk by other NATO submarines.

    Admirals are aware of these exercises, and within the gayvy itself submariners have a pithy saying:

    Shit floats to the surface

    .

    Russian subs entering the Mediterranean in numbers would be a deterrent, and in a shooting war could undertake missile shots on surface ships and potentially torpedo attacks if they can get in range.

    The Kilo-class boats already there may already be in range undetected.

    Trump’s reaction to a naval squadron being sunk would of course be to escalate. But Britain and France might react differently.

    For that matter what defensive purpose does Russia’s surface navy really serve? Russia is a continental power with no dependence on seaborne imports and can thus risk its entire fleet. Deploy the entire fleet to the Eastern Mediterranean, North Sea, and Eastern Seaboard. Yes they’ll be lost in a real war, but people will think twice about starting that war. Russian warships physically visible to people in, say, New York City might cause them to think twice about poking the bear. Punishing the Assman seems much less appetizing when the prospect of a cruise missile striking your office is very real.

    Think like Trump. Go big or go home.

    Militarily, this is the least risky option. However, Putin will face rising domestic discontent as Western attempts to strangle the Russian economy transition to a new and far more intensive phase, and living standards collapse.

    How long will the “buffer” of 80% approval ratings hold up? People don’t like losers, as the Argentine junta discovered.

    Capitulation would result in a coup d’etat orchestrated by Rogozin and Shoigu I suspect.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Interesting comments, thanks.

    Capitulation would result in a coup d’etat orchestrated by Rogozin and Shoigu I suspect.
     
    Very much doubt it will come from either of them (someone like Sechin is I think the likeliest candidate for that, yet still totally unlikely)

    Shoigu is notably unenthusiastic about politics, and if Mikhail Zygar's account in All the Kremlin's Men is to be believed, he was even against the Crimea operation in 2014.

    Rogozin is one of the few bona fide Russian nationalists in a senior position, but I don't think he has any patronage network around him. He is not actually a silovik.

    This is not the first time that you have alluded to the possibility of a silovik coup. Note that the siloviks are a disparate lot. Sechin is merely capo of the biggest subgroup.
    , @LondonBob
    This topic is a case of bad timing given the US military's desire to avoid WWIII has won the day.

    The reality is we don't really know how well all these systems work. Is the S400 really all that, the US isn't keen to find out? Bear in mind the S200 shot down two of the latest Israeli F16s. This means that the US can be tamed in Syria using old 1967 technology. It’s missiles (on a F-18) couldn’t even down a SAA Su-22 from 1970.

    The reality is Russia doesn't want to use the S400, having to do so would be a failure. The threat of the S400 is where its strategic value lies.
    , @Kevin O'Keeffe

    The moment the ship is hit all the women will become hysterical, and men will focus on the women instead of the ship.
     
    I think you're generally right about the women, but the the bulk of the men will tend to their duties regardless. Hopefully, we won't be finding out anytime soon.
    , @Philip Owen
    The sea floor of the Med is completely mapped at a fine scale. It would be hard to hide a minicar there, far less a submarine.
    , @Joe Wong
    Russia has biggest natural resources in the world, and China has biggest production capacity in the world. Though USA have natural resources but it does not have the capability turning them into items to support their current living standard, while EU has no natural resources to keep their societies functioning in any meaningful period of time if war breaks out. Besides during the war only tangleable stuff matters, SWIFT and fiat money USD will be as good as dodo, if not being a handicap to the West war effort after it being hacked.

    It is puzzling the author keeps on saying the West can strangle the Russian economy, it seems the author completely oblivious about the fact that Russia does not need the West for essential necessities or modern convenience, while the West is completely exterior dependent for their living standard and social stability.

    USD and SWIFT will be the first casualty if war breaks out, it surely will be a fast and shortcut way to collapse the Empire of Chaos and end the American bellicosity and hubris.

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  11. The new American secretary of state is sounding aggressive in relation to today.

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  12. @Felix Keverich
    This is bigger than Syria. We're talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can't just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.

    For the first time in a long time US is being forced to consider the costs of its agressive foreign policy. Mattis said it himself today: the reason why USA is not bombing Assad already is because of a risk of "uncontrolled escalation" in the region, i.e. they are scared that Russia will kick their ass. Trump also apprears to have backtracked today.

    We’re talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can’t just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.

    It is more than ironic that the main beef of Russian imperialists and their propagandists against Putin is that he did not invade whole of Ukraine and overthrow their government on the whim :) So they indeed do not care about rules of international order at all.

    It is needed to concede, however this argument so far cannot be used against Putin himself as he left about 85% of Ukraine directly untouched yet ;)

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    The Ukraine has no government, it has a junta that seized power in a coup. The coup was funded and directed by the US. Or to put another way, the Ukraine is a territory, where US-backed "moderate rebels" won. You only see a contradiction because you're misinformed about events in the Ukraine.

    PS: you sound a lot like Mr. Hack, is this your new account?

    , @Thorfinnsson


    It is more than ironic that the main beef of Russian imperialists and their propagandists against Putin is that he did not invade whole of Ukraine and overthrow their government on the whim :) So they indeed do not care about rules of international order at all.

    It is needed to concede, however this argument so far cannot be used against Putin himself as he left about 85% of Ukraine directly untouched yet ;)
     
    Why would they care about the rules of the international order? These rules are gay and the product of the demented fever dreams of the cack-brained President Wilson.

    I wish some UNSC permanent member would start vetoing everything in order to cripple the Gaynited Nations.

    The Ukraine is a gay, fake country conjured into existence by the Imperial German Great General Staff. Its very existence is deeply offensive and it must be destroyed.
    , @RadicalCenter
    He didn't "invade" Crimea, either. Do you honestly believe that the majority of people living in Crimea did NOT want the Crimea to return to Russia?
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  13. Anonymous[204] • Disclaimer says:

    I think more people will die than that. Capital destruction, loss of roads, and spoilage will see 50 to 90 percent of the population of the first world. Internet infrastructure will be badly affected, and large numbers of health services will cease to be able to provide. Worst of all, research into artificial wombs(and thus the ability to remove women from existence) will be halted.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous

    I think more people will die than that. Capital destruction, loss of roads, and spoilage will see 50 to 90 percent of the population of the first world. Internet infrastructure will be badly affected, and large numbers of health services will cease to be able to provide. Worst of all, research into artificial wombs(and thus the ability to remove women from existence) will be halted.
     
    I agree. I have researched this stuff since the 80’s. I would say nuking (thermonuclear) NYC, DC, Boston alone would be a crippling blow to U.S. You add in LA, San Fran, Chicago, Philly, Seattle, & Dallas and the U.S. as we know it is done. That’s just 9 targets. Ending Western Europe would take about the same. Now, here’s this problem with this. I live in D.C. and Boston. I would miss out on the fun of the post-apocalyptic world that I grew up imaging about and wanted to get the chance to experience. The cool, apocalyptic opening scene to the movie The Stand, with The Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper, almost made me become a virologist. https://youtu.be/636vGZK0EdA
    , @RadicalCenter
    The last sentence is kinda sick. But funny in a cruel way if one has just been dumped or divorced, I suppose ;)
    , @reiner Tor

    Worst of all, research into artificial wombs(and thus the ability to remove women from existence) will be halted.
     
    At least, there will be some improvements then.
    , @Kevin O'Keeffe
    Removing women from existence, seems ill-advised. I'm about as misogynist as it gets, but c'mon. Get a grip, man.
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  14. 1. As I mentioned in the other thread, the most likely likely scenario where Russia invades the Baltics starts with NATO blockading Kaliningrad exclave (naturally, without acknowledging that that’s what they are doing.)

    2. Syria was an old Soviet ally. After the collapse of the USSR, America did a thorough job of punishing old Soviet and Russian allies; and Russia could not help them. Many of them got the message and tried to reorient themselves toward the West, but even that didn’t help some of them. Anyway, those who said that Russia was supporting an ally were not wrong.

    3. Not that I think that occupation of Novorossia is necessarily a good idea, but there would be no partisan resistance there. Especially if Russia immediately raises pensions and government workers’ salaries to the Russian levels.

    4. “Support [in Crimea] for joining Russia going up from ~40% to ~90%.” As has already been pointed out to you, you are comparing apples and oranges.

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  15. “Sadly, there will be no monster mutants roaming the post-apocalyptic plains – even in the Fallout video games, that was the result of a biological weapon, not of nuclear weapons.”

    Whilst on the topic, do you know of any other, non-nuclear, WMDs that may be deployed in a full blown war, and their effects on the population? There’s some pretty creepy stuff like ebolapox ( or even novichok ) that’s mentioned on the web, but there’s a dearth of any info on their efficacy.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Greg Cochran once suggested you could go evil with smallpox: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/weaponizing-smallpox/

    But really, there's a reason that nukes are what we mean by WMD's 90% of the time and why powerful states allow them but frown on the others.

    They're much more powerful than chemical weapons, and much more controllable than biological ones.
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  16. @sudden death

    We’re talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can’t just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.
     
    It is more than ironic that the main beef of Russian imperialists and their propagandists against Putin is that he did not invade whole of Ukraine and overthrow their government on the whim :) So they indeed do not care about rules of international order at all.

    It is needed to concede, however this argument so far cannot be used against Putin himself as he left about 85% of Ukraine directly untouched yet ;)

    The Ukraine has no government, it has a junta that seized power in a coup. The coup was funded and directed by the US. Or to put another way, the Ukraine is a territory, where US-backed “moderate rebels” won. You only see a contradiction because you’re misinformed about events in the Ukraine.

    PS: you sound a lot like Mr. Hack, is this your new account?

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    • Replies: @sudden death
    "The Ukraine has no government, it has a junta that seized power in a coup. The coup was funded and directed by the US. Or to put another way, the Ukraine is a territory, where US-backed “moderate rebels” won. You only see a contradiction because you’re misinformed about events in the Ukraine."

    Leaving aside semantics, your "concerns" about invading countries and overthrowing governments on a whim goes out of the window as soon as you consider those governments illegitimate for any reason you may like. So what is any difference there from those who consider that Syrian government is just illegitimate for any reason they like too? :)

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  17. @sudden death

    We’re talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can’t just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.
     
    It is more than ironic that the main beef of Russian imperialists and their propagandists against Putin is that he did not invade whole of Ukraine and overthrow their government on the whim :) So they indeed do not care about rules of international order at all.

    It is needed to concede, however this argument so far cannot be used against Putin himself as he left about 85% of Ukraine directly untouched yet ;)

    It is more than ironic that the main beef of Russian imperialists and their propagandists against Putin is that he did not invade whole of Ukraine and overthrow their government on the whim :) So they indeed do not care about rules of international order at all.

    It is needed to concede, however this argument so far cannot be used against Putin himself as he left about 85% of Ukraine directly untouched yet ;)

    Why would they care about the rules of the international order? These rules are gay and the product of the demented fever dreams of the cack-brained President Wilson.

    I wish some UNSC permanent member would start vetoing everything in order to cripple the Gaynited Nations.

    The Ukraine is a gay, fake country conjured into existence by the Imperial German Great General Staff. Its very existence is deeply offensive and it must be destroyed.

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    • Agree: Felix Keverich
    • Replies: @sudden death

    Why would they care about the rules of the international order? These rules are gay and the product of the demented fever dreams of the cack-brained President Wilson.
     
    But they are pretending to be caring, that is the most funny thing of all :) On a more serious note, in fact there is no and never has been any rules rules of the international order except "might is right" and so called "rules" are just following from that one rule.

    The Ukraine is a gay, fake country conjured into existence by the Imperial German Great General Staff. Its very existence is deeply offensive and it must be destroyed.
     
    "

    As Syria is a gay, fake country conjured into existence as a product of dismantling Osman empire by the Allies after WWI ;) But still officialy no one in power at the West is calling to eradicate Syria as entity so at least this is not inconsistent with politics of safeguarding Ukraine from RF.

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  18. OPCW inspectors will begin its work in Syria on Saturday (14th of April).

    So it seems nothing will happen this week.

    https://www.rbc.ru/politics/12/04/2018/5acf82c79a794783205fa03d?from=main

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  19. Interesting poll results, in part encouraging and in part unsurprisingly discouraging:

    Fewer than a quarter of Britons (22%) say they would support these attacks, with almost twice as many opposing (43%).
    ….
    This is despite the fact that the majority of Britons (61%) believe that the Syrian government or their allies probably did carry out a chemical attack. Only 10% think that either there probably wasn’t a chemical weapons attack or that something else happened. The remaining 29% said that they don’t know.
    ….
    The question on missile strikes was one of several on possible interventions we tested this time around (or equivalent to show we’re back to talking about current stats). Options to send in British and allied troops to either protect civilians or depose President Bashar al-Assad see even higher levels of opposition (50% for the former, 51% for the latter).

    However there is majority support for the enforcement of a no fly zone over Syria, with six in ten (60%) saying they would back such a measure and less than one in ten (9%) opposed.

    Even though most Britons believe a chemical attack has been perpetrated, only 22% of Britons would support a cruise missile attack against the Syrian military
    [1600 adults, questioned 10th/11th April]

    Rather bizarre when you consider that “enforcing a no fly zone” would be a dramatically more provocative policy choice than “launching cruise missile strikes against Syrian military targets”.

    As we have seen in past research, such as when we last looked into RAF strikes against ISIS back in 2015, there is a dramatic gender gap. Only 14% of women support missile attacks, with 47% opposed. Amongst men those figures are 31% and 40% respectively.

    And here’s the encouraging bit for the Israeli/jewish lobby advocates amongst us, showing how easy such opinion is to manipulate:

    In the past we have seen support for foreign interventions fluctuate as events develop. A good example of this is when YouGov tracked public opinion towards RAF strikes against ISIS in Syria during 2014 and 2015. At the end of August 2014 the numbers were finely balanced, with 37% in support and 37% opposed. Just a week later, after the release of a video in which an Israeli-American journalist was beheaded, support jumped up to 48%. Support then peaked at 60% in September 2015

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Highly encouraging - and genuinely surprising (to me).

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I'm seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?
    , @German_reader

    Rather bizarre when you consider that “enforcing a no fly zone” would be a dramatically more provocative policy choice than “launching cruise missile strikes against Syrian military targets”.
     
    I think many people don't quite understand what enforcing a no fly zone would actually mean...if they did, opposition would probably be higher.
    I don't think opinions on strikes against ISIS are really comparable btw, I personally supported that given that ISIS was a clear security threat to Europe. Assad's government has never supported terrorism against European or American targets and is no threat to us, that's a rather different situation.
    , @animalogic
    I read a survey recently in which 87% of western respondents agreed Israel should be bombed, invaded & reconstituted as a non apartheid, democratic State...oh, damn, it was only a day dream. Sorry to get people's hopes up.
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  20. @Thorfinnsson


    It is more than ironic that the main beef of Russian imperialists and their propagandists against Putin is that he did not invade whole of Ukraine and overthrow their government on the whim :) So they indeed do not care about rules of international order at all.

    It is needed to concede, however this argument so far cannot be used against Putin himself as he left about 85% of Ukraine directly untouched yet ;)
     
    Why would they care about the rules of the international order? These rules are gay and the product of the demented fever dreams of the cack-brained President Wilson.

    I wish some UNSC permanent member would start vetoing everything in order to cripple the Gaynited Nations.

    The Ukraine is a gay, fake country conjured into existence by the Imperial German Great General Staff. Its very existence is deeply offensive and it must be destroyed.

    Why would they care about the rules of the international order? These rules are gay and the product of the demented fever dreams of the cack-brained President Wilson.

    But they are pretending to be caring, that is the most funny thing of all :) On a more serious note, in fact there is no and never has been any rules rules of the international order except “might is right” and so called “rules” are just following from that one rule.

    The Ukraine is a gay, fake country conjured into existence by the Imperial German Great General Staff. Its very existence is deeply offensive and it must be destroyed.

    As Syria is a gay, fake country conjured into existence as a product of dismantling Osman empire by the Allies after WWI ;) But still officialy no one in power at the West is calling to eradicate Syria as entity so at least this is not inconsistent with politics of safeguarding Ukraine from RF.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    But they are pretending to be caring, that is the most funny thing of all :) On a more serious note, in fact there is no and never has been any rules rules of the international order except “might is right” and so called “rules” are just following from that one rule.
     

    Russia's relative lack of might is of course why they appeal to these so-called rules.

    As Syria is a gay, fake country conjured into existence as a product of dismantling Osman empire by the Allies after WWI ;) But still officialy no one in power at the West is calling to eradicate Syria as entity so at least this is not inconsistent with politics of safeguarding Ukraine from RF.
     

    Syria is a fake country but it is not gay. The Assman is the world's greatest survivor outside of the Kim dynasty.

    In the Middle East nations largely don't exist so political organization above the tribal level is best done on imperial or religious lines.

    , @truthorelse
    You clearly sound like typical empire troll. Fail.
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  21. A very good article.

    If I want to nitpick (for which I apologize) it’s only Baltics. Don’t see that as possible as the rest in the article.

    And, the result of nuclear war feels a bit optimistic. Haven’t, though, dug into that deeply enough recently.
    Still “On the Beach” mode.

    Read More
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  22. @DNC
    "Sadly, there will be no monster mutants roaming the post-apocalyptic plains – even in the Fallout video games, that was the result of a biological weapon, not of nuclear weapons."

    Whilst on the topic, do you know of any other, non-nuclear, WMDs that may be deployed in a full blown war, and their effects on the population? There's some pretty creepy stuff like ebolapox ( or even novichok ) that's mentioned on the web, but there's a dearth of any info on their efficacy.

    Greg Cochran once suggested you could go evil with smallpox: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/weaponizing-smallpox/

    But really, there’s a reason that nukes are what we mean by WMD’s 90% of the time and why powerful states allow them but frown on the others.

    They’re much more powerful than chemical weapons, and much more controllable than biological ones.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    If you really wanted to end the world as a final spittle from hell's heart, though, biological weapons would quite effective. The Black Death, not even an engineered agent, killed around 30%/60% of the European population.
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  23. @Randal
    In a cheerful mood this morning, I see.

    Worth considering one point. The vulnerability in extremis of the Russian expeditionary force in Syria was always obvious to anyone informed, and undoubtedly will have been uppermost in the minds of Putin and all the senior military men in the Kremlin at the time the decision was made to deploy. These are not reckless men. If it was and is a gamble, it's a calculated one.

    The point is they've already got plans for how to respond to a full US attack, whether it's to fold or to escalate elsewhere, or whatever.

    The way I see it, there are only really Russia, Iran and China and their allies standing between the world and return to complete unipolar US dominance, which this time would be pushed all the way to full world government from Washington - the fabled leftist boot stamping on humanity's face forever, with nowhere to escape to or to show a different way, because there's nowhere "outside". So there isn't really much choice - retreat or appeasement just means fighting them later in a less advantageous position. But longer term, time is against the core US sphere, as their share of world gdp shrinks inexorably. All that is needed is to sustain resistance for a little longer. Then we can all breathe a sigh of relief before moving on to fighting desperately against the next major threat to humanity - probably how to deal with excess Chinese power.

    Accepting the risk of nuclear devastation rather than giving in is a necessary part of that resistance. It's no big deal, really. If it happens, it happens. Those of us older than about 40 years old grew up with it and only some of us let it break us and drive us to drooling unilateralism.

    Agree.

    Except for

    It’s no big deal, really. If it happens, it happens. Those of us older than about 40 years old grew up with it and only some of us let it break us and drive us to drooling unilateralism.

    On my way to work I pass by a couple of kindergartens and primary schools. Doesn’t feel right.

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    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    And when I get home, I pass a kindergartner and other beautiful little people on the way in the door. One can 't be paralyzed by fear, but I can't say "if it happens, it happens", either.
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  24. @Randal
    Interesting poll results, in part encouraging and in part unsurprisingly discouraging:

    Fewer than a quarter of Britons (22%) say they would support these attacks, with almost twice as many opposing (43%).
    ....
    This is despite the fact that the majority of Britons (61%) believe that the Syrian government or their allies probably did carry out a chemical attack. Only 10% think that either there probably wasn’t a chemical weapons attack or that something else happened. The remaining 29% said that they don’t know.
    ....
    The question on missile strikes was one of several on possible interventions we tested this time around (or equivalent to show we’re back to talking about current stats). Options to send in British and allied troops to either protect civilians or depose President Bashar al-Assad see even higher levels of opposition (50% for the former, 51% for the latter).

    However there is majority support for the enforcement of a no fly zone over Syria, with six in ten (60%) saying they would back such a measure and less than one in ten (9%) opposed.
     
    Even though most Britons believe a chemical attack has been perpetrated, only 22% of Britons would support a cruise missile attack against the Syrian military
    [1600 adults, questioned 10th/11th April]

    Rather bizarre when you consider that "enforcing a no fly zone" would be a dramatically more provocative policy choice than "launching cruise missile strikes against Syrian military targets".

    As we have seen in past research, such as when we last looked into RAF strikes against ISIS back in 2015, there is a dramatic gender gap. Only 14% of women support missile attacks, with 47% opposed. Amongst men those figures are 31% and 40% respectively.
     
    And here's the encouraging bit for the Israeli/jewish lobby advocates amongst us, showing how easy such opinion is to manipulate:

    In the past we have seen support for foreign interventions fluctuate as events develop. A good example of this is when YouGov tracked public opinion towards RAF strikes against ISIS in Syria during 2014 and 2015. At the end of August 2014 the numbers were finely balanced, with 37% in support and 37% opposed. Just a week later, after the release of a video in which an Israeli-American journalist was beheaded, support jumped up to 48%. Support then peaked at 60% in September 2015
     

    Highly encouraging – and genuinely surprising (to me).

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I’m seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?

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    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    I don't frequent Reddit, but The Guardian's gotten pretty notorious for censoring their comment section over the past few years.
    , @Randal

    Highly encouraging – and genuinely surprising (to me).
     
    To me, as well, so I can't help you with an explanation. I think it's just general opposition to military action despite believing (mostly) the "gas attack" nonsense.

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I’m seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?
     
    The Guardian's pretty tightly policed and the management there has been obsessive about "Russian propaganda" in the comments for several years now, so that might be the explanation there, along with a selective readership effect.

    I'm not familiar with Reddit but that should be less policed, by reputation, surely?

    By the way, I'm not a big fan of the Guardian's cartoonist Steve Bell, but I thought this one was funny in the light of Trump's tweet contradiction today:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2018/apr/12/steve-bell-on-trumps-tweets-on-syria-cartoon
    , @Kimppis
    Yeah, your earlier description of those comments sounded a little too pessimistic.

    Maybe the situation has gotten so bad as of 2018 that most "Russian trolls" and those who know more about the real alternatives to Assman just stay away even from those sites, from those type of articles and certainly from the comments.

    How does the Guardian (etc) differ from the rest of the MSM, atleast when it comes to things like Russia and Assad? Most people certainly don't give a shit about Syria.

    Some of those results are really bizarre, though. Most don't seem to know what a no fly zone means. I guess it sounds harmless. They also don't seem to realize there are Russian planes and other assets in Syria.

    Also, do they really think that the Syrian "rebels" are some kind of pro-Western freedom fighters? That they couldn't possibly be behind the attack? Of course none of that is surprising, when looking at the MSM's coverage.
    , @Randal
    By the way, I seem to recall the commenter London Bob (I think) had a better read on public opinion yesterday or the day before - he commented iirc that the public is against it. He's usually pretty switched on generally.

    Maybe if he shows up he'll explain how he came to that conclusion. Perhaps he just mixes with a better set than I do....

    , @Excal
    For what it's worth, the ultra-rad-trad-Catholic circles I frequent are uniformly and absolutely opposed to intervention, generally at least mildly pro-Russia, and do not believe that Assad was behind the attack.

    You can see their petition against the strikes here:

    https://www.change.org/p/declaration-against-the-expansion-of-the-syrian-war

    I don't think these feelings are isolated to that crowd, but maybe I don't get out much.

    As to the Reddit groups etc. -- birds of a feather flock together and tend to drive out the others.
    , @ilkarnal

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?
     
    I have noticed a big and fishy shift in tone on reddit. This coincides with initiatives to 'counter russian disinformation' which the reddit owners will doubtless cooperate with. Underscores the importance of having some platform that is capable of saying no to the US. Would be nice to have a platform that could say no to everyone, but due to the infrastructure involved in having a serious social media platform that looks like it isn't going to happen.
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  25. @Felix Keverich
    The Ukraine has no government, it has a junta that seized power in a coup. The coup was funded and directed by the US. Or to put another way, the Ukraine is a territory, where US-backed "moderate rebels" won. You only see a contradiction because you're misinformed about events in the Ukraine.

    PS: you sound a lot like Mr. Hack, is this your new account?

    “The Ukraine has no government, it has a junta that seized power in a coup. The coup was funded and directed by the US. Or to put another way, the Ukraine is a territory, where US-backed “moderate rebels” won. You only see a contradiction because you’re misinformed about events in the Ukraine.”

    Leaving aside semantics, your “concerns” about invading countries and overthrowing governments on a whim goes out of the window as soon as you consider those governments illegitimate for any reason you may like. So what is any difference there from those who consider that Syrian government is just illegitimate for any reason they like too? :)

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    • Replies: @Ilya G Poimandres
    The Ukranian government is illegitimate because Ukraine had a constitutional process for selecting its government. When the coup happened, that constitution was not followed, it was abandoned, and reasonably - terminated.

    It would be the same if any US citizen group decided to take Congress, the Executive and the Judiciary through a process that is outside of the US Constitution, and then enforce their own view of government on the whole population. Would 100% of the US citizenry agree to this? Would it be illegitimate for those to disagree with the change in the process of selection of representatives?

    The legitimacy of a government system is subject to that society's choice. At no point, from Daraa at the beginning to now, was the Syrian government system legitimately threatened by its own citizenry - there were dissenting voices, and even some protests initially, but overall - the majority - considered it ok. Same as now, the majority of US citizens don't want Sharia Law to be the legal system for the US.. some do, but not the majority.

    There is the current system of law for nations, international law. It has the UN Charter, and a bunch of treaties that most nations have signed. If a nation disregards these, how is it not exactly what John Adams said was not correct - a nation of people, not a nation of laws? Again, the vast majority support this system, at least the letter of the law is decent, if not the designated bodies (UN etc) that monitor them.

    The choice is between the absurdist who wishes to tear down the whole system because of some inefficiency, and the rationalist who wishes to fix the inefficiencies within the mostly functioning system.

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  26. @Anatoly Karlin
    Greg Cochran once suggested you could go evil with smallpox: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/weaponizing-smallpox/

    But really, there's a reason that nukes are what we mean by WMD's 90% of the time and why powerful states allow them but frown on the others.

    They're much more powerful than chemical weapons, and much more controllable than biological ones.

    If you really wanted to end the world as a final spittle from hell’s heart, though, biological weapons would quite effective. The Black Death, not even an engineered agent, killed around 30%/60% of the European population.

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  27. @Thorfinnsson


    I doubt that Russia will manage to sink or even disable an aircraft carrier in either of the latter two scenarios. Contra the War Nerd’s fantasies about suicide motorboats taking them out, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is a 100,000 ton metallic honeycomb with hundreds of watertight compartments, protected by a screen of smaller ships, submarines, and fighters. Sinking these leviathans is really, really hard.
     
    The truth is that we have no idea.

    The gayvy refuses to conduct objective tests of the Aegis BMD, rolling airframe missiles, or standard missiles.

    This suggests their performance is not what is claimed.

    We also don't know how good Russian antiship missiles are. How many of them are there?

    Regardless of the size of American carriers, enough missile strikes will at least result in a mission kill if not a sinking. They are also not armored in the way earlier naval warships were, something that was shown to be critically stupid during the Falklands War.

    Damage control will be non-existent owing to the fact that one-fifth of the crew consists of women. The moment the ship is hit all the women will become hysterical, and men will focus on the women instead of the ship.

    The justification for not armoring warships was the Operation Crossroads Test Baker, but this was a dubious conclusion. The ex-German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen for instance only sunk because it had no crew and thus succumbed to flooding.

    Owing to the short range of the F/A-18 Sucker Hornet the gayvy might need to put its carrier(s) in range of coastal batteries, which means that aircraft (or ships) don't need to get in missile shot range and expose themselves to Aegis or fighters.

    Tankers and AEWC aircraft will need to stay far away from Syria owing to the S-400. Deployment of MiG-31s and more Sukhois can increase this.

    Russia obviously can't win any extended campaign in Syria, but it's quite possible that by prepositioning enough anti-ship missiles and firing platforms that it could defeat an allied naval squadron. This would then put NATO+GCC in the gloomy situation you described for Russia following a defeat in Syria, with the exception that NATO+GCC can double down on Syria which Russia cannot.

    So a deterrent strategy could be very publicly deploying Tu-22M3 and MiG-31 squadrons to Syria. The Tu-160 units could also be deployed to Southern Russia. A squadron of Tu-160s could penetrate Turkish airspace unintercepted and fire a salvo of perhaps 100 or so anti-ship missiles.

    The gayvy's doctrine is to prevent its ships from being found by an adversary, but I really do not see how this is possible in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Martyanov is ridiculous but he may have a point on this matter.

    Then there's submarines. Unfortunately for Russia there is no way to introduce additional boats into the Mediterranean without detection, but this could be a feature rather than a bug. The gayvy in its own exercises with NATO allies routinely gets its carriers sunk by other NATO submarines.

    Admirals are aware of these exercises, and within the gayvy itself submariners have a pithy saying:


    Shit floats to the surface
     
    .

    Russian subs entering the Mediterranean in numbers would be a deterrent, and in a shooting war could undertake missile shots on surface ships and potentially torpedo attacks if they can get in range.

    The Kilo-class boats already there may already be in range undetected.

    Trump's reaction to a naval squadron being sunk would of course be to escalate. But Britain and France might react differently.

    For that matter what defensive purpose does Russia's surface navy really serve? Russia is a continental power with no dependence on seaborne imports and can thus risk its entire fleet. Deploy the entire fleet to the Eastern Mediterranean, North Sea, and Eastern Seaboard. Yes they'll be lost in a real war, but people will think twice about starting that war. Russian warships physically visible to people in, say, New York City might cause them to think twice about poking the bear. Punishing the Assman seems much less appetizing when the prospect of a cruise missile striking your office is very real.

    Think like Trump. Go big or go home.

    Militarily, this is the least risky option. However, Putin will face rising domestic discontent as Western attempts to strangle the Russian economy transition to a new and far more intensive phase, and living standards collapse.

    How long will the “buffer” of 80% approval ratings hold up? People don’t like losers, as the Argentine junta discovered.
     
    Capitulation would result in a coup d'etat orchestrated by Rogozin and Shoigu I suspect.

    Interesting comments, thanks.

    Capitulation would result in a coup d’etat orchestrated by Rogozin and Shoigu I suspect.

    Very much doubt it will come from either of them (someone like Sechin is I think the likeliest candidate for that, yet still totally unlikely)

    Shoigu is notably unenthusiastic about politics, and if Mikhail Zygar’s account in All the Kremlin’s Men is to be believed, he was even against the Crimea operation in 2014.

    Rogozin is one of the few bona fide Russian nationalists in a senior position, but I don’t think he has any patronage network around him. He is not actually a silovik.

    This is not the first time that you have alluded to the possibility of a silovik coup. Note that the siloviks are a disparate lot. Sechin is merely capo of the biggest subgroup.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    I'm not Russian and don't speak Russian, so I rely on you (and some mil bloggers) for information on Russia.

    I also won't learn Russian because I decided that I hate foreign languages and learning them is beta.

    I picked Shoigu and Rogozin simply because of their positions in the power structure and because Rogozin is known to be a nationalist.

    It doesn't need to be them. It could very well be people I've never even heard of.

    I just don't see Putin surviving if he completely gives up after being humiliated by the "main adversary".

    For that matter China might not have much use for Putin if he gives in either. Russia's natural resources and defense technology are attractive to China, but the main benefit China provides to Russia is its stubborn resistance to the West and willingess to wheel and fight (to use Pat Buchanan's language).

    China doesn't appear to have extensive political espionage capabilities the way the West and Russia do, but it does have a lot of money.
    , @Dmitry
    Shoygu actually has some popularity - if not with ordinary people, at least with the kind who are commenting on message boards. None of them have the personal skills or charizma to replace Putin.
    , @Philip Owen
    No Silivok will enjoy lasting public support. They have been dragging Russia into confrontation for pointless reasons of vanity since 2004.
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  28. @sudden death

    Why would they care about the rules of the international order? These rules are gay and the product of the demented fever dreams of the cack-brained President Wilson.
     
    But they are pretending to be caring, that is the most funny thing of all :) On a more serious note, in fact there is no and never has been any rules rules of the international order except "might is right" and so called "rules" are just following from that one rule.

    The Ukraine is a gay, fake country conjured into existence by the Imperial German Great General Staff. Its very existence is deeply offensive and it must be destroyed.
     
    "

    As Syria is a gay, fake country conjured into existence as a product of dismantling Osman empire by the Allies after WWI ;) But still officialy no one in power at the West is calling to eradicate Syria as entity so at least this is not inconsistent with politics of safeguarding Ukraine from RF.

    But they are pretending to be caring, that is the most funny thing of all :) On a more serious note, in fact there is no and never has been any rules rules of the international order except “might is right” and so called “rules” are just following from that one rule.

    Russia’s relative lack of might is of course why they appeal to these so-called rules.

    As Syria is a gay, fake country conjured into existence as a product of dismantling Osman empire by the Allies after WWI ;) But still officialy no one in power at the West is calling to eradicate Syria as entity so at least this is not inconsistent with politics of safeguarding Ukraine from RF.

    Syria is a fake country but it is not gay. The Assman is the world’s greatest survivor outside of the Kim dynasty.

    In the Middle East nations largely don’t exist so political organization above the tribal level is best done on imperial or religious lines.

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  29. These “positive” test samples will likely be a re-run of the notorious so-called “slam dunk” yellow cake evidence which was presented in the propaganda push before the invasion of Iraq.

    This is on the heels of Mattis admitting in February of this year that there was no evidence of Assad using chemical weapons. Taking time to manufacture evidence implies a much greater degree of seriousness this time.

    P.S. I strikes me that the only voices that are resolutely against war are now on the dissident right. The so-called “anti war left” has completely collapsed. In the US, the so-called “liberal” media is parroting the same propaganda line. The only difference is that they are calling for taking more refugees in the fallout.

    I believe this is inevitable if you’re unwilling to discuss the elephant in the room: the Israel lobby and its central role in pushing for this war. And the left is unwilling to go there. So is the mainstream right.

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    • Replies: @DFH

    I strikes me that the only voices that are resolutely against war are now on the dissident right. The so-called “anti war left” has completely collapsed. In the US, the so-called “liberal” media is parroting the same propaganda line.
     
    In the UK, Corbyn (and George Galloway, although he's not very important now) have at least been consistently good on the issue of American Imperialism.
    , @anon
    I think they will have 'evidence' of chemical weapons and conjecture regarding who used them. I can't believe some idiot on the news kept using the phrase 'weapons of mass destruction'. The tape of 'survivors' shows a lot of them alive. Mass destruction? It's just chlorine. This is pathetically lame. Civilization won't end because Syrian civilians are gassed.

    The only skeptic in the media is Fox's Tucker Carlson, but the small OAN (One America News) is refreshingly skeptical about WMD. God...how many times will people go along with idiocy. I guess forever.

    , @Anon
    So, did Assad do it or did rebels pull a false flag?
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  30. @Randal
    Interesting poll results, in part encouraging and in part unsurprisingly discouraging:

    Fewer than a quarter of Britons (22%) say they would support these attacks, with almost twice as many opposing (43%).
    ....
    This is despite the fact that the majority of Britons (61%) believe that the Syrian government or their allies probably did carry out a chemical attack. Only 10% think that either there probably wasn’t a chemical weapons attack or that something else happened. The remaining 29% said that they don’t know.
    ....
    The question on missile strikes was one of several on possible interventions we tested this time around (or equivalent to show we’re back to talking about current stats). Options to send in British and allied troops to either protect civilians or depose President Bashar al-Assad see even higher levels of opposition (50% for the former, 51% for the latter).

    However there is majority support for the enforcement of a no fly zone over Syria, with six in ten (60%) saying they would back such a measure and less than one in ten (9%) opposed.
     
    Even though most Britons believe a chemical attack has been perpetrated, only 22% of Britons would support a cruise missile attack against the Syrian military
    [1600 adults, questioned 10th/11th April]

    Rather bizarre when you consider that "enforcing a no fly zone" would be a dramatically more provocative policy choice than "launching cruise missile strikes against Syrian military targets".

    As we have seen in past research, such as when we last looked into RAF strikes against ISIS back in 2015, there is a dramatic gender gap. Only 14% of women support missile attacks, with 47% opposed. Amongst men those figures are 31% and 40% respectively.
     
    And here's the encouraging bit for the Israeli/jewish lobby advocates amongst us, showing how easy such opinion is to manipulate:

    In the past we have seen support for foreign interventions fluctuate as events develop. A good example of this is when YouGov tracked public opinion towards RAF strikes against ISIS in Syria during 2014 and 2015. At the end of August 2014 the numbers were finely balanced, with 37% in support and 37% opposed. Just a week later, after the release of a video in which an Israeli-American journalist was beheaded, support jumped up to 48%. Support then peaked at 60% in September 2015
     

    Rather bizarre when you consider that “enforcing a no fly zone” would be a dramatically more provocative policy choice than “launching cruise missile strikes against Syrian military targets”.

    I think many people don’t quite understand what enforcing a no fly zone would actually mean…if they did, opposition would probably be higher.
    I don’t think opinions on strikes against ISIS are really comparable btw, I personally supported that given that ISIS was a clear security threat to Europe. Assad’s government has never supported terrorism against European or American targets and is no threat to us, that’s a rather different situation.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    I don’t think opinions on strikes against ISIS are really comparable btw, I personally supported that given that ISIS was a clear security threat to Europe. Assad’s government has never supported terrorism against European or American targets and is no threat to us, that’s a rather different situation.
     
    I opposed them (my feeling was the Iraqis, Syrians, Russians and Iranians were more than capable of dong the job and I didn't trust my government or any of the European US poodles not to misuse any authorisation for military action to actually help the jihadists, because they transparently were all in the Israeli/US bag on Syrian regime change), but I recognise the argument is not the same.

    However, I only referenced that bit to draw attention to the ease with which the polling results can be influenced.
    , @RadicalCenter
    How was ISIS a security threat to Europe?
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  31. @Anatoly Karlin
    Interesting comments, thanks.

    Capitulation would result in a coup d’etat orchestrated by Rogozin and Shoigu I suspect.
     
    Very much doubt it will come from either of them (someone like Sechin is I think the likeliest candidate for that, yet still totally unlikely)

    Shoigu is notably unenthusiastic about politics, and if Mikhail Zygar's account in All the Kremlin's Men is to be believed, he was even against the Crimea operation in 2014.

    Rogozin is one of the few bona fide Russian nationalists in a senior position, but I don't think he has any patronage network around him. He is not actually a silovik.

    This is not the first time that you have alluded to the possibility of a silovik coup. Note that the siloviks are a disparate lot. Sechin is merely capo of the biggest subgroup.

    I’m not Russian and don’t speak Russian, so I rely on you (and some mil bloggers) for information on Russia.

    I also won’t learn Russian because I decided that I hate foreign languages and learning them is beta.

    I picked Shoigu and Rogozin simply because of their positions in the power structure and because Rogozin is known to be a nationalist.

    It doesn’t need to be them. It could very well be people I’ve never even heard of.

    I just don’t see Putin surviving if he completely gives up after being humiliated by the “main adversary”.

    For that matter China might not have much use for Putin if he gives in either. Russia’s natural resources and defense technology are attractive to China, but the main benefit China provides to Russia is its stubborn resistance to the West and willingess to wheel and fight (to use Pat Buchanan’s language).

    China doesn’t appear to have extensive political espionage capabilities the way the West and Russia do, but it does have a lot of money.

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  32. @Anatoly Karlin
    Interesting comments, thanks.

    Capitulation would result in a coup d’etat orchestrated by Rogozin and Shoigu I suspect.
     
    Very much doubt it will come from either of them (someone like Sechin is I think the likeliest candidate for that, yet still totally unlikely)

    Shoigu is notably unenthusiastic about politics, and if Mikhail Zygar's account in All the Kremlin's Men is to be believed, he was even against the Crimea operation in 2014.

    Rogozin is one of the few bona fide Russian nationalists in a senior position, but I don't think he has any patronage network around him. He is not actually a silovik.

    This is not the first time that you have alluded to the possibility of a silovik coup. Note that the siloviks are a disparate lot. Sechin is merely capo of the biggest subgroup.

    Shoygu actually has some popularity – if not with ordinary people, at least with the kind who are commenting on message boards. None of them have the personal skills or charizma to replace Putin.

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  33. Anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:

    Anatoly, I think the death rates around the world would be much higher due to dependence on electrical and computer infrastructure for basic necessities.

    EMP attacks alone, without nuclear warheads actually striking and physically destroying anything, could potentially kill off the vast majority of Americans.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5012655/North-Korea-wipe-90-cent-population.html

    “A single warhead delivered by a North Korean satellite could shut down the entire electric grid and other critical infrastructure for more than a year.

    In that time, Mr Pry contends up to 90 per cent of the US population could perish from starvation, disease and societal collapse.”

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    It's something that politicians like to fearmonger about - there has even been a wonderful book about it (One Second After) - but I recall reading that actual EMP tests suggest that survivability of civilian electronics (e.g. most vehicles) will actually be quite good.

    Note that things will only become catastrophic enough to cause a population collapse if virtually all vehicles (esp. trucks) get knocked out. If it's "only" 90%, that should still be enough to haul around the basics such as food and fuel. Third World countries do with as little or less.
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  34. Big question: do you nuke a place like Detroit?

    I wouldn’t, but I don’t know if they ever remove target cities. Probably not.

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    • Replies: @animalogic
    Here's a question: if you nuked Detroit would the rest of the US notice ?
    (Its one way to clean up the accounts: it would be "writing (righting) off debts")
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  35. Anonymous[196] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    I think more people will die than that. Capital destruction, loss of roads, and spoilage will see 50 to 90 percent of the population of the first world. Internet infrastructure will be badly affected, and large numbers of health services will cease to be able to provide. Worst of all, research into artificial wombs(and thus the ability to remove women from existence) will be halted.

    I think more people will die than that. Capital destruction, loss of roads, and spoilage will see 50 to 90 percent of the population of the first world. Internet infrastructure will be badly affected, and large numbers of health services will cease to be able to provide. Worst of all, research into artificial wombs(and thus the ability to remove women from existence) will be halted.

    I agree. I have researched this stuff since the 80’s. I would say nuking (thermonuclear) NYC, DC, Boston alone would be a crippling blow to U.S. You add in LA, San Fran, Chicago, Philly, Seattle, & Dallas and the U.S. as we know it is done. That’s just 9 targets. Ending Western Europe would take about the same. Now, here’s this problem with this. I live in D.C. and Boston. I would miss out on the fun of the post-apocalyptic world that I grew up imaging about and wanted to get the chance to experience. The cool, apocalyptic opening scene to the movie The Stand, with The Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper, almost made me become a virologist.

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  36. OT: I recently found out about Hans Stimmann, one of the few architectural heroes of the last few decades. He was responsible for urban planning in Berlin from 1991, when it became unified, and kept it for about 15 years. An interesting profile of him from about a decade ago, when he finally retired. Most of his rules are still intact.

    http://archive.is/F82Qd

    And a more personal interview:

    http://projectbaltia.com/en/interview-en/4397/

    If you’re interested in urban planning, architecture etc, it’s a very interesting read.

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  37. Using Herman Kahn as your go-to authority on the survivability of nuclear war is very like using Anthony Watts as your go-to authority on global warming.
    I don’t agree with anything else in this piece either, but you can probably guess that.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    That was just the economic aspect.

    Survivability of nuclear war is comprehensively covered here: http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p904.htm (full book is there in HTML)
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  38. @Anatoly Karlin
    Highly encouraging - and genuinely surprising (to me).

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I'm seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?

    I don’t frequent Reddit, but The Guardian’s gotten pretty notorious for censoring their comment section over the past few years.

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    • Agree: Randal
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  39. @Anatoly Karlin
    Highly encouraging - and genuinely surprising (to me).

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I'm seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?

    Highly encouraging – and genuinely surprising (to me).

    To me, as well, so I can’t help you with an explanation. I think it’s just general opposition to military action despite believing (mostly) the “gas attack” nonsense.

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I’m seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?

    The Guardian’s pretty tightly policed and the management there has been obsessive about “Russian propaganda” in the comments for several years now, so that might be the explanation there, along with a selective readership effect.

    I’m not familiar with Reddit but that should be less policed, by reputation, surely?

    By the way, I’m not a big fan of the Guardian’s cartoonist Steve Bell, but I thought this one was funny in the light of Trump’s tweet contradiction today:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2018/apr/12/steve-bell-on-trumps-tweets-on-syria-cartoon

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    • Replies: @Niccolo Salo
    Had to give up on commenting on Russia articles at the Guardian since my comments would barely survive more than ten minutes even when on my best behaviour. The strong arm moderation began about four years ago IIRC.
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  40. There is one other reason for Russian intervention in Syria: to prevent Saudi Arabia and/or Qatar from building their pipelines through Syria into Europe. That would enable the Germans to finally ditch Nordstream II (and probably Nordstream I, as well), which would immensely please Washington. As long as that doesn’t happen, the Euro-weenies remain in an awkward position: they keep sending their money eastward to pay for Russian oil/natgas, but–thanks to their own, boneheaded sanctions–get no money back from Russia anymore. (The Russians, of course, have simply started sourcing more of their purchases to Asia, or stepping up their own domestic production.)

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    • Agree: Philip Owen
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  41. @German_reader

    Rather bizarre when you consider that “enforcing a no fly zone” would be a dramatically more provocative policy choice than “launching cruise missile strikes against Syrian military targets”.
     
    I think many people don't quite understand what enforcing a no fly zone would actually mean...if they did, opposition would probably be higher.
    I don't think opinions on strikes against ISIS are really comparable btw, I personally supported that given that ISIS was a clear security threat to Europe. Assad's government has never supported terrorism against European or American targets and is no threat to us, that's a rather different situation.

    I don’t think opinions on strikes against ISIS are really comparable btw, I personally supported that given that ISIS was a clear security threat to Europe. Assad’s government has never supported terrorism against European or American targets and is no threat to us, that’s a rather different situation.

    I opposed them (my feeling was the Iraqis, Syrians, Russians and Iranians were more than capable of dong the job and I didn’t trust my government or any of the European US poodles not to misuse any authorisation for military action to actually help the jihadists, because they transparently were all in the Israeli/US bag on Syrian regime change), but I recognise the argument is not the same.

    However, I only referenced that bit to draw attention to the ease with which the polling results can be influenced.

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  42. @Anatoly Karlin
    Highly encouraging - and genuinely surprising (to me).

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I'm seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?

    Yeah, your earlier description of those comments sounded a little too pessimistic.

    Maybe the situation has gotten so bad as of 2018 that most “Russian trolls” and those who know more about the real alternatives to Assman just stay away even from those sites, from those type of articles and certainly from the comments.

    How does the Guardian (etc) differ from the rest of the MSM, atleast when it comes to things like Russia and Assad? Most people certainly don’t give a shit about Syria.

    Some of those results are really bizarre, though. Most don’t seem to know what a no fly zone means. I guess it sounds harmless. They also don’t seem to realize there are Russian planes and other assets in Syria.

    Also, do they really think that the Syrian “rebels” are some kind of pro-Western freedom fighters? That they couldn’t possibly be behind the attack? Of course none of that is surprising, when looking at the MSM’s coverage.

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    • Replies: @DFH

    How does the Guardian (etc) differ from the rest of the MSM, atleast when it comes to things like Russia and Assad?
     
    Luke Harding works for the Guardian.
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  43. @5371
    Using Herman Kahn as your go-to authority on the survivability of nuclear war is very like using Anthony Watts as your go-to authority on global warming.
    I don't agree with anything else in this piece either, but you can probably guess that.

    That was just the economic aspect.

    Survivability of nuclear war is comprehensively covered here: http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p904.htm (full book is there in HTML)

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    • Replies: @anon
    Russia with or without Syrian imbroglio has genuine reason to be skeptical if not downright paranoid of America- UK. This is historical. It can be compared to as if Saddam's Iraq had come out of death totally rebuilt , and is seeing America doing a similar cameo on other countries to which Iraq has relations.

    US has started backtracking . It has folded before on China on NK and has just pumped more spins and tweets. Syria can be destroyed so can be Russian presence but the day after will be pretty painful for Americans. The pain will be felt in many realms of life but the worst scenario is the likely occurrence of total crash on Wall Street

    Then America would be fighting the crowds inside and the foes outside. It can earn the fate of WW1 Turkey

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  44. @Anatoly Karlin
    Highly encouraging - and genuinely surprising (to me).

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I'm seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?

    By the way, I seem to recall the commenter London Bob (I think) had a better read on public opinion yesterday or the day before – he commented iirc that the public is against it. He’s usually pretty switched on generally.

    Maybe if he shows up he’ll explain how he came to that conclusion. Perhaps he just mixes with a better set than I do….

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Gut feel, friends, Twitter and comment threads. The desperation with which the media has pushed things is a good sign.

    Interestingly even Andrew Neil seems highly sceptical, not just about Syria but even Salisbury.
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  45. @Anonymous
    Anatoly, I think the death rates around the world would be much higher due to dependence on electrical and computer infrastructure for basic necessities.

    EMP attacks alone, without nuclear warheads actually striking and physically destroying anything, could potentially kill off the vast majority of Americans.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5012655/North-Korea-wipe-90-cent-population.html

    "A single warhead delivered by a North Korean satellite could shut down the entire electric grid and other critical infrastructure for more than a year.

    In that time, Mr Pry contends up to 90 per cent of the US population could perish from starvation, disease and societal collapse."

    It’s something that politicians like to fearmonger about – there has even been a wonderful book about it (One Second After) – but I recall reading that actual EMP tests suggest that survivability of civilian electronics (e.g. most vehicles) will actually be quite good.

    Note that things will only become catastrophic enough to cause a population collapse if virtually all vehicles (esp. trucks) get knocked out. If it’s “only” 90%, that should still be enough to haul around the basics such as food and fuel. Third World countries do with as little or less.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Doomerist salesmen like Alex Jones also go on about this. Nothing against Alex Jones of whom I'm a big fan, but most doomerism is nonsense.

    Take cars and trucks for instance.

    The vast majority are made out of steel. This inhibits magnetic fields (generally).

    Below is a photo of an engine control unit made by Robert Bosch GmbH, the world's largest manufacturer of ECUs:

    http://cdn.bmwblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ECU_E46M3-BOSCH-MS40_Bosch_Motorsport_ECU_for_E46_M3_kit_ECU.jpg

    Surrounded in metal as well.

    The typical car is a rolling faraday cage. There have been cases of cars being directly struck by lightning and continuing to function.

    Cars & trucks which do get taken out by EMPs would not be out of service forever either. ECUs from warehouses would be installed, and if really necessary clever rednecks would jury rig cars into service with hand-made carburetors and throttles.

    Communications networks would also not be totally wiped out. Fiber optic lines for instance would not be taken out by EMP attacks, and many cellular and radio networks would survive. Remember these are already designed to survive lightning strikes.

    The biggest b.s. is how "the grid" would be taken out due to transformer construction. It is said these transformers have such long lead times that civilization would simply collapse before new ones could be built.

    The alleged constraints here are tight supply of grain-oriented electrical steel and high purity copper magnet wire.

    The truth is these are not needed to produce transformers...at all. You can make transformers out of pig iron and aluminum wire if you want. That's not done because it results in great efficiency losses. Nobody is going to care about that in the event of recovering from a nuclear war.

    I am sure you can go right down the line with all of these doomsday civilization collapse prophecies and find that they're all b.s.

    The only existential threat to industrial civilization is population replacement by Africans.

    The oft-repeated example comparing the trajectories of Hiroshima and Detroit since 1945 are illustrative.
    , @Anonymous
    But a lot of 3rd World countries and countries in the pre-industrial past are/were pre-adapted to less dependence on advanced infrastructure. In contemporary advanced industrial societies, a significant fraction of late middle-aged and senior citizens depend on a continual supply of drugs, insulin, medical supplies, etc. for survival. A disruption would mean that a lot of them die. And most ordinary citizens depend on advanced infrastructure for food and water. A disruption would mean that lot of them would die as well, as most people don't have stockpiles and our infrastructure is based on just time high efficiency logistics. There's very little slack in the system.
    , @Biff

    Third World countries do with as little or less.
     
    Hmmm, I live in a third world country in S.E. Asia, and I don’t see a problem if Tel Aviv gets Russia, and the U.S. to “go at it”.
    , @foolisholdman
    I think the most serious effect of the EMP would be on the mains (grid) power transformers. Even now, if one burns out, the time to get another is months or years, if it is really big. If most of the power grid transformers and generators were knocked out, the factories making transformers would be unable to work. So would the factories making copper wire, as would also be the factories making the special steel needed for the core of the transformers and the mines digging the iron ore etc., etc.

    If the vehicles survived they would probably have to pump the fuel into their tanks by hand. (Assuming the pumps were built to allow that.) Oh yes, and the oil refineries, even if they had autonomous supplies, those would probably be knocked out too.
    , @Joe Wong
    USA only has 10 cities with population more than a million; knocking out those 10 cities is knocking out the USA's civilization. The USA is very vulnerable and fragile in a war that bombs can land on its home turf. Where would the USA get the manpower to continue the war after its civilization got obliterated? It is a reality the author does not want to touch with a ten feet barge pole.
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  46. @Polish Perspective
    https://i.imgur.com/8hRI8ev.png

    These "positive" test samples will likely be a re-run of the notorious so-called "slam dunk" yellow cake evidence which was presented in the propaganda push before the invasion of Iraq.

    This is on the heels of Mattis admitting in February of this year that there was no evidence of Assad using chemical weapons. Taking time to manufacture evidence implies a much greater degree of seriousness this time.

    P.S. I strikes me that the only voices that are resolutely against war are now on the dissident right. The so-called "anti war left" has completely collapsed. In the US, the so-called "liberal" media is parroting the same propaganda line. The only difference is that they are calling for taking more refugees in the fallout.

    I believe this is inevitable if you're unwilling to discuss the elephant in the room: the Israel lobby and its central role in pushing for this war. And the left is unwilling to go there. So is the mainstream right.

    I strikes me that the only voices that are resolutely against war are now on the dissident right. The so-called “anti war left” has completely collapsed. In the US, the so-called “liberal” media is parroting the same propaganda line.

    In the UK, Corbyn (and George Galloway, although he’s not very important now) have at least been consistently good on the issue of American Imperialism.

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  47. @Kimppis
    Yeah, your earlier description of those comments sounded a little too pessimistic.

    Maybe the situation has gotten so bad as of 2018 that most "Russian trolls" and those who know more about the real alternatives to Assman just stay away even from those sites, from those type of articles and certainly from the comments.

    How does the Guardian (etc) differ from the rest of the MSM, atleast when it comes to things like Russia and Assad? Most people certainly don't give a shit about Syria.

    Some of those results are really bizarre, though. Most don't seem to know what a no fly zone means. I guess it sounds harmless. They also don't seem to realize there are Russian planes and other assets in Syria.

    Also, do they really think that the Syrian "rebels" are some kind of pro-Western freedom fighters? That they couldn't possibly be behind the attack? Of course none of that is surprising, when looking at the MSM's coverage.

    How does the Guardian (etc) differ from the rest of the MSM, atleast when it comes to things like Russia and Assad?

    Luke Harding works for the Guardian.

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  48. @Thorfinnsson


    I doubt that Russia will manage to sink or even disable an aircraft carrier in either of the latter two scenarios. Contra the War Nerd’s fantasies about suicide motorboats taking them out, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is a 100,000 ton metallic honeycomb with hundreds of watertight compartments, protected by a screen of smaller ships, submarines, and fighters. Sinking these leviathans is really, really hard.
     
    The truth is that we have no idea.

    The gayvy refuses to conduct objective tests of the Aegis BMD, rolling airframe missiles, or standard missiles.

    This suggests their performance is not what is claimed.

    We also don't know how good Russian antiship missiles are. How many of them are there?

    Regardless of the size of American carriers, enough missile strikes will at least result in a mission kill if not a sinking. They are also not armored in the way earlier naval warships were, something that was shown to be critically stupid during the Falklands War.

    Damage control will be non-existent owing to the fact that one-fifth of the crew consists of women. The moment the ship is hit all the women will become hysterical, and men will focus on the women instead of the ship.

    The justification for not armoring warships was the Operation Crossroads Test Baker, but this was a dubious conclusion. The ex-German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen for instance only sunk because it had no crew and thus succumbed to flooding.

    Owing to the short range of the F/A-18 Sucker Hornet the gayvy might need to put its carrier(s) in range of coastal batteries, which means that aircraft (or ships) don't need to get in missile shot range and expose themselves to Aegis or fighters.

    Tankers and AEWC aircraft will need to stay far away from Syria owing to the S-400. Deployment of MiG-31s and more Sukhois can increase this.

    Russia obviously can't win any extended campaign in Syria, but it's quite possible that by prepositioning enough anti-ship missiles and firing platforms that it could defeat an allied naval squadron. This would then put NATO+GCC in the gloomy situation you described for Russia following a defeat in Syria, with the exception that NATO+GCC can double down on Syria which Russia cannot.

    So a deterrent strategy could be very publicly deploying Tu-22M3 and MiG-31 squadrons to Syria. The Tu-160 units could also be deployed to Southern Russia. A squadron of Tu-160s could penetrate Turkish airspace unintercepted and fire a salvo of perhaps 100 or so anti-ship missiles.

    The gayvy's doctrine is to prevent its ships from being found by an adversary, but I really do not see how this is possible in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Martyanov is ridiculous but he may have a point on this matter.

    Then there's submarines. Unfortunately for Russia there is no way to introduce additional boats into the Mediterranean without detection, but this could be a feature rather than a bug. The gayvy in its own exercises with NATO allies routinely gets its carriers sunk by other NATO submarines.

    Admirals are aware of these exercises, and within the gayvy itself submariners have a pithy saying:


    Shit floats to the surface
     
    .

    Russian subs entering the Mediterranean in numbers would be a deterrent, and in a shooting war could undertake missile shots on surface ships and potentially torpedo attacks if they can get in range.

    The Kilo-class boats already there may already be in range undetected.

    Trump's reaction to a naval squadron being sunk would of course be to escalate. But Britain and France might react differently.

    For that matter what defensive purpose does Russia's surface navy really serve? Russia is a continental power with no dependence on seaborne imports and can thus risk its entire fleet. Deploy the entire fleet to the Eastern Mediterranean, North Sea, and Eastern Seaboard. Yes they'll be lost in a real war, but people will think twice about starting that war. Russian warships physically visible to people in, say, New York City might cause them to think twice about poking the bear. Punishing the Assman seems much less appetizing when the prospect of a cruise missile striking your office is very real.

    Think like Trump. Go big or go home.

    Militarily, this is the least risky option. However, Putin will face rising domestic discontent as Western attempts to strangle the Russian economy transition to a new and far more intensive phase, and living standards collapse.

    How long will the “buffer” of 80% approval ratings hold up? People don’t like losers, as the Argentine junta discovered.
     
    Capitulation would result in a coup d'etat orchestrated by Rogozin and Shoigu I suspect.

    This topic is a case of bad timing given the US military’s desire to avoid WWIII has won the day.

    The reality is we don’t really know how well all these systems work. Is the S400 really all that, the US isn’t keen to find out? Bear in mind the S200 shot down two of the latest Israeli F16s. This means that the US can be tamed in Syria using old 1967 technology. It’s missiles (on a F-18) couldn’t even down a SAA Su-22 from 1970.

    The reality is Russia doesn’t want to use the S400, having to do so would be a failure. The threat of the S400 is where its strategic value lies.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    This topic is a case of bad timing given the US military’s desire to avoid WWIII has won the day.
     

    Indeed, but the threat could materialize again later. The enemy is determined and evil and will continue false flagging. They will stop at nothing to destroy the Assman.

    The reality is we don’t really know how well all these systems work. Is the S400 really all that, the US isn’t keen to find out? Bear in mind the S200 shot down two of the latest Israeli F16s. This means that the US can be tamed in Syria using old 1967 technology. It’s missiles (on a F-18) couldn’t even down a SAA Su-22 from 1970.

    The reality is Russia doesn’t want to use the S400, having to do so would be a failure. The threat of the S400 is where its strategic value lies.
     

    Right, we have no idea. That said I assume the S-400 is more likely to work than Aegis BMD for the simple reason that Russia actually feels threatened. There's plenty of graft in Russia's military-industrial complex, but it seems to routinely successfully execute major projects. Meanwhile the US military-industrial complex produces failure after failure this century.

    The new Gerald Ford class aircraft carrier is a case in point. $13 billion and it cannot launch or recover aircraft because the catapult and arresting wires don't work. But it does have gender neutral bathrooms so the transgender sailors Mad Duck Mattis so loves can feel "comfortable".

    The gayvy is arguably easier to fight today then it used to be. Carrier air wings are now 50% smaller (wouldn't want to give up a precious, precious hull) and the F/A-18 Sucker Hornet is worse than the aircraft it replaced. Carriers also no longer have ASW aircraft. Hulls and aircraft are older now, and training time is down.

    Of course even during the Cold War the gayvy wasn't a serious force other than its subs. Rather than get the F-111B to work they moved onto the F-14. A fine aircraft in many respects, but it lacked the necessary range to intercept Soviet naval aviation.

    The F-111B would've worked just fine with the F-15 engine (only two years away when the F-111B was canceled) and by not putting it on Midway-class carriers, but they canceled it anyway. The reason reason was that the gayvy hated the idea of sharing an aircraft with the chair force.

    The entire surface fleet is just Pacific War LARPing whose sole purpose is to have as many capital ships as possible so as to create as many flag officer ranks as possible. The flag officers in turn are only interested in toeing the contractor line so they can get cushy contractor jobs in retirement.

    The gayvy doesn't actually see China and Russia as its adversaries. If it did it would take ASW seriously. The real enemies are the army and the chair force.

    If Russia wants to strike first they should do so during the Army-Navy football game.

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  49. @Anatoly Karlin
    It's something that politicians like to fearmonger about - there has even been a wonderful book about it (One Second After) - but I recall reading that actual EMP tests suggest that survivability of civilian electronics (e.g. most vehicles) will actually be quite good.

    Note that things will only become catastrophic enough to cause a population collapse if virtually all vehicles (esp. trucks) get knocked out. If it's "only" 90%, that should still be enough to haul around the basics such as food and fuel. Third World countries do with as little or less.

    Doomerist salesmen like Alex Jones also go on about this. Nothing against Alex Jones of whom I’m a big fan, but most doomerism is nonsense.

    Take cars and trucks for instance.

    The vast majority are made out of steel. This inhibits magnetic fields (generally).

    Below is a photo of an engine control unit made by Robert Bosch GmbH, the world’s largest manufacturer of ECUs:

    Surrounded in metal as well.

    The typical car is a rolling faraday cage. There have been cases of cars being directly struck by lightning and continuing to function.

    Cars & trucks which do get taken out by EMPs would not be out of service forever either. ECUs from warehouses would be installed, and if really necessary clever rednecks would jury rig cars into service with hand-made carburetors and throttles.

    Communications networks would also not be totally wiped out. Fiber optic lines for instance would not be taken out by EMP attacks, and many cellular and radio networks would survive. Remember these are already designed to survive lightning strikes.

    The biggest b.s. is how “the grid” would be taken out due to transformer construction. It is said these transformers have such long lead times that civilization would simply collapse before new ones could be built.

    The alleged constraints here are tight supply of grain-oriented electrical steel and high purity copper magnet wire.

    The truth is these are not needed to produce transformers…at all. You can make transformers out of pig iron and aluminum wire if you want. That’s not done because it results in great efficiency losses. Nobody is going to care about that in the event of recovering from a nuclear war.

    I am sure you can go right down the line with all of these doomsday civilization collapse prophecies and find that they’re all b.s.

    The only existential threat to industrial civilization is population replacement by Africans.

    The oft-repeated example comparing the trajectories of Hiroshima and Detroit since 1945 are illustrative.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    You can make transformers out of pig iron and aluminum wire if you want.
     
    Only Autobots, or Decepticons as well?
    , @Tsar Nicholas

    I am sure you can go right down the line with all of these doomsday civilization collapse prophecies and find that they’re all b.s.
     
    Your post encapsulates the conceit of modern civilisation, and not just in the West.

    Energy is required for all economic activity and the tremendous rise in material living standards over the past two centuries has been due to the increase in energy availablity.

    With the peaking of conventional oil resources in 2005 the world economy began to run into difficulties and is still in difficulties. Not surpising, given that there is 0.99 correlation between GDP growth and energy consumption growth.

    The difficulties have been masked to some extent by the rise of oil from unconventional sources such as fracking. However, the problem (aside from the environmental one) is that fracking requires a lot of energy to extract the energy. So, whereas the oil at Spindle Top, Oklahoma in 1901 produced a hundred times more energy than the energy used to extract it, the Energy Return on Investment (EROI) of fracking is maybe as low as 5: 1. Once you get to 1: 1 EROI the whole exercise becomes pointless. Similar considerations apply to deepwater oil and to the tar sands. The fact that we are relying on the tar sands tells you something about the world's desperate energy plight, optimistic bs from the US administration notwithstanding.

    Since oil prices dropped in 2014 the financial plight of the fracking industry has become more pronounced. The companies have never made a profit - never - out of fracking and have only been kept going by the availaiblity of very low interest rate loans (another of the many gifts of QE) . While the fraction of operating cash flows (of fracking companies) devoted to loan debt servicing has jumped from 25% to 75% in just a few years it is little wonder that fracking companies have been slashing capital expenditure on significant items like exploration. This is a very real problem since fracking wells' lifetimes are of the order of 5 years (as opposed to, say, the half a century of the Saudi Arabian Ghawar field's production). A liquid fuels crisis is looming.

    Conventional economics treats energy as just another sector of the economy when in fact energy is the basis upon which all other economic activties are predicated. The idea (as Karlin posts above) that if just 10% of vehicles survived an EMP pulse that would be OK for delivery trucks and the like misses the point entirely ( I am used to Anatoly doing this). If you have little or no energy, how can you produce any stuff for delivery vehicles to deliver? How can you harvest the fields?

    , @ThreeCranes
    Remember too, that most trucks use Diesel engines, and diesels use mechanical fuel pumps and fuel injectors. True that some of today's diesel trucks may use computer brains for some functions, but I'd wager that it would be easier to circumvent these than it would be to cobble together a carburetor for a gas engine.
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  50. @Randal
    By the way, I seem to recall the commenter London Bob (I think) had a better read on public opinion yesterday or the day before - he commented iirc that the public is against it. He's usually pretty switched on generally.

    Maybe if he shows up he'll explain how he came to that conclusion. Perhaps he just mixes with a better set than I do....

    Gut feel, friends, Twitter and comment threads. The desperation with which the media has pushed things is a good sign.

    Interestingly even Andrew Neil seems highly sceptical, not just about Syria but even Salisbury.

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  51. @Spisarevski
    Carriers are not easy to sink, but I think you overestimate them, and underestimate the various missiles that can deal with them, including the newest Kinzhal. Carriers do not have the armor of the battleships of WW2.

    As for all the bases nearby, a a bunch of nuclear tipped cruise missiles will quickly erase that advantage.
    So then the Americans will be the ones who will face the tough choice - strike Russia itself and commit suicide, or back off? Precisely because NATO has so many bases around and Russia doesn't, once these bases are wiped out (which can be done with nuclear tactical weapons like cruise missiles and Iskanders, not ICBMs) then NATO will have a balance sheet of 2 destroyed Russian bases in Syria against many more NATO bases destroyed in the Mideast and Europe.

    Of course, wiping out all nearby NATO bases with tactical nuclear weapons still takes balls, and looking at the latest incident with the Russian fishing ship arrested by Ukraine (which Russia can absolutely ruin in so many ways without even trying, and still doesn't respond) doesn't give me much hope.

    they can take out the nato bases without using nukes,.-

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  52. Woefully overpessimistic. NATO put up a thousand planes over Kosovo for 78 day’s and fired 349 HARM missiles at Serbian SA-6 systems…and scored only three kills (on 22 targets).

    The gap between what the Serbs were using and what the Russians have at their disposal in Syria is enormous, whereas the improvement in SEAD capability has been relatively minor.

    Syria is also within combat range of Flankers taking off from Russia’s southern military district, so there’s more than just the aircraft at Khmeimin in play.

    It is very unlikely that hot combat in Syria would last more than a day or two, perhaps even an hour or two, before risk of escalation to nuclear war would lead both sides to a ceasefire. Russian forces in Syria are fully equipped to survive a situation like that.

    Read More
    • Agree: FB
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Ah yes Serbia, wasn't it also the case they couldn't bomb in bad weather, cloud over the target being a WWII problem. Although Balkan geography is more favourable, not that Western Syria is desert like the East.
    , @The Kulak
    I understand Anatoly's black pilling, especially on days like today where the #NeverTrump ers and more braindead Trump supporters are celebrating the 'smart' missiles strike. It's quite easy to be overawed by NATO military power and the chorus on RU-net of 'Putin sold out Syria and soon Iran and Donbass' will only rise -- many of them may actually have Russian rather than the usual Ukrainian or Israeli IP addresses.

    However, there are several quick points without getting into a long rebuttal of Anatoly's black pill version of events.

    Nothing near Tartus or Kheimmim was hit, and Mattis/Dunford reportedly dialed back the strikes to avoid hitting anything Russian, showing the Pentagon at least is not as gung ho on risklessly 'killing Russians' as the CIA and doesn't believe the rah rah bs story about hundreds of Wagner mercs slaughtered with impunity by U.S. troops (more like about a dozen PMCs died and maybe twice that were wounded, as the Der Spiegel debunking reported, the Russians didn't even know the Kurds who were supposed to hand over the oil field would have the Americans blast them, or they would've demanded Russian Air Force cover or artillery backup). The French MoD said the Russians were forewarned about specific sites to be targeted, contradicting the Pentagon lie to appease the muh Russia set in Congress.

    The actual damage despite using twice as many missiles as last April's post Khan Sheikhoun raid on Shayrat appears fairly minimal beyond the supposed chemical weapons precursor facilities at emptied bases.

    Washington, London and Paris have all made a mockery of their claims to solid chemical attack evidence, though no doubt they will massively pressure the OPCW -- who didn't even make it to the Douma scene before the missiles were flying -- to produce blood and tissue samples consistent with their findings. The chain of custody for which will be said to be ironclad as after Khan Sheikhoun when it was all delivered to the dubious hands of the Turks.

    Finally there's still the matter, regardless of what neocons like Michael D. Weiss think, of the Euphrates not being some sort of magic force field against infiltration by pro-Assad elements. The Iraq insurgency playbook is known to Assad and his Hezbollah allies, and the risk of IEDs going off and U.S. troops facing ambushes in retaliation is real. Assad and especially his Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia allies have the capability to make Trump into Dubya 2.0, an unpopular president large swathes of the country detest presiding over a wildly unpopular occupation of a Mideast country that was sold as something that could be done on the cheap if not paid for by the oil and gas we'd grab (the neocon Josh Rogin line: take the oil Mr. President, or it goes to Iran).

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  53. @LondonBob
    This topic is a case of bad timing given the US military's desire to avoid WWIII has won the day.

    The reality is we don't really know how well all these systems work. Is the S400 really all that, the US isn't keen to find out? Bear in mind the S200 shot down two of the latest Israeli F16s. This means that the US can be tamed in Syria using old 1967 technology. It’s missiles (on a F-18) couldn’t even down a SAA Su-22 from 1970.

    The reality is Russia doesn't want to use the S400, having to do so would be a failure. The threat of the S400 is where its strategic value lies.

    This topic is a case of bad timing given the US military’s desire to avoid WWIII has won the day.

    Indeed, but the threat could materialize again later. The enemy is determined and evil and will continue false flagging. They will stop at nothing to destroy the Assman.

    The reality is we don’t really know how well all these systems work. Is the S400 really all that, the US isn’t keen to find out? Bear in mind the S200 shot down two of the latest Israeli F16s. This means that the US can be tamed in Syria using old 1967 technology. It’s missiles (on a F-18) couldn’t even down a SAA Su-22 from 1970.

    The reality is Russia doesn’t want to use the S400, having to do so would be a failure. The threat of the S400 is where its strategic value lies.

    Right, we have no idea. That said I assume the S-400 is more likely to work than Aegis BMD for the simple reason that Russia actually feels threatened. There’s plenty of graft in Russia’s military-industrial complex, but it seems to routinely successfully execute major projects. Meanwhile the US military-industrial complex produces failure after failure this century.

    The new Gerald Ford class aircraft carrier is a case in point. $13 billion and it cannot launch or recover aircraft because the catapult and arresting wires don’t work. But it does have gender neutral bathrooms so the transgender sailors Mad Duck Mattis so loves can feel “comfortable”.

    The gayvy is arguably easier to fight today then it used to be. Carrier air wings are now 50% smaller (wouldn’t want to give up a precious, precious hull) and the F/A-18 Sucker Hornet is worse than the aircraft it replaced. Carriers also no longer have ASW aircraft. Hulls and aircraft are older now, and training time is down.

    Of course even during the Cold War the gayvy wasn’t a serious force other than its subs. Rather than get the F-111B to work they moved onto the F-14. A fine aircraft in many respects, but it lacked the necessary range to intercept Soviet naval aviation.

    The F-111B would’ve worked just fine with the F-15 engine (only two years away when the F-111B was canceled) and by not putting it on Midway-class carriers, but they canceled it anyway. The reason reason was that the gayvy hated the idea of sharing an aircraft with the chair force.

    The entire surface fleet is just Pacific War LARPing whose sole purpose is to have as many capital ships as possible so as to create as many flag officer ranks as possible. The flag officers in turn are only interested in toeing the contractor line so they can get cushy contractor jobs in retirement.

    The gayvy doesn’t actually see China and Russia as its adversaries. If it did it would take ASW seriously. The real enemies are the army and the chair force.

    If Russia wants to strike first they should do so during the Army-Navy football game.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I always think about how the Japanese destroyed the HMS Prince of Wales or how the battleship Bismarck was destroyed. Maybe shipbuilding technology advanced a lot since then, and of course the old battleships were smaller than current US CVNs, not to mention the level of protection they have, but I’m sure the things hitting them are also way better.

    Overall I’m unsure about the ultimate fate of these things under the circumstances of a modern war against a peer (China in 20 years) or near peer (Russia or China currently) adversary. Martyanov is so over the top that I don’t find him so convincing.
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  54. @Thorfinnsson
    Doomerist salesmen like Alex Jones also go on about this. Nothing against Alex Jones of whom I'm a big fan, but most doomerism is nonsense.

    Take cars and trucks for instance.

    The vast majority are made out of steel. This inhibits magnetic fields (generally).

    Below is a photo of an engine control unit made by Robert Bosch GmbH, the world's largest manufacturer of ECUs:

    http://cdn.bmwblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ECU_E46M3-BOSCH-MS40_Bosch_Motorsport_ECU_for_E46_M3_kit_ECU.jpg

    Surrounded in metal as well.

    The typical car is a rolling faraday cage. There have been cases of cars being directly struck by lightning and continuing to function.

    Cars & trucks which do get taken out by EMPs would not be out of service forever either. ECUs from warehouses would be installed, and if really necessary clever rednecks would jury rig cars into service with hand-made carburetors and throttles.

    Communications networks would also not be totally wiped out. Fiber optic lines for instance would not be taken out by EMP attacks, and many cellular and radio networks would survive. Remember these are already designed to survive lightning strikes.

    The biggest b.s. is how "the grid" would be taken out due to transformer construction. It is said these transformers have such long lead times that civilization would simply collapse before new ones could be built.

    The alleged constraints here are tight supply of grain-oriented electrical steel and high purity copper magnet wire.

    The truth is these are not needed to produce transformers...at all. You can make transformers out of pig iron and aluminum wire if you want. That's not done because it results in great efficiency losses. Nobody is going to care about that in the event of recovering from a nuclear war.

    I am sure you can go right down the line with all of these doomsday civilization collapse prophecies and find that they're all b.s.

    The only existential threat to industrial civilization is population replacement by Africans.

    The oft-repeated example comparing the trajectories of Hiroshima and Detroit since 1945 are illustrative.

    You can make transformers out of pig iron and aluminum wire if you want.

    Only Autobots, or Decepticons as well?

    Read More
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  55. I can’t understand Anatoly’s obsession for occupying Ukraine. If there is a face-saving revenge operation, occupation is unnecessary. Both Ukraine and the Baltic mini-states can be easily reduced to rubber just by carpet bombing them and by injecting chaos afterward to impede the creation of new governments there. The will be reduced to Somalia/Libya in in East Europe. Cheaper and less troublesome than grabbing them.

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  56. Anonymous[196] • Disclaimer says:

    Here’s a different view than the one Karlin gave. Karlin sounded convincing until I heard this guy. This is Yakov Kedmi, a former Israeli Defense Forces Special Ops officer, talking about a possible U.S. and allies confrontation with the Russian military. Unlike Karlin, Kedmi says the U.S. forces would be hit hard like never before and there’d be catastrophic losses pretty quickly. They’d not be prepared for the hits they’d get for a real military like the Russian military. I don’t speak Russian so I had to the read the subtitles:

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Is it available in written form? My family is sleeping around me, and it’d be difficult to get a headphone or go to another room right now.
    , @utu
    Yakov Kedmi

    https://www.quora.com/Is-Yakov-Kedmi-famous-in-Israel-and-other-countries-What-do-people-think-of-him
    For me ‘Yasha Kedmi’ was sort of vague voice from the past, like previous commenter mentioned until I received several links of his performance on Russian TV propaganda shows. I realized he’s still alive and kicking.

    I was quite upset from what I saw. His personal views don’t matter, I am not sure he has any views at all. Seems like he’s just a paid panelist who says exactly what he is told. I remember him praising Stalin’s policy in one of the recent shows.

    He has no position in Israel but he’s presented as former Chief of Israeli Intelligence, so any nonsense he says is supposedly reflects position of Israel which is hopefully not true.
     
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  57. @Anonymous
    Here’s a different view than the one Karlin gave. Karlin sounded convincing until I heard this guy. This is Yakov Kedmi, a former Israeli Defense Forces Special Ops officer, talking about a possible U.S. and allies confrontation with the Russian military. Unlike Karlin, Kedmi says the U.S. forces would be hit hard like never before and there’d be catastrophic losses pretty quickly. They’d not be prepared for the hits they’d get for a real military like the Russian military. I don’t speak Russian so I had to the read the subtitles: https://youtu.be/hdp36IQGqXU

    Is it available in written form? My family is sleeping around me, and it’d be difficult to get a headphone or go to another room right now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Just watch with the sound turned down and read the English subtitles.
    , @German_reader
    The Israeli guy claims there's a "very high chance" of US destroyers which fire missiles at Syria being sunk (presumably by Russian submarines or missiles) within a short time after the start of hostilities.
    He also claims the US military knows this and will advise Trump against strikes, due to the Russians' warning they might take out launching systems and not just intercept missiles.
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  58. @reiner Tor
    Is it available in written form? My family is sleeping around me, and it’d be difficult to get a headphone or go to another room right now.

    Just watch with the sound turned down and read the English subtitles.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I think I can only set the YouTube app volume if I start it, so cannot avoid a few seconds. Anyway, I prefer reading. German_reader already wrote most of the important points. I might watch tomorrow.
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  59. The most it can do is buy a bit of extra time for the Kremlin elites to descend into the D6 secret subway system and spirit themselves off to remote control bunkers such as the one at Mount Yamantau.

    I have been thinking about this for awhile, actually. What are the preparations that Russia had for the presumed nuclear apocalypse? Was there a doctrine of second strike? I heard of the Dead Hand system(which seemed to automate retaliation?); was the idea of remote control bunkers such as you mentioned an additional support to ensure that if, for example, traditional nuclear winter was triggered, retaliation would continue until all such bunkers were destroyed by enemy action and/or all weaponry exhausted?

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    It's been a while since I binge read about this, but yes, Dead Hand - or Perimeter as it was formally called - was a system developed in the late Soviet Union. If sensors located throughout the Soviet Union detected that the country had been the victim of a nuclear strike, and no orders were being received from commanding authorities (likely because they had fallen to an American decapitating strike), the system would launch special rockets that would transmit launch orders/codes to the country's surviving nuclear forces while in flight. Perimeter presumably still exists today, but is apparently dormant most of the time, only getting switched on during periods of high tension.

    Mount Yamantau is probably the rough equivalent of Mount Cheyenne (probably because it is much more shrouded in secrecy). Presumably it is a wartime command center and a potential refuge for top Kremlin/military officials and their families.
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  60. @reiner Tor
    Is it available in written form? My family is sleeping around me, and it’d be difficult to get a headphone or go to another room right now.

    The Israeli guy claims there’s a “very high chance” of US destroyers which fire missiles at Syria being sunk (presumably by Russian submarines or missiles) within a short time after the start of hostilities.
    He also claims the US military knows this and will advise Trump against strikes, due to the Russians’ warning they might take out launching systems and not just intercept missiles.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Thanks!
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  61. @Vendetta
    Woefully overpessimistic. NATO put up a thousand planes over Kosovo for 78 day’s and fired 349 HARM missiles at Serbian SA-6 systems...and scored only three kills (on 22 targets).

    The gap between what the Serbs were using and what the Russians have at their disposal in Syria is enormous, whereas the improvement in SEAD capability has been relatively minor.

    Syria is also within combat range of Flankers taking off from Russia’s southern military district, so there’s more than just the aircraft at Khmeimin in play.

    It is very unlikely that hot combat in Syria would last more than a day or two, perhaps even an hour or two, before risk of escalation to nuclear war would lead both sides to a ceasefire. Russian forces in Syria are fully equipped to survive a situation like that.

    Ah yes Serbia, wasn’t it also the case they couldn’t bomb in bad weather, cloud over the target being a WWII problem. Although Balkan geography is more favourable, not that Western Syria is desert like the East.

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  62. @Thorfinnsson

    This topic is a case of bad timing given the US military’s desire to avoid WWIII has won the day.
     

    Indeed, but the threat could materialize again later. The enemy is determined and evil and will continue false flagging. They will stop at nothing to destroy the Assman.

    The reality is we don’t really know how well all these systems work. Is the S400 really all that, the US isn’t keen to find out? Bear in mind the S200 shot down two of the latest Israeli F16s. This means that the US can be tamed in Syria using old 1967 technology. It’s missiles (on a F-18) couldn’t even down a SAA Su-22 from 1970.

    The reality is Russia doesn’t want to use the S400, having to do so would be a failure. The threat of the S400 is where its strategic value lies.
     

    Right, we have no idea. That said I assume the S-400 is more likely to work than Aegis BMD for the simple reason that Russia actually feels threatened. There's plenty of graft in Russia's military-industrial complex, but it seems to routinely successfully execute major projects. Meanwhile the US military-industrial complex produces failure after failure this century.

    The new Gerald Ford class aircraft carrier is a case in point. $13 billion and it cannot launch or recover aircraft because the catapult and arresting wires don't work. But it does have gender neutral bathrooms so the transgender sailors Mad Duck Mattis so loves can feel "comfortable".

    The gayvy is arguably easier to fight today then it used to be. Carrier air wings are now 50% smaller (wouldn't want to give up a precious, precious hull) and the F/A-18 Sucker Hornet is worse than the aircraft it replaced. Carriers also no longer have ASW aircraft. Hulls and aircraft are older now, and training time is down.

    Of course even during the Cold War the gayvy wasn't a serious force other than its subs. Rather than get the F-111B to work they moved onto the F-14. A fine aircraft in many respects, but it lacked the necessary range to intercept Soviet naval aviation.

    The F-111B would've worked just fine with the F-15 engine (only two years away when the F-111B was canceled) and by not putting it on Midway-class carriers, but they canceled it anyway. The reason reason was that the gayvy hated the idea of sharing an aircraft with the chair force.

    The entire surface fleet is just Pacific War LARPing whose sole purpose is to have as many capital ships as possible so as to create as many flag officer ranks as possible. The flag officers in turn are only interested in toeing the contractor line so they can get cushy contractor jobs in retirement.

    The gayvy doesn't actually see China and Russia as its adversaries. If it did it would take ASW seriously. The real enemies are the army and the chair force.

    If Russia wants to strike first they should do so during the Army-Navy football game.

    I always think about how the Japanese destroyed the HMS Prince of Wales or how the battleship Bismarck was destroyed. Maybe shipbuilding technology advanced a lot since then, and of course the old battleships were smaller than current US CVNs, not to mention the level of protection they have, but I’m sure the things hitting them are also way better.

    Overall I’m unsure about the ultimate fate of these things under the circumstances of a modern war against a peer (China in 20 years) or near peer (Russia or China currently) adversary. Martyanov is so over the top that I don’t find him so convincing.

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    I like Martyanov, his expertise is missed. Ships are just floating targets these days. Even in the Falklands War a few were sunk and missile technology is far superior now.
    , @Thorfinnsson

    I always think about how the Japanese destroyed the HMS Prince of Wales or how the battleship Bismarck was destroyed. Maybe shipbuilding technology advanced a lot since then, and of course the old battleships were smaller than current US CVNs, not to mention the level of protection they have, but I’m sure the things hitting them are also way better.
     

    Very few battleships that were underway were actually sunk solely by aircraft during the war. Note that America kept fighting with battleships through the entire war, though obviously the carrier air wing replaced battleship guns as the main instrument of naval striking power owing to the much greater range of aircraft (battleship gunfire is in fact far more destructive--even today).

    The HMS Prince of Wales, along with Italian battleship Roma, are rather exceptional in this regard. And the Roma is even more exceptional in that it was struck by a guided bomb.

    Compare the fate of the Yamato to the HMS Prince of Wales. The Yamato was attacked by nearly three hundred aircraft and hit with a dozen bombs and at least six torpedos.

    Anti-ship missiles typically have significantly smaller warheads than WW2 torpedoes and armor piercing bombs, though they impart more kinetic energy and any unused propellant can increase damage.

    Modern torpedoes are if anything less powerful than the Long Lance was.

    The main advantage over WW2 anti-shipping weapons is range and guidance.

    Armor can't make a ship (or anything else) invincible, but it allows it to take more damage and remain on station.

    The combat record of American battleships in the Pacific War is illustrative. After Pearl Harbor not a single American battleship was sunk during the rest of the war. This isn't because they weren't attacked or hit. They were routinely attacked and hit.

    Take the USS South Dakota (BB-57), a "treaty" battleship and lead battleship of her class. At the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands the Sodak as she was known was hit by a 550 pound bomb and collided with a destroyer, but she kept on fighting.

    At the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal she took at least 26 hits from Japanese warships, yet still she continued fighting.

    The Sodak was also struck by a 550 bomb at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, but was able to remain on station until the threat had passed.

    Lastly she suffered a magazine explosion in 1945 which caused a fire and kill some of the crew, but the damage was contained.

    Armor and damage control sustain combat by allowing a warship to take more damage yet continue fighting.

    Unarmored warships are easily mission killed (and sunk) even with excellent damage control as the Falklands War proved.

    Armor technology has improved a lot since WW2, and armor is a lot cheaper than, say, the Aegis BMD.

    I am sure our CVNs have excellent, well-thought out automatic and passive damage control systems.

    However human damage control will be awful in combat as was proved by the near sinking of the USS Cole. The USS Cole was attacked by about 500 pounds of high explosive (so comparable to the WW2 Japanese bombs that struck the Sodak) molded into a primitive shaped charge.

    This created a 40 x 60 foot hole in the ship and nearly sunk it. The immediate reaction of the women onboard was to scream and cry, and many men attended to the women instead of saving the ship.

    Something like this literally could not have happened with a WW2 warship of similar displacement, such as a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser.

    The effect of armoring modern warships would be to allow them to soak up a lot more damage. The adversary would then need larger and/or more antiship missiles to successfully cripple or sink them.

    Overall I’m unsure about the ultimate fate of these things under the circumstances of a modern war against a peer (China in 20 years) or near peer (Russia or China currently) adversary. Martyanov is so over the top that I don’t find him so convincing.
     

    I really don't know a lot about the Russian or Chinese militaries other than what weapons they have.

    Even then we don't truly know how good these weapons are, and I'm unsure of what their warstocks are.

    We seem to have a solid technological and quantitative edge over both of them in general, but I have a low opinion of our officers. The enlisted men are decent, but they're not well-trained.

    But that doesn't mean Russia or China have better personnel or training.

    Martyanov is no different than The Faker. An internet Russia STRONK buffoon who lives in America. I especially enjoy his absurd, demented hatred of Anatoly Karlin.

    , @Vendetta
    The Kh-22 missile (a long service, proven technology, not one of their cutting-edge maybe in service, maybe not weapons) is a 1000kg warhead hitting a target at up to Mach 4.5.

    For comparison, the Iowa’s 16-inch guns fired a 1200kg armor-piercing shell at a muzzle velocity of around Mach 2.7.

    In a test firing, the Kh-22 blew a 22 square meter hole (234 square feet) in a target to a depth of 12 meters.

    The beam of a Nimitz at the waterline is about 40 meters. A Burke’s is about 20.

    One of those hits a carrier and it’s gutted. One of those hits a destroyer and it’s sunk within minutes.
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  63. Anatoly, you forgot to continue how the war was going to unfold. You only described the beginning, the nuclear exchange, and then talk about how society would survive.

    But it means that the war would continue. Or do you think there would be an immediate ceasefire?

    Also, I like the idea of taking out carriers with ICBMs. The Russian command should do that if it comes to a full nuclear exchange, so that the US Navy is taken out in its entirety. That’s important for the continuation of the war effort after the nuclear exchange.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    This is really far too difficult to predict.

    In most fiction, nuclear war is immediately followed by total Mad Max style apocalypse or even extinction, which is very inaccurate.

    Another possibility:


    Had everything managed to remain conventional to this point, it is here we see the point at which the survival of civilization as we know it hangs in the balance. The temptation on the American president would be enormous to start wiping out these gargantuan Soviet armies with the equally vast American nuclear arsenal. Equally, the temptation on the Soviet leadership would be substantial to trade queens with her great adversary, through counterforce first strike on American nuclear forces. Were the US to strike tactically against the Soviet invasion force, escalation to countervalue strikes (against economic and population centers), was Soviet retaliatory doctrine itself, and the entire war would enter a new phase of global mass murder, as the Americans inevitably retaliate when their cities are vaporized by Russian rocketry.

    In the post-nuclear novel and movie, this is the point at which World War III ends and we are all reduced to wearing bearskins and roaming around stateless post-technological deserts. But the reality was probably a substantially worse world. If anything, disaster and mass murder tends to increase the authority of the state over populations, not collapse it. Was the power of the Nazi state more or less complete when her cities were smoldering ruins? In such situations people are rendered completely dependent on even a damaged state, when all other sources of power have been disrupted or destroyed…and in our scenario here, these are states which would not be inclined to give up the war having already lost so much. As the pre-war nuclear stockpiles are expended (mostly canceling each other out, rather than falling on cities), much of the population of both the United States and the Soviet Union would survive. Particularly if the build-up was a conventional escalation, allowing for the inevitable panic evacuation of dense urban areas.

    Therefore if you want a true retrofuturist nightmare-scape, imagine a nuclear World War III, but one in which after the horrendous nuclear exchange is largely over, you haven’t the saving grace of a desolate but free world and the end of the war. Imagine suffering a nuclear attack and yet the war going on…in a newly mass mobilized and utterly militarized and depopulating society….potentially for years, even decades.
     
    OTOH, the situation today is not quite comparable, because there was an overriding ideological component to the Cold War. Moreover, with much of the biggest cities - and the country's elites with them - destroyed, there would surely be a general disintegration of state authority, with the state either (1) splintering apart as localities take control, or (2) the passing of effective political power to the military (ironically the institution that might well best survive a nuclear war, because many of them will not be in big cities, in bunkers, etc).

    I would think that the surviving citizenry will not be okay with transitioning from a nuclear war straight to a total war for the sake of Damascus or Riga or whatever. A totalitarian regime might be able to pull it off, but this doesn't apply here; indeed, establishing one in the post nuclear war aftermath would be difficult, since a large percentage of the mid-level bureaucrats would be dead, and because the legitimacy of the state that had led the country to such a disaster might well be dead too.
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  64. @reiner Tor
    I always think about how the Japanese destroyed the HMS Prince of Wales or how the battleship Bismarck was destroyed. Maybe shipbuilding technology advanced a lot since then, and of course the old battleships were smaller than current US CVNs, not to mention the level of protection they have, but I’m sure the things hitting them are also way better.

    Overall I’m unsure about the ultimate fate of these things under the circumstances of a modern war against a peer (China in 20 years) or near peer (Russia or China currently) adversary. Martyanov is so over the top that I don’t find him so convincing.

    I like Martyanov, his expertise is missed. Ships are just floating targets these days. Even in the Falklands War a few were sunk and missile technology is far superior now.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I also like reading his whitepilling articles, but he keeps going so vehemently that I always keep discounting what he says. I’d be happy if he proved right, because a serious American defeat might be a way to de-escalation. For example if NATO allies decided to leave the sinking USA ship, or something.
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  65. @LondonBob
    I like Martyanov, his expertise is missed. Ships are just floating targets these days. Even in the Falklands War a few were sunk and missile technology is far superior now.

    I also like reading his whitepilling articles, but he keeps going so vehemently that I always keep discounting what he says. I’d be happy if he proved right, because a serious American defeat might be a way to de-escalation. For example if NATO allies decided to leave the sinking USA ship, or something.

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  66. @Anonymous
    Just watch with the sound turned down and read the English subtitles.

    I think I can only set the YouTube app volume if I start it, so cannot avoid a few seconds. Anyway, I prefer reading. German_reader already wrote most of the important points. I might watch tomorrow.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Don't you have a mute button? All my low-tech stuff does.
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  67. @German_reader
    The Israeli guy claims there's a "very high chance" of US destroyers which fire missiles at Syria being sunk (presumably by Russian submarines or missiles) within a short time after the start of hostilities.
    He also claims the US military knows this and will advise Trump against strikes, due to the Russians' warning they might take out launching systems and not just intercept missiles.

    Thanks!

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  68. OK, so the headline is maybe a little misleading, but this is welcome news regardless:

    In surprise move, China to mount live-fire navy drills in Taiwan Strait ‘in show of support for Russia over Syria’

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2141505/surprise-move-china-mount-live-fire-navy-drills-taiwan

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    And Global Times beat the war drum again today. China's trying to annoy the US into spreading out forces, I believe. No other reason to abruptly start something now.


    Doesn't really seem to be working, though.

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    This is a good and encouraging development.

    Also a good rejoinder to that The Faker troll who infests The Saker's blog with his claims that China is rolling over for the US.
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  69. You hugely overestimate Russian vulnerability in Syria. As Martynov has already explained in several articles, the new Russian weapons are a game changer. CBG are little more than a defenseless, floating mass of metal against them. If the US military attacks for real, they will suffer huge losses.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    .


    You hugely overestimate Russian vulnerability in Syria. As Martynov has already explained in several articles, the new Russian weapons are a game changer. CBG are little more than a defenseless, floating mass of metal against them. If the US military attacks for real, they will suffer huge losses.
     
    How many of these new Russian weapons does Russia have?

    Do they actually work as advertised?

    How good are US CIWS, BMD, electronic warfare, and passive countermeasures?

    Are any of these new Russian weapons in the theater?

    Which platforms can these new weapons be used from?

    Lots of unknowns as you can see.

    What is known is that the US and its allies have far larger forces available to them, and it is easier for them to move these forces into the theater.
    , @Philip Owen
    You are comparing Russian brochureware with real US systems that have been used in operations. Could it be possible that Russian weapon systems have drawbacks not mentioned in the sales pitch (or even known of).
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  70. @reiner Tor
    I always think about how the Japanese destroyed the HMS Prince of Wales or how the battleship Bismarck was destroyed. Maybe shipbuilding technology advanced a lot since then, and of course the old battleships were smaller than current US CVNs, not to mention the level of protection they have, but I’m sure the things hitting them are also way better.

    Overall I’m unsure about the ultimate fate of these things under the circumstances of a modern war against a peer (China in 20 years) or near peer (Russia or China currently) adversary. Martyanov is so over the top that I don’t find him so convincing.

    I always think about how the Japanese destroyed the HMS Prince of Wales or how the battleship Bismarck was destroyed. Maybe shipbuilding technology advanced a lot since then, and of course the old battleships were smaller than current US CVNs, not to mention the level of protection they have, but I’m sure the things hitting them are also way better.

    Very few battleships that were underway were actually sunk solely by aircraft during the war. Note that America kept fighting with battleships through the entire war, though obviously the carrier air wing replaced battleship guns as the main instrument of naval striking power owing to the much greater range of aircraft (battleship gunfire is in fact far more destructive–even today).

    The HMS Prince of Wales, along with Italian battleship Roma, are rather exceptional in this regard. And the Roma is even more exceptional in that it was struck by a guided bomb.

    Compare the fate of the Yamato to the HMS Prince of Wales. The Yamato was attacked by nearly three hundred aircraft and hit with a dozen bombs and at least six torpedos.

    Anti-ship missiles typically have significantly smaller warheads than WW2 torpedoes and armor piercing bombs, though they impart more kinetic energy and any unused propellant can increase damage.

    Modern torpedoes are if anything less powerful than the Long Lance was.

    The main advantage over WW2 anti-shipping weapons is range and guidance.

    Armor can’t make a ship (or anything else) invincible, but it allows it to take more damage and remain on station.

    The combat record of American battleships in the Pacific War is illustrative. After Pearl Harbor not a single American battleship was sunk during the rest of the war. This isn’t because they weren’t attacked or hit. They were routinely attacked and hit.

    Take the USS South Dakota (BB-57), a “treaty” battleship and lead battleship of her class. At the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands the Sodak as she was known was hit by a 550 pound bomb and collided with a destroyer, but she kept on fighting.

    At the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal she took at least 26 hits from Japanese warships, yet still she continued fighting.

    The Sodak was also struck by a 550 bomb at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, but was able to remain on station until the threat had passed.

    Lastly she suffered a magazine explosion in 1945 which caused a fire and kill some of the crew, but the damage was contained.

    Armor and damage control sustain combat by allowing a warship to take more damage yet continue fighting.

    Unarmored warships are easily mission killed (and sunk) even with excellent damage control as the Falklands War proved.

    Armor technology has improved a lot since WW2, and armor is a lot cheaper than, say, the Aegis BMD.

    I am sure our CVNs have excellent, well-thought out automatic and passive damage control systems.

    However human damage control will be awful in combat as was proved by the near sinking of the USS Cole. The USS Cole was attacked by about 500 pounds of high explosive (so comparable to the WW2 Japanese bombs that struck the Sodak) molded into a primitive shaped charge.

    This created a 40 x 60 foot hole in the ship and nearly sunk it. The immediate reaction of the women onboard was to scream and cry, and many men attended to the women instead of saving the ship.

    Something like this literally could not have happened with a WW2 warship of similar displacement, such as a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser.

    The effect of armoring modern warships would be to allow them to soak up a lot more damage. The adversary would then need larger and/or more antiship missiles to successfully cripple or sink them.

    Overall I’m unsure about the ultimate fate of these things under the circumstances of a modern war against a peer (China in 20 years) or near peer (Russia or China currently) adversary. Martyanov is so over the top that I don’t find him so convincing.

    I really don’t know a lot about the Russian or Chinese militaries other than what weapons they have.

    Even then we don’t truly know how good these weapons are, and I’m unsure of what their warstocks are.

    We seem to have a solid technological and quantitative edge over both of them in general, but I have a low opinion of our officers. The enlisted men are decent, but they’re not well-trained.

    But that doesn’t mean Russia or China have better personnel or training.

    Martyanov is no different than The Faker. An internet Russia STRONK buffoon who lives in America. I especially enjoy his absurd, demented hatred of Anatoly Karlin.

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    • Replies: @Jacques Cuse
    Torpedos have become way more destructive. They don't aim for the hull but explode under it, taking away enough water mass supporting the ship that the hull will crack or break. The effect is at least doubled by the mass of returning water overcompensating and bending the hull in the opposite direction.
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  71. Sorry, I meant Martyanov.

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  72. @German_reader

    There will be a modest global cooling
     
    That sounds quite positive as well, at least one wouldn't need to have to worry that much about global warming then.
    Very gloomy scenario on your part, looks to me like you see no good way out for Russia.

    That is because getting manipulated into rage quitting on your own civilization by some Middle Eastern tribes is really, really retarded
     
    Fully in agreement. If it does come to a general conflagration, I hope that at least a few nukes will also land on Tel Aviv, Ryadh and Ankara.

    Hey, you’d probably be fined or jailed for that kind of “anti-Semitic” or “racist” comment in Germany, since your proposed targets are cities full of Jews, Arabs, and Turks, respectively. I hope you’re im Ausland.

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  73. @Randal

    This is bigger than Syria. We’re talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can’t just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.
     
    Exactly. Either the US comes to terms with that, or they'll have to be made to behave - probably ultimately by increasing Chinese power and influence.

    In the meantime, they need to pay a price whenever they resort to brutish threats as in this case. The best way in this case would be to beef up support for the Syrian government - the one thing guaranteed to make the lobbies pushing for US attacks grind their teeth.

    What would the US government warmongers and tough-talkers do if CHINA sent some “military and technical advisors” to a Russian-run base in Syria?

    Would the US government be willing to risk killing Chinese personnel?

    I fear and distrust China, but this warmongering crew in charge of “my” country’s government and economy needs to learn that they are not invincible, that threats have consequences whether they are backed up or not, and that not everyone in the world lacks the strength to say “mind your damn business and back off.”

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    • Replies: @peterAUS

    Would the US government be willing to risk killing Chinese personnel?

     

    Yes.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_bombing_of_the_Chinese_embassy_in_Belgrade
    , @TT
    Indeed some sources said China already have their full range of senior advisors & SF there to train for future real war.

    They won't make any different, unless China openly involve in the war. Then its total game changer as China has proven itself how much damage its willing to take in counter US in Korea war, and last year confrontation over SCS that force Obama to backoff.

    USM will not want to risk a full war with China, they know China always mean what they said, no bluffs, unlike Russia repeating their old tunes of bluff warnings.

    China has the will to swap US Nato off Syria, but whether it want to pay the price by direct confrontation with it still growing limited projecting power. I would think a second front in SCS & trade war is in China plan as intense painful acupuncture point to press on US without killing it. That will give Russia some relieve.
    , @Randal

    What would the US government warmongers and tough-talkers do if CHINA sent some “military and technical advisors” to a Russian-run base in Syria?

    Would the US government be willing to risk killing Chinese personnel?
     
    As PeterAUS pointed out, they were happy to do so in the Kosovo war, and the Chinese certainly haven't forgotten or forgiven that one. China is a lot more substantial now, but even so it lacks any ability to respond directly in theatre.


    I fear and distrust China, but this warmongering crew in charge of “my” country’s government and economy needs to learn that they are not invincible, that threats have consequences whether they are backed up or not, and that not everyone in the world lacks the strength to say “mind your damn business and back off.”
     
    Well the suggestions in comments here that China might be doing something to distract the US in the Pacific are encouraging. That's exactly what they ought to be doing. This kind of moment is a big test of how far the Chinese can be relied upon by Russia when the chips are down.

    Personally I'd like to see some kind of big public announcement by the Chinese. I think they perhaps don't realise how big an impact such a gesture could make. Something like an announcement that any attack on Syria in response to allegations, regardless of truth or not, without UNSC authorisation would be illegal and China will support Syria (not necessarily militarily) in coping with any such illegal attack, would make quite a stir in neutral and even US sphere populations. Ideally they'd do it whilst announcing a deployment of HQ9s to Damascus for joint exercises with the Russians.

    The practical effectiveness is irrelevant - the symbol is what counts.
    , @denk

    I fear and distrust China
     
    Thats rich innit ?
    the world, in particular the Chinese, have
    101 reasons to distrust and fear fukus..

    opium war,
    eight nations alliance,
    burning of yuan ming yuen [1]
    covert war Tibet 1959,
    proxy war India, 1962,
    covert war 1989 [TAM]
    covert war 2008 Tibet,
    Covert war 2009 Xinjiang,
    proxy war TW straits,
    proxy war Korean Peninsula,
    proxy war SCS,
    proxy war ECS,
    trade war 2018....

    Robber crying.......

    [1]
    The Brits are shamelessly auctioning off the booty from Yuan Ming Yuen right now !
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  74. “This is a totally lopsided match, which even the optimistic Russian military analyst Andrey Martyanov acknowledges:”

    ‘Of course, US can unleash whatever it has at its conventional disposal at Khmeimim and it will eventually overwhelm whatever the Russians have there, from several SU-35s to S-300s and S-400s and, possibly, make Peters’ wet dream of keeping the whole ordeal confined to Syria very real. This would work, say against anyone’s military contingent except Russia.’”

    That quote says just the opposite of your analysis. It doesn’t acknowledge your conclusion but contradicts it. Read it again.

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  75. @Antonio
    You hugely overestimate Russian vulnerability in Syria. As Martynov has already explained in several articles, the new Russian weapons are a game changer. CBG are little more than a defenseless, floating mass of metal against them. If the US military attacks for real, they will suffer huge losses.

    .

    You hugely overestimate Russian vulnerability in Syria. As Martynov has already explained in several articles, the new Russian weapons are a game changer. CBG are little more than a defenseless, floating mass of metal against them. If the US military attacks for real, they will suffer huge losses.

    How many of these new Russian weapons does Russia have?

    Do they actually work as advertised?

    How good are US CIWS, BMD, electronic warfare, and passive countermeasures?

    Are any of these new Russian weapons in the theater?

    Which platforms can these new weapons be used from?

    Lots of unknowns as you can see.

    What is known is that the US and its allies have far larger forces available to them, and it is easier for them to move these forces into the theater.

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  76. @AnatolyKarlin

    the Syrian rebels, and/or their sponsors, now have a perverse incentive to stage further false flag attacks, in the sure knowledge that Trump will no longer have any option but to respond with ever greater force

    It is almost certain that Western – read US Government/Deep State – planners either direct or encourage these forces to conduct false flag attacks simply because they do not have to draw “red” lines in the first place. They’re not drawing it for Israel or Saudi Arabia for example. They not only don’t even just sanction them but enthusiastically supply arms. L

    So it’s fairly clear that the Western response to Syria now is driven by two primary imperatives:

    1. The old one: Continue to overthrow all Arab nationalist regimes that while corrupt cannot be bought to support/pose no threat to Israel (like the Gulf can). Either leaving the in a state of generational chaos or ruled by a weak Islamist regime giving plenty of bombing practice for future Western/Israeli administrations is preferable to have strong, independent, nationalistic societies.

    2. The new one since the Russian intervention: use this as a staging ground for what hardliners – which is pretty much now everyone in the US Deep state – see as the inevitable showdown with Russia which has so far resisted all forms of intimidation and attempts to cripple its development. (This is not to say Russia has not been impacted. In a different world, with the exact same regime but w/o Western sanctions or media hostility, Russia could have been much more successful.)

    These are the Western aims. Like in Chess, none of this is hidden: the Western Deep State knows it as does the Russian Deep State. (The difference between the two Deep states is that the Western ones hide behind a rotating cast of figureheads who get elected one every 2/4 years and take some time to understand their place as to who really is in charge (as Trump is finding out), whereas the Deep State in Russia is clearly visible – it’s Putin and co.)

    Putin knows he cannot defeat the West. The best he could do is resist and carve out a space till the West implodes under its own weight (read internal contradictions, demographics, debt as China/India/others and their populations and economies slowly but surely revert back to the historic share of global GDP till 400 years ago). The West however needs to keep expanding to stay alive – the moment it stops, let alone contracts, it will implode. Again, both sides know this.

    Syria is one theater, Ukraine is another, where the West can rob Russia of the time to develop as well as satisfy its own urge to expand. For a Western planner with the above aims, to humiliate Russia in either theater using overwhelming force is too good an opportunity to pass up.

    The only way I see Russia being able to resist in this case is to explicitly alter its nuclear doctrine to state that not only any existential threat to the home land but any key strategic bases (eg in Syria) allows use of nuclear weapons in defense. Thus by treating these bases as de facto Russian exclaves like Kaliningrad would mean that any attempts to wipe out these bases would represent an existential threat which would allow a nuclear response.

    I’m not sure what the Russian or Syrian legal implications are to alter the nuclear doctrine in this manner but I see this is the only way to give pause to Western planners who at the end of the day know they have more to lose in a nuclear exchange than Russia.

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    • Replies: @songbird
    I'm not a bull on India. Average IQ is too low, and that matters.

    China also has a rather severe problem - the CCP will never willingly give up power.

    That said, both will continue to rise in relation to the West because the West has severe problems. Just don't expect India to match China, or either to be like the US would have been, if it had never imported its rather severe demographic problems.
    , @peterAUS
    Good post.
    , @utu

    The only way I see Russia being able to resist in this case is to explicitly alter its nuclear doctrine to state that not only any existential threat to the home land but any key strategic bases (eg in Syria) allows use of nuclear weapons in defense. Thus by treating these bases as de facto Russian exclaves like Kaliningrad would mean that any attempts to wipe out these bases would represent an existential threat which would allow a nuclear response.
     
    Exactly. This is what was missing in AK's write up. Russia by being weaker in conventional forces must fall back on nuclear deterrence sooner than the US. Putin's 'Why would we want a world without Russia?’ speech might have been an attempt to communicate that the nuclear doctrine has been changed. However I would not mind if Russia communicated it more clearly and more bluntly so everybody knows that any military setbacks within the sphere of Russia's influence suffered by Russia will lead to a nuclear attack. Furthermore Russia should make this as a warning to all nuclear powers, specifically Israel. Every Israeli should live with the awareness that they will be the first to go.
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  77. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    That was just the economic aspect.

    Survivability of nuclear war is comprehensively covered here: http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p904.htm (full book is there in HTML)

    Russia with or without Syrian imbroglio has genuine reason to be skeptical if not downright paranoid of America- UK. This is historical. It can be compared to as if Saddam’s Iraq had come out of death totally rebuilt , and is seeing America doing a similar cameo on other countries to which Iraq has relations.

    US has started backtracking . It has folded before on China on NK and has just pumped more spins and tweets. Syria can be destroyed so can be Russian presence but the day after will be pretty painful for Americans. The pain will be felt in many realms of life but the worst scenario is the likely occurrence of total crash on Wall Street

    Then America would be fighting the crowds inside and the foes outside. It can earn the fate of WW1 Turkey

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  78. @reiner Tor
    I think I can only set the YouTube app volume if I start it, so cannot avoid a few seconds. Anyway, I prefer reading. German_reader already wrote most of the important points. I might watch tomorrow.

    Don’t you have a mute button? All my low-tech stuff does.

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  79. @Randal

    Highly encouraging – and genuinely surprising (to me).
     
    To me, as well, so I can't help you with an explanation. I think it's just general opposition to military action despite believing (mostly) the "gas attack" nonsense.

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I’m seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?
     
    The Guardian's pretty tightly policed and the management there has been obsessive about "Russian propaganda" in the comments for several years now, so that might be the explanation there, along with a selective readership effect.

    I'm not familiar with Reddit but that should be less policed, by reputation, surely?

    By the way, I'm not a big fan of the Guardian's cartoonist Steve Bell, but I thought this one was funny in the light of Trump's tweet contradiction today:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2018/apr/12/steve-bell-on-trumps-tweets-on-syria-cartoon

    Had to give up on commenting on Russia articles at the Guardian since my comments would barely survive more than ten minutes even when on my best behaviour. The strong arm moderation began about four years ago IIRC.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    LOL.

    I was banned at The Guardian in the early 2010s when I correctly pointed out that Luke Harding is a plagiarist.
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  80. @Anonymous
    Here’s a different view than the one Karlin gave. Karlin sounded convincing until I heard this guy. This is Yakov Kedmi, a former Israeli Defense Forces Special Ops officer, talking about a possible U.S. and allies confrontation with the Russian military. Unlike Karlin, Kedmi says the U.S. forces would be hit hard like never before and there’d be catastrophic losses pretty quickly. They’d not be prepared for the hits they’d get for a real military like the Russian military. I don’t speak Russian so I had to the read the subtitles: https://youtu.be/hdp36IQGqXU

    Yakov Kedmi

    https://www.quora.com/Is-Yakov-Kedmi-famous-in-Israel-and-other-countries-What-do-people-think-of-him
    For me ‘Yasha Kedmi’ was sort of vague voice from the past, like previous commenter mentioned until I received several links of his performance on Russian TV propaganda shows. I realized he’s still alive and kicking.

    I was quite upset from what I saw. His personal views don’t matter, I am not sure he has any views at all. Seems like he’s just a paid panelist who says exactly what he is told. I remember him praising Stalin’s policy in one of the recent shows.

    He has no position in Israel but he’s presented as former Chief of Israeli Intelligence, so any nonsense he says is supposedly reflects position of Israel which is hopefully not true.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Thanks.
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  81. anon[358] • Disclaimer says:
    @Polish Perspective
    https://i.imgur.com/8hRI8ev.png

    These "positive" test samples will likely be a re-run of the notorious so-called "slam dunk" yellow cake evidence which was presented in the propaganda push before the invasion of Iraq.

    This is on the heels of Mattis admitting in February of this year that there was no evidence of Assad using chemical weapons. Taking time to manufacture evidence implies a much greater degree of seriousness this time.

    P.S. I strikes me that the only voices that are resolutely against war are now on the dissident right. The so-called "anti war left" has completely collapsed. In the US, the so-called "liberal" media is parroting the same propaganda line. The only difference is that they are calling for taking more refugees in the fallout.

    I believe this is inevitable if you're unwilling to discuss the elephant in the room: the Israel lobby and its central role in pushing for this war. And the left is unwilling to go there. So is the mainstream right.

    I think they will have ‘evidence’ of chemical weapons and conjecture regarding who used them. I can’t believe some idiot on the news kept using the phrase ‘weapons of mass destruction’. The tape of ‘survivors’ shows a lot of them alive. Mass destruction? It’s just chlorine. This is pathetically lame. Civilization won’t end because Syrian civilians are gassed.

    The only skeptic in the media is Fox’s Tucker Carlson, but the small OAN (One America News) is refreshingly skeptical about WMD. God…how many times will people go along with idiocy. I guess forever.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    The only skeptic in the media is Fox’s Tucker Carlson
     
    I can't watch American tv (don't want to tbh), but there seems to be at least some resistance by prominent (ex-?)Trump supporters in the media:

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-populist-right-winning-its-pressure-campaign-against-25336

    At least that's encouraging...Trump may be lacking in principles, but media-fixated as he is, he might at least notice that there is opposition against bombing Syria.
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  82. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Karlin is right about Russian disadvantages.

    US air power can do lots of damage.

    But air power alone cannot gain long-term dominance.

    US used shock and awe before the invasion of Iraq.

    But shock and awe alone couldn’t do much. US had to invade.

    So, if US goes for massive bombardment, Russians should try to avoid the barrage as much as possible. Hunker down and re-emerge and regroup once the bombardment is over.

    The question is, what will US do next? Keep shooting more missiles? But how long can this be kept up?

    In the end, if the US really wants to gain control, it has to send in troops, and this could be bad for the US.

    It could end up to another quagmire like Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Also, everything that goes wrong will be blamed on Americans.

    Europeans will be pissed by new around of refugee crisis.

    And Americans will not supportive of US troops fighting another ground war in the Middle East and returning in body bags.

    US can do serious damage in the short-term but I don’t think it can be sustained in a long-term struggle.

    Also, Russia can go for a protracted strategy in Syria. If US were to gain control of Syria, Russia can aid and arm any group that is willing to harass and harm Americans.

    Protracted struggle will wear down a nation like the US.

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    • Replies: @utu

    But air power alone cannot gain long-term dominance.
     
    In Syria it can. The air power can destroy Russian contingent in Syria and prevent any resupplies from Russia.
    , @ploni almoni
    You make it sound like it is a problem.
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  83. @utu
    Yakov Kedmi

    https://www.quora.com/Is-Yakov-Kedmi-famous-in-Israel-and-other-countries-What-do-people-think-of-him
    For me ‘Yasha Kedmi’ was sort of vague voice from the past, like previous commenter mentioned until I received several links of his performance on Russian TV propaganda shows. I realized he’s still alive and kicking.

    I was quite upset from what I saw. His personal views don’t matter, I am not sure he has any views at all. Seems like he’s just a paid panelist who says exactly what he is told. I remember him praising Stalin’s policy in one of the recent shows.

    He has no position in Israel but he’s presented as former Chief of Israeli Intelligence, so any nonsense he says is supposedly reflects position of Israel which is hopefully not true.
     

    Thanks.

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  84. @sudden death

    We’re talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can’t just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.
     
    It is more than ironic that the main beef of Russian imperialists and their propagandists against Putin is that he did not invade whole of Ukraine and overthrow their government on the whim :) So they indeed do not care about rules of international order at all.

    It is needed to concede, however this argument so far cannot be used against Putin himself as he left about 85% of Ukraine directly untouched yet ;)

    He didn’t “invade” Crimea, either. Do you honestly believe that the majority of people living in Crimea did NOT want the Crimea to return to Russia?

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    • Replies: @sudden death

    He didn’t “invade” Crimea, either.
     
    Surrounding and blocking UKR army bases by armed forces sounds like nothing but invasion, except it was succesful one, which had no immediate cost in very short term.

    Do you honestly believe that the majority of people living in Crimea did NOT want the Crimea to return to Russia?
     
    It is not doubtful that majority of Russians in Crimea indeed wanted to separate from Ukraine and join RF, but such argumentation is very feeble when you remember what happened when majority of Chechens also wanted to separate :)
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  85. @Anonymous
    I think more people will die than that. Capital destruction, loss of roads, and spoilage will see 50 to 90 percent of the population of the first world. Internet infrastructure will be badly affected, and large numbers of health services will cease to be able to provide. Worst of all, research into artificial wombs(and thus the ability to remove women from existence) will be halted.

    The last sentence is kinda sick. But funny in a cruel way if one has just been dumped or divorced, I suppose ;)

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  86. @Spisarevski
    Carriers are not easy to sink, but I think you overestimate them, and underestimate the various missiles that can deal with them, including the newest Kinzhal. Carriers do not have the armor of the battleships of WW2.

    As for all the bases nearby, a a bunch of nuclear tipped cruise missiles will quickly erase that advantage.
    So then the Americans will be the ones who will face the tough choice - strike Russia itself and commit suicide, or back off? Precisely because NATO has so many bases around and Russia doesn't, once these bases are wiped out (which can be done with nuclear tactical weapons like cruise missiles and Iskanders, not ICBMs) then NATO will have a balance sheet of 2 destroyed Russian bases in Syria against many more NATO bases destroyed in the Mideast and Europe.

    Of course, wiping out all nearby NATO bases with tactical nuclear weapons still takes balls, and looking at the latest incident with the Russian fishing ship arrested by Ukraine (which Russia can absolutely ruin in so many ways without even trying, and still doesn't respond) doesn't give me much hope.

    Carriers don’t have to be sunk to be made useless. Just mess up the surface and jets can’t land. Just hit the command tower, and it can’t maneuver.

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  87. @Anonymous
    I think more people will die than that. Capital destruction, loss of roads, and spoilage will see 50 to 90 percent of the population of the first world. Internet infrastructure will be badly affected, and large numbers of health services will cease to be able to provide. Worst of all, research into artificial wombs(and thus the ability to remove women from existence) will be halted.

    Worst of all, research into artificial wombs(and thus the ability to remove women from existence) will be halted.

    At least, there will be some improvements then.

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  88. @Polish Perspective
    https://i.imgur.com/8hRI8ev.png

    These "positive" test samples will likely be a re-run of the notorious so-called "slam dunk" yellow cake evidence which was presented in the propaganda push before the invasion of Iraq.

    This is on the heels of Mattis admitting in February of this year that there was no evidence of Assad using chemical weapons. Taking time to manufacture evidence implies a much greater degree of seriousness this time.

    P.S. I strikes me that the only voices that are resolutely against war are now on the dissident right. The so-called "anti war left" has completely collapsed. In the US, the so-called "liberal" media is parroting the same propaganda line. The only difference is that they are calling for taking more refugees in the fallout.

    I believe this is inevitable if you're unwilling to discuss the elephant in the room: the Israel lobby and its central role in pushing for this war. And the left is unwilling to go there. So is the mainstream right.

    So, did Assad do it or did rebels pull a false flag?

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  89. Can someone please explain to me why exactly Syria is worth a World War or even why Syria is worth any concessions in Ukraine?

    I mean, I am certainly not very fond of Assad and am in favor of the Syrian Kurds (who appear to be a relatively progressive bunch in spite of their low average IQs). However, I certainly don’t want Islamists and jihadists to seize control of a post-Assad Syria and engage in genocide there and I also certainly don’t want the conflict in Syria to spark a World War!

    Also, out of curiosity:

    : Do you believe that Tsarist Russia should have flooded the Baltic states with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians back when it controlled these territories? Basically, I am thinking of the Baltic states getting the northern Kazakhstan treatment back in the 19th and early 20th century so that Petrograd/St. Petersburg could have more security (after all, ethnic Balts were a potential security threat to the Russian Empire in wartime).

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    Can someone please explain to me why exactly Syria is worth a World War or even why Syria is worth any concessions in Ukraine?

    I mean, I am certainly not very fond of Assad and am in favor of the Syrian Kurds (who appear to be a relatively progressive bunch in spite of their low average IQs). However, I certainly don’t want Islamists and jihadists to seize control of a post-Assad Syria and engage in genocide there and I also certainly don’t want the conflict in Syria to spark a World War!
     
    I've never been able to understand this either.

    I think it's some weird pride thing on the part of the globalists.

    They're angry that the Assman dares to fight or something.


    : Do you believe that Tsarist Russia should have flooded the Baltic states with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians back when it controlled these territories? Basically, I am thinking of the Baltic states getting the northern Kazakhstan treatment back in the 19th and early 20th century so that Petrograd/St. Petersburg could have more security (after all, ethnic Balts were a potential security threat to the Russian Empire in wartime).
     
    The actions of the ethnic Balts as well as the Baltic German nobility suggests yes.

    Of course it's possible these problems were created by the Russification policy, as previously Baltic Germans had a long tradition of distinguished service to the Empire.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Can someone please explain to me why exactly Syria is worth a World War or even why Syria is worth any concessions in Ukraine?
     
    Your guess is as good as mine. These are levels of globalism that shouldn't even be possible.

    Do you believe that Tsarist Russia should have flooded the Baltic states with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians back when it controlled these territories?
     
    Highly unlikely. How would it have done so? Late Tsarist Russia was a capitalist economy, they couldn't just order masses of people to go and settle somewhere (Siberian and Central Asia colonization was accomplished through land grants, and naturally through availability of large territories).

    Riga would have probably become significantly more Russian because its the Baltics' premier industrial city, the others - probably not.
    , @TT
    These are some main reasons for individual parties.

    But another real main driving force behind is said to be TPTB, deep states like Rothschild struggle to control the global money printing by retaining Petrol Dollar. Those who control petrol, control the world. The few countries still under US attacked now all have refused to comply Fed style central banking.(Globalresearch).



    For Russia:

    -Oil & Gas is the main reason USM & West going in. They wanted to lay a pipe through Syria, for Saudi Gulfs & Israel new stolen offshore oil gas field to supply EU. That will cutoff Russia main biz with EU. Assad refuse the bad deal, so he must go, terrorists proxy war start. So Iran & Syria looked up Putin, he agreed to intervene.

    -Stop West aggression East wards, as Iran will be next easy target after Syria down. Then Russia has its West South all encircled, except China border. Missiles & Nato troops will be stationed right at borders.

    -Geopolitic influence in ME, Russia last & only base in ME is in Syria.

    -Display of military might & weapons to show its a superpower, not gas station as insulted by US.

    -Fight terrorists(Chechnya) in Syria instead of back home.


    Iran & Syris, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shiah fighters
    -Existential threat.


    US:
    -His masters(Israel Aipac, deep states, bankers, Petrol Inc., MIC, ) command.

    -As all above of Russia.

    -Fulfil Israel dream.

    -Control of all ME oil gas supply, Iran is the last one in its jigsaw puzzle.

    -A withdrawal is too humiliating now, and lost of USM credibility in the world.


    UK, Fr, Nato:
    -Lackeys only ask how high to jump when commanded by US-Israel. Then get some bread crumbs & bones throw at them. Vultures & hyenas move in team.


    Israel:
    -Their Greater Israel dream, steal more lands from Golan Hts. Remove any reliable resistance, Syria & Iran. Lay its Oil gas pipe.


    Saudi & Gulf states:
    -Why they are killing own Muslims to help Israel ruling ME!? The AngloZionists are very good in splitting along racial, religions, sects. Sunnis Saudi & Gulf is played against Shiah muslim Iran & Syria for dominant. These fools exported Wahabism & funded Al Queda to fight Soviet in Afghanistan, now become a terrorism tool for US geopolitical.


    Turkey:
    -Renew Ottoman Empire wet dream by stealing Syria land & oil.
    -As Nato member, still wet dreaming of EU membership as reward.


    China:
    -Existential threat. If US Nato control all ME oil gas supply, its a death nail to China sovereignty, it will be subjected to blackmail at any cost & price.

    -Petrol yuan gone case without free ME oil trade.

    -Fight thousands of Uyghur terrorists trained by Turkey under CIA command in Syria before they return.
    , @John King
    The Yinon Plan explains the current importance of Syria. Oded Yinon wrote in 1982 that in order for Israel to become the sole regional power in the Middle East all of the Arab countries needed to be turned into mini ethnic fiefdoms. In 2003, this plan was effected in Iraq. In 2011, it was effected in Libya. After this, attention was turned to Syria. If Syria falls, then the final part of the plan will be to tear apart Iran.

    The other part of the plan requires more Jews to move to what will become the area of a Greater Israel. The Muslim terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere might convince some Jewish people to believe that they will be safer in the Middle East than in Europe. At any rate, a greater Jewish population would seem desirable if a Greater Israel is to come into being.

    The one glaring weakness that I see with the Yinon Plan is that it ignores the possibility of trans-national ethnic Arab alliances forming in the wake of national division. For example, in the original document Yinon correctly notes that Iraq can be divided into three separate ethnic zones based on the Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. However, it fails to note that this division might lead to an enhanced alliance between Shia Iraq and Shia Iran.

    I guess the second weakness is that the Yinon Plan requires a major power in order for it to be carried out. So, a second weakness is if the major power decides that dividing up the Middle East jeopardizes its own interest.
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  90. @peterAUS
    Agree.

    Except for

    It’s no big deal, really. If it happens, it happens. Those of us older than about 40 years old grew up with it and only some of us let it break us and drive us to drooling unilateralism.
     
    On my way to work I pass by a couple of kindergartens and primary schools. Doesn't feel right.

    And when I get home, I pass a kindergartner and other beautiful little people on the way in the door. One can ‘t be paralyzed by fear, but I can’t say “if it happens, it happens”, either.

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  91. @German_reader

    Rather bizarre when you consider that “enforcing a no fly zone” would be a dramatically more provocative policy choice than “launching cruise missile strikes against Syrian military targets”.
     
    I think many people don't quite understand what enforcing a no fly zone would actually mean...if they did, opposition would probably be higher.
    I don't think opinions on strikes against ISIS are really comparable btw, I personally supported that given that ISIS was a clear security threat to Europe. Assad's government has never supported terrorism against European or American targets and is no threat to us, that's a rather different situation.

    How was ISIS a security threat to Europe?

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    It inspired terrorism and provided a base for training jihadis.
    Granted, it was only a danger to European interests because of Europe's lax policies towards citizens engaged in jihad (readmitting them into European countries and often not even punishing them...instead of stripping them of their citizenship, declaring them enemies of the state and killing them if possible) and Germany's open borders madness.
    But an Islamist quasi-state in Europe's neighbourhood shouldn't be tolerated imo. Randal is probably right though that it's better to let regional powers deal with such issues if possible, since Western interventions tend to make things worse and even have the perverse consequence of aiding jihadis.
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  92. @Ludwig
    @AnatolyKarlin

    the Syrian rebels, and/or their sponsors, now have a perverse incentive to stage further false flag attacks, in the sure knowledge that Trump will no longer have any option but to respond with ever greater force
     
    It is almost certain that Western - read US Government/Deep State - planners either direct or encourage these forces to conduct false flag attacks simply because they do not have to draw “red” lines in the first place. They’re not drawing it for Israel or Saudi Arabia for example. They not only don’t even just sanction them but enthusiastically supply arms. L

    So it’s fairly clear that the Western response to Syria now is driven by two primary imperatives:

    1. The old one: Continue to overthrow all Arab nationalist regimes that while corrupt cannot be bought to support/pose no threat to Israel (like the Gulf can). Either leaving the in a state of generational chaos or ruled by a weak Islamist regime giving plenty of bombing practice for future Western/Israeli administrations is preferable to have strong, independent, nationalistic societies.

    2. The new one since the Russian intervention: use this as a staging ground for what hardliners - which is pretty much now everyone in the US Deep state - see as the inevitable showdown with Russia which has so far resisted all forms of intimidation and attempts to cripple its development. (This is not to say Russia has not been impacted. In a different world, with the exact same regime but w/o Western sanctions or media hostility, Russia could have been much more successful.)

    These are the Western aims. Like in Chess, none of this is hidden: the Western Deep State knows it as does the Russian Deep State. (The difference between the two Deep states is that the Western ones hide behind a rotating cast of figureheads who get elected one every 2/4 years and take some time to understand their place as to who really is in charge (as Trump is finding out), whereas the Deep State in Russia is clearly visible - it’s Putin and co.)

    Putin knows he cannot defeat the West. The best he could do is resist and carve out a space till the West implodes under its own weight (read internal contradictions, demographics, debt as China/India/others and their populations and economies slowly but surely revert back to the historic share of global GDP till 400 years ago). The West however needs to keep expanding to stay alive - the moment it stops, let alone contracts, it will implode. Again, both sides know this.

    Syria is one theater, Ukraine is another, where the West can rob Russia of the time to develop as well as satisfy its own urge to expand. For a Western planner with the above aims, to humiliate Russia in either theater using overwhelming force is too good an opportunity to pass up.

    The only way I see Russia being able to resist in this case is to explicitly alter its nuclear doctrine to state that not only any existential threat to the home land but any key strategic bases (eg in Syria) allows use of nuclear weapons in defense. Thus by treating these bases as de facto Russian exclaves like Kaliningrad would mean that any attempts to wipe out these bases would represent an existential threat which would allow a nuclear response.

    I’m not sure what the Russian or Syrian legal implications are to alter the nuclear doctrine in this manner but I see this is the only way to give pause to Western planners who at the end of the day know they have more to lose in a nuclear exchange than Russia.

    I’m not a bull on India. Average IQ is too low, and that matters.

    China also has a rather severe problem – the CCP will never willingly give up power.

    That said, both will continue to rise in relation to the West because the West has severe problems. Just don’t expect India to match China, or either to be like the US would have been, if it had never imported its rather severe demographic problems.

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    • Replies: @Ludwig
    Re: India. A couple of things:

    1. Most western analysts of India miss the basic fact that India as an entity is more like Europe than say a more homegeous culture like China is (Han Chinese are the overwhelming majority though there are scores of other ethnicities). Each state in India is politically mostly divided by language (like Europe mostly is) and have their own histories and states of development/education/culture - and this is not taking into account the strong influence of religion/caste another differentiator within and across states, and the more common economic strata and urban/rural divide) so that lumping a state like say Arunachal Pradesh with Andhra Pradesh is as odd as lumping Poland with Portugal in some aggregate statistics. So various “average IQ of Indians” (a number like 82 was once calculated) and correlating to National Income miss the fact that the richest states by capita or often not the “smartest” states (tho it is true that the most intellectually backward states are the poorest). India in many ways has achieved (some would argue because of being forced together by successive Moghul/British Empires) and so far maintained what Europe still has not: a common currency and free movement of labor and capital within a federated union of disparate nations - states with their own distinct language, culture, cuisine - with differing rates of growth operating as a single country with a recognized capital, and domestic and foreign policy in a chaotic but still functioning democracy. So there are regions/states in India on a much faster trajectory than others (eg Germany vs Greece).

    2. The other aspect is sheer numbers. Even if there is large amount of poor, the middle class in India - educated, wanting material goods, etc - is larger than that in the US/EU combined. Given the median age of this cohort is estimated to be 27, there is a tremendous growth potential which is reflected in various projections which have India overtaking the US in PPP and later in some GDP in a few decades.

    Admittedly China as a whole is way ahead - both because its market liberalization efforts started 15 years before India’s - as well as having a much more centralized top-down approach that makes long range planning and execution more successful rather than parliamentary democracies which operate in shorter cycles till the next election. Yet, both population dynamics as well as areas of high growth are pulling the rest of the train along.
    , @dfordoom

    China also has a rather severe problem – the CCP will never willingly give up power.
     
    That's why they have a chance of surviving. If they ever adopt democracy then they're as doomed as the rest of us.
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  93. Anatoly,

    I question a number of your assumptions.

    NATO: Having been assigned to NATO and functioned as a military advisor to Saudi Arabia, I doubt if NATO (aside from the Americans) can function as a military organization. The national characteristics of NATO forces introduce too much “organizational friction” for effective military operations. NATO forces in Europe are nothing but a “target rich” environment for Russian military forces.

    The Saudis and other Middle Eastern allies: Incompetence is an understatement … and complex Western weapons only complicate the problem. At best, Gulf military forces can at best put on a “comic” performance. Effective military operations in Gulf states, when they are performed, are almost universally conducted by Western and other-world mercenaries.

    The United States: You have to understand that the US military is currently led by military sycophants more interested in feminism, affirmative action, and the sacralization of homosexuality than the military arts. Obama purged the US military leadership of competent generals over these issues. The recent surge of ship collisions in the Pacific and the increased incidence of aircraft accidents worldwide are only the tip of the iceberg with respect to growing US military incompetence. The junior officers got the message. They are with the program, at least those who could stomach the mess and stayed in the service.

    Bottom line: “Organization friction” will severely demean US and NATO military power severely below what their order of battle would suggest.

    Then, there is the political environment. If the US loses a destroyer (much less a carrier) there will be a loud calliope demanding nuclear retaliation … without any awareness regarding the sophistication and competence of the Russian nuclear deterrent. On the other hand, countries such as Small Britain will turn tail and leave the American consortium under the fear that “two nukes” might fall on them and destroy their country. If there is a nuclear exchange with Russia, the “outbacks” of Russia and the United States might survive … but Western Europe is history.

    Another wildcard in the analysis is China’s response to the mess. It certainly knows that the animosity toward Russia is calculated to motivate the “Atlanticists” to force Putin from power and forestall the feared Russia-China alliance. If China stands down on this, it knows it will be next without the formidable Russian military power on their side. If Russian goes down, it is the “Anglo-Saxon Naval Empire” against China to do what the British Navy did in WWI and the US Navy did in WWII against Germany … and that is to prevent a Euro-Asian power from consolidating control over the Asian landmass — the “World Island” — using internal lines of communication. If Russia does down, China goes down with it.

    The danger is that this is Sarajevo – 1914. The United States believes the Russians (and Chinese) will stand down. The Russians (and Chinese) know the consequences of doing so and will not do so. In any “hot” confrontation, it is a given that the US will escalate to the point of a nuclear exchange … something that some US political circles have pressed, regardless of consequences, since the end of WWII.

    Israel is fanning the flames in all of this. Two nukes on Israel would accomplish the same thing as two nukes on Britain … “end of the game” for these countries. At least this might put a final end to Middle Eastern animosities that precipitated this in the first place. We will have experienced the second Holicaust and the end of Jewry as a global political and economic force. Jerusalem will be “glass” and exit the historical narrative.

    My bets: There is a strong chance of nuclear war based on miscalculations on the part of military sycophants. At the same time, there is a “peace party (ironically the globalists) pressing the alternative. Nuclear war is very bad for business. Given that and the prospect of someone nuking Israel, I place my bets on peace.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    NATO: Having been assigned to NATO and functioned as a military advisor to Saudi Arabia, I doubt if NATO (aside from the Americans) can function as a military organization. The national characteristics of NATO forces introduce too much “organizational friction” for effective military operations. NATO forces in Europe are nothing but a “target rich” environment for Russian military forces.
     
    Wishful thinking imo.

    NATO isn't as good at cooperation was it was during the 1980s with its annual REFORGER exercises and Canadian Army Tank Gunnery Trophy, but they have plenty of experience in joint air operations.

    Gulf War, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the ongoing activity in Syria.

    NATO forces in Europe have more men and firepower than the Russians do, but they're spread across the continent. Quality varies by nationality of course.

    It's not the 1980s anymore and the Russian armed forces aren't that large. Maybe equivalent to Britain & France combined.


    The Saudis and other Middle Eastern allies: Incompetence is an understatement … and complex Western weapons only complicate the problem. At best, Gulf military forces can at best put on a “comic” performance. Effective military operations in Gulf states, when they are performed, are almost universally conducted by Western and other-world mercenaries.
     
    They've shown in Yemen at least that they can fly planes and drop bombs, which is a start.

    Arabs have a deservedly poor reputation in war, but perhaps under the guidance of Western advisors they managed to recruit a few hundred guys who are actually pretty decent pilots.


    The United States: You have to understand that the US military is currently led by military sycophants more interested in feminism, affirmative action, and the sacralization of homosexuality than the military arts. Obama purged the US military leadership of competent generals over these issues. The recent surge of ship collisions in the Pacific and the increased incidence of aircraft accidents worldwide are only the tip of the iceberg with respect to growing US military incompetence. The junior officers got the message. They are with the program, at least those who could stomach the mess and stayed in the service.
     
    This isn't new and didn't start with Obama.

    See here: https://johntreed.com/blogs/john-t-reed-s-blog-about-military-matters/60879683-the-u-s-military-s-marathon-30-year-single-elimination-suck-up-tournament-or-how-america-selects-its-generals

    John T. Reed's many military articles are generally worth reading. He is a West Point graduate who served in Vietnam and grew disgusted with the Army's culture of lying and ass-kissing.

    See also Henry Kissinger's views from when he visited Vietnam: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/10/henry-kissinger-vietnam-diaries-213236

    Kissinger was disgusted. “Since I have last had contact with it,” he noted scornfully, “the Army has degenerated. They have produced a group of experts in giving briefings whose major interest is to overpower you with floods of meaningless statistics and to either kid themselves or deliberately kid you.”
     
    The situation has of course grown worse. American pilots used to train about 300 hours a year for instance, now it's around 170. The Army has more "mandatory training days" than there are days available, and most of this training has nothing to with combat.

    And the gayvy, as you noted, keeps crashing ships owing to promoting incompetent lady and wetback captains who can't read a nautical chart.


    Bottom line: “Organization friction” will severely demean US and NATO military power severely below what their order of battle would suggest.
     
    Definitely true, but as Comrade Stalin said quantity has a quality all of its own.


    Another wildcard in the analysis is China’s response to the mess. It certainly knows that the animosity toward Russia is calculated to motivate the “Atlanticists” to force Putin from power and forestall the feared Russia-China alliance. If China stands down on this, it knows it will be next without the formidable Russian military power on their side. If Russian goes down, it is the “Anglo-Saxon Naval Empire” against China to do what the British Navy did in WWI and the US Navy did in WWII against Germany … and that is to prevent a Euro-Asian power from consolidating control over the Asian landmass — the “World Island” — using internal lines of communication. If Russia does down, China goes down with it.
     
    China is conducting live fire drills in the Taiwan Straits in support of Russia on Syria.

    The naval blockade in WW2 was not decisive as Germany was able to plunder its conquests as well as trade with some countries it couldn't during WWI (Spain, Portugal, Russia until Barbarossa).
    , @peterAUS

    The danger is that this is Sarajevo – 1914. The United States believes the Russians (and Chinese) will stand down. The Russians (and Chinese) know the consequences of doing so and will not do so. In any “hot” confrontation, it is a given that the US will escalate to the point of a nuclear exchange … something that some US political circles have pressed, regardless of consequences, since the end of WWII.
     

    My bets: There is a strong chance of nuclear war based on miscalculations on the part of military sycophants.
     
    My sentiment.
    Keyword "miscalculation"
    , @MacNucc11
    I question the assumption that western countries can keep applying sanctions and not destroy their own shaky economies. The pain will be on all sides. China is already retaliating to tariffs by imposing them on American goods.
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  94. @Mr. XYZ
    Can someone please explain to me why exactly Syria is worth a World War or even why Syria is worth any concessions in Ukraine?

    I mean, I am certainly not very fond of Assad and am in favor of the Syrian Kurds (who appear to be a relatively progressive bunch in spite of their low average IQs). However, I certainly don't want Islamists and jihadists to seize control of a post-Assad Syria and engage in genocide there and I also certainly don't want the conflict in Syria to spark a World War!

    Also, out of curiosity:

    @Anatoly Karlin: Do you believe that Tsarist Russia should have flooded the Baltic states with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians back when it controlled these territories? Basically, I am thinking of the Baltic states getting the northern Kazakhstan treatment back in the 19th and early 20th century so that Petrograd/St. Petersburg could have more security (after all, ethnic Balts were a potential security threat to the Russian Empire in wartime).

    Can someone please explain to me why exactly Syria is worth a World War or even why Syria is worth any concessions in Ukraine?

    I mean, I am certainly not very fond of Assad and am in favor of the Syrian Kurds (who appear to be a relatively progressive bunch in spite of their low average IQs). However, I certainly don’t want Islamists and jihadists to seize control of a post-Assad Syria and engage in genocide there and I also certainly don’t want the conflict in Syria to spark a World War!

    I’ve never been able to understand this either.

    I think it’s some weird pride thing on the part of the globalists.

    They’re angry that the Assman dares to fight or something.

    : Do you believe that Tsarist Russia should have flooded the Baltic states with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians back when it controlled these territories? Basically, I am thinking of the Baltic states getting the northern Kazakhstan treatment back in the 19th and early 20th century so that Petrograd/St. Petersburg could have more security (after all, ethnic Balts were a potential security threat to the Russian Empire in wartime).

    The actions of the ethnic Balts as well as the Baltic German nobility suggests yes.

    Of course it’s possible these problems were created by the Russification policy, as previously Baltic Germans had a long tradition of distinguished service to the Empire.

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    • Replies: @WHAT
    Northern Kazakhstan was russian through and through from the start, and giving parts of it away is yet another travesty of USSR dissolution which will eventually be righted. Kazakhs would do well to remeber that without russians they would still be living in tents on the steppe and no, chinese will not treat them as anything more than a resource to be spent.

    But then again, they are steadily regressing to the tents state anyway.

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  95. @Anon
    Karlin is right about Russian disadvantages.

    US air power can do lots of damage.

    But air power alone cannot gain long-term dominance.

    US used shock and awe before the invasion of Iraq.

    But shock and awe alone couldn't do much. US had to invade.

    So, if US goes for massive bombardment, Russians should try to avoid the barrage as much as possible. Hunker down and re-emerge and regroup once the bombardment is over.

    The question is, what will US do next? Keep shooting more missiles? But how long can this be kept up?

    In the end, if the US really wants to gain control, it has to send in troops, and this could be bad for the US.

    It could end up to another quagmire like Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Also, everything that goes wrong will be blamed on Americans.

    Europeans will be pissed by new around of refugee crisis.

    And Americans will not supportive of US troops fighting another ground war in the Middle East and returning in body bags.

    US can do serious damage in the short-term but I don't think it can be sustained in a long-term struggle.

    Also, Russia can go for a protracted strategy in Syria. If US were to gain control of Syria, Russia can aid and arm any group that is willing to harass and harm Americans.

    Protracted struggle will wear down a nation like the US.

    But air power alone cannot gain long-term dominance.

    In Syria it can. The air power can destroy Russian contingent in Syria and prevent any resupplies from Russia.

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  96. @anon
    I think they will have 'evidence' of chemical weapons and conjecture regarding who used them. I can't believe some idiot on the news kept using the phrase 'weapons of mass destruction'. The tape of 'survivors' shows a lot of them alive. Mass destruction? It's just chlorine. This is pathetically lame. Civilization won't end because Syrian civilians are gassed.

    The only skeptic in the media is Fox's Tucker Carlson, but the small OAN (One America News) is refreshingly skeptical about WMD. God...how many times will people go along with idiocy. I guess forever.

    The only skeptic in the media is Fox’s Tucker Carlson

    I can’t watch American tv (don’t want to tbh), but there seems to be at least some resistance by prominent (ex-?)Trump supporters in the media:

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-populist-right-winning-its-pressure-campaign-against-25336

    At least that’s encouraging…Trump may be lacking in principles, but media-fixated as he is, he might at least notice that there is opposition against bombing Syria.

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    • Replies: @anon
    Great link. Trump [maybe] doesn't want to get rolled again like on the budget. If it later becomes less or uncertain that Assad did it. and if it isn't surgical -- he has just lost his base.

    Who is he going to believe? John Bolton or his lying eyes [and his base].
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  97. @RadicalCenter
    How was ISIS a security threat to Europe?

    It inspired terrorism and provided a base for training jihadis.
    Granted, it was only a danger to European interests because of Europe’s lax policies towards citizens engaged in jihad (readmitting them into European countries and often not even punishing them…instead of stripping them of their citizenship, declaring them enemies of the state and killing them if possible) and Germany’s open borders madness.
    But an Islamist quasi-state in Europe’s neighbourhood shouldn’t be tolerated imo. Randal is probably right though that it’s better to let regional powers deal with such issues if possible, since Western interventions tend to make things worse and even have the perverse consequence of aiding jihadis.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Good point about Russians not being safe with Islamists right next door in Syria.

    Furthermore, will Russia (and Poland) be able to tolerate Islamist regimes to their west in Germany, France, and formerly-great formerly-Britain?

    Like us, the Russians had better get back to having children. Sadly, they’re going to need the troops. They’re going to be faced with Muslim-majority countries in western and Central Europe, two of them possessing a small nuclear arsenal (“the us” and France).

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  98. Anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    It's something that politicians like to fearmonger about - there has even been a wonderful book about it (One Second After) - but I recall reading that actual EMP tests suggest that survivability of civilian electronics (e.g. most vehicles) will actually be quite good.

    Note that things will only become catastrophic enough to cause a population collapse if virtually all vehicles (esp. trucks) get knocked out. If it's "only" 90%, that should still be enough to haul around the basics such as food and fuel. Third World countries do with as little or less.

    But a lot of 3rd World countries and countries in the pre-industrial past are/were pre-adapted to less dependence on advanced infrastructure. In contemporary advanced industrial societies, a significant fraction of late middle-aged and senior citizens depend on a continual supply of drugs, insulin, medical supplies, etc. for survival. A disruption would mean that a lot of them die. And most ordinary citizens depend on advanced infrastructure for food and water. A disruption would mean that lot of them would die as well, as most people don’t have stockpiles and our infrastructure is based on just time high efficiency logistics. There’s very little slack in the system.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Exactly right. Need to have a long supply of medicine on hand for diabetes, gout, hypertension, etc., along with the usual water, canned food, ammo, batteries, first aid supplies, etc., in the event of such a breakdown.
    , @Philip Owen
    As late as the early '60's, I collected water for my Grandmother from the village tap and the butchers and greengrocers bought a lot of supplies locally. WW2 was still recent so the structures of digging for victory were in place. Both my grandfathers had allotments. The gas works supplied the town and the electricity generator that existed before the grid was still in its shed. Locality = sustainability. Now everything is centralized.
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  99. @TheJester
    Anatoly,

    I question a number of your assumptions.

    NATO: Having been assigned to NATO and functioned as a military advisor to Saudi Arabia, I doubt if NATO (aside from the Americans) can function as a military organization. The national characteristics of NATO forces introduce too much "organizational friction" for effective military operations. NATO forces in Europe are nothing but a "target rich" environment for Russian military forces.

    The Saudis and other Middle Eastern allies: Incompetence is an understatement ... and complex Western weapons only complicate the problem. At best, Gulf military forces can at best put on a "comic" performance. Effective military operations in Gulf states, when they are performed, are almost universally conducted by Western and other-world mercenaries.

    The United States: You have to understand that the US military is currently led by military sycophants more interested in feminism, affirmative action, and the sacralization of homosexuality than the military arts. Obama purged the US military leadership of competent generals over these issues. The recent surge of ship collisions in the Pacific and the increased incidence of aircraft accidents worldwide are only the tip of the iceberg with respect to growing US military incompetence. The junior officers got the message. They are with the program, at least those who could stomach the mess and stayed in the service.

    Bottom line: "Organization friction" will severely demean US and NATO military power severely below what their order of battle would suggest.

    Then, there is the political environment. If the US loses a destroyer (much less a carrier) there will be a loud calliope demanding nuclear retaliation ... without any awareness regarding the sophistication and competence of the Russian nuclear deterrent. On the other hand, countries such as Small Britain will turn tail and leave the American consortium under the fear that "two nukes" might fall on them and destroy their country. If there is a nuclear exchange with Russia, the "outbacks" of Russia and the United States might survive ... but Western Europe is history.

    Another wildcard in the analysis is China's response to the mess. It certainly knows that the animosity toward Russia is calculated to motivate the "Atlanticists" to force Putin from power and forestall the feared Russia-China alliance. If China stands down on this, it knows it will be next without the formidable Russian military power on their side. If Russian goes down, it is the "Anglo-Saxon Naval Empire" against China to do what the British Navy did in WWI and the US Navy did in WWII against Germany ... and that is to prevent a Euro-Asian power from consolidating control over the Asian landmass -- the "World Island" -- using internal lines of communication. If Russia does down, China goes down with it.

    The danger is that this is Sarajevo - 1914. The United States believes the Russians (and Chinese) will stand down. The Russians (and Chinese) know the consequences of doing so and will not do so. In any "hot" confrontation, it is a given that the US will escalate to the point of a nuclear exchange ... something that some US political circles have pressed, regardless of consequences, since the end of WWII.

    Israel is fanning the flames in all of this. Two nukes on Israel would accomplish the same thing as two nukes on Britain ... "end of the game" for these countries. At least this might put a final end to Middle Eastern animosities that precipitated this in the first place. We will have experienced the second Holicaust and the end of Jewry as a global political and economic force. Jerusalem will be "glass" and exit the historical narrative.

    My bets: There is a strong chance of nuclear war based on miscalculations on the part of military sycophants. At the same time, there is a "peace party (ironically the globalists) pressing the alternative. Nuclear war is very bad for business. Given that and the prospect of someone nuking Israel, I place my bets on peace.

    NATO: Having been assigned to NATO and functioned as a military advisor to Saudi Arabia, I doubt if NATO (aside from the Americans) can function as a military organization. The national characteristics of NATO forces introduce too much “organizational friction” for effective military operations. NATO forces in Europe are nothing but a “target rich” environment for Russian military forces.

    Wishful thinking imo.

    NATO isn’t as good at cooperation was it was during the 1980s with its annual REFORGER exercises and Canadian Army Tank Gunnery Trophy, but they have plenty of experience in joint air operations.

    Gulf War, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the ongoing activity in Syria.

    NATO forces in Europe have more men and firepower than the Russians do, but they’re spread across the continent. Quality varies by nationality of course.

    It’s not the 1980s anymore and the Russian armed forces aren’t that large. Maybe equivalent to Britain & France combined.

    The Saudis and other Middle Eastern allies: Incompetence is an understatement … and complex Western weapons only complicate the problem. At best, Gulf military forces can at best put on a “comic” performance. Effective military operations in Gulf states, when they are performed, are almost universally conducted by Western and other-world mercenaries.

    They’ve shown in Yemen at least that they can fly planes and drop bombs, which is a start.

    Arabs have a deservedly poor reputation in war, but perhaps under the guidance of Western advisors they managed to recruit a few hundred guys who are actually pretty decent pilots.

    The United States: You have to understand that the US military is currently led by military sycophants more interested in feminism, affirmative action, and the sacralization of homosexuality than the military arts. Obama purged the US military leadership of competent generals over these issues. The recent surge of ship collisions in the Pacific and the increased incidence of aircraft accidents worldwide are only the tip of the iceberg with respect to growing US military incompetence. The junior officers got the message. They are with the program, at least those who could stomach the mess and stayed in the service.

    This isn’t new and didn’t start with Obama.

    See here: https://johntreed.com/blogs/john-t-reed-s-blog-about-military-matters/60879683-the-u-s-military-s-marathon-30-year-single-elimination-suck-up-tournament-or-how-america-selects-its-generals

    John T. Reed’s many military articles are generally worth reading. He is a West Point graduate who served in Vietnam and grew disgusted with the Army’s culture of lying and ass-kissing.

    See also Henry Kissinger’s views from when he visited Vietnam: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/10/henry-kissinger-vietnam-diaries-213236

    Kissinger was disgusted. “Since I have last had contact with it,” he noted scornfully, “the Army has degenerated. They have produced a group of experts in giving briefings whose major interest is to overpower you with floods of meaningless statistics and to either kid themselves or deliberately kid you.”

    The situation has of course grown worse. American pilots used to train about 300 hours a year for instance, now it’s around 170. The Army has more “mandatory training days” than there are days available, and most of this training has nothing to with combat.

    And the gayvy, as you noted, keeps crashing ships owing to promoting incompetent lady and wetback captains who can’t read a nautical chart.

    Bottom line: “Organization friction” will severely demean US and NATO military power severely below what their order of battle would suggest.

    Definitely true, but as Comrade Stalin said quantity has a quality all of its own.

    Another wildcard in the analysis is China’s response to the mess. It certainly knows that the animosity toward Russia is calculated to motivate the “Atlanticists” to force Putin from power and forestall the feared Russia-China alliance. If China stands down on this, it knows it will be next without the formidable Russian military power on their side. If Russian goes down, it is the “Anglo-Saxon Naval Empire” against China to do what the British Navy did in WWI and the US Navy did in WWII against Germany … and that is to prevent a Euro-Asian power from consolidating control over the Asian landmass — the “World Island” — using internal lines of communication. If Russia does down, China goes down with it.

    China is conducting live fire drills in the Taiwan Straits in support of Russia on Syria.

    The naval blockade in WW2 was not decisive as Germany was able to plunder its conquests as well as trade with some countries it couldn’t during WWI (Spain, Portugal, Russia until Barbarossa).

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  100. Read More
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  101. @songbird
    I'm not a bull on India. Average IQ is too low, and that matters.

    China also has a rather severe problem - the CCP will never willingly give up power.

    That said, both will continue to rise in relation to the West because the West has severe problems. Just don't expect India to match China, or either to be like the US would have been, if it had never imported its rather severe demographic problems.

    Re: India. A couple of things:

    1. Most western analysts of India miss the basic fact that India as an entity is more like Europe than say a more homegeous culture like China is (Han Chinese are the overwhelming majority though there are scores of other ethnicities). Each state in India is politically mostly divided by language (like Europe mostly is) and have their own histories and states of development/education/culture – and this is not taking into account the strong influence of religion/caste another differentiator within and across states, and the more common economic strata and urban/rural divide) so that lumping a state like say Arunachal Pradesh with Andhra Pradesh is as odd as lumping Poland with Portugal in some aggregate statistics. So various “average IQ of Indians” (a number like 82 was once calculated) and correlating to National Income miss the fact that the richest states by capita or often not the “smartest” states (tho it is true that the most intellectually backward states are the poorest). India in many ways has achieved (some would argue because of being forced together by successive Moghul/British Empires) and so far maintained what Europe still has not: a common currency and free movement of labor and capital within a federated union of disparate nations – states with their own distinct language, culture, cuisine – with differing rates of growth operating as a single country with a recognized capital, and domestic and foreign policy in a chaotic but still functioning democracy. So there are regions/states in India on a much faster trajectory than others (eg Germany vs Greece).

    2. The other aspect is sheer numbers. Even if there is large amount of poor, the middle class in India – educated, wanting material goods, etc – is larger than that in the US/EU combined. Given the median age of this cohort is estimated to be 27, there is a tremendous growth potential which is reflected in various projections which have India overtaking the US in PPP and later in some GDP in a few decades.

    Admittedly China as a whole is way ahead – both because its market liberalization efforts started 15 years before India’s – as well as having a much more centralized top-down approach that makes long range planning and execution more successful rather than parliamentary democracies which operate in shorter cycles till the next election. Yet, both population dynamics as well as areas of high growth are pulling the rest of the train along.

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  102. @RadicalCenter
    What would the US government warmongers and tough-talkers do if CHINA sent some "military and technical advisors" to a Russian-run base in Syria?

    Would the US government be willing to risk killing Chinese personnel?

    I fear and distrust China, but this warmongering crew in charge of "my" country's government and economy needs to learn that they are not invincible, that threats have consequences whether they are backed up or not, and that not everyone in the world lacks the strength to say "mind your damn business and back off."

    Would the US government be willing to risk killing Chinese personnel?

    Yes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_bombing_of_the_Chinese_embassy_in_Belgrade

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Correct. It would mean virtually nothing.
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  103. @Ludwig
    @AnatolyKarlin

    the Syrian rebels, and/or their sponsors, now have a perverse incentive to stage further false flag attacks, in the sure knowledge that Trump will no longer have any option but to respond with ever greater force
     
    It is almost certain that Western - read US Government/Deep State - planners either direct or encourage these forces to conduct false flag attacks simply because they do not have to draw “red” lines in the first place. They’re not drawing it for Israel or Saudi Arabia for example. They not only don’t even just sanction them but enthusiastically supply arms. L

    So it’s fairly clear that the Western response to Syria now is driven by two primary imperatives:

    1. The old one: Continue to overthrow all Arab nationalist regimes that while corrupt cannot be bought to support/pose no threat to Israel (like the Gulf can). Either leaving the in a state of generational chaos or ruled by a weak Islamist regime giving plenty of bombing practice for future Western/Israeli administrations is preferable to have strong, independent, nationalistic societies.

    2. The new one since the Russian intervention: use this as a staging ground for what hardliners - which is pretty much now everyone in the US Deep state - see as the inevitable showdown with Russia which has so far resisted all forms of intimidation and attempts to cripple its development. (This is not to say Russia has not been impacted. In a different world, with the exact same regime but w/o Western sanctions or media hostility, Russia could have been much more successful.)

    These are the Western aims. Like in Chess, none of this is hidden: the Western Deep State knows it as does the Russian Deep State. (The difference between the two Deep states is that the Western ones hide behind a rotating cast of figureheads who get elected one every 2/4 years and take some time to understand their place as to who really is in charge (as Trump is finding out), whereas the Deep State in Russia is clearly visible - it’s Putin and co.)

    Putin knows he cannot defeat the West. The best he could do is resist and carve out a space till the West implodes under its own weight (read internal contradictions, demographics, debt as China/India/others and their populations and economies slowly but surely revert back to the historic share of global GDP till 400 years ago). The West however needs to keep expanding to stay alive - the moment it stops, let alone contracts, it will implode. Again, both sides know this.

    Syria is one theater, Ukraine is another, where the West can rob Russia of the time to develop as well as satisfy its own urge to expand. For a Western planner with the above aims, to humiliate Russia in either theater using overwhelming force is too good an opportunity to pass up.

    The only way I see Russia being able to resist in this case is to explicitly alter its nuclear doctrine to state that not only any existential threat to the home land but any key strategic bases (eg in Syria) allows use of nuclear weapons in defense. Thus by treating these bases as de facto Russian exclaves like Kaliningrad would mean that any attempts to wipe out these bases would represent an existential threat which would allow a nuclear response.

    I’m not sure what the Russian or Syrian legal implications are to alter the nuclear doctrine in this manner but I see this is the only way to give pause to Western planners who at the end of the day know they have more to lose in a nuclear exchange than Russia.

    Good post.

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  104. @peterAUS

    Would the US government be willing to risk killing Chinese personnel?

     

    Yes.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_bombing_of_the_Chinese_embassy_in_Belgrade

    Correct. It would mean virtually nothing.

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  105. @TheJester
    Anatoly,

    I question a number of your assumptions.

    NATO: Having been assigned to NATO and functioned as a military advisor to Saudi Arabia, I doubt if NATO (aside from the Americans) can function as a military organization. The national characteristics of NATO forces introduce too much "organizational friction" for effective military operations. NATO forces in Europe are nothing but a "target rich" environment for Russian military forces.

    The Saudis and other Middle Eastern allies: Incompetence is an understatement ... and complex Western weapons only complicate the problem. At best, Gulf military forces can at best put on a "comic" performance. Effective military operations in Gulf states, when they are performed, are almost universally conducted by Western and other-world mercenaries.

    The United States: You have to understand that the US military is currently led by military sycophants more interested in feminism, affirmative action, and the sacralization of homosexuality than the military arts. Obama purged the US military leadership of competent generals over these issues. The recent surge of ship collisions in the Pacific and the increased incidence of aircraft accidents worldwide are only the tip of the iceberg with respect to growing US military incompetence. The junior officers got the message. They are with the program, at least those who could stomach the mess and stayed in the service.

    Bottom line: "Organization friction" will severely demean US and NATO military power severely below what their order of battle would suggest.

    Then, there is the political environment. If the US loses a destroyer (much less a carrier) there will be a loud calliope demanding nuclear retaliation ... without any awareness regarding the sophistication and competence of the Russian nuclear deterrent. On the other hand, countries such as Small Britain will turn tail and leave the American consortium under the fear that "two nukes" might fall on them and destroy their country. If there is a nuclear exchange with Russia, the "outbacks" of Russia and the United States might survive ... but Western Europe is history.

    Another wildcard in the analysis is China's response to the mess. It certainly knows that the animosity toward Russia is calculated to motivate the "Atlanticists" to force Putin from power and forestall the feared Russia-China alliance. If China stands down on this, it knows it will be next without the formidable Russian military power on their side. If Russian goes down, it is the "Anglo-Saxon Naval Empire" against China to do what the British Navy did in WWI and the US Navy did in WWII against Germany ... and that is to prevent a Euro-Asian power from consolidating control over the Asian landmass -- the "World Island" -- using internal lines of communication. If Russia does down, China goes down with it.

    The danger is that this is Sarajevo - 1914. The United States believes the Russians (and Chinese) will stand down. The Russians (and Chinese) know the consequences of doing so and will not do so. In any "hot" confrontation, it is a given that the US will escalate to the point of a nuclear exchange ... something that some US political circles have pressed, regardless of consequences, since the end of WWII.

    Israel is fanning the flames in all of this. Two nukes on Israel would accomplish the same thing as two nukes on Britain ... "end of the game" for these countries. At least this might put a final end to Middle Eastern animosities that precipitated this in the first place. We will have experienced the second Holicaust and the end of Jewry as a global political and economic force. Jerusalem will be "glass" and exit the historical narrative.

    My bets: There is a strong chance of nuclear war based on miscalculations on the part of military sycophants. At the same time, there is a "peace party (ironically the globalists) pressing the alternative. Nuclear war is very bad for business. Given that and the prospect of someone nuking Israel, I place my bets on peace.

    The danger is that this is Sarajevo – 1914. The United States believes the Russians (and Chinese) will stand down. The Russians (and Chinese) know the consequences of doing so and will not do so. In any “hot” confrontation, it is a given that the US will escalate to the point of a nuclear exchange … something that some US political circles have pressed, regardless of consequences, since the end of WWII.

    My bets: There is a strong chance of nuclear war based on miscalculations on the part of military sycophants.

    My sentiment.
    Keyword “miscalculation

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  106. @Kimppis
    OK, so the headline is maybe a little misleading, but this is welcome news regardless:

    In surprise move, China to mount live-fire navy drills in Taiwan Strait ‘in show of support for Russia over Syria’

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2141505/surprise-move-china-mount-live-fire-navy-drills-taiwan

    And Global Times beat the war drum again today. China’s trying to annoy the US into spreading out forces, I believe. No other reason to abruptly start something now.

    Doesn’t really seem to be working, though.

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    • Replies: @random rand
    Taiwan card is going to get played sooner or later. Been quite obvious for a while now considering how all the "China watchers" and "China experts" on twitter have been harping about Taiwan.
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  107. @Ludwig
    @AnatolyKarlin

    the Syrian rebels, and/or their sponsors, now have a perverse incentive to stage further false flag attacks, in the sure knowledge that Trump will no longer have any option but to respond with ever greater force
     
    It is almost certain that Western - read US Government/Deep State - planners either direct or encourage these forces to conduct false flag attacks simply because they do not have to draw “red” lines in the first place. They’re not drawing it for Israel or Saudi Arabia for example. They not only don’t even just sanction them but enthusiastically supply arms. L

    So it’s fairly clear that the Western response to Syria now is driven by two primary imperatives:

    1. The old one: Continue to overthrow all Arab nationalist regimes that while corrupt cannot be bought to support/pose no threat to Israel (like the Gulf can). Either leaving the in a state of generational chaos or ruled by a weak Islamist regime giving plenty of bombing practice for future Western/Israeli administrations is preferable to have strong, independent, nationalistic societies.

    2. The new one since the Russian intervention: use this as a staging ground for what hardliners - which is pretty much now everyone in the US Deep state - see as the inevitable showdown with Russia which has so far resisted all forms of intimidation and attempts to cripple its development. (This is not to say Russia has not been impacted. In a different world, with the exact same regime but w/o Western sanctions or media hostility, Russia could have been much more successful.)

    These are the Western aims. Like in Chess, none of this is hidden: the Western Deep State knows it as does the Russian Deep State. (The difference between the two Deep states is that the Western ones hide behind a rotating cast of figureheads who get elected one every 2/4 years and take some time to understand their place as to who really is in charge (as Trump is finding out), whereas the Deep State in Russia is clearly visible - it’s Putin and co.)

    Putin knows he cannot defeat the West. The best he could do is resist and carve out a space till the West implodes under its own weight (read internal contradictions, demographics, debt as China/India/others and their populations and economies slowly but surely revert back to the historic share of global GDP till 400 years ago). The West however needs to keep expanding to stay alive - the moment it stops, let alone contracts, it will implode. Again, both sides know this.

    Syria is one theater, Ukraine is another, where the West can rob Russia of the time to develop as well as satisfy its own urge to expand. For a Western planner with the above aims, to humiliate Russia in either theater using overwhelming force is too good an opportunity to pass up.

    The only way I see Russia being able to resist in this case is to explicitly alter its nuclear doctrine to state that not only any existential threat to the home land but any key strategic bases (eg in Syria) allows use of nuclear weapons in defense. Thus by treating these bases as de facto Russian exclaves like Kaliningrad would mean that any attempts to wipe out these bases would represent an existential threat which would allow a nuclear response.

    I’m not sure what the Russian or Syrian legal implications are to alter the nuclear doctrine in this manner but I see this is the only way to give pause to Western planners who at the end of the day know they have more to lose in a nuclear exchange than Russia.

    The only way I see Russia being able to resist in this case is to explicitly alter its nuclear doctrine to state that not only any existential threat to the home land but any key strategic bases (eg in Syria) allows use of nuclear weapons in defense. Thus by treating these bases as de facto Russian exclaves like Kaliningrad would mean that any attempts to wipe out these bases would represent an existential threat which would allow a nuclear response.

    Exactly. This is what was missing in AK’s write up. Russia by being weaker in conventional forces must fall back on nuclear deterrence sooner than the US. Putin’s ‘Why would we want a world without Russia?’ speech might have been an attempt to communicate that the nuclear doctrine has been changed. However I would not mind if Russia communicated it more clearly and more bluntly so everybody knows that any military setbacks within the sphere of Russia’s influence suffered by Russia will lead to a nuclear attack. Furthermore Russia should make this as a warning to all nuclear powers, specifically Israel. Every Israeli should live with the awareness that they will be the first to go.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Russia by being weaker in conventional forces must fall back on nuclear deterrence sooner than the US. Putin’s ‘Why would we want a world without Russia?’ speech
     
    Oh, goodness. Open Russian Military Doctrine for starters--may help.
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  108. Since war is at hand, isn’t it about time we Americans should register our preferences about what we think Russia should nuke? Well, after crippling US C3 to reduce the US government to helplessness, anyway. We request that the following be nuked:

    - Langley
    - Fort Meade
    - Capitol Hill
    - Sallie Mae
    - (And an airburst with Tsar Bomba for the Beltway as a whole please, to be on the safe side)
    - Corporate HQs of bank beneficiaries of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
    - F.O.P HQ in Nashville
    - The Facebook Campus in Menlo Park
    - The Harvard Kennedy School
    - Verizon Corporate in Basking Ridge, NJ
    - CONUS south of the 42nd parallel
    - New York City
    - Rose Bowl Stadium.

    Obviously, this is only a start.

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    • Replies: @Stonehands

    Since war is at hand, isn’t it about time we Americans should register our preferences about what we think Russia should nuke?
     
    The Federal Reserve system here in Philly, New York. Dallas etc,.... in addition,of course ,Wall St. and their back -up in Jersey City...thereby leaving the collection agency the Internal Revenue Service BTFO'd and irrelevant.
    , @EliteCommInc.
    Even I thought this bit of levity humorous.


    I had a pleasant laugh.
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  109. @Anatoly Karlin
    Highly encouraging - and genuinely surprising (to me).

    So WTF is up with the comments threads I'm seeing, on Reddit (/r/worldnews, not neoliberalism.txt hive minds like /r/politics), on the Guardian, etc.

    Are most of the actual bots run by Langley?

    For what it’s worth, the ultra-rad-trad-Catholic circles I frequent are uniformly and absolutely opposed to intervention, generally at least mildly pro-Russia, and do not believe that Assad was behind the attack.

    You can see their petition against the strikes here:

    https://www.change.org/p/declaration-against-the-expansion-of-the-syrian-war

    I don’t think these feelings are isolated to that crowd, but maybe I don’t get out much.

    As to the Reddit groups etc. — birds of a feather flock together and tend to drive out the others.

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    • Replies: @utu
    Strong voice of Catholic Church on many issues is sadly missed. It certainly is not what it could have been. The CC was neutered. Child abuse campaign was the most recent act in the anti CC campaign that goes back to the French Revolution. Neocon Catholics (like Weigel, Novak) tried to get blessing form JPII for the Iraq war but failed. After that there was no mercy for the CC while the Evangelical Death Cult Zionist nuts prospered. Without the moderating influence of the CC the world will worse off.
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  110. “If NATO fully consolidates and fully mobilizes, then Russia’s conventional defeat becomes inevitable – the military-industrial divergence between the two blocs is simply too great”

    Anatoly, on what planet do you live that you believe that NATO has conventional superiority against Russia in Europe?

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/11/16/nato-dangerous-paper-tiger.html

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Poor article. Patrick Armstrong is one of those strange souls who has transferred his patriotism to another country, and it clouds his judgment.

    Most of the alleged NATO destroying superweapons exist in only low numbers or are still in the prototype stage. Russia's military modernization efforts have been inadequately funded, and it doesn't help that it's often stolen.

    Many NATO countries profess readiness problems (which is often actually just goldbricking from the armed forces and defense contractors), but it's not like training has been abolished.

    The fact remains that NATO has overwhelmingly more forces at its disposal, and it has far more war potential in every regard. More manpower, more industry, more financial might, and higher technology.

    This is why Russia always resorts to "international law" and attempts to spook people with terrifying doomsday weapons.

    https://southfront.org/nato-and-russia-weapons-in-figures/
    , @Mikhail
    From that same venue, this one just came out:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/04/13/cruising-for-bruising-with-russia.html
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  111. Some thoughts..

    Russia doesn’t need to sink an aircraft carrier. It needs to disable it, or at least ruin the runways.

    The weakest link in the yankee empire is Saudi Arabia. Prior to capitulation, Saudi will have to be given a push.

    Iran should be provided the most advanced weapons immediately after any strike.

    Russia should blanket the earth (Iran, Burma, and other future targets) with S-400.

    If Russia is likely facing defeat then I agree that moving on Ukraine or Baltics is useful. At that point Russia must engage in an existential struggle against the USA. All the things it is accused of doing it will have to do. Leak, steal, undermine, hack. Whittle away.

    Russia pushed out of SWIFT opens the possibility that it can annihilate ‘neo-liberalism’ at home. A smallish central European country in the 30′s provides a guide to success. A country doesn’t exactly need western usury to be strong.

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    • Replies: @utu

    The weakest link in the yankee empire is Saudi Arabia.
     
    I have thought of it before that it would be good to destabilize them. I am not sure if Russia and Iran have what it takes to do it.
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  112. @ANOSPH
    “If NATO fully consolidates and fully mobilizes, then Russia’s conventional defeat becomes inevitable – the military-industrial divergence between the two blocs is simply too great”

    Anatoly, on what planet do you live that you believe that NATO has conventional superiority against Russia in Europe?

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/11/16/nato-dangerous-paper-tiger.html

    Poor article. Patrick Armstrong is one of those strange souls who has transferred his patriotism to another country, and it clouds his judgment.

    Most of the alleged NATO destroying superweapons exist in only low numbers or are still in the prototype stage. Russia’s military modernization efforts have been inadequately funded, and it doesn’t help that it’s often stolen.

    Many NATO countries profess readiness problems (which is often actually just goldbricking from the armed forces and defense contractors), but it’s not like training has been abolished.

    The fact remains that NATO has overwhelmingly more forces at its disposal, and it has far more war potential in every regard. More manpower, more industry, more financial might, and higher technology.

    This is why Russia always resorts to “international law” and attempts to spook people with terrifying doomsday weapons.

    https://southfront.org/nato-and-russia-weapons-in-figures/

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    • Replies: @ANOSPH
    So you follow-up an ad hominem against Patrick (after I reference an article where he cites every single one of his sources) with an article on bean-counting between NATO and Russia? Well, I’m convinced.
    , @ploni almoni
    But is does have doomsday weapons.
    , @Mikhail

    Poor article. Patrick Armstrong is one of those strange souls who has transferred his patriotism to another country, and it clouds his judgment.
     
    He's Canadian eh? What constitutes a Canadian patriot? Someone thinking along the lines of Chrystia Freeland?
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  113. @Excal
    For what it's worth, the ultra-rad-trad-Catholic circles I frequent are uniformly and absolutely opposed to intervention, generally at least mildly pro-Russia, and do not believe that Assad was behind the attack.

    You can see their petition against the strikes here:

    https://www.change.org/p/declaration-against-the-expansion-of-the-syrian-war

    I don't think these feelings are isolated to that crowd, but maybe I don't get out much.

    As to the Reddit groups etc. -- birds of a feather flock together and tend to drive out the others.

    Strong voice of Catholic Church on many issues is sadly missed. It certainly is not what it could have been. The CC was neutered. Child abuse campaign was the most recent act in the anti CC campaign that goes back to the French Revolution. Neocon Catholics (like Weigel, Novak) tried to get blessing form JPII for the Iraq war but failed. After that there was no mercy for the CC while the Evangelical Death Cult Zionist nuts prospered. Without the moderating influence of the CC the world will worse off.

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    • Agree: Byrresheim, dfordoom
    • Replies: @Byrresheim
    True.
    , @Anon
    O' the siren call of a friendly voice. Yes, it was easier with european saints at the helm. My fear would be for the Catholic Church to become a geographical church along the lines of the orthodox churches, thus under Ceasar's thumb. Curiously enough, the Eldest Daughter of the Church's President just made an appeal to catholics to become active, and recognized and applauded the Church's historic contribution. Macron's speech to the Episcopate was incendiary to the left, and baffling to the rest. I see 3 explanations:
    1) political expediency, wanting to harness the energized catholic vote for his new party
    2) the road to Damascus (espoused by better Catholics than I), whereby he was moved by the heroic sacrifice of a catholic policeman.
    3) a first essay by a globalist to co-opt the local hierarchy, knowing that our wonderful Pope is loosening the rigid "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" part of the institution.

    How do you loosen Cataluña from the Spanish crown? How do you loosen the French Church from Rome? Dissolve et coagula. Essays must be made. Macron is at the very least, heavily sustained by anti-Catholic forces.

    It seems doable, at the political level. And now that Syria breathes again, I can go back to see whether an formerly unknown globalist with a mediocre career (along the lines of Obama, Trudeau, Rubio, Macron) can inch to the presidency of the #15 economy.
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  114. @joun
    Some thoughts..

    Russia doesn't need to sink an aircraft carrier. It needs to disable it, or at least ruin the runways.

    The weakest link in the yankee empire is Saudi Arabia. Prior to capitulation, Saudi will have to be given a push.

    Iran should be provided the most advanced weapons immediately after any strike.

    Russia should blanket the earth (Iran, Burma, and other future targets) with S-400.

    If Russia is likely facing defeat then I agree that moving on Ukraine or Baltics is useful. At that point Russia must engage in an existential struggle against the USA. All the things it is accused of doing it will have to do. Leak, steal, undermine, hack. Whittle away.

    Russia pushed out of SWIFT opens the possibility that it can annihilate 'neo-liberalism' at home. A smallish central European country in the 30's provides a guide to success. A country doesn't exactly need western usury to be strong.

    The weakest link in the yankee empire is Saudi Arabia.

    I have thought of it before that it would be good to destabilize them. I am not sure if Russia and Iran have what it takes to do it.

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  115. @Thorfinnsson
    Poor article. Patrick Armstrong is one of those strange souls who has transferred his patriotism to another country, and it clouds his judgment.

    Most of the alleged NATO destroying superweapons exist in only low numbers or are still in the prototype stage. Russia's military modernization efforts have been inadequately funded, and it doesn't help that it's often stolen.

    Many NATO countries profess readiness problems (which is often actually just goldbricking from the armed forces and defense contractors), but it's not like training has been abolished.

    The fact remains that NATO has overwhelmingly more forces at its disposal, and it has far more war potential in every regard. More manpower, more industry, more financial might, and higher technology.

    This is why Russia always resorts to "international law" and attempts to spook people with terrifying doomsday weapons.

    https://southfront.org/nato-and-russia-weapons-in-figures/

    So you follow-up an ad hominem against Patrick (after I reference an article where he cites every single one of his sources) with an article on bean-counting between NATO and Russia? Well, I’m convinced.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Ad hominem attacks are permitted under the Federal Rules of Evidence in court for the purpose of delegitimizing the credibility of a witness. Armstrong here, is in effect, a witness.

    Armstrong has transferred his patriotism from his native country to Russia. His credibility is therefore suspect.

    You then disparage tallying up the rival force levels as...bean counting. Well these "beans" do count. Numbers aren't everything, but generally in war you can bet on the side with more weapons and soldiers.

    Here's a fun video showing just the EU (so no USA or Canada) against Russia:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT7j6xU-Fjo

    Binkov's videos don't consider training, morale, etc. but they are well done and based on good information.

    If you want a blast from the past he has a great three video series about NATO vs. the Warsaw Pact in 1989. :)

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  116. No mention of pipeline geopolitics. How can we take your analysis seriously? Freeing Europe of Russian energy dependence is a priority for the US and some of its allies, and Syria stands in the way of this project.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    I've heard this many times and I just don't get it.

    Does the Assman hate pipelines or something?

    And what's the reason this pipeline must go through Syria?
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  117. @ANOSPH
    So you follow-up an ad hominem against Patrick (after I reference an article where he cites every single one of his sources) with an article on bean-counting between NATO and Russia? Well, I’m convinced.

    Ad hominem attacks are permitted under the Federal Rules of Evidence in court for the purpose of delegitimizing the credibility of a witness. Armstrong here, is in effect, a witness.

    Armstrong has transferred his patriotism from his native country to Russia. His credibility is therefore suspect.

    You then disparage tallying up the rival force levels as…bean counting. Well these “beans” do count. Numbers aren’t everything, but generally in war you can bet on the side with more weapons and soldiers.

    Here’s a fun video showing just the EU (so no USA or Canada) against Russia:

    Binkov’s videos don’t consider training, morale, etc. but they are well done and based on good information.

    If you want a blast from the past he has a great three video series about NATO vs. the Warsaw Pact in 1989. :)

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    • Replies: @ANOSPH
    The majority of those forces would be irrelevant in a war in which the Russians are defending its territory and securing its near abroad. As for “mobilization,” given the state of American and European men these days, I wouldn’t place hope on that. The moment Westerners start seeing body bags by the thousands amidst 24/7 news coverage, any major mobilization efforts are likely to fail.

    Since I’ve learned that ad hominem attacks are permissible, I’d say your patriotism to a country whose military track record is unimpressive, but that has gotten better and better at ignoring and shrouding that fact, is clouding your judgement.

    Thanks for the Kermit the frog video. If this is what passes for evidence in support of conclusions today, then I apologize for wasting your time.
    , @Stonehands

    Armstrong has transferred his patriotism from his native country to Russia. His credibility is therefore suspect
     
    .

    Most people I know are completely fed -up with the disgraceful, degenerate, clown -show that the United States has become.

    Are you willing to lay down your life for the values that your country truly espouses? Sacred homosexuality? Feminism? Cultural Marxism and all the hedonistic material values that revolve around a profligate lifestyle?

    I understand the efficiency of your logistical presentations...and dont dispute the numerical advantages that you outline, but, in this instance force alone will not prevail.

    Power emanates from an intelligible, circumspect people grounded in absolute, transcendental truth. Without an appeal- and consequent direction from the Almighty, our society has become ANOMIC...and does not have the guts, nor the right, to win an all-out war.

    Supporting an administration and its military- that has expressly rejected self-regulatory values and OPENLY celebrates sodomy is suicidal- and should always be scorned and ridiculed until- by the Grace of God- the whole matter is tossed into the lake of fire.

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  118. @Bigly
    No mention of pipeline geopolitics. How can we take your analysis seriously? Freeing Europe of Russian energy dependence is a priority for the US and some of its allies, and Syria stands in the way of this project.

    I’ve heard this many times and I just don’t get it.

    Does the Assman hate pipelines or something?

    And what’s the reason this pipeline must go through Syria?

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @TT
    US want EU to cutoff from Russia energy supply, hence a ransom Russia can use to control EU. USLNG is too expensive, and EU didn't want to invest on expensive LNG storage & berths if Russia can supply cheaply through pipeline.

    Saudi & Israel wanted to link up its gas field pipeline to EU via unlucky Syria & Turkey route, the cheapest land way instead of underseas. Syria Assad refused a bad deal offered, he must go by all interest parties.

    Iran wanted to pipe it to EU via Syria too, so Russia see that as competitor, only after some deal agreed with Putin, Russia intervene. Russia is been promised to build all the Iran-Syria-EU infrastructure & pipes.
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  119. anon[358] • Disclaimer says:
    @German_reader

    The only skeptic in the media is Fox’s Tucker Carlson
     
    I can't watch American tv (don't want to tbh), but there seems to be at least some resistance by prominent (ex-?)Trump supporters in the media:

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-populist-right-winning-its-pressure-campaign-against-25336

    At least that's encouraging...Trump may be lacking in principles, but media-fixated as he is, he might at least notice that there is opposition against bombing Syria.

    Great link. Trump [maybe] doesn’t want to get rolled again like on the budget. If it later becomes less or uncertain that Assad did it. and if it isn’t surgical — he has just lost his base.

    Who is he going to believe? John Bolton or his lying eyes [and his base].

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  120. @Randal
    In a cheerful mood this morning, I see.

    Worth considering one point. The vulnerability in extremis of the Russian expeditionary force in Syria was always obvious to anyone informed, and undoubtedly will have been uppermost in the minds of Putin and all the senior military men in the Kremlin at the time the decision was made to deploy. These are not reckless men. If it was and is a gamble, it's a calculated one.

    The point is they've already got plans for how to respond to a full US attack, whether it's to fold or to escalate elsewhere, or whatever.

    The way I see it, there are only really Russia, Iran and China and their allies standing between the world and return to complete unipolar US dominance, which this time would be pushed all the way to full world government from Washington - the fabled leftist boot stamping on humanity's face forever, with nowhere to escape to or to show a different way, because there's nowhere "outside". So there isn't really much choice - retreat or appeasement just means fighting them later in a less advantageous position. But longer term, time is against the core US sphere, as their share of world gdp shrinks inexorably. All that is needed is to sustain resistance for a little longer. Then we can all breathe a sigh of relief before moving on to fighting desperately against the next major threat to humanity - probably how to deal with excess Chinese power.

    Accepting the risk of nuclear devastation rather than giving in is a necessary part of that resistance. It's no big deal, really. If it happens, it happens. Those of us older than about 40 years old grew up with it and only some of us let it break us and drive us to drooling unilateralism.

    Simple order:
    America leave the Med in 24 hours or we nuke DC and Tel Aviv. Any counter attack will mean full nuclear launch.
    And retake Alaska if it goes down just to humiliate.
    Let the Orange clown chew on that one.
    There is no defense against a morally just threat to nuke.

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  121. But Mattis added that even if the investigative team is allowed by the Bashar al-Assad regime to get to the site, “we will not know who did it — they can only say they found evidence or they did not.”

    Mattis blurted the truth. Go figure.

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  122. The Saker being so much tiresome bluster, this was refreshing reading on Unz.

    That said: one wonders how it’s possible that the US and Russia, at the highest levels, are not clear that the US and Russia must not fight.

    One hopes that if it’s anything then it’s a game of high-stakes chicken.

    And WTH? anyway with our government. First they gin it up with China in the S. China Sea, then with N.Korea – when that turns cold they gin it up with Iran, when that turns cold they gin it up with Russia.

    It’s like a bunch of recovering alcoholics who have to gin up drama or else they don’t feel like they’re alive – only the kind of drama they can gin up can destroy nations and worlds.

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    • Replies: @Rod1963
    Our political and military leaders are nuts. This makes them very hard to deal with, especially since they've made noises about going nuclear if things don't go their way.

    I grew up during the Cold War and even at the worst of times our political leaders back then weren't anywhere as crazy as they are now. Even Reagan was a model of restraint compared to the loud mouth that currently resides at the WH.

    These SOB's are quite capable of kicking over the proverbial table and starting shit that can't be walked back as they have no one in the U.S. to tell them "stop it or we hang your sorry asses".
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  123. @Anatoly Karlin
    It's something that politicians like to fearmonger about - there has even been a wonderful book about it (One Second After) - but I recall reading that actual EMP tests suggest that survivability of civilian electronics (e.g. most vehicles) will actually be quite good.

    Note that things will only become catastrophic enough to cause a population collapse if virtually all vehicles (esp. trucks) get knocked out. If it's "only" 90%, that should still be enough to haul around the basics such as food and fuel. Third World countries do with as little or less.

    Third World countries do with as little or less.

    Hmmm, I live in a third world country in S.E. Asia, and I don’t see a problem if Tel Aviv gets Russia, and the U.S. to “go at it”.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    That's perfectly natural.

    You'd be under Chinese suzerainty of course but that's probably inevitable this century anyway, and probably won't be that bad of a deal anyway.
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  124. For instance, out of Novorossiya’s eight oblasts, Donetsk (mining) and Kharkov (science, heavy industry) would be net contributors to the budget immediately or almost immediately. Donetsk has coal, and generated something like 25% of the Ukraine’s foreign currency earnings and as well as a disproportionate share of gov’t revenue.

    You’re dreaming again, Anatoly. Just to put Donbas back together again would cost somewhere in the neighbohood of $20 billion dollars. This is a major reason that neither Russia nor Ukraine are in any hurry to take responsibility for Donbas. And your dreams are ever more ones of the past, which is very strange for somebody who professes to have an avid interest in future trends. Coal is becomming more and more obsolete as an energy source (who is in any hurry to rebuild a dying economy?).

    Kharkov is the Ukraine’s second hi-tech/science city after Kiev, as well as a major industrial center. Odessa (main Ukrainian port), Zaporozhye (Motor Sich), Nikolaev (shipbuilding), and Dnepropetrovsk (industrial) would have started off as recipients but could have been expected to transition to net donors after a few years of convergence. Only Lugansk and Kherson would likely remain net recipients indefinitely.

    Another one of your half baked ideas. Even by your own estimates, taking the eastern half of Ukraine would be a difficult if not unclear operation. War in the eastern part would most assuredly involve all of Ukraine supported by the US and NATO (not directly, but with advisers and weapons), and would result in much devastation. If Donbas would cost $20 billion to restore, have you considered how much more all of Eastern Ukraine would cost to rebuild?…Perhaps $100 billion? Where’s the money going to come from? Not to mention additional sanctions and ‘a certain demographic highly hostile to it, especially if this project was to extend beyond Novorossiya.’ And I can’t imagine how you might think that it wouldn’t? And all for what? As if Russia is really in need of more ‘liebenstraum’??….

    And the crux of your piece is to suggest that Russia might possibly risk starting WWIII for more of Ukraine? This sounds really pretty stupid to me!

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    And the crux of your piece is to suggest that Russia might possibly risk starting WWIII for more of Ukraine? This sounds really pretty stupid to me!
     
    Well, the alternative to that - if the standoff there goes hot - is for Russia to be humiliated and retreat to stew in its own juices, isolated by the West and under increased and increasing sanctions anyway. Post-Crimea consensus probably gone, regime facing challenges from both liberal and pissed off nationalists, other ex-USSR states rushing to distance themselves from losers, etc.

    I am not advocating anything here, just describing the options that Putin will have to decide on.

    To some extent I am even glad I am not the one who has to take them and bear responsibility for their outcome.

    Just to put Donbas back together again would cost somewhere in the neighbohood of $20 billion dollars.
     
    Russia keeps the LDNR humming along with something like $1 billion worth of subsidies per year. Note that this is an unrecognized territory that has been shorn of many of its economic traditional economic links that exists under an atrocious legal regime - all problems that will go away.
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  125. @Thorfinnsson


    Can someone please explain to me why exactly Syria is worth a World War or even why Syria is worth any concessions in Ukraine?

    I mean, I am certainly not very fond of Assad and am in favor of the Syrian Kurds (who appear to be a relatively progressive bunch in spite of their low average IQs). However, I certainly don’t want Islamists and jihadists to seize control of a post-Assad Syria and engage in genocide there and I also certainly don’t want the conflict in Syria to spark a World War!
     
    I've never been able to understand this either.

    I think it's some weird pride thing on the part of the globalists.

    They're angry that the Assman dares to fight or something.


    : Do you believe that Tsarist Russia should have flooded the Baltic states with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians back when it controlled these territories? Basically, I am thinking of the Baltic states getting the northern Kazakhstan treatment back in the 19th and early 20th century so that Petrograd/St. Petersburg could have more security (after all, ethnic Balts were a potential security threat to the Russian Empire in wartime).
     
    The actions of the ethnic Balts as well as the Baltic German nobility suggests yes.

    Of course it's possible these problems were created by the Russification policy, as previously Baltic Germans had a long tradition of distinguished service to the Empire.

    Northern Kazakhstan was russian through and through from the start, and giving parts of it away is yet another travesty of USSR dissolution which will eventually be righted. Kazakhs would do well to remeber that without russians they would still be living in tents on the steppe and no, chinese will not treat them as anything more than a resource to be spent.

    But then again, they are steadily regressing to the tents state anyway.

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  126. Whatever the actual realities, you can bet this pessimistic assessment, of Russia’s inability to resist harder measures is shared by John Bolton and Mike Pompeo and they intend to see it implemented.

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  127. @Thorfinnsson
    Doomerist salesmen like Alex Jones also go on about this. Nothing against Alex Jones of whom I'm a big fan, but most doomerism is nonsense.

    Take cars and trucks for instance.

    The vast majority are made out of steel. This inhibits magnetic fields (generally).

    Below is a photo of an engine control unit made by Robert Bosch GmbH, the world's largest manufacturer of ECUs:

    http://cdn.bmwblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ECU_E46M3-BOSCH-MS40_Bosch_Motorsport_ECU_for_E46_M3_kit_ECU.jpg

    Surrounded in metal as well.

    The typical car is a rolling faraday cage. There have been cases of cars being directly struck by lightning and continuing to function.

    Cars & trucks which do get taken out by EMPs would not be out of service forever either. ECUs from warehouses would be installed, and if really necessary clever rednecks would jury rig cars into service with hand-made carburetors and throttles.

    Communications networks would also not be totally wiped out. Fiber optic lines for instance would not be taken out by EMP attacks, and many cellular and radio networks would survive. Remember these are already designed to survive lightning strikes.

    The biggest b.s. is how "the grid" would be taken out due to transformer construction. It is said these transformers have such long lead times that civilization would simply collapse before new ones could be built.

    The alleged constraints here are tight supply of grain-oriented electrical steel and high purity copper magnet wire.

    The truth is these are not needed to produce transformers...at all. You can make transformers out of pig iron and aluminum wire if you want. That's not done because it results in great efficiency losses. Nobody is going to care about that in the event of recovering from a nuclear war.

    I am sure you can go right down the line with all of these doomsday civilization collapse prophecies and find that they're all b.s.

    The only existential threat to industrial civilization is population replacement by Africans.

    The oft-repeated example comparing the trajectories of Hiroshima and Detroit since 1945 are illustrative.

    I am sure you can go right down the line with all of these doomsday civilization collapse prophecies and find that they’re all b.s.

    Your post encapsulates the conceit of modern civilisation, and not just in the West.

    Energy is required for all economic activity and the tremendous rise in material living standards over the past two centuries has been due to the increase in energy availablity.

    With the peaking of conventional oil resources in 2005 the world economy began to run into difficulties and is still in difficulties. Not surpising, given that there is 0.99 correlation between GDP growth and energy consumption growth.

    The difficulties have been masked to some extent by the rise of oil from unconventional sources such as fracking. However, the problem (aside from the environmental one) is that fracking requires a lot of energy to extract the energy. So, whereas the oil at Spindle Top, Oklahoma in 1901 produced a hundred times more energy than the energy used to extract it, the Energy Return on Investment (EROI) of fracking is maybe as low as 5: 1. Once you get to 1: 1 EROI the whole exercise becomes pointless. Similar considerations apply to deepwater oil and to the tar sands. The fact that we are relying on the tar sands tells you something about the world’s desperate energy plight, optimistic bs from the US administration notwithstanding.

    Since oil prices dropped in 2014 the financial plight of the fracking industry has become more pronounced. The companies have never made a profit – never – out of fracking and have only been kept going by the availaiblity of very low interest rate loans (another of the many gifts of QE) . While the fraction of operating cash flows (of fracking companies) devoted to loan debt servicing has jumped from 25% to 75% in just a few years it is little wonder that fracking companies have been slashing capital expenditure on significant items like exploration. This is a very real problem since fracking wells’ lifetimes are of the order of 5 years (as opposed to, say, the half a century of the Saudi Arabian Ghawar field’s production). A liquid fuels crisis is looming.

    Conventional economics treats energy as just another sector of the economy when in fact energy is the basis upon which all other economic activties are predicated. The idea (as Karlin posts above) that if just 10% of vehicles survived an EMP pulse that would be OK for delivery trucks and the like misses the point entirely ( I am used to Anatoly doing this). If you have little or no energy, how can you produce any stuff for delivery vehicles to deliver? How can you harvest the fields?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    there is 0.99 correlation between GDP growth and energy consumption growth
     
    But is it true? Then GDP is not a good number. The thing is, we’re better off per unit of energy than we were fifty years ago. Electronics and the internet are obvious examples, but even cars are better, more horsepower with less fuel consumption. (The latter could be untrue in the USA: cars there had a lot of horsepower in the 1960s. But I think even there cars have better fuel economy and so probably contribute more GDP per unit of fuel consumption.)

    So GDP cannot correlate that well with energy consumption, or else there’s a problem.
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  128. IMO an excellent and informed article, although I can’t see the Russian interest in the Baltics.

    To summarize, it seems to be saying that Russia saves face (and its economy) by abandoning Syria and Iran where it has no prospect of winning. The destruction of these two would proceed – giving the US/Israel hegemony over the Middle East and absolute control of oil, and other things being equal, remove risk to the US $ based global economy.

    However, other things aren’t equal, with the prospect of a Pyrrhic victory for the US. The Syrians and Iranians will resist, and the domestic political opposition in the US and Europe will be great (the public strongly oppose more ME wars in both places), with more $ Trillions in debt being added to the already almost unsustainable pile. There’s also the future open ended cost of somehow controlling on the ground a defeated Syria and Iran.

    From the Russian POV, they’ve abandoned the ME, and can maybe watch a US economic and social implosion.

    However, the Russians themselves could be due for “Regime Change”. Zionists are very hostile to Russia, and it’s also a major oil producer. This seems to be the key Russian calculation. Do they fight now in Syria/Iran using it as a nuclear trigger, or wait to see if the US implodes socially and economically.

    Logically they should pull out and wait. If the Zionists/US move to attack Russian territory then it’s still a nuclear exchange and most major Western and Russian cities disappear from the map, along with Israel, and the world becomes a more rural place.

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    • Replies: @Tsar Nicholas

    However, the Russians themselves could be due for “Regime Change”
     
    If, given the remarks of people like Nikki Haley ("We will never be friends with Russia . . we will keep slapping them around") and of Victoria Nuland and of Mike Pompeo ( We are ending our soft on Russia policy) together with the actions of the West (NATO expansion, endless sanctions etc), the Russians cannot see the existential threat from the West then maybe Russia does not deserve to continue as a nation.

    PS Surprise of the day. War in Syria has been opposed . . . by Sarah Palin! (There is more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repenteth than of ninety-nine righteous).
    , @S3
    Since Tucker Carlson is on record that America is only invested in Syria because of Israel,
    and since Russia needs good relations with America more than with Israel, why doesn't Putin just declare that the price for dead Russians won't be dead Americans but dead Israelis?
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  129. @SimplePseudonymicHandle
    The Saker being so much tiresome bluster, this was refreshing reading on Unz.

    That said: one wonders how it's possible that the US and Russia, at the highest levels, are not clear that the US and Russia must not fight.

    One hopes that if it's anything then it's a game of high-stakes chicken.

    And WTH? anyway with our government. First they gin it up with China in the S. China Sea, then with N.Korea - when that turns cold they gin it up with Iran, when that turns cold they gin it up with Russia.

    It's like a bunch of recovering alcoholics who have to gin up drama or else they don't feel like they're alive - only the kind of drama they can gin up can destroy nations and worlds.

    Our political and military leaders are nuts. This makes them very hard to deal with, especially since they’ve made noises about going nuclear if things don’t go their way.

    I grew up during the Cold War and even at the worst of times our political leaders back then weren’t anywhere as crazy as they are now. Even Reagan was a model of restraint compared to the loud mouth that currently resides at the WH.

    These SOB’s are quite capable of kicking over the proverbial table and starting shit that can’t be walked back as they have no one in the U.S. to tell them “stop it or we hang your sorry asses”.

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    • Replies: @SimplePseudonymicHandle
    Sadly - not in-the-writing/literary "sadly", but literally sadly - I completely agree and really don't have much to add to that.
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  130. @Miro23
    IMO an excellent and informed article, although I can't see the Russian interest in the Baltics.

    To summarize, it seems to be saying that Russia saves face (and its economy) by abandoning Syria and Iran where it has no prospect of winning. The destruction of these two would proceed - giving the US/Israel hegemony over the Middle East and absolute control of oil, and other things being equal, remove risk to the US $ based global economy.

    However, other things aren't equal, with the prospect of a Pyrrhic victory for the US. The Syrians and Iranians will resist, and the domestic political opposition in the US and Europe will be great (the public strongly oppose more ME wars in both places), with more $ Trillions in debt being added to the already almost unsustainable pile. There's also the future open ended cost of somehow controlling on the ground a defeated Syria and Iran.

    From the Russian POV, they've abandoned the ME, and can maybe watch a US economic and social implosion.

    However, the Russians themselves could be due for "Regime Change". Zionists are very hostile to Russia, and it's also a major oil producer. This seems to be the key Russian calculation. Do they fight now in Syria/Iran using it as a nuclear trigger, or wait to see if the US implodes socially and economically.

    Logically they should pull out and wait. If the Zionists/US move to attack Russian territory then it's still a nuclear exchange and most major Western and Russian cities disappear from the map, along with Israel, and the world becomes a more rural place.

    However, the Russians themselves could be due for “Regime Change”

    If, given the remarks of people like Nikki Haley (“We will never be friends with Russia . . we will keep slapping them around”) and of Victoria Nuland and of Mike Pompeo ( We are ending our soft on Russia policy) together with the actions of the West (NATO expansion, endless sanctions etc), the Russians cannot see the existential threat from the West then maybe Russia does not deserve to continue as a nation.

    PS Surprise of the day. War in Syria has been opposed . . . by Sarah Palin! (There is more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repenteth than of ninety-nine righteous).

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    When she was vice presidential candidate, there were fears about the possibility of her becoming president. It turns out that she’d have been the sanest US president since Bush the Elder.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    I am actually not surprised, I have always had a soft spot for Palin.

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/374452022847606784

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/382386639537840128
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  131. @sudden death
    "The Ukraine has no government, it has a junta that seized power in a coup. The coup was funded and directed by the US. Or to put another way, the Ukraine is a territory, where US-backed “moderate rebels” won. You only see a contradiction because you’re misinformed about events in the Ukraine."

    Leaving aside semantics, your "concerns" about invading countries and overthrowing governments on a whim goes out of the window as soon as you consider those governments illegitimate for any reason you may like. So what is any difference there from those who consider that Syrian government is just illegitimate for any reason they like too? :)

    The Ukranian government is illegitimate because Ukraine had a constitutional process for selecting its government. When the coup happened, that constitution was not followed, it was abandoned, and reasonably – terminated.

    It would be the same if any US citizen group decided to take Congress, the Executive and the Judiciary through a process that is outside of the US Constitution, and then enforce their own view of government on the whole population. Would 100% of the US citizenry agree to this? Would it be illegitimate for those to disagree with the change in the process of selection of representatives?

    The legitimacy of a government system is subject to that society’s choice. At no point, from Daraa at the beginning to now, was the Syrian government system legitimately threatened by its own citizenry – there were dissenting voices, and even some protests initially, but overall – the majority – considered it ok. Same as now, the majority of US citizens don’t want Sharia Law to be the legal system for the US.. some do, but not the majority.

    There is the current system of law for nations, international law. It has the UN Charter, and a bunch of treaties that most nations have signed. If a nation disregards these, how is it not exactly what John Adams said was not correct – a nation of people, not a nation of laws? Again, the vast majority support this system, at least the letter of the law is decent, if not the designated bodies (UN etc) that monitor them.

    The choice is between the absurdist who wishes to tear down the whole system because of some inefficiency, and the rationalist who wishes to fix the inefficiencies within the mostly functioning system.

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    • Replies: @sudden death

    The Ukranian government is illegitimate because Ukraine had a constitutional process for selecting its government. When the coup happened, that constitution was not followed, it was abandoned, and reasonably – terminated.
     
    If you really care or just pretend to care that much about following Ukrainian constitution you should also know that according to the same constitution the authority which is capable to say whether Ukrainian constitution was violated or not is Ukrainian consititutional court but not some commenters on the net :) IIRC Ukrainian consititutional court did not found any abandonment or termination of the constitution during those events, so that is just your wishful fantasies and nothing else.
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  132. @Tsar Nicholas

    However, the Russians themselves could be due for “Regime Change”
     
    If, given the remarks of people like Nikki Haley ("We will never be friends with Russia . . we will keep slapping them around") and of Victoria Nuland and of Mike Pompeo ( We are ending our soft on Russia policy) together with the actions of the West (NATO expansion, endless sanctions etc), the Russians cannot see the existential threat from the West then maybe Russia does not deserve to continue as a nation.

    PS Surprise of the day. War in Syria has been opposed . . . by Sarah Palin! (There is more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repenteth than of ninety-nine righteous).

    When she was vice presidential candidate, there were fears about the possibility of her becoming president. It turns out that she’d have been the sanest US president since Bush the Elder.

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    • Replies: @TT
    Whoever bcom Potus doesn't matter, they are front door salesman. Deep states akar Fed owners, bankers, MIC, Israelis …control everything. Obey or be assassinated/ impeached. Just look at the history.
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  133. @Miro23
    IMO an excellent and informed article, although I can't see the Russian interest in the Baltics.

    To summarize, it seems to be saying that Russia saves face (and its economy) by abandoning Syria and Iran where it has no prospect of winning. The destruction of these two would proceed - giving the US/Israel hegemony over the Middle East and absolute control of oil, and other things being equal, remove risk to the US $ based global economy.

    However, other things aren't equal, with the prospect of a Pyrrhic victory for the US. The Syrians and Iranians will resist, and the domestic political opposition in the US and Europe will be great (the public strongly oppose more ME wars in both places), with more $ Trillions in debt being added to the already almost unsustainable pile. There's also the future open ended cost of somehow controlling on the ground a defeated Syria and Iran.

    From the Russian POV, they've abandoned the ME, and can maybe watch a US economic and social implosion.

    However, the Russians themselves could be due for "Regime Change". Zionists are very hostile to Russia, and it's also a major oil producer. This seems to be the key Russian calculation. Do they fight now in Syria/Iran using it as a nuclear trigger, or wait to see if the US implodes socially and economically.

    Logically they should pull out and wait. If the Zionists/US move to attack Russian territory then it's still a nuclear exchange and most major Western and Russian cities disappear from the map, along with Israel, and the world becomes a more rural place.

    Since Tucker Carlson is on record that America is only invested in Syria because of Israel,
    and since Russia needs good relations with America more than with Israel, why doesn’t Putin just declare that the price for dead Russians won’t be dead Americans but dead Israelis?

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  134. @Tsar Nicholas

    I am sure you can go right down the line with all of these doomsday civilization collapse prophecies and find that they’re all b.s.
     
    Your post encapsulates the conceit of modern civilisation, and not just in the West.

    Energy is required for all economic activity and the tremendous rise in material living standards over the past two centuries has been due to the increase in energy availablity.

    With the peaking of conventional oil resources in 2005 the world economy began to run into difficulties and is still in difficulties. Not surpising, given that there is 0.99 correlation between GDP growth and energy consumption growth.

    The difficulties have been masked to some extent by the rise of oil from unconventional sources such as fracking. However, the problem (aside from the environmental one) is that fracking requires a lot of energy to extract the energy. So, whereas the oil at Spindle Top, Oklahoma in 1901 produced a hundred times more energy than the energy used to extract it, the Energy Return on Investment (EROI) of fracking is maybe as low as 5: 1. Once you get to 1: 1 EROI the whole exercise becomes pointless. Similar considerations apply to deepwater oil and to the tar sands. The fact that we are relying on the tar sands tells you something about the world's desperate energy plight, optimistic bs from the US administration notwithstanding.

    Since oil prices dropped in 2014 the financial plight of the fracking industry has become more pronounced. The companies have never made a profit - never - out of fracking and have only been kept going by the availaiblity of very low interest rate loans (another of the many gifts of QE) . While the fraction of operating cash flows (of fracking companies) devoted to loan debt servicing has jumped from 25% to 75% in just a few years it is little wonder that fracking companies have been slashing capital expenditure on significant items like exploration. This is a very real problem since fracking wells' lifetimes are of the order of 5 years (as opposed to, say, the half a century of the Saudi Arabian Ghawar field's production). A liquid fuels crisis is looming.

    Conventional economics treats energy as just another sector of the economy when in fact energy is the basis upon which all other economic activties are predicated. The idea (as Karlin posts above) that if just 10% of vehicles survived an EMP pulse that would be OK for delivery trucks and the like misses the point entirely ( I am used to Anatoly doing this). If you have little or no energy, how can you produce any stuff for delivery vehicles to deliver? How can you harvest the fields?

    there is 0.99 correlation between GDP growth and energy consumption growth

    But is it true? Then GDP is not a good number. The thing is, we’re better off per unit of energy than we were fifty years ago. Electronics and the internet are obvious examples, but even cars are better, more horsepower with less fuel consumption. (The latter could be untrue in the USA: cars there had a lot of horsepower in the 1960s. But I think even there cars have better fuel economy and so probably contribute more GDP per unit of fuel consumption.)

    So GDP cannot correlate that well with energy consumption, or else there’s a problem.

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    • Replies: @Tsar Nicholas
    I have my own difficulties with GDP. For example, a hurricane that wipes out a city is good for GDP because it measures only the post-disaster rebuilding.

    However, the decline in EROI offers a very good explanation for the continuing stagnation and decline of living standards of most people in countries like the US and Great Britain.

    Even if the correlation between the two variables can be reduced to less than 0.99 there will come a point at which real material production becomes difficult (for inability, for example, to complete supply chains because you can't afford to ship components half way around the planet) or just impossible.

    We can't see this in the West because we assume there's no material basis for reality. Everything is a social construct and we manufacture our own reality - that's the basis of our way of thinking, Left and Right.

    I leave you with the cautionary tale of two economists who, at 9am find themselves trapped in a cellar without a key or realistic hope of rescue and no food or water. At 11.30am one of the economists expresses his discomfort and anxiety because of hunger and thirst.

    "Cheer up!" is the reply from the other economist. "Don't you realise that our demand will eventually create its own supply of sandwiches and water?"

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  135. Just this morning Erdogan’s adviser explained on RT that Trump’s war rhetoric is just for domestic consumption.
    The alliance Russia, Turkey Syria has beaten the USA.
    I hope he’s right.

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  136. @Daniel Chieh

    The most it can do is buy a bit of extra time for the Kremlin elites to descend into the D6 secret subway system and spirit themselves off to remote control bunkers such as the one at Mount Yamantau.
     
    I have been thinking about this for awhile, actually. What are the preparations that Russia had for the presumed nuclear apocalypse? Was there a doctrine of second strike? I heard of the Dead Hand system(which seemed to automate retaliation?); was the idea of remote control bunkers such as you mentioned an additional support to ensure that if, for example, traditional nuclear winter was triggered, retaliation would continue until all such bunkers were destroyed by enemy action and/or all weaponry exhausted?

    It’s been a while since I binge read about this, but yes, Dead Hand – or Perimeter as it was formally called – was a system developed in the late Soviet Union. If sensors located throughout the Soviet Union detected that the country had been the victim of a nuclear strike, and no orders were being received from commanding authorities (likely because they had fallen to an American decapitating strike), the system would launch special rockets that would transmit launch orders/codes to the country’s surviving nuclear forces while in flight. Perimeter presumably still exists today, but is apparently dormant most of the time, only getting switched on during periods of high tension.

    Mount Yamantau is probably the rough equivalent of Mount Cheyenne (probably because it is much more shrouded in secrecy). Presumably it is a wartime command center and a potential refuge for top Kremlin/military officials and their families.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    As far as I know, quite sensibly the Dead Hand was not fully automated. A group of relatively high-ranking officers are stationed there and would be warned by the fully automatic system that a nuclear attack has just taken place. They would have some time to try to verify the information, for which they’d have a number of tools. Then they’d decide to launch a few rockets which would send launch signals to any remaining nuclear units.
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  137. @Felix Keverich
    This is bigger than Syria. We're talking about rules of international order here. We want the USA to accept some limits on its behavior, you can't just invade countries and overthrow governments on a whim.

    For the first time in a long time US is being forced to consider the costs of its agressive foreign policy. Mattis said it himself today: the reason why USA is not bombing Assad already is because of a risk of "uncontrolled escalation" in the region, i.e. they are scared that Russia will kick their ass. Trump also apprears to have backtracked today.

    “This is bigger than Syria. We’re talking about rules of international order here”
    Absolutely.
    Really, what options does Russia have: either bend over or draw lines in the sand?
    Look at the Western provocations over the last 10 or so years: Chechna, Georgia, Ukraine, downed airliners, sanctions, sanctions, sanctions, (Iraq, Libyia) Syria, alleged chemical attacks, all hyped to the point you’d think Russia guilty of crucifying you-know-who.
    If Russia is guilty of anything it is grossly under estimating the pathological nature of Western politics. At least the Stavka has been initiated.
    As an aside, I am increasingly disappointed in China. Do they not see that Russia is merely the first course ? THEY are the main meal. Its about time they asserted themselves: old story – hang together, or be hanged alone.

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    • Replies: @c matt
    There is reason Asians have the highest IQ on the planet. China is simply playing the "let's you and him fight" card. Even if they are the "main course", by the time the US gorges itself on a Russian appetizer, it will be too weak to take on a China that has only grown stronger between courses (even if not in absolute terms, at least relatively).
    , @Gleimhart
    By all means, cheer for the Chinese.
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  138. Impressive analysis quantitatively.

    War is obsolete, whether the Western elites realize it, regardless of public stances, will be a trade-of between the psychology of greed and the psychology of fear for their own skin.

    Probably, a few more rounds of trade and mining by China and Russia, might balance Western elites into greed rather then fear. “Angst” is a potent driver though!

    It is evident, that either the West declines, Western corporate dominance according to “Jewish” models of loyalty and competence, wanes, when somehow “military capitalism” is not engaged as a last resort. There cannot be a status quo, our global economical system is religious, there can only be one single god.

    The world has entered a new phase, where the obvious loser now is the global human masses, and confining them, then reducing them by any means, to make sense as to the global quality of life of the remains. There is no way the real problems of our moment in history, as population density and total numbers, resource exhaustion, toxicity, will not lead to crisis after crisis of elite also affecting issues as migrations, waste lands, resource exhaustion, mere breathing space, the control of obsolete “workers”, and waste cycles of consumption.

    The obvious choice will be probably wastefull and laughable power games till drop dead, rather then courage to envision the globe in history abject new ways. Thus, although obsolete as war can be, including local of-shore and nuclear, our Western “elites” do they realise that yet, or is it gut feeling that will prevail?

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  139. US secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo has promised that he will be willing to break from President Donald Trump if necessary, saying he will take a tough line on Russia and wants to “fix” the Iran nuclear deal.

    Mr Pompeo, who is currently director of the CIA, blamed tensions between Moscow and Washington on Russia’s “bad behaviour” and said he would support more American sanctions against Russia.

    “[Russian President] Vladimir Putin has not yet received the message sufficiently,” Mr Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his relatively smooth confirmation hearing.

    Mr Pompeo also appeared to be the first US official to publicly confirm that US forces had killed hundreds of Russians in Syria in February.

    “In Syria, now, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match,” he said.

    “A couple hundred Russians were killed.”

    Mr Pompeo said Russia’s push into Ukraine and other countries needed to be curbed.

    “We need to push back in each place and in every vector,” Mr Pompeo said.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-13/trump-nominee-pompeo-pledges-to-be-tough-on-russia/9652198

    When Clinton’s former running mate Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) asked if the US should back off from regime change and democracy promotion because Russia or another country might feel justified to engage in the same policies, Pompeo responded with a variant of “it’s different when we do it.”

    This is a unique, exceptional country,” he said. “Russia is unique, but not exceptional.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/423982-pompeo-russia-exceptional-hardline/

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Mr Pompeo also appeared to be the first US official to publicly confirm that US forces had killed hundreds of Russians in Syria in February.
     
    Regardless of whether the true number of Russians was lower or whether they were not really Russian soldiers, it seems to confirm the view of those of us who argued that the lack of an immediate forceful Russian response would be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
    , @Randal

    Mr Pompeo also appeared to be the first US official to publicly confirm that US forces had killed hundreds of Russians in Syria in February.
     
    Is there any good reason to believe it just because it comes from the mouth of the likes of Pompeo? The question answers itself. After all, if that were the standard we use, what about all the senior US liars who have blithely announced that "there was a gas attack by Assad" in relation to several highly dubious alleged incidents over the past couple of years? Pompeo was transparently trying to justify the policy of aggressive confrontation he seeks and is no better in this regard than the likes of Bolton.

    Just more empty jingoist words from an empty jingoist.

    I'll stick with the only plausible actual direct investigation report I've seen about the incident:

    The Truth About the Russian Deaths in Syria

    When Clinton’s former running mate Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) asked if the US should back off from regime change and democracy promotion because Russia or another country might feel justified to engage in the same policies, Pompeo responded with a variant of “it’s different when we do it.”

    “This is a unique, exceptional country,” he said. “Russia is unique, but not exceptional.”
     

    Pretty much tells you all you need to know about Pompeo.
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  140. @Anatoly Karlin
    It's been a while since I binge read about this, but yes, Dead Hand - or Perimeter as it was formally called - was a system developed in the late Soviet Union. If sensors located throughout the Soviet Union detected that the country had been the victim of a nuclear strike, and no orders were being received from commanding authorities (likely because they had fallen to an American decapitating strike), the system would launch special rockets that would transmit launch orders/codes to the country's surviving nuclear forces while in flight. Perimeter presumably still exists today, but is apparently dormant most of the time, only getting switched on during periods of high tension.

    Mount Yamantau is probably the rough equivalent of Mount Cheyenne (probably because it is much more shrouded in secrecy). Presumably it is a wartime command center and a potential refuge for top Kremlin/military officials and their families.

    As far as I know, quite sensibly the Dead Hand was not fully automated. A group of relatively high-ranking officers are stationed there and would be warned by the fully automatic system that a nuclear attack has just taken place. They would have some time to try to verify the information, for which they’d have a number of tools. Then they’d decide to launch a few rockets which would send launch signals to any remaining nuclear units.

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  141. The independence of Europe is truly awe-inspiring. Two examples in just the past 24 hours:

    Progress in Iran deal talks, but Trump stance uncertain

    WASHINGTON/PARIS (Reuters) – European officials are making headway toward an agreement to address U.S. concerns about the Iran nuclear deal, a European diplomat said on Thursday, but a second diplomat said it was unclear if U.S. President Donald Trump would embrace their work.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-diplomat/progress-in-iran-deal-talks-but-trump-stance-uncertain-idUSKBN1HJ38G

    EU extends Iran human rights sanctions by a year

    http://www.dw.com/en/eu-extends-iran-human-rights-sanctions-by-a-year/a-43361971

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  142. @reiner Tor
    Anatoly, you forgot to continue how the war was going to unfold. You only described the beginning, the nuclear exchange, and then talk about how society would survive.

    But it means that the war would continue. Or do you think there would be an immediate ceasefire?

    Also, I like the idea of taking out carriers with ICBMs. The Russian command should do that if it comes to a full nuclear exchange, so that the US Navy is taken out in its entirety. That’s important for the continuation of the war effort after the nuclear exchange.

    This is really far too difficult to predict.

    In most fiction, nuclear war is immediately followed by total Mad Max style apocalypse or even extinction, which is very inaccurate.

    Another possibility:

    [MORE]

    Had everything managed to remain conventional to this point, it is here we see the point at which the survival of civilization as we know it hangs in the balance. The temptation on the American president would be enormous to start wiping out these gargantuan Soviet armies with the equally vast American nuclear arsenal. Equally, the temptation on the Soviet leadership would be substantial to trade queens with her great adversary, through counterforce first strike on American nuclear forces. Were the US to strike tactically against the Soviet invasion force, escalation to countervalue strikes (against economic and population centers), was Soviet retaliatory doctrine itself, and the entire war would enter a new phase of global mass murder, as the Americans inevitably retaliate when their cities are vaporized by Russian rocketry.

    In the post-nuclear novel and movie, this is the point at which World War III ends and we are all reduced to wearing bearskins and roaming around stateless post-technological deserts. But the reality was probably a substantially worse world. If anything, disaster and mass murder tends to increase the authority of the state over populations, not collapse it. Was the power of the Nazi state more or less complete when her cities were smoldering ruins? In such situations people are rendered completely dependent on even a damaged state, when all other sources of power have been disrupted or destroyed…and in our scenario here, these are states which would not be inclined to give up the war having already lost so much. As the pre-war nuclear stockpiles are expended (mostly canceling each other out, rather than falling on cities), much of the population of both the United States and the Soviet Union would survive. Particularly if the build-up was a conventional escalation, allowing for the inevitable panic evacuation of dense urban areas.

    Therefore if you want a true retrofuturist nightmare-scape, imagine a nuclear World War III, but one in which after the horrendous nuclear exchange is largely over, you haven’t the saving grace of a desolate but free world and the end of the war. Imagine suffering a nuclear attack and yet the war going on…in a newly mass mobilized and utterly militarized and depopulating society….potentially for years, even decades.

    OTOH, the situation today is not quite comparable, because there was an overriding ideological component to the Cold War. Moreover, with much of the biggest cities – and the country’s elites with them – destroyed, there would surely be a general disintegration of state authority, with the state either (1) splintering apart as localities take control, or (2) the passing of effective political power to the military (ironically the institution that might well best survive a nuclear war, because many of them will not be in big cities, in bunkers, etc).

    I would think that the surviving citizenry will not be okay with transitioning from a nuclear war straight to a total war for the sake of Damascus or Riga or whatever. A totalitarian regime might be able to pull it off, but this doesn’t apply here; indeed, establishing one in the post nuclear war aftermath would be difficult, since a large percentage of the mid-level bureaucrats would be dead, and because the legitimacy of the state that had led the country to such a disaster might well be dead too.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I personally think that the states would move to totalitarian levels of control. The media and press would come under totalitarian level government control, and so the population would believe that the other side was responsible for the war. This would make them both angry and frightened of an enemy victory, and so more willing to sacrifice for war. The military grabbing power would be a possibility, though for example Trump would also acquire near dictatorial powers. Politically he’d be stronger than ever. So maybe he’d just go on to become the unironic God-Emperor?

    In any of those scenarios, I wouldn’t expect the war to end quickly.
    , @Tsar Nicholas
    A doubtful possibility, very doubtful.

    Readers of the Unz Review tend to discount the significance of ecological collapse and its implications for the human race. In that respect they are an analogue of those on the Left who think gender is not related to biology.

    We are already undergoing what has been referred to as a "biodiversity crisis." This very real diversity problem should not be confused with the liberal and SJW obsession with racial, ethnic, linguistic, gender and sexuality quotas. The web of life is exactly that - a web with the biosphere's functioning highly dependent on a complex interaction between numerous organisms, both macro and micro, and you mess with that interplay at your peril.

    Humans don't grow food in a vacuum. Aside from the huge amounts of fossil fuels that we use to keep agrictural output at a level high enough to feed the world, we rely on living organisms, such as insects. Not just pollinators but a whole variety, And yet it looks like 80% of the world's insects have disappeared since 1989.

    The first inkling of this was people who drive noticing the disappearance of insect splats from their car windshields over the decades. Then a shocking peer reviewed paper published in October last year, charting the 76% decline of flying insect biomass in protected areas of Germany over the period 1989-2016.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that insects will die in a nuclear war, along with most other creatures. Contrary to popular myth it's not likely that cockroaches are going to inherit the earth. The work of biologists like Timothy Mousseau at Chernobyl and Fukushima suggests that short life span creatures like insects display genetic abnormalities much quicker than longer lived ones like mammals. Put simply, without insects we will not have food.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/27/insect-decimation-upstages-global-warming/
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  143. This is a totally lopsided match

    Is it? There wasn’t a single war in all of human history that was won by military technology.

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  144. @reiner Tor

    there is 0.99 correlation between GDP growth and energy consumption growth
     
    But is it true? Then GDP is not a good number. The thing is, we’re better off per unit of energy than we were fifty years ago. Electronics and the internet are obvious examples, but even cars are better, more horsepower with less fuel consumption. (The latter could be untrue in the USA: cars there had a lot of horsepower in the 1960s. But I think even there cars have better fuel economy and so probably contribute more GDP per unit of fuel consumption.)

    So GDP cannot correlate that well with energy consumption, or else there’s a problem.

    I have my own difficulties with GDP. For example, a hurricane that wipes out a city is good for GDP because it measures only the post-disaster rebuilding.

    However, the decline in EROI offers a very good explanation for the continuing stagnation and decline of living standards of most people in countries like the US and Great Britain.

    Even if the correlation between the two variables can be reduced to less than 0.99 there will come a point at which real material production becomes difficult (for inability, for example, to complete supply chains because you can’t afford to ship components half way around the planet) or just impossible.

    We can’t see this in the West because we assume there’s no material basis for reality. Everything is a social construct and we manufacture our own reality – that’s the basis of our way of thinking, Left and Right.

    I leave you with the cautionary tale of two economists who, at 9am find themselves trapped in a cellar without a key or realistic hope of rescue and no food or water. At 11.30am one of the economists expresses his discomfort and anxiety because of hunger and thirst.

    “Cheer up!” is the reply from the other economist. “Don’t you realise that our demand will eventually create its own supply of sandwiches and water?”

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    • LOL: utu
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  145. Anatoly, your years spent in the US did not apparently avail you of a new understanding into the mindset of the globalist elite, in particular their collective psychic characteristics, or the psychic conditions of American society overall. Pardon my directness, but your views on the fate of civilizations obviously carried a heavy Silicon Valley tint.

    We all know the limitation of Russia with respect to its economy, its high tech sector, its financial markets, its conventional arms, its units in Syria. You have revealed no news in this long article.

    Indeed, why not pack up and go home then. Bow your heads, kowtow to the ground. Concentrate on structural reform, high tech, give back Crimea. Revert to Medvedev, or better, to Gorbachev. We will disband the Donbas militia. Send their kids to study computer in California. Russia will be a normal country, a small European country, a big Lithuania. What is pride? Nothing. We bother no one. No one bothers us.

    I am sure Mr. Chubais could not agree more with you.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    You seemingly have a talent for misunderstanding and misrepresenting the main point of an article. I’m thinking of how you could use this talent for anything useful. Can’t think of anything, though.
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  146. @for-the-record

    US secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo has promised that he will be willing to break from President Donald Trump if necessary, saying he will take a tough line on Russia and wants to "fix" the Iran nuclear deal.

    Mr Pompeo, who is currently director of the CIA, blamed tensions between Moscow and Washington on Russia's "bad behaviour" and said he would support more American sanctions against Russia.

    "[Russian President] Vladimir Putin has not yet received the message sufficiently," Mr Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his relatively smooth confirmation hearing.

    Mr Pompeo also appeared to be the first US official to publicly confirm that US forces had killed hundreds of Russians in Syria in February.

    "In Syria, now, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match," he said.

    "A couple hundred Russians were killed."

    Mr Pompeo said Russia's push into Ukraine and other countries needed to be curbed.

    "We need to push back in each place and in every vector," Mr Pompeo said.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-13/trump-nominee-pompeo-pledges-to-be-tough-on-russia/9652198
     


    When Clinton’s former running mate Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) asked if the US should back off from regime change and democracy promotion because Russia or another country might feel justified to engage in the same policies, Pompeo responded with a variant of “it’s different when we do it.”

    This is a unique, exceptional country,” he said. “Russia is unique, but not exceptional.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/423982-pompeo-russia-exceptional-hardline/

     

    Mr Pompeo also appeared to be the first US official to publicly confirm that US forces had killed hundreds of Russians in Syria in February.

    Regardless of whether the true number of Russians was lower or whether they were not really Russian soldiers, it seems to confirm the view of those of us who argued that the lack of an immediate forceful Russian response would be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    it seems to confirm the view of those of us who argued that the lack of an immediate forceful Russian response would be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

    And if the Russians are perceived to have "given in" by letting the US launch an attack, unimpeded, it will be the end of any hope that aggressive US action can be curtailed in the future (notably, Iran).

    There is a certain asymmetry here. An attack on Estonia is an attack on the US (Nato Article 5), yet the US and Israel can attack Syria with impunity, so long as Russian forces are not put at risk. Putin is too cautious (or sensible if you prefer), but it would be interesting to see what would happen if Russia announced an "Article 5" arrangement with Syria and Iran.
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  147. @Randal
    Interesting poll results, in part encouraging and in part unsurprisingly discouraging:

    Fewer than a quarter of Britons (22%) say they would support these attacks, with almost twice as many opposing (43%).
    ....
    This is despite the fact that the majority of Britons (61%) believe that the Syrian government or their allies probably did carry out a chemical attack. Only 10% think that either there probably wasn’t a chemical weapons attack or that something else happened. The remaining 29% said that they don’t know.
    ....
    The question on missile strikes was one of several on possible interventions we tested this time around (or equivalent to show we’re back to talking about current stats). Options to send in British and allied troops to either protect civilians or depose President Bashar al-Assad see even higher levels of opposition (50% for the former, 51% for the latter).

    However there is majority support for the enforcement of a no fly zone over Syria, with six in ten (60%) saying they would back such a measure and less than one in ten (9%) opposed.
     
    Even though most Britons believe a chemical attack has been perpetrated, only 22% of Britons would support a cruise missile attack against the Syrian military
    [1600 adults, questioned 10th/11th April]

    Rather bizarre when you consider that "enforcing a no fly zone" would be a dramatically more provocative policy choice than "launching cruise missile strikes against Syrian military targets".

    As we have seen in past research, such as when we last looked into RAF strikes against ISIS back in 2015, there is a dramatic gender gap. Only 14% of women support missile attacks, with 47% opposed. Amongst men those figures are 31% and 40% respectively.
     
    And here's the encouraging bit for the Israeli/jewish lobby advocates amongst us, showing how easy such opinion is to manipulate:

    In the past we have seen support for foreign interventions fluctuate as events develop. A good example of this is when YouGov tracked public opinion towards RAF strikes against ISIS in Syria during 2014 and 2015. At the end of August 2014 the numbers were finely balanced, with 37% in support and 37% opposed. Just a week later, after the release of a video in which an Israeli-American journalist was beheaded, support jumped up to 48%. Support then peaked at 60% in September 2015
     

    I read a survey recently in which 87% of western respondents agreed Israel should be bombed, invaded & reconstituted as a non apartheid, democratic State…oh, damn, it was only a day dream. Sorry to get people’s hopes up.

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  148. @songbird
    Big question: do you nuke a place like Detroit?

    I wouldn't, but I don't know if they ever remove target cities. Probably not.

    Here’s a question: if you nuked Detroit would the rest of the US notice ?
    (Its one way to clean up the accounts: it would be “writing (righting) off debts”)

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  149. @Anatoly Karlin
    This is really far too difficult to predict.

    In most fiction, nuclear war is immediately followed by total Mad Max style apocalypse or even extinction, which is very inaccurate.

    Another possibility:


    Had everything managed to remain conventional to this point, it is here we see the point at which the survival of civilization as we know it hangs in the balance. The temptation on the American president would be enormous to start wiping out these gargantuan Soviet armies with the equally vast American nuclear arsenal. Equally, the temptation on the Soviet leadership would be substantial to trade queens with her great adversary, through counterforce first strike on American nuclear forces. Were the US to strike tactically against the Soviet invasion force, escalation to countervalue strikes (against economic and population centers), was Soviet retaliatory doctrine itself, and the entire war would enter a new phase of global mass murder, as the Americans inevitably retaliate when their cities are vaporized by Russian rocketry.

    In the post-nuclear novel and movie, this is the point at which World War III ends and we are all reduced to wearing bearskins and roaming around stateless post-technological deserts. But the reality was probably a substantially worse world. If anything, disaster and mass murder tends to increase the authority of the state over populations, not collapse it. Was the power of the Nazi state more or less complete when her cities were smoldering ruins? In such situations people are rendered completely dependent on even a damaged state, when all other sources of power have been disrupted or destroyed…and in our scenario here, these are states which would not be inclined to give up the war having already lost so much. As the pre-war nuclear stockpiles are expended (mostly canceling each other out, rather than falling on cities), much of the population of both the United States and the Soviet Union would survive. Particularly if the build-up was a conventional escalation, allowing for the inevitable panic evacuation of dense urban areas.

    Therefore if you want a true retrofuturist nightmare-scape, imagine a nuclear World War III, but one in which after the horrendous nuclear exchange is largely over, you haven’t the saving grace of a desolate but free world and the end of the war. Imagine suffering a nuclear attack and yet the war going on…in a newly mass mobilized and utterly militarized and depopulating society….potentially for years, even decades.
     
    OTOH, the situation today is not quite comparable, because there was an overriding ideological component to the Cold War. Moreover, with much of the biggest cities - and the country's elites with them - destroyed, there would surely be a general disintegration of state authority, with the state either (1) splintering apart as localities take control, or (2) the passing of effective political power to the military (ironically the institution that might well best survive a nuclear war, because many of them will not be in big cities, in bunkers, etc).

    I would think that the surviving citizenry will not be okay with transitioning from a nuclear war straight to a total war for the sake of Damascus or Riga or whatever. A totalitarian regime might be able to pull it off, but this doesn't apply here; indeed, establishing one in the post nuclear war aftermath would be difficult, since a large percentage of the mid-level bureaucrats would be dead, and because the legitimacy of the state that had led the country to such a disaster might well be dead too.

    I personally think that the states would move to totalitarian levels of control. The media and press would come under totalitarian level government control, and so the population would believe that the other side was responsible for the war. This would make them both angry and frightened of an enemy victory, and so more willing to sacrifice for war. The military grabbing power would be a possibility, though for example Trump would also acquire near dictatorial powers. Politically he’d be stronger than ever. So maybe he’d just go on to become the unironic God-Emperor?

    In any of those scenarios, I wouldn’t expect the war to end quickly.

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  150. Maybe someone could explain this to me?

    If they were so desperate to build their gas pipline from quatar why dont they just by pass syria i.e though SA and up the red sea?

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  151. @Kimppis
    OK, so the headline is maybe a little misleading, but this is welcome news regardless:

    In surprise move, China to mount live-fire navy drills in Taiwan Strait ‘in show of support for Russia over Syria’

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2141505/surprise-move-china-mount-live-fire-navy-drills-taiwan

    This is a good and encouraging development.

    Also a good rejoinder to that The Faker troll who infests The Saker’s blog with his claims that China is rolling over for the US.

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  152. This is Michael D. Weiss so take it for what it’s worth but if true Macron is an unhinged maniac.

    There seems to be a struggle in the White House between Mattis (who presumably wants a limited strike presumably along the lines of Shayrat 2017) and Bolton (who wants something much more extensive).

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  153. @Китайский дурак
    Anatoly, your years spent in the US did not apparently avail you of a new understanding into the mindset of the globalist elite, in particular their collective psychic characteristics, or the psychic conditions of American society overall. Pardon my directness, but your views on the fate of civilizations obviously carried a heavy Silicon Valley tint.

    We all know the limitation of Russia with respect to its economy, its high tech sector, its financial markets, its conventional arms, its units in Syria. You have revealed no news in this long article.

    Indeed, why not pack up and go home then. Bow your heads, kowtow to the ground. Concentrate on structural reform, high tech, give back Crimea. Revert to Medvedev, or better, to Gorbachev. We will disband the Donbas militia. Send their kids to study computer in California. Russia will be a normal country, a small European country, a big Lithuania. What is pride? Nothing. We bother no one. No one bothers us.

    I am sure Mr. Chubais could not agree more with you.

    You seemingly have a talent for misunderstanding and misrepresenting the main point of an article. I’m thinking of how you could use this talent for anything useful. Can’t think of anything, though.

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  154. @Niccolo Salo
    Had to give up on commenting on Russia articles at the Guardian since my comments would barely survive more than ten minutes even when on my best behaviour. The strong arm moderation began about four years ago IIRC.

    LOL.

    I was banned at The Guardian in the early 2010s when I correctly pointed out that Luke Harding is a plagiarist.

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    I got banned and a threatening email from Conservative Home this week. I think given the articles and links they are an Israeli outfit masquerading as a British political website.
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  155. FB says:

    Well…this has to be the most asinine ‘article’ I have yet seen on this website…

    This author somehow assumes he has the technical creds to state as flat fact that Russia’s ‘tiny’ and supposedly weak contingent in Syria would without any doubt be quickly overwhelmed…

    If I were to ask this author…just as an exercise in demonstrative logic…if he could solve even an elementary Newtonian physics problem along the lines of…

    ‘…if I hurl a rock into the air at speed x and angle y…how long before the rock hits the ground…and how fast will it be going when it hits..?

    I might as well ask my cat…

    Yet he somehow has screwed into his tiny head that he can talk authoritatively…not about hurling mere rocks…but about missiles…ships…and aircraft…

    It boggles the mind…

    For the benefit of some readers here who have demonstrated at least some basic logic on the matter …let us look at the details of what is involved here…

    The point of this discussion will be to examine technical details involving the kinds of weapons capabilities that might figure into this confrontation…as well as examining some credible historical analysis of recent US-Nato assaults of this type…

    Let’s assume that the US along with Britain and France decides to launch a massive barrage of cruise missiles from ships, submarines and aircraft from standoff range…ie out of range of Russian long range surface to air missiles…such as the S400 which everyone talks about…but which is only of peripheral importance to this war scenario…[more on that later]

    What is the best defense against such an assault…?

    Is it to try to knock down those missiles with Russia’s air defense rockets…thereby depleting their stock of munitions [which are intended for different kinds of targets anyway]…?

    Or is it to hit those ships, subs and airfields from which the attack is coming…and thereby neutralize the threat as quickly as possible..?

    The answer is quite obvious…perhaps even to someone as lacking in actual knowledge as this ‘author’…

    One commenter early on in this thread mentioned the use of Russian long range bombers which have for decades been designed for the very mission of taking out US carrier groups…

    A little background here…the Russian answer to the devastating power and long distance force projection of the USN carrier groups was asymmetrical…ie not to field their own such massive naval might…but to counter them with effective weapons that could quickly neutralize them…

    One such weapon system is the Tu22M long range, supersonic bomber carrying ship killer missiles…

    Let’s look at what this means in nuts and bolts…

    ‘…The Soviet Navy alone had more than 10 Tu-22M3 regiments organized with five air divisions. The Soviet Air Force had about the same number of the bombers.

    Each regiment comprised 20 Tu-22Ms capable of hauling 40 or 60 Kh-22 missiles depending on the range to the target, according to Russian Navy historian Dmitry Boltenkov.

    A primary target for the Tu-22M3s were US Navy aircraft carrier strike groups.

    A salvo by a Tu-22M3 regiment would guarantee the elimination of the carrier itself and all of her escorts – cruisers, destroyers and guided missile frigates…’

    Let’s drill down a bit and explore the capabilities of this weapon system…the Raduga Kh22 anti-ship cruise missile has been in service since 1962…

    It is a 13,000 lb bruiser that reaches a top speed of Mach 4.6 [nearly six times as fast as a Tomahawk]…and has a 600 km range…

    The Tu22M which has a maximum takeoff weight of 140 tons …nearly twice the weight of a Boeing 737…can carry three of these missiles…

    A single regiment of 20 aircraft even carrying two missiles each [trading payload for fuel for extra range]…means 40 such missiles against a carrier battle group…

    The missile carries a 1,000 kg shaped charge warhead…more than twice the weight of a Tomahawk warhead…[the kinetic energy at impact would be 36 times greater than that of a T-hawk...as kinetic energy increases by the square of speed...]

    ‘…Soviet Tests showed that a Kh-22MA equipped with 1,000 kg [2,205 lb] RDX warhead and with an approach speed of 800 m/s [Mach 2.4], used against an aircraft carrier, will make a 22 m^2 [240 sq ft] hole, and the warhead’s cumulative jet will burn through internal ship compartments up to a depth of 12 m [40 ft]…’

    Here’s an interesting one from the photo album…

    That’s Adm Charles Larson former commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet trying out the driver’s seat of the Tu22M…

    We note that the Kh22 has since been supplanted by the Kh32 with 1,000 km range…and a speed of Mach 5…[nearly 7 times that of the T-hawk...]

    The flight distance from Beslan airfield to Damascus is 1,293 km…

    That’s about an hour dash for the supersonic Tu22M which has a top speed of Mach 1.9 [2.050 km/hr]…and a range of 6,800 km…

    This strike force would be accompanied by <a title=”"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-35#Specifications_(Su-35S)Sukhoi&#8221; href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-35#Specifications_(Su-35S)Sukhoi Flanker air superiority fighters which have a combat radius of 1,500 km…by far the longest legs of any fighter in the world…more than twice that of the USN F/A 18 Super Hornet with its combat radius of 722 km…

    There are also MiG29s at the Russian 3624th Air Base in Armenia…flight distance to Damascus 1,041 km…that’s a half hour hop for the supersonic jets…

    With the 1,000 km range of the Kh32…the big Tupolev bombers would hardly need to get too far away from Russia’s shores before launching…

    There is hardly any need to even think about the newly announced Mach 10, 2000 km range Kinzhal…launched by the Mach 2.8 MiG31…although it might be fun to see it in action if the opportunity presents itself…

    This is the punch that the opponent packs…and which this ‘author’ is blissfully ignorant of…

    An aggression by the US on Russia in Syria would certainly be met with swift and deadly force…why…?

    Because it would be militarily stupid not to use it…is a boxer going to pull his punches once he’s in the ring…?

    Once a war starts the generals call the shots…that’s how it works…

    I have not even begun to mention the Russian ships and subs in Tartus…all of which are also armed with very deadly anti-ship missiles…as well as anti-sub missiles…yes there is such a thing…[more on that later]

    The S300/400 in Syria is not there to shoot down cruise missiles…as plenty of nitwits in Western media claim…

    Their purpose is to impose a no-fly zone over Syria and keep enemy jets out of Syrian airspace…which it most certainly is very capable of

    This no fly zone de facto exists but has simply not been announced [as of yet...although that would be the first announcement in case of an aggressive US move]

    Those surface to air missile launchers and their radars are all truck mounted and extremely mobile…which means their location once a shooting war starts would not be known to the adversary…

    They cannot therefore be targeted by cruise missiles which can only hit pre-programmed targets whose locations are known…and which cannot move…

    The big S3/400 guns are also protected by point defense SAMs such as the Pantsir S…

    ‘…Originally Soviet strategic missile systems had been placed in fixed, hardened sites.

    Newer systems such as the S-300PS/PM (SA-10/20) on the other hand was much more mobile which reduced its vulnerabilities to attack

    However, once the S-300 unit was found by enemy forces it was still very vulnerable to precision weapon systems. One of the roles for the Pantsir-S is to provide air defense to the S-300 missile systems…’

    An astute commenter here mentioned the US / Nato air war against Serbia in 1999 which involved over 1,000 fighter jets, Awacs as well as jamming aircraft etc…

    He correctly mentioned that they were able to take out only three of Serbia’s mobile SAMs…despite firing more than 750 precision missiles designed to home in on air defense radars…called HARMs [high speed anti radiation missile]

    That’s a kill ratio of one third of one percent…

    In return…the Serbs downed the USAF F117 ‘stealth’ aircraft and severely damaged another that never flew again…they also shot down the F16 of Current USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein…

    The trophy F117 canopy in the Belgrade Aviation Museum…

    And the tail feathers from then Col Goldfein’s F16…

    This author might start by reviewing the study published by Dr. Benjamin S Lambeth in the Aeropsace Power Journal…the USAF’s ‘professional flagship publication’…

    ‘…NATO never fully succeeded in neutralizing the Serb IADS…

    …and NATO aircraft operating over Serbia and Kosovo were always within the engagement envelopes of enemy SA-3 and SA-6 missiles— envelopes that extended as high as 50,000 feet.

    Because of that persistent threat, mission planners had to place such high-value surveillance-and-reconnaissance platforms as the U-2 and JSTARS in less-than-ideal orbits to keep them outside the lethal reach of enemy SAMs.

    Even during the operation’s final week, NATO spokesmen conceded that they could confirm the destruction of only three of Serbia’s approximately 25 known mobile SA-6 batteries…’

    So little Serbia…with its 1950s and ’60s era equipment was able to fight a 1,000 plane armada to a standstill

    And here is what might have been…

    ‘…in future contingencies [US / NATO] will almost surely have to contend with threats of double-digit SAMs, namely the Russian S-300PM (NATO code name SA-10) and the comparably lethal SA-12 through SA-20…

    The SA-10 and SA-12 are lethal out to a slant range of 80 nautical miles, five times the killing reach of the earlier-generation SA-3. [Note...this paper from 2001 is out of date...the S300/400 equipment in Syria has more than double this range...]

    One SA-10/12 site in Belgrade and one in Pristina could have provided defensive coverage over all of Serbia and Kosovo.

    They also could have threatened Rivet Joint, Compass Call, and other key allied aircraft such as the airborne command and control center and the Navy’s E-2C operating well outside enemy airspace.

    Fortunately for NATO, the Serb IADS did not include the latest-generation SAM equipment …’

    Nothing has changed in terms of US-Nato’s SEAD capability since 1999…[suppression of enemy air defenses]

    Yet the ‘author’ of this silly article states quite flatly that…

    ‘…I hope it goes without saying that Russia has absolutely no way to win in Syria should its forces enter into a full scale regional conflict with CENTCOM…

    This is a totally lopsided match’

    Actually…the lopsided match would be my cat vs this author in a math contest…

    This is not 1999 anymore…and Russia is not Serbia…

    More to come…

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    • Replies: @Tsar Nicholas

    This is a totally lopsided match’
     


    Actually…the lopsided match would be my cat vs this author in a math contest…
     
    LOL!

    Brilliant.
    , @reiner Tor
    I would be happy if what you wrote were true (I still fail to see why you have to be a prick, though), but I think the safest assumption is that Russia would be the weaker side in this conflict. At least until the nukes start falling.

    If life would continue (I hear what Tsar Nicholas is saying, but I tend to disagree), then the argument Randal often uses (namely, that it'd be impossible for even the top leadership to think that they could personally escape all the negative consequences of the war) will considerably weaken. Moreover, it doesn't even have to be true: it's enough if the top leadership thinks (and I'd guess in both countries they'd think) that it was possible to survive.
    , @Randal
    The problem here is always that each side dramatically overstates its own case. I believe Karlin and those here who insist that nothing really unexpected will happen and all the American stuff will work fine are unrealistic in their low assessments of likely losses, but I also believe your insistence that the air defences will work near perfectly and that Serbia is a valid comparator with Syria in terms of the difficulty of locating and attacking air defence systems are also unrealistic. The attack on Serbia was a very tentative operation with very tight engagement rules, hugely casualty averse, and very slow buildup by the US side. The Serbs fired a few SAMs every night, and often tens of them in a night, but only shot down two aircraft, while NATO used aircraft from B52s to A10s to attack Yugoslav targets. Little of this is likely to be relevant to an open war in Syria.

    A lot depends on exactly how the conflict breaks out - the initial conditions can change the early outcome from massive losses for the US side to prompt destruction of the Russian side, as can unexpected capabilities. If one side gets the jump on the other, if one side's ew systems work better than expected, or are unexpectedly hard countered, etc etc. Nobody really knows how these systems will interact because nobody has any directly relevant experience of how they will interact in full and open use.

    Cruise missiles certainly can be used to target mobile sam systems, if you know where those systems are located, although they aren't the most effective weapons against dispersed vehicles. If they are constantly moving, they can't be used effectively. And a sam battalion has a limited number of long range missiles in its launchers. They will not achieve 1:1 kills with those missiles (the hit rates are not 100% anyway, some will fall to countermeasures, and often they will fire two or more at a given target). The situation of the Russian ad operators in Syria would be a seriously unenviable one. The skies around Syria will be cluttered to a degree never encountered by such systems with all kinds of targets - aircraft, missiles, drones. Both sides' ew systems will be operating at maximum.

    US ships in the eastern Med will be catastrophically vulnerable to attack from submarine, air launched and ground launched missiles. So of course will Russian ships, but even more so.

    It's likely to be much more of a bloodbath for each side than the extreme advocates of each are claiming for their own side. Things will not work as expected. Missiles will get through when they ought not to. Other missiles will completely fail. Each side will likely field completely unexpected capabilities.

    Uncertainty, not certainty, should be the essence of predicting the outcome of such a war. Most likely, though, numbers will tell in the end, rather than particular systems.

    I suspect that's at the heart of the evident debate within the US regime over whether and how much to attack. Probably the generals are not giving Trump the assurances he needs to hear about the ability to control escalation and the risks to US systems and personnel, and that's making it hard for him to sustain his gung ho ignorant jingoism even with support from Bolton.
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  156. I think there’re two possibilities:

    1. It de-escalates and a face saving solution is found
    2. America + the two stooges do something, Russia takes revenge on one of the the two stooges or both.

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  157. @Mr. XYZ
    Can someone please explain to me why exactly Syria is worth a World War or even why Syria is worth any concessions in Ukraine?

    I mean, I am certainly not very fond of Assad and am in favor of the Syrian Kurds (who appear to be a relatively progressive bunch in spite of their low average IQs). However, I certainly don't want Islamists and jihadists to seize control of a post-Assad Syria and engage in genocide there and I also certainly don't want the conflict in Syria to spark a World War!

    Also, out of curiosity:

    @Anatoly Karlin: Do you believe that Tsarist Russia should have flooded the Baltic states with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians back when it controlled these territories? Basically, I am thinking of the Baltic states getting the northern Kazakhstan treatment back in the 19th and early 20th century so that Petrograd/St. Petersburg could have more security (after all, ethnic Balts were a potential security threat to the Russian Empire in wartime).

    Can someone please explain to me why exactly Syria is worth a World War or even why Syria is worth any concessions in Ukraine?

    Your guess is as good as mine. These are levels of globalism that shouldn’t even be possible.

    Do you believe that Tsarist Russia should have flooded the Baltic states with Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians back when it controlled these territories?

    Highly unlikely. How would it have done so? Late Tsarist Russia was a capitalist economy, they couldn’t just order masses of people to go and settle somewhere (Siberian and Central Asia colonization was accomplished through land grants, and naturally through availability of large territories).

    Riga would have probably become significantly more Russian because its the Baltics’ premier industrial city, the others – probably not.

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  158. @Anatoly Karlin
    This is really far too difficult to predict.

    In most fiction, nuclear war is immediately followed by total Mad Max style apocalypse or even extinction, which is very inaccurate.

    Another possibility:


    Had everything managed to remain conventional to this point, it is here we see the point at which the survival of civilization as we know it hangs in the balance. The temptation on the American president would be enormous to start wiping out these gargantuan Soviet armies with the equally vast American nuclear arsenal. Equally, the temptation on the Soviet leadership would be substantial to trade queens with her great adversary, through counterforce first strike on American nuclear forces. Were the US to strike tactically against the Soviet invasion force, escalation to countervalue strikes (against economic and population centers), was Soviet retaliatory doctrine itself, and the entire war would enter a new phase of global mass murder, as the Americans inevitably retaliate when their cities are vaporized by Russian rocketry.

    In the post-nuclear novel and movie, this is the point at which World War III ends and we are all reduced to wearing bearskins and roaming around stateless post-technological deserts. But the reality was probably a substantially worse world. If anything, disaster and mass murder tends to increase the authority of the state over populations, not collapse it. Was the power of the Nazi state more or less complete when her cities were smoldering ruins? In such situations people are rendered completely dependent on even a damaged state, when all other sources of power have been disrupted or destroyed…and in our scenario here, these are states which would not be inclined to give up the war having already lost so much. As the pre-war nuclear stockpiles are expended (mostly canceling each other out, rather than falling on cities), much of the population of both the United States and the Soviet Union would survive. Particularly if the build-up was a conventional escalation, allowing for the inevitable panic evacuation of dense urban areas.

    Therefore if you want a true retrofuturist nightmare-scape, imagine a nuclear World War III, but one in which after the horrendous nuclear exchange is largely over, you haven’t the saving grace of a desolate but free world and the end of the war. Imagine suffering a nuclear attack and yet the war going on…in a newly mass mobilized and utterly militarized and depopulating society….potentially for years, even decades.
     
    OTOH, the situation today is not quite comparable, because there was an overriding ideological component to the Cold War. Moreover, with much of the biggest cities - and the country's elites with them - destroyed, there would surely be a general disintegration of state authority, with the state either (1) splintering apart as localities take control, or (2) the passing of effective political power to the military (ironically the institution that might well best survive a nuclear war, because many of them will not be in big cities, in bunkers, etc).

    I would think that the surviving citizenry will not be okay with transitioning from a nuclear war straight to a total war for the sake of Damascus or Riga or whatever. A totalitarian regime might be able to pull it off, but this doesn't apply here; indeed, establishing one in the post nuclear war aftermath would be difficult, since a large percentage of the mid-level bureaucrats would be dead, and because the legitimacy of the state that had led the country to such a disaster might well be dead too.

    A doubtful possibility, very doubtful.

    Readers of the Unz Review tend to discount the significance of ecological collapse and its implications for the human race. In that respect they are an analogue of those on the Left who think gender is not related to biology.

    We are already undergoing what has been referred to as a “biodiversity crisis.” This very real diversity problem should not be confused with the liberal and SJW obsession with racial, ethnic, linguistic, gender and sexuality quotas. The web of life is exactly that – a web with the biosphere’s functioning highly dependent on a complex interaction between numerous organisms, both macro and micro, and you mess with that interplay at your peril.

    Humans don’t grow food in a vacuum. Aside from the huge amounts of fossil fuels that we use to keep agrictural output at a level high enough to feed the world, we rely on living organisms, such as insects. Not just pollinators but a whole variety, And yet it looks like 80% of the world’s insects have disappeared since 1989.

    The first inkling of this was people who drive noticing the disappearance of insect splats from their car windshields over the decades. Then a shocking peer reviewed paper published in October last year, charting the 76% decline of flying insect biomass in protected areas of Germany over the period 1989-2016.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that insects will die in a nuclear war, along with most other creatures. Contrary to popular myth it’s not likely that cockroaches are going to inherit the earth. The work of biologists like Timothy Mousseau at Chernobyl and Fukushima suggests that short life span creatures like insects display genetic abnormalities much quicker than longer lived ones like mammals. Put simply, without insects we will not have food.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/27/insect-decimation-upstages-global-warming/

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  159. @Anatoly Karlin
    LOL.

    I was banned at The Guardian in the early 2010s when I correctly pointed out that Luke Harding is a plagiarist.

    I got banned and a threatening email from Conservative Home this week. I think given the articles and links they are an Israeli outfit masquerading as a British political website.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    I got banned and a threatening email from Conservative Home this week.

    Out of curiosity, what was the specific threat? And did you really say something that "outrageous"?
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  160. @reiner Tor

    Mr Pompeo also appeared to be the first US official to publicly confirm that US forces had killed hundreds of Russians in Syria in February.
     
    Regardless of whether the true number of Russians was lower or whether they were not really Russian soldiers, it seems to confirm the view of those of us who argued that the lack of an immediate forceful Russian response would be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

    it seems to confirm the view of those of us who argued that the lack of an immediate forceful Russian response would be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

    And if the Russians are perceived to have “given in” by letting the US launch an attack, unimpeded, it will be the end of any hope that aggressive US action can be curtailed in the future (notably, Iran).

    There is a certain asymmetry here. An attack on Estonia is an attack on the US (Nato Article 5), yet the US and Israel can attack Syria with impunity, so long as Russian forces are not put at risk. Putin is too cautious (or sensible if you prefer), but it would be interesting to see what would happen if Russia announced an “Article 5″ arrangement with Syria and Iran.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I have already thought about it. Now would be the time to just conclude a mutual defense treaty with Syria and Iran. An attack on any of the three would trigger the other two into a war.

    But unilateral guarantees tend to have the same effect. For example when Poland was given a British guarantee against any attack by Germany, to use the most commonly cited example.

    The problem is, of course, that Hitler attacked anyway. And so might the US/NATO.
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  161. @FB
    Well...this has to be the most asinine 'article' I have yet seen on this website...

    This author somehow assumes he has the technical creds to state as flat fact that Russia's 'tiny' and supposedly weak contingent in Syria would without any doubt be quickly overwhelmed...

    If I were to ask this author...just as an exercise in demonstrative logic...if he could solve even an elementary Newtonian physics problem along the lines of...

    '...if I hurl a rock into the air at speed x and angle y...how long before the rock hits the ground...and how fast will it be going when it hits..?
     
    I might as well ask my cat...

    Yet he somehow has screwed into his tiny head that he can talk authoritatively...not about hurling mere rocks...but about missiles...ships...and aircraft...

    It boggles the mind...

    For the benefit of some readers here who have demonstrated at least some basic logic on the matter ...let us look at the details of what is involved here...

    The point of this discussion will be to examine technical details involving the kinds of weapons capabilities that might figure into this confrontation...as well as examining some credible historical analysis of recent US-Nato assaults of this type...

    Let's assume that the US along with Britain and France decides to launch a massive barrage of cruise missiles from ships, submarines and aircraft from standoff range...ie out of range of Russian long range surface to air missiles...such as the S400 which everyone talks about...but which is only of peripheral importance to this war scenario...[more on that later]

    What is the best defense against such an assault...?

    Is it to try to knock down those missiles with Russia's air defense rockets...thereby depleting their stock of munitions [which are intended for different kinds of targets anyway]...?

    Or is it to hit those ships, subs and airfields from which the attack is coming...and thereby neutralize the threat as quickly as possible..?

    The answer is quite obvious...perhaps even to someone as lacking in actual knowledge as this 'author'...

    One commenter early on in this thread mentioned the use of Russian long range bombers which have for decades been designed for the very mission of taking out US carrier groups...

    A little background here...the Russian answer to the devastating power and long distance force projection of the USN carrier groups was asymmetrical...ie not to field their own such massive naval might...but to counter them with effective weapons that could quickly neutralize them...

    One such weapon system is the Tu22M long range, supersonic bomber carrying ship killer missiles...

    Let's look at what this means in nuts and bolts...

    '...The Soviet Navy alone had more than 10 Tu-22M3 regiments organized with five air divisions. The Soviet Air Force had about the same number of the bombers.

    Each regiment comprised 20 Tu-22Ms capable of hauling 40 or 60 Kh-22 missiles depending on the range to the target, according to Russian Navy historian Dmitry Boltenkov.

    A primary target for the Tu-22M3s were US Navy aircraft carrier strike groups.

    A salvo by a Tu-22M3 regiment would guarantee the elimination of the carrier itself and all of her escorts - cruisers, destroyers and guided missile frigates...'
     
    Let's drill down a bit and explore the capabilities of this weapon system...the Raduga Kh22 anti-ship cruise missile has been in service since 1962...

    It is a 13,000 lb bruiser that reaches a top speed of Mach 4.6 [nearly six times as fast as a Tomahawk]...and has a 600 km range...

    The Tu22M which has a maximum takeoff weight of 140 tons ...nearly twice the weight of a Boeing 737...can carry three of these missiles...

    A single regiment of 20 aircraft even carrying two missiles each [trading payload for fuel for extra range]...means 40 such missiles against a carrier battle group...

    The missile carries a 1,000 kg shaped charge warhead...more than twice the weight of a Tomahawk warhead...[the kinetic energy at impact would be 36 times greater than that of a T-hawk...as kinetic energy increases by the square of speed...]

    '...Soviet Tests showed that a Kh-22MA equipped with 1,000 kg [2,205 lb] RDX warhead and with an approach speed of 800 m/s [Mach 2.4], used against an aircraft carrier, will make a 22 m^2 [240 sq ft] hole, and the warhead's cumulative jet will burn through internal ship compartments up to a depth of 12 m [40 ft]...'
     
    Here's an interesting one from the photo album...


    https://s20.postimg.cc/q5orqkust/Backfire-_Cockpit-_DN-_SC-91-02246-1_S.jpg


    That's Adm Charles Larson former commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet trying out the driver's seat of the Tu22M...

    We note that the Kh22 has since been supplanted by the Kh32 with 1,000 km range...and a speed of Mach 5...[nearly 7 times that of the T-hawk...]

    The flight distance from Beslan airfield to Damascus is 1,293 km...


    https://s20.postimg.cc/955vi4mz1/Beslan_Damascus_Flight_Distance.jpg


    That's about an hour dash for the supersonic Tu22M which has a top speed of Mach 1.9 [2.050 km/hr]...and a range of 6,800 km...

    This strike force would be accompanied by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-35#Specifications_(Su-35S)Sukhoi Flanker air superiority fighters which have a combat radius of 1,500 km...by far the longest legs of any fighter in the world...more than twice that of the USN F/A 18 Super Hornet with its combat radius of 722 km...

    There are also MiG29s at the Russian 3624th Air Base in Armenia...flight distance to Damascus 1,041 km...that's a half hour hop for the supersonic jets...


    https://s20.postimg.cc/4xb395o1p/Yerevan_Damascus_Flight_Distance.jpg


    With the 1,000 km range of the Kh32...the big Tupolev bombers would hardly need to get too far away from Russia's shores before launching...

    There is hardly any need to even think about the newly announced Mach 10, 2000 km range Kinzhal...launched by the Mach 2.8 MiG31...although it might be fun to see it in action if the opportunity presents itself...

    This is the punch that the opponent packs...and which this 'author' is blissfully ignorant of...

    An aggression by the US on Russia in Syria would certainly be met with swift and deadly force...why...?

    Because it would be militarily stupid not to use it...is a boxer going to pull his punches once he's in the ring...?

    Once a war starts the generals call the shots...that's how it works...

    I have not even begun to mention the Russian ships and subs in Tartus...all of which are also armed with very deadly anti-ship missiles...as well as anti-sub missiles...yes there is such a thing...[more on that later]

    The S300/400 in Syria is not there to shoot down cruise missiles...as plenty of nitwits in Western media claim...

    Their purpose is to impose a no-fly zone over Syria and keep enemy jets out of Syrian airspace...which it most certainly is very capable of

    This no fly zone de facto exists but has simply not been announced [as of yet...although that would be the first announcement in case of an aggressive US move]

    Those surface to air missile launchers and their radars are all truck mounted and extremely mobile...which means their location once a shooting war starts would not be known to the adversary...

    They cannot therefore be targeted by cruise missiles which can only hit pre-programmed targets whose locations are known...and which cannot move...

    The big S3/400 guns are also protected by point defense SAMs such as the Pantsir S...

    '...Originally Soviet strategic missile systems had been placed in fixed, hardened sites.

    Newer systems such as the S-300PS/PM (SA-10/20) on the other hand was much more mobile which reduced its vulnerabilities to attack...

    However, once the S-300 unit was found by enemy forces it was still very vulnerable to precision weapon systems. One of the roles for the Pantsir-S is to provide air defense to the S-300 missile systems...'
     
    An astute commenter here mentioned the US / Nato air war against Serbia in 1999 which involved over 1,000 fighter jets, Awacs as well as jamming aircraft etc...

    He correctly mentioned that they were able to take out only three of Serbia's mobile SAMs...despite firing more than 750 precision missiles designed to home in on air defense radars...called HARMs [high speed anti radiation missile]

    That's a kill ratio of one third of one percent...

    In return...the Serbs downed the USAF F117 'stealth' aircraft and severely damaged another that never flew again...they also shot down the F16 of Current USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein...

    The trophy F117 canopy in the Belgrade Aviation Museum...


    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/F-117_canopy.jpg


    And the tail feathers from then Col Goldfein's F16...


    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/F-16_tail.jpg


    This author might start by reviewing the study published by Dr. Benjamin S Lambeth in the Aeropsace Power Journal...the USAF's 'professional flagship publication'...

    '...NATO never fully succeeded in neutralizing the Serb IADS...

    ...and NATO aircraft operating over Serbia and Kosovo were always within the engagement envelopes of enemy SA-3 and SA-6 missiles— envelopes that extended as high as 50,000 feet.

    Because of that persistent threat, mission planners had to place such high-value surveillance-and-reconnaissance platforms as the U-2 and JSTARS in less-than-ideal orbits to keep them outside the lethal reach of enemy SAMs.

    Even during the operation’s final week, NATO spokesmen conceded that they could confirm the destruction of only three of Serbia’s approximately 25 known mobile SA-6 batteries...'
     
    So little Serbia...with its 1950s and '60s era equipment was able to fight a 1,000 plane armada to a standstill...

    And here is what might have been...

    '...in future contingencies [US / NATO] will almost surely have to contend with threats of double-digit SAMs, namely the Russian S-300PM (NATO code name SA-10) and the comparably lethal SA-12 through SA-20...

    The SA-10 and SA-12 are lethal out to a slant range of 80 nautical miles, five times the killing reach of the earlier-generation SA-3. [Note...this paper from 2001 is out of date...the S300/400 equipment in Syria has more than double this range...]

    One SA-10/12 site in Belgrade and one in Pristina could have provided defensive coverage over all of Serbia and Kosovo.

    They also could have threatened Rivet Joint, Compass Call, and other key allied aircraft such as the airborne command and control center and the Navy’s E-2C operating well outside enemy airspace.

    Fortunately for NATO, the Serb IADS did not include the latest-generation SAM equipment ...'
     
    Nothing has changed in terms of US-Nato's SEAD capability since 1999...[suppression of enemy air defenses]

    Yet the 'author' of this silly article states quite flatly that...

    '...I hope it goes without saying that Russia has absolutely no way to win in Syria should its forces enter into a full scale regional conflict with CENTCOM...

    This is a totally lopsided match'
     
    Actually...the lopsided match would be my cat vs this author in a math contest...

    This is not 1999 anymore...and Russia is not Serbia...

    More to come...

    This is a totally lopsided match’

    Actually…the lopsided match would be my cat vs this author in a math contest…

    LOL!

    Brilliant.

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  162. @LondonBob
    I got banned and a threatening email from Conservative Home this week. I think given the articles and links they are an Israeli outfit masquerading as a British political website.

    I got banned and a threatening email from Conservative Home this week.

    Out of curiosity, what was the specific threat? And did you really say something that “outrageous”?

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Nothing too outrageous, criticising the lobby. Just told not to post there.

    What all this does show is the value for Russia building up Iranian forces, if Iran could field a couple of dozen latest tech aircraft this could just about tip the balance, Iranians have the IQ to use them properly. I note the Iraqis purchased some T90s so in time they could also be built up too.
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  163. @for-the-record
    it seems to confirm the view of those of us who argued that the lack of an immediate forceful Russian response would be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

    And if the Russians are perceived to have "given in" by letting the US launch an attack, unimpeded, it will be the end of any hope that aggressive US action can be curtailed in the future (notably, Iran).

    There is a certain asymmetry here. An attack on Estonia is an attack on the US (Nato Article 5), yet the US and Israel can attack Syria with impunity, so long as Russian forces are not put at risk. Putin is too cautious (or sensible if you prefer), but it would be interesting to see what would happen if Russia announced an "Article 5" arrangement with Syria and Iran.

    I have already thought about it. Now would be the time to just conclude a mutual defense treaty with Syria and Iran. An attack on any of the three would trigger the other two into a war.

    But unilateral guarantees tend to have the same effect. For example when Poland was given a British guarantee against any attack by Germany, to use the most commonly cited example.

    The problem is, of course, that Hitler attacked anyway. And so might the US/NATO.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    The problem is, of course, that Hitler attacked anyway. And so might the US/NATO.

    I don't think so, there's no way that the US launches a war on Russia (as opposed to a "punitive" attack on Syria). Instead, they would be reduced to taking further (drastic) measures to isolate Russia from the "Free World": expulsion from SWIFT, sanctions on Russian exports, etc.
    , @jilles dykstra
    Hitler knew quite well that GB could not do anything.
    If any country was betrayed by the west it was Poland, it disappeared until 1990.
    What Hitler did not expect was GB's declaration of war.
    But also GB could do little, Hitler therefore tried to force GB to peace by beating France in three weeks.
    We, the Netherlands, and Belgium, collateral damage.
    With Churchill out of the way, no army, Hitler then could turn his attention to the USSR.
    He had quite well understood Molotov's veiled threats when Molotov visited Berlin.
    What Hitler underrated was the USA.
    And, I suppose, he did not expect capitalistic communist cooperation.
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  164. @for-the-record
    I got banned and a threatening email from Conservative Home this week.

    Out of curiosity, what was the specific threat? And did you really say something that "outrageous"?

    Nothing too outrageous, criticising the lobby. Just told not to post there.

    What all this does show is the value for Russia building up Iranian forces, if Iran could field a couple of dozen latest tech aircraft this could just about tip the balance, Iranians have the IQ to use them properly. I note the Iraqis purchased some T90s so in time they could also be built up too.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The problem right now is that the war might come in days or weeks. There is no time to train the Iranians, and however competent they'd use those planes, they'd still be considerably less competent than the Russians.

    So I think that they should only provide Iran weapons if we survive the present crisis without a nuclear war. Which unfortunately seems far from a certainty.
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  165. @FB
    Well...this has to be the most asinine 'article' I have yet seen on this website...

    This author somehow assumes he has the technical creds to state as flat fact that Russia's 'tiny' and supposedly weak contingent in Syria would without any doubt be quickly overwhelmed...

    If I were to ask this author...just as an exercise in demonstrative logic...if he could solve even an elementary Newtonian physics problem along the lines of...

    '...if I hurl a rock into the air at speed x and angle y...how long before the rock hits the ground...and how fast will it be going when it hits..?
     
    I might as well ask my cat...

    Yet he somehow has screwed into his tiny head that he can talk authoritatively...not about hurling mere rocks...but about missiles...ships...and aircraft...

    It boggles the mind...

    For the benefit of some readers here who have demonstrated at least some basic logic on the matter ...let us look at the details of what is involved here...

    The point of this discussion will be to examine technical details involving the kinds of weapons capabilities that might figure into this confrontation...as well as examining some credible historical analysis of recent US-Nato assaults of this type...

    Let's assume that the US along with Britain and France decides to launch a massive barrage of cruise missiles from ships, submarines and aircraft from standoff range...ie out of range of Russian long range surface to air missiles...such as the S400 which everyone talks about...but which is only of peripheral importance to this war scenario...[more on that later]

    What is the best defense against such an assault...?

    Is it to try to knock down those missiles with Russia's air defense rockets...thereby depleting their stock of munitions [which are intended for different kinds of targets anyway]...?

    Or is it to hit those ships, subs and airfields from which the attack is coming...and thereby neutralize the threat as quickly as possible..?

    The answer is quite obvious...perhaps even to someone as lacking in actual knowledge as this 'author'...

    One commenter early on in this thread mentioned the use of Russian long range bombers which have for decades been designed for the very mission of taking out US carrier groups...

    A little background here...the Russian answer to the devastating power and long distance force projection of the USN carrier groups was asymmetrical...ie not to field their own such massive naval might...but to counter them with effective weapons that could quickly neutralize them...

    One such weapon system is the Tu22M long range, supersonic bomber carrying ship killer missiles...

    Let's look at what this means in nuts and bolts...

    '...The Soviet Navy alone had more than 10 Tu-22M3 regiments organized with five air divisions. The Soviet Air Force had about the same number of the bombers.

    Each regiment comprised 20 Tu-22Ms capable of hauling 40 or 60 Kh-22 missiles depending on the range to the target, according to Russian Navy historian Dmitry Boltenkov.

    A primary target for the Tu-22M3s were US Navy aircraft carrier strike groups.

    A salvo by a Tu-22M3 regiment would guarantee the elimination of the carrier itself and all of her escorts - cruisers, destroyers and guided missile frigates...'
     
    Let's drill down a bit and explore the capabilities of this weapon system...the Raduga Kh22 anti-ship cruise missile has been in service since 1962...

    It is a 13,000 lb bruiser that reaches a top speed of Mach 4.6 [nearly six times as fast as a Tomahawk]...and has a 600 km range...

    The Tu22M which has a maximum takeoff weight of 140 tons ...nearly twice the weight of a Boeing 737...can carry three of these missiles...

    A single regiment of 20 aircraft even carrying two missiles each [trading payload for fuel for extra range]...means 40 such missiles against a carrier battle group...

    The missile carries a 1,000 kg shaped charge warhead...more than twice the weight of a Tomahawk warhead...[the kinetic energy at impact would be 36 times greater than that of a T-hawk...as kinetic energy increases by the square of speed...]

    '...Soviet Tests showed that a Kh-22MA equipped with 1,000 kg [2,205 lb] RDX warhead and with an approach speed of 800 m/s [Mach 2.4], used against an aircraft carrier, will make a 22 m^2 [240 sq ft] hole, and the warhead's cumulative jet will burn through internal ship compartments up to a depth of 12 m [40 ft]...'
     
    Here's an interesting one from the photo album...


    https://s20.postimg.cc/q5orqkust/Backfire-_Cockpit-_DN-_SC-91-02246-1_S.jpg


    That's Adm Charles Larson former commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet trying out the driver's seat of the Tu22M...

    We note that the Kh22 has since been supplanted by the Kh32 with 1,000 km range...and a speed of Mach 5...[nearly 7 times that of the T-hawk...]

    The flight distance from Beslan airfield to Damascus is 1,293 km...


    https://s20.postimg.cc/955vi4mz1/Beslan_Damascus_Flight_Distance.jpg


    That's about an hour dash for the supersonic Tu22M which has a top speed of Mach 1.9 [2.050 km/hr]...and a range of 6,800 km...

    This strike force would be accompanied by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-35#Specifications_(Su-35S)Sukhoi Flanker air superiority fighters which have a combat radius of 1,500 km...by far the longest legs of any fighter in the world...more than twice that of the USN F/A 18 Super Hornet with its combat radius of 722 km...

    There are also MiG29s at the Russian 3624th Air Base in Armenia...flight distance to Damascus 1,041 km...that's a half hour hop for the supersonic jets...


    https://s20.postimg.cc/4xb395o1p/Yerevan_Damascus_Flight_Distance.jpg


    With the 1,000 km range of the Kh32...the big Tupolev bombers would hardly need to get too far away from Russia's shores before launching...

    There is hardly any need to even think about the newly announced Mach 10, 2000 km range Kinzhal...launched by the Mach 2.8 MiG31...although it might be fun to see it in action if the opportunity presents itself...

    This is the punch that the opponent packs...and which this 'author' is blissfully ignorant of...

    An aggression by the US on Russia in Syria would certainly be met with swift and deadly force...why...?

    Because it would be militarily stupid not to use it...is a boxer going to pull his punches once he's in the ring...?

    Once a war starts the generals call the shots...that's how it works...

    I have not even begun to mention the Russian ships and subs in Tartus...all of which are also armed with very deadly anti-ship missiles...as well as anti-sub missiles...yes there is such a thing...[more on that later]

    The S300/400 in Syria is not there to shoot down cruise missiles...as plenty of nitwits in Western media claim...

    Their purpose is to impose a no-fly zone over Syria and keep enemy jets out of Syrian airspace...which it most certainly is very capable of

    This no fly zone de facto exists but has simply not been announced [as of yet...although that would be the first announcement in case of an aggressive US move]

    Those surface to air missile launchers and their radars are all truck mounted and extremely mobile...which means their location once a shooting war starts would not be known to the adversary...

    They cannot therefore be targeted by cruise missiles which can only hit pre-programmed targets whose locations are known...and which cannot move...

    The big S3/400 guns are also protected by point defense SAMs such as the Pantsir S...

    '...Originally Soviet strategic missile systems had been placed in fixed, hardened sites.

    Newer systems such as the S-300PS/PM (SA-10/20) on the other hand was much more mobile which reduced its vulnerabilities to attack...

    However, once the S-300 unit was found by enemy forces it was still very vulnerable to precision weapon systems. One of the roles for the Pantsir-S is to provide air defense to the S-300 missile systems...'
     
    An astute commenter here mentioned the US / Nato air war against Serbia in 1999 which involved over 1,000 fighter jets, Awacs as well as jamming aircraft etc...

    He correctly mentioned that they were able to take out only three of Serbia's mobile SAMs...despite firing more than 750 precision missiles designed to home in on air defense radars...called HARMs [high speed anti radiation missile]

    That's a kill ratio of one third of one percent...

    In return...the Serbs downed the USAF F117 'stealth' aircraft and severely damaged another that never flew again...they also shot down the F16 of Current USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein...

    The trophy F117 canopy in the Belgrade Aviation Museum...


    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/F-117_canopy.jpg


    And the tail feathers from then Col Goldfein's F16...


    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/F-16_tail.jpg


    This author might start by reviewing the study published by Dr. Benjamin S Lambeth in the Aeropsace Power Journal...the USAF's 'professional flagship publication'...

    '...NATO never fully succeeded in neutralizing the Serb IADS...

    ...and NATO aircraft operating over Serbia and Kosovo were always within the engagement envelopes of enemy SA-3 and SA-6 missiles— envelopes that extended as high as 50,000 feet.

    Because of that persistent threat, mission planners had to place such high-value surveillance-and-reconnaissance platforms as the U-2 and JSTARS in less-than-ideal orbits to keep them outside the lethal reach of enemy SAMs.

    Even during the operation’s final week, NATO spokesmen conceded that they could confirm the destruction of only three of Serbia’s approximately 25 known mobile SA-6 batteries...'
     
    So little Serbia...with its 1950s and '60s era equipment was able to fight a 1,000 plane armada to a standstill...

    And here is what might have been...

    '...in future contingencies [US / NATO] will almost surely have to contend with threats of double-digit SAMs, namely the Russian S-300PM (NATO code name SA-10) and the comparably lethal SA-12 through SA-20...

    The SA-10 and SA-12 are lethal out to a slant range of 80 nautical miles, five times the killing reach of the earlier-generation SA-3. [Note...this paper from 2001 is out of date...the S300/400 equipment in Syria has more than double this range...]

    One SA-10/12 site in Belgrade and one in Pristina could have provided defensive coverage over all of Serbia and Kosovo.

    They also could have threatened Rivet Joint, Compass Call, and other key allied aircraft such as the airborne command and control center and the Navy’s E-2C operating well outside enemy airspace.

    Fortunately for NATO, the Serb IADS did not include the latest-generation SAM equipment ...'
     
    Nothing has changed in terms of US-Nato's SEAD capability since 1999...[suppression of enemy air defenses]

    Yet the 'author' of this silly article states quite flatly that...

    '...I hope it goes without saying that Russia has absolutely no way to win in Syria should its forces enter into a full scale regional conflict with CENTCOM...

    This is a totally lopsided match'
     
    Actually...the lopsided match would be my cat vs this author in a math contest...

    This is not 1999 anymore...and Russia is not Serbia...

    More to come...

    I would be happy if what you wrote were true (I still fail to see why you have to be a prick, though), but I think the safest assumption is that Russia would be the weaker side in this conflict. At least until the nukes start falling.

    If life would continue (I hear what Tsar Nicholas is saying, but I tend to disagree), then the argument Randal often uses (namely, that it’d be impossible for even the top leadership to think that they could personally escape all the negative consequences of the war) will considerably weaken. Moreover, it doesn’t even have to be true: it’s enough if the top leadership thinks (and I’d guess in both countries they’d think) that it was possible to survive.

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  166. @LondonBob
    Nothing too outrageous, criticising the lobby. Just told not to post there.

    What all this does show is the value for Russia building up Iranian forces, if Iran could field a couple of dozen latest tech aircraft this could just about tip the balance, Iranians have the IQ to use them properly. I note the Iraqis purchased some T90s so in time they could also be built up too.

    The problem right now is that the war might come in days or weeks. There is no time to train the Iranians, and however competent they’d use those planes, they’d still be considerably less competent than the Russians.

    So I think that they should only provide Iran weapons if we survive the present crisis without a nuclear war. Which unfortunately seems far from a certainty.

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  167. @Thorfinnsson

    I always think about how the Japanese destroyed the HMS Prince of Wales or how the battleship Bismarck was destroyed. Maybe shipbuilding technology advanced a lot since then, and of course the old battleships were smaller than current US CVNs, not to mention the level of protection they have, but I’m sure the things hitting them are also way better.
     

    Very few battleships that were underway were actually sunk solely by aircraft during the war. Note that America kept fighting with battleships through the entire war, though obviously the carrier air wing replaced battleship guns as the main instrument of naval striking power owing to the much greater range of aircraft (battleship gunfire is in fact far more destructive--even today).

    The HMS Prince of Wales, along with Italian battleship Roma, are rather exceptional in this regard. And the Roma is even more exceptional in that it was struck by a guided bomb.

    Compare the fate of the Yamato to the HMS Prince of Wales. The Yamato was attacked by nearly three hundred aircraft and hit with a dozen bombs and at least six torpedos.

    Anti-ship missiles typically have significantly smaller warheads than WW2 torpedoes and armor piercing bombs, though they impart more kinetic energy and any unused propellant can increase damage.

    Modern torpedoes are if anything less powerful than the Long Lance was.

    The main advantage over WW2 anti-shipping weapons is range and guidance.

    Armor can't make a ship (or anything else) invincible, but it allows it to take more damage and remain on station.

    The combat record of American battleships in the Pacific War is illustrative. After Pearl Harbor not a single American battleship was sunk during the rest of the war. This isn't because they weren't attacked or hit. They were routinely attacked and hit.

    Take the USS South Dakota (BB-57), a "treaty" battleship and lead battleship of her class. At the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands the Sodak as she was known was hit by a 550 pound bomb and collided with a destroyer, but she kept on fighting.

    At the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal she took at least 26 hits from Japanese warships, yet still she continued fighting.

    The Sodak was also struck by a 550 bomb at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, but was able to remain on station until the threat had passed.

    Lastly she suffered a magazine explosion in 1945 which caused a fire and kill some of the crew, but the damage was contained.

    Armor and damage control sustain combat by allowing a warship to take more damage yet continue fighting.

    Unarmored warships are easily mission killed (and sunk) even with excellent damage control as the Falklands War proved.

    Armor technology has improved a lot since WW2, and armor is a lot cheaper than, say, the Aegis BMD.

    I am sure our CVNs have excellent, well-thought out automatic and passive damage control systems.

    However human damage control will be awful in combat as was proved by the near sinking of the USS Cole. The USS Cole was attacked by about 500 pounds of high explosive (so comparable to the WW2 Japanese bombs that struck the Sodak) molded into a primitive shaped charge.

    This created a 40 x 60 foot hole in the ship and nearly sunk it. The immediate reaction of the women onboard was to scream and cry, and many men attended to the women instead of saving the ship.

    Something like this literally could not have happened with a WW2 warship of similar displacement, such as a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser.

    The effect of armoring modern warships would be to allow them to soak up a lot more damage. The adversary would then need larger and/or more antiship missiles to successfully cripple or sink them.

    Overall I’m unsure about the ultimate fate of these things under the circumstances of a modern war against a peer (China in 20 years) or near peer (Russia or China currently) adversary. Martyanov is so over the top that I don’t find him so convincing.
     

    I really don't know a lot about the Russian or Chinese militaries other than what weapons they have.

    Even then we don't truly know how good these weapons are, and I'm unsure of what their warstocks are.

    We seem to have a solid technological and quantitative edge over both of them in general, but I have a low opinion of our officers. The enlisted men are decent, but they're not well-trained.

    But that doesn't mean Russia or China have better personnel or training.

    Martyanov is no different than The Faker. An internet Russia STRONK buffoon who lives in America. I especially enjoy his absurd, demented hatred of Anatoly Karlin.

    Torpedos have become way more destructive. They don’t aim for the hull but explode under it, taking away enough water mass supporting the ship that the hull will crack or break. The effect is at least doubled by the mass of returning water overcompensating and bending the hull in the opposite direction.

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  168. @Biff

    Third World countries do with as little or less.
     
    Hmmm, I live in a third world country in S.E. Asia, and I don’t see a problem if Tel Aviv gets Russia, and the U.S. to “go at it”.

    That’s perfectly natural.

    You’d be under Chinese suzerainty of course but that’s probably inevitable this century anyway, and probably won’t be that bad of a deal anyway.

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  169. @reiner Tor
    I have already thought about it. Now would be the time to just conclude a mutual defense treaty with Syria and Iran. An attack on any of the three would trigger the other two into a war.

    But unilateral guarantees tend to have the same effect. For example when Poland was given a British guarantee against any attack by Germany, to use the most commonly cited example.

    The problem is, of course, that Hitler attacked anyway. And so might the US/NATO.

    The problem is, of course, that Hitler attacked anyway. And so might the US/NATO.

    I don’t think so, there’s no way that the US launches a war on Russia (as opposed to a “punitive” attack on Syria). Instead, they would be reduced to taking further (drastic) measures to isolate Russia from the “Free World”: expulsion from SWIFT, sanctions on Russian exports, etc.

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  170. @for-the-record

    US secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo has promised that he will be willing to break from President Donald Trump if necessary, saying he will take a tough line on Russia and wants to "fix" the Iran nuclear deal.

    Mr Pompeo, who is currently director of the CIA, blamed tensions between Moscow and Washington on Russia's "bad behaviour" and said he would support more American sanctions against Russia.

    "[Russian President] Vladimir Putin has not yet received the message sufficiently," Mr Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his relatively smooth confirmation hearing.

    Mr Pompeo also appeared to be the first US official to publicly confirm that US forces had killed hundreds of Russians in Syria in February.

    "In Syria, now, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match," he said.

    "A couple hundred Russians were killed."

    Mr Pompeo said Russia's push into Ukraine and other countries needed to be curbed.

    "We need to push back in each place and in every vector," Mr Pompeo said.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-13/trump-nominee-pompeo-pledges-to-be-tough-on-russia/9652198
     


    When Clinton’s former running mate Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) asked if the US should back off from regime change and democracy promotion because Russia or another country might feel justified to engage in the same policies, Pompeo responded with a variant of “it’s different when we do it.”

    This is a unique, exceptional country,” he said. “Russia is unique, but not exceptional.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/423982-pompeo-russia-exceptional-hardline/

     

    Mr Pompeo also appeared to be the first US official to publicly confirm that US forces had killed hundreds of Russians in Syria in February.

    Is there any good reason to believe it just because it comes from the mouth of the likes of Pompeo? The question answers itself. After all, if that were the standard we use, what about all the senior US liars who have blithely announced that “there was a gas attack by Assad” in relation to several highly dubious alleged incidents over the past couple of years? Pompeo was transparently trying to justify the policy of aggressive confrontation he seeks and is no better in this regard than the likes of Bolton.

    Just more empty jingoist words from an empty jingoist.

    I’ll stick with the only plausible actual direct investigation report I’ve seen about the incident:

    The Truth About the Russian Deaths in Syria

    When Clinton’s former running mate Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) asked if the US should back off from regime change and democracy promotion because Russia or another country might feel justified to engage in the same policies, Pompeo responded with a variant of “it’s different when we do it.”

    “This is a unique, exceptional country,” he said. “Russia is unique, but not exceptional.”

    Pretty much tells you all you need to know about Pompeo.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Randal, I believe your Spiegel account. But it seems that

    1) Russians were killed by the Americans

    2) with nary a word of protest from the Russian government

    I'm sure that makes the likes of Pompeo think that if they again kill some Russians accidentally, then Russia will do nothing. So this makes them less eager to avoid any and all accidental Russian casualties. This also makes it easier to sell the policy of aggressive confrontation.

    I fail to see how the exact circumstances or the exact number of those killed matters, as long as the core of the issue (Russians killed by Americans with no protest or public countermeasure from Russia) is true. And we both no it's true, because your source says so much - Russians were killed, and Russia didn't protest. As we both can see, the likes of Pompeo interpreted this as a sign of weakness, and I'm sure most normie observers do the same thing. I cannot count the times I've heard this Deir ez-Zor argument ("the Russians won't do anything, see, they didn't do anything the last time either") in Hungary.
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  171. @Mr. Hack

    For instance, out of Novorossiya’s eight oblasts, Donetsk (mining) and Kharkov (science, heavy industry) would be net contributors to the budget immediately or almost immediately. Donetsk has coal, and generated something like 25% of the Ukraine’s foreign currency earnings and as well as a disproportionate share of gov’t revenue.
     
    You're dreaming again, Anatoly. Just to put Donbas back together again would cost somewhere in the neighbohood of $20 billion dollars. This is a major reason that neither Russia nor Ukraine are in any hurry to take responsibility for Donbas. And your dreams are ever more ones of the past, which is very strange for somebody who professes to have an avid interest in future trends. Coal is becomming more and more obsolete as an energy source (who is in any hurry to rebuild a dying economy?).

    Kharkov is the Ukraine’s second hi-tech/science city after Kiev, as well as a major industrial center. Odessa (main Ukrainian port), Zaporozhye (Motor Sich), Nikolaev (shipbuilding), and Dnepropetrovsk (industrial) would have started off as recipients but could have been expected to transition to net donors after a few years of convergence. Only Lugansk and Kherson would likely remain net recipients indefinitely.
     
    Another one of your half baked ideas. Even by your own estimates, taking the eastern half of Ukraine would be a difficult if not unclear operation. War in the eastern part would most assuredly involve all of Ukraine supported by the US and NATO (not directly, but with advisers and weapons), and would result in much devastation. If Donbas would cost $20 billion to restore, have you considered how much more all of Eastern Ukraine would cost to rebuild?...Perhaps $100 billion? Where's the money going to come from? Not to mention additional sanctions and 'a certain demographic highly hostile to it, especially if this project was to extend beyond Novorossiya.' And I can't imagine how you might think that it wouldn't? And all for what? As if Russia is really in need of more 'liebenstraum'??....

    And the crux of your piece is to suggest that Russia might possibly risk starting WWIII for more of Ukraine? This sounds really pretty stupid to me!

    And the crux of your piece is to suggest that Russia might possibly risk starting WWIII for more of Ukraine? This sounds really pretty stupid to me!

    Well, the alternative to that – if the standoff there goes hot – is for Russia to be humiliated and retreat to stew in its own juices, isolated by the West and under increased and increasing sanctions anyway. Post-Crimea consensus probably gone, regime facing challenges from both liberal and pissed off nationalists, other ex-USSR states rushing to distance themselves from losers, etc.

    I am not advocating anything here, just describing the options that Putin will have to decide on.

    To some extent I am even glad I am not the one who has to take them and bear responsibility for their outcome.

    Just to put Donbas back together again would cost somewhere in the neighbohood of $20 billion dollars.

    Russia keeps the LDNR humming along with something like $1 billion worth of subsidies per year. Note that this is an unrecognized territory that has been shorn of many of its economic traditional economic links that exists under an atrocious legal regime – all problems that will go away.

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    Another alternative, one that puts Rusia back on track to becoming a much greater power than it is today is put forth by Китайский дурак:

    Indeed, why not pack up and go home then. Bow your heads, kowtow to the ground. Concentrate on structural reform, high tech, give back Crimea. Revert to Medvedev, or better, to Gorbachev. We will disband the Donbas militia. Send their kids to study computer in California. Russia will be a normal country, a small European country, a big Lithuania. What is pride? Nothing. We bother no one. No one bothers us.
     
    I would just add, that in retreating back Russia would buy some time to make amends with Ukraine for its vicious and clumsy behavior. Before 2014, Russia had great influence in Ukraine. Sure, Putin didn't quite get Ukraine to enthusiastically embrace his Eurasian Union dreams, but he could have used Ukraine effectively to market Russian goods to Europe at discounted prices. The European Union is weak and falling apart, really not a big overbearing threat to Russia. As you correctly point out, Russia has invested billions into Ukraine already, and what does it have to show for this today? And to totally destroy Ukraine, in order to control it at the cost of hundreds of billions to rebuild it? Ridiculous. Russia could have had what it wanted in Ukraine, by just being a good neighbor, not an overbearing bully. It still can (although it will take longer today).
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  172. “There will be a modest global cooling, and a collapse of the global economy.” .”

    It is an ill wind indeed that blows no good. As far as population decimation goes, your 90% survival rate for humanity is too optimistic: A number of prominent globalists are on record that the sustainable population is somewhat less than a billion.

    “Many Third World countries may indeed slip into famine due to the breakdown of global trade.”

    Both sides will need to ensure they keep enough nukes and forces available to deal with the inevitable flood of refugees. After a nuclear exchange, maybe the West will be in the sort of mood that finally allows it to defend itself from the invading masses.

    It is is an ill wind that blows no good.

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    • Replies: @ploni almoni
    It is an ill wind indeed that blows no good. As far as population decimation goes, your 90% survival rate for humanity is too optimistic: A number of prominent globalists are on record that the sustainable population is somewhat less than a billion.

    That is certainly a good thing. The bad part is who survives.
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  173. @Tsar Nicholas

    However, the Russians themselves could be due for “Regime Change”
     
    If, given the remarks of people like Nikki Haley ("We will never be friends with Russia . . we will keep slapping them around") and of Victoria Nuland and of Mike Pompeo ( We are ending our soft on Russia policy) together with the actions of the West (NATO expansion, endless sanctions etc), the Russians cannot see the existential threat from the West then maybe Russia does not deserve to continue as a nation.

    PS Surprise of the day. War in Syria has been opposed . . . by Sarah Palin! (There is more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repenteth than of ninety-nine righteous).

    I am actually not surprised, I have always had a soft spot for Palin.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    "If they're Allah akbaring each other, let Allah sort them out."
     
    That's an awesome line, though the actual wording was I think somewhat less awesome (but still very much awesome).
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  174. Thing to bear in mind is almost all European countries have declined to take part, if British planes do get shot down then things will turn very nasty for the government given the distinct lack of public support.

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    • Replies: @DFH
    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/inlineimage/2018-04-11/Syria-01.png

    This poll certainly cheered me up.
    On the other hand, what can anyone really do if she decides to go through with it without a vote in parliament?

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2018/04/12/two-one-public-oppose-missile-strikes-syria/
    , @dante Marotta
    Your correct LondonBob and I think the waking up process if that is the right term is in full progress so People will not blindly go along with the plans of our treacherous elites, Europeans are waking up and beginning to take our own side not the war mongers globalists etc.
    , @Miro23
    And in the UK itself they have a genuine principled politician in Jeremy Corbyn. For years he's opposed the oppression of the Palestinians (and ME war lies) and he was elected leader of the British Labour Party against determined Blairite opposition. This gives him a real chance of becoming Prime Minister.

    And of course he's a total hate figure of the MSM.
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  175. @Randal

    Mr Pompeo also appeared to be the first US official to publicly confirm that US forces had killed hundreds of Russians in Syria in February.
     
    Is there any good reason to believe it just because it comes from the mouth of the likes of Pompeo? The question answers itself. After all, if that were the standard we use, what about all the senior US liars who have blithely announced that "there was a gas attack by Assad" in relation to several highly dubious alleged incidents over the past couple of years? Pompeo was transparently trying to justify the policy of aggressive confrontation he seeks and is no better in this regard than the likes of Bolton.

    Just more empty jingoist words from an empty jingoist.

    I'll stick with the only plausible actual direct investigation report I've seen about the incident:

    The Truth About the Russian Deaths in Syria

    When Clinton’s former running mate Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) asked if the US should back off from regime change and democracy promotion because Russia or another country might feel justified to engage in the same policies, Pompeo responded with a variant of “it’s different when we do it.”

    “This is a unique, exceptional country,” he said. “Russia is unique, but not exceptional.”
     

    Pretty much tells you all you need to know about Pompeo.

    Randal, I believe your Spiegel account. But it seems that

    1) Russians were killed by the Americans

    2) with nary a word of protest from the Russian government

    I’m sure that makes the likes of Pompeo think that if they again kill some Russians accidentally, then Russia will do nothing. So this makes them less eager to avoid any and all accidental Russian casualties. This also makes it easier to sell the policy of aggressive confrontation.

    I fail to see how the exact circumstances or the exact number of those killed matters, as long as the core of the issue (Russians killed by Americans with no protest or public countermeasure from Russia) is true. And we both no it’s true, because your source says so much – Russians were killed, and Russia didn’t protest. As we both can see, the likes of Pompeo interpreted this as a sign of weakness, and I’m sure most normie observers do the same thing. I cannot count the times I’ve heard this Deir ez-Zor argument (“the Russians won’t do anything, see, they didn’t do anything the last time either”) in Hungary.

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    The Russians destroyed the Ghouta rebels in retaliation.
    , @Randal

    Randal, I believe your Spiegel account. But it seems that

    1) Russians were killed by the Americans

    2) with nary a word of protest from the Russian government
     
    Well it isn't "my" account - it's just the most convincing examination I've seen.

    But what grounds had the Russian government to complain about Russians present in a war zone in a private capacity being killed as collateral damage in an ongoing war, and in a location known to be highly dangerous? The world would have laughed at them, and rightly so.


    I’m sure that makes the likes of Pompeo think that if they again kill some Russians accidentally, then Russia will do nothing. So this makes them less eager to avoid any and all accidental Russian casualties. This also makes it easier to sell the policy of aggressive confrontation.
     
    Yes, though I suspect Pompeo is more liar than fool in this case.

    I didn't suggest otherwise.
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  176. @Anatoly Karlin
    I am actually not surprised, I have always had a soft spot for Palin.

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/374452022847606784

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/382386639537840128

    “If they’re Allah akbaring each other, let Allah sort them out.”

    That’s an awesome line, though the actual wording was I think somewhat less awesome (but still very much awesome).

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  177. @reiner Tor
    Randal, I believe your Spiegel account. But it seems that

    1) Russians were killed by the Americans

    2) with nary a word of protest from the Russian government

    I'm sure that makes the likes of Pompeo think that if they again kill some Russians accidentally, then Russia will do nothing. So this makes them less eager to avoid any and all accidental Russian casualties. This also makes it easier to sell the policy of aggressive confrontation.

    I fail to see how the exact circumstances or the exact number of those killed matters, as long as the core of the issue (Russians killed by Americans with no protest or public countermeasure from Russia) is true. And we both no it's true, because your source says so much - Russians were killed, and Russia didn't protest. As we both can see, the likes of Pompeo interpreted this as a sign of weakness, and I'm sure most normie observers do the same thing. I cannot count the times I've heard this Deir ez-Zor argument ("the Russians won't do anything, see, they didn't do anything the last time either") in Hungary.

    The Russians destroyed the Ghouta rebels in retaliation.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    They'd have destroyed them anyway.

    And even if they wouldn't (hardly believable, the only reason they're there is to destroy the rebels anyway), the optics is still there.
    , @reiner Tor
    For the Americans it wouldn't be a bad deal - they can kill Russians with impunity, and in exchange the Russians are killing some Allah akbaring cannon fodder. Politically not a bad deal to sell the American public. Or even the American military.

    The reason the Americans are right now vacillating is because Dunford and Mattis got cold feet about potentially losing planes and surface ships, and they also fear uncontrollable escalation in such a situation. However bad they are, they probably still learned something about nuclear strategy and so probably mostly understand the risks involved. Unlike the bumbling idiot in the White House.
    , @foolisholdman
    I understand that the liberation of East Ghouta destroyed far more than the Jihadists, the SAA captured several hundred Saudi, Israeli, US and UK military specialists who were directing and controlling the Jihadists' fight. They also captured more than 100 51mm VX shells coming from Porton Down and a number of chlorine shells made by Merck in Germany.

    https://vimeo.com/263119043
    veteranstoday.com/2018/04/08/proof-intel-drop-trump-bolton-behind-syria-chemical-attacks-confirmed

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  178. @LondonBob
    The Russians destroyed the Ghouta rebels in retaliation.

    They’d have destroyed them anyway.

    And even if they wouldn’t (hardly believable, the only reason they’re there is to destroy the rebels anyway), the optics is still there.

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  179. @LondonBob
    The Russians destroyed the Ghouta rebels in retaliation.

    For the Americans it wouldn’t be a bad deal – they can kill Russians with impunity, and in exchange the Russians are killing some Allah akbaring cannon fodder. Politically not a bad deal to sell the American public. Or even the American military.

    The reason the Americans are right now vacillating is because Dunford and Mattis got cold feet about potentially losing planes and surface ships, and they also fear uncontrollable escalation in such a situation. However bad they are, they probably still learned something about nuclear strategy and so probably mostly understand the risks involved. Unlike the bumbling idiot in the White House.

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  180. @RadicalCenter
    What would the US government warmongers and tough-talkers do if CHINA sent some "military and technical advisors" to a Russian-run base in Syria?

    Would the US government be willing to risk killing Chinese personnel?

    I fear and distrust China, but this warmongering crew in charge of "my" country's government and economy needs to learn that they are not invincible, that threats have consequences whether they are backed up or not, and that not everyone in the world lacks the strength to say "mind your damn business and back off."

    Indeed some sources said China already have their full range of senior advisors & SF there to train for future real war.

    They won’t make any different, unless China openly involve in the war. Then its total game changer as China has proven itself how much damage its willing to take in counter US in Korea war, and last year confrontation over SCS that force Obama to backoff.

    USM will not want to risk a full war with China, they know China always mean what they said, no bluffs, unlike Russia repeating their old tunes of bluff warnings.

    China has the will to swap US Nato off Syria, but whether it want to pay the price by direct confrontation with it still growing limited projecting power. I would think a second front in SCS & trade war is in China plan as intense painful acupuncture point to press on US without killing it. That will give Russia some relieve.

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  181. @LondonBob
    Thing to bear in mind is almost all European countries have declined to take part, if British planes do get shot down then things will turn very nasty for the government given the distinct lack of public support.

    This poll certainly cheered me up.
    On the other hand, what can anyone really do if she decides to go through with it without a vote in parliament?

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2018/04/12/two-one-public-oppose-missile-strikes-syria/

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    What ever happened to the famous checks and balances? Was Orbán the Viktátor the prime minister of the UK, having destroyed all of those checks and balances? How is it possible that just one person (the prime minister) or a small select group of politicians (her government) could decide whether or not to join an aggressive war, in contravention of the UK's international obligations (e.g. the UN Charter)?

    I cannot believe it's happening. Was there a vote in France? In the US?

    Apparently one big advantage of having a democracy seems to have disappeared, a similar small cabal of politicians can decide to start a world war as in 1914.
    , @for-the-record
    57% of Brits are not opposed to a missile strike, I hardly call this good news.
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  182. Problem with analyses like this one lies in the complexity. Simply put- one cannot disentangle various threads & there are too many “what if’s”; just remember WW1, its course & results, when all predictions turned out to be wrong.

    Although AK has many sound arguments, I think that there are way too many other variables which cannot be accounted for. Also, I don’t think that humankind would survive nuclear war. Pollution, ecological disaster,…. would be too widespread & no country (or continent) would last more than 10-40 years after it.

    I’ve read some predictions re this matter, and they all seem childish and/or wishful thinking.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Be that as it may:
    The situation is serious. Some people react to that by discussing it. Tiny minority, as we here.

    The majority, as always, doesn't care much (at least my observation).

    As long as discussion is within polite parameters, why not?
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  183. @DFH
    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/inlineimage/2018-04-11/Syria-01.png

    This poll certainly cheered me up.
    On the other hand, what can anyone really do if she decides to go through with it without a vote in parliament?

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2018/04/12/two-one-public-oppose-missile-strikes-syria/

    What ever happened to the famous checks and balances? Was Orbán the Viktátor the prime minister of the UK, having destroyed all of those checks and balances? How is it possible that just one person (the prime minister) or a small select group of politicians (her government) could decide whether or not to join an aggressive war, in contravention of the UK’s international obligations (e.g. the UN Charter)?

    I cannot believe it’s happening. Was there a vote in France? In the US?

    Apparently one big advantage of having a democracy seems to have disappeared, a similar small cabal of politicians can decide to start a world war as in 1914.

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  184. @DFH
    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/inlineimage/2018-04-11/Syria-01.png

    This poll certainly cheered me up.
    On the other hand, what can anyone really do if she decides to go through with it without a vote in parliament?

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2018/04/12/two-one-public-oppose-missile-strikes-syria/

    57% of Brits are not opposed to a missile strike, I hardly call this good news.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The glass is half empty...

    As long as May will go through with it, it won't matter at the end of the day.

    Even if it was a small salvo of missiles (a somewhat bigger version of the Sharyat strike), I'd try to sink a British vessel, if I were the Russian military leadership.
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