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Culture War Roundup for the week of January 16, 2023

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Some complaints about Netflix's new adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front.

Im Westen nichts Neues is one of my most beloved books, and it had a profound effect on me reading it as a teen. Moreover, the First World War is a period of history that has always fascinated me. Consequently, I have Strong Opinions on Netflix's adaptation. In general, I try to avoid watching adaptations of my favourite books, and I haven't seen either the 1930 film or the 1979 TV series. Yet bored in a hotel room, I decided to watch this one (warning - spoilers ahead).

In short, while the movie was a visual feast and was highly evocative (and Daniel Brühl is a consistently fine actor), it also spectacularly missed the point of the novel. To wit...

(1) The title of the novel literally means "nothing new on the Western front", reflecting a central theme of the novel concerning the ubiquity and mediocrity of human suffering in this period - Paul's death isn't even a footnote in dispatches. By shifting the action of the story to the final day of the conflict, you lose the sense of mediocrity and genericity - the dispatches from November 11 1918 most certainly did NOT read "Im Westen nichts Neues". Consequently, the adaptation misses one of the central themes of the novel.

(2) Additionally, by making the denouement of the movie a senseless attack ordered by a deranged general, the hamartiology of the movie is fundamentally undermined. A big part of the novel is that if there was evil in the trenches, it was deeper, systemic, engrained in our species and society rather than locatable within a particular malevolent actor. But we all know exactly who to blame for the final, utterly pointless assault at the end of the movie - the cartoonishly nationalistic and stupid General Friedrichs.

(3) Arguably the most powerful part of the book - aside from the eternally haunting crater scene (which I'll grant the movie did well) - is when Paul returns home to the village of his birth, and finds himself utterly alienated from his former community. This is something we feel powerfully as a reader, too - after the torrent of horror and futility we've been reading, there is a tonal whiplash returning to a civilian setting that emphasises the naivety and lack of understanding of Paul's former mentors. The idea that warfare fundamentally damages and dislocates combatants from their pre-war communities is one that's now firmly in our cultural DNA thanks to the flood of post-Vietnam movies exploring alienation and PTSD, but Im Westen nichts Neues was one of the earliest works to explore it. Yet this whole scene is utterly absent from this adaptation, again because of the foolish decision to shift the focus to an incredibly compressed time window at the end of the war.

(4) As an amateur military historian, I found lots of things that made me grind my teeth (in contrast to Sam Mendes' relatively punctilious 1917). I won't list them all, you'll be glad to know, but just to highlight one, the movie depicts an array of threats and modern horrors, from planes to tanks to flamethrowers, in an unrealistically condensed and spectacular fashion. This would be understandable if we were being shown an edited "highlights reel" of several months of fighting, but we're expected to think this all happened in a single day! In fact, the majority of deaths in WW1 were due to artillery, not machine guns as the mythology would have it. Moreover, most of these deaths happened not in mass 'over the top' assaults but while soldiers huddled in dugouts. The First World War was largely a miserable boring conflict in which death could come at any time due to a shell landing in the trench next to you.

(5) The decision to explore the armistice negotiations was an interesting one, and Matthias Erzberger is a fascinating figure. But if this was what Director Edward Berger wanted to explore, he should have made a different film. As it was, these scenes were utterly underdeveloped, and we didn't get much insight into why Germany was forced to negotiate, or the various factions involved on the German side. The growing effects of the British blockade, the abdication of the Kaiser, the failure of the U-boat campaign, the horrific losses and disappointment from the 1918 German Spring Offensive, the Russian revolution, fears of the nascent threat of Communism, the collapse of the Danube front - all of these themes are important and interesting if one wants to tell a story about why the war ended. As it was, the Armistice scenes detracted from the film's ability to tell Paul's story at the frontline, while failing to deliver a particularly rich or historically-informed narrative about the politics.

I will resist the opportunity to go on a further rant about public misperceptions of World War 1, but I will say that while I love Blackadder Goes Forth with a passion, it has - in combination with the "lions led by donkeys" trope - helped cement many misunderstandings about the war, especially in the British mindset, and this film perpetuates many of these myths.

For example, the First World War's causes were not some terrible accident or obscure diplomatic nonsense involving an ostrich. It had been brewing for decades as the balance of power in Europe shifted, Germany and Russia sought to flex their muscles, the Ottoman Empire declined, and France sought to undo the losses of the Franco-Prussian War. It very nearly happened several years earlier during the various Morocco crises, for example. All of the players had very good (political) reasons to fight. The involvement of the UK in particular was triggered by the German invasion of Belgium, a neutral country whose defense we were explicitly committed to. The death-toll and misery and human suffering of the war was obviously colossal, and from a moral perspective of course the war was a species-level mistake. But it was a disaster arising from deep systemic factors, and without radically revising the world order as it was in 1914, it's not clear how it could or should have been avoided.

Relatedly, there were no 'easy fixes' for the stalemate of trench warfare. As everyone knows, the balance of military technology at the time made sustained offensives very costly and unlikely to result in breakouts. However, defense was also very costly; in the majority of German offensives, for example, the Allies suffered more casualties as defenders than the Germans did as attackers. Ultimately, when you have large industrialised countries with huge populations that are engaged in what they see as a war for national survival, they will send millions of soldiers to fight and die; these nations can "take a punch", as Dan Carlin memorably put it, and there's no "One Weird Trick To Fix The Trench Warfare Stalemate". When various powers did try alternative approaches - for example, the Gallipoli landings or the Ostend Raids - it generally backfired. While the likes of John French and Douglas Haig were mediocre commanders, even the best and most innovative officers of the war (such as John Monash) sustained eye-watering casualties.

Despite all the above complaints, I do think the film is worth watching; it is a visual feast, as I say, and some scenes are spectacularly well done: the famous crater scene, as well as the 'uniform scenes' added at the start that KulakRevolt discussed here. However, as an adaptation of the book or as a rumination on the nature of evil in warfare, it is distinctly lacking.

The involvement of the UK in particular was triggered by the German invasion of Belgium, a neutral country whose defense we were explicitly committed to.

That is the official reason, because the UK government knew it would be hard to convince the British public that Serbia was worth fighting over, but they were keen to get involved from the very start.

Indeed, Britain's involvement is what really set it off as a "World War", whereas if they had stayed out it would've probably been a larger repeat of something like the Franco Prussian war. I've felt for a while that their decision to join the war was ultimately the most disastrous foreign policy decision the UK ever made.

I don't know that much about WWI but I got the sense that it was a very theatrical and "hollywood-ized" depiction of the war. I watched the 1930 years ago in college and I especially remembered the scene where their kindly postman becomes a tyrannical bully once he's in uniform. I was disappointed not to see that in this movie.

I'm in 100%, total agreement with you, as a big fan of the book and someone very interested in the world wars. I've mentioned before here that the depiction of the Germans as over-eager in the final days of the war isn't just a baffling reversal of the book's finish, but also likely to give the average viewer the completely wrong impression about what the German morale and position was like come November 1918.

Over time I've become less and less tolerant for movies that take historical liberties. I don't really care about names or places or specific dates, or getting all the period details of dress and costume and dialogue correct. But the average person should be able to get, emotionally and intellectually, a roughly accurate impression of the era depicted. The average person knows fuck all about history EXCEPT for what they get from pop culture, and so in that respect I do feel that film/tv/video game creatives have some responsibility to get the broad stuff right. In an age of decreased literacy they do shoulder more of the burden (extremely sadly) for explaining history. And I think it's much more important that the larger public have a decent sense of our shared history than most people would reckon.

I will resist the opportunity to go on a further rant about public misperceptions of World War 1, but I will say that while I love Blackadder Goes Forth with a passion, it has - in combination with the "lions led by donkeys" trope - helped cement many misunderstandings about the war, especially in the British mindset, and this film perpetuates many of these myths.

YES. I remember watching a few of the episodes in high school history class and it was one of the first time that I realised how, with just a little bit of obsessiveness about history in my spare time, I already knew more than a lot of well-educated adults.

However, to paraphrase what has been said about Neville Chamberlain, World War I British have about as much chance of being remembered as competent decision-makers in a new and difficult environment as Pontius Pilate has of being remembered as a competent Roman official.

Does Trump sue just to fundraise?

Throughout the early history of the American legal system, if you wanted to sue anyone in court you had to follow this arcane and inconsistent labyrinth of common law pleading rules. What we today generically call "lawsuits" were pointlessly split up into "actions at law" or "bills in equity" or whatever, all of which had different pedantic rules depending on the jurisdiction you're in (for a long time, federal courts dealing with state law had to apply procedural rules that were in effect at the time the state joined the Union). When the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were first created in 1938, the intent was to get rid of the stodgy traditional requirements in favor of something comparatively more informal. As reflected in Rule 8, all you really need to file a lawsuit is a "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" in your complaint.

This "permissive" paradigm was put to the test in front of the same guy who was responsible for writing those new rules, Judge Charles E. Clark. The 1944 case Dioguardi v. Durning is a fun read, and involves a handwritten lawsuit filed by a guy with a very questionable grasp on the English language complaining about a customs official seizing "tonic" bottles "of great value" imported from Italy. Clark ruled that "however inartistically they may be stated" the guy was clear enough to meet the new pleading standards. For a more modern example from a much more complicated case, see the complaint that was filed in the Tesla Securities lawsuit (I know nothing about this case, just picked it at random for an example). Despite the complex subject matter and the number of people involved, the complaint is only 58 pages and is structured logically enough to make it relatively easy to follow. It establishes why the court should hear the case, some background facts, and then articulates in clear detail who harmed who and why the court should do something about it.

In contrast, compare the lawsuit that Lance Armstrong filed against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in 2012. The Judge took one look at the PDF, saw that it was 80 pages long, and promptly dismissed it with a "I ain't reading all that" ruling:

Armstrong's complaint is far from short, spanning eighty pages and containing 261 numbered paragraphs, many of which have multiple subparts. Worse, the bulk of these paragraphs contain "allegations" that are wholly irrelevant to Armstrong's claims and which, the Court must presume, were included solely to increase media coverage of this case, and to incite public opinion against Defendants. See, e.g., Compl. [#1] ¶ 10 ("USADA's kangaroo court proceeding would violate due process even if USADA had jurisdiction to pursue its charges against Mr. Armstrong."). Indeed, vast swaths of the complaint could be removed entirely, and most of the remaining paragraphs substantially reduced, without the loss of any legally relevant information. Nor are Armstrong's claims "plain": although his causes of action are, thankfully, clearly enumerated, the excessive preceding rhetoric makes it difficult to relate them to any particular factual support. This Court is not inclined to indulge Armstrong's desire for publicity, self-aggrandizement, or vilification of Defendants, by sifting through eighty mostly unnecessary pages in search of the few kernels of factual material relevant to his claims.

Since lawsuits are already a vehicle to air grievances, it's understandable when clients/lawyers try to sneak in as many parting shots as possible. Lawsuits are endowed with an aura of gravity and seriousness that a bare press release or op-ed outlining the same grievances would lack. Unless things get *too *egregious, there's not a whole lot a judges can do to stop the practice of trying to disguise a press release under a legitimate lawsuit costume.

Back in March of last year, Trump filed a wide-ranging 108-page lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and several dozen other defendants. You can read the entire lawsuit yourself here but the basic allegation is defamation over claims/insinuations that Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. The complaint was later "amended" in June to include yet more defendants, and ballooned to 193 pages in the process.

The Trump v. Clinton et al lawsuit eventually got dismissed last September. For a full accounting as to why you can read the 65-page opinion but the short summary is the lawsuit was a confusing constellation of disconnected political grievances Trump had smooshed together into a laundry list of allegations that could not conceivably be supported by any existing law. For example, Trump's lawyer Alina Habba alleged malicious prosecution without a prosecution, alleged RICO violations without predicate offenses, alleged obstruction of justice without a judicial proceeding, cited directly to reports that contradicted their claims, and on and on. None of these problems are supposed to be common knowledge, but it is *very *basic stuff any lawyer filing a federal lawsuit should either know or research before they step foot on a rake. But when the defendants in this case pointed out the problems, Habba's response was to just double down instead of correct them. My favorite tidbit was when they justified why one of the 30+ defendants, a New York resident, was being sued in a Florida court (even federal courts need personal jurisdiction established) by claiming that defendant should've known that the false information they were spreading would end up in Florida, and also that they "knew that Florida is a state in the United States which was an important one."

When someone is served with any lawsuit, they have an obligation to respond or risk losing the entire case by default. In very rare circumstances (namely with handwritten complaints from prisoners with nothing better to do), a lawsuit is so patently bogus that a defendant can sit on their laurels doing nothing, confident it will get dismissed without them having to lift a finger. Before Trump's lawsuit was dismissed, a veritable legal machinery from the 30+ individuals/corporations sued whirred into action, ginning up an eye-watering amount of billable hours in the process to investigate and respond to the allegations. The judge in this case was seriously annoyed by all this and on Thursday she imposed sanctions by ordering Habba and Trump to pay everyone's legal bills, totalling almost $938,000. You can read the 46-page opinion here.

I've written before about pretextual excuses, such as when NYC *claimed *their employee vaccine mandate was for public health reasons, but then implemented exceptions that were inconsistent with their lofty claim. I argued it's reasonable to conclude NYC was lying. Similarly, Habba may claim as a lawyer that her lawsuit was to pursue valid legal remedies on behalf of her client, but when her efforts are completely inconsistent with that goal, it's perfectly reasonable to conclude she's lying. If valid legal remedies was the real goal of the suit, even someone like me --- with no experience civil litigation --- can contemplate trivial changes which would have significantly improved its success (most obviously don't wait past the statute of limitations, don't try to sue 31 different entities all at once, don't try to sue in a court that lacks jurisdiction, don't try to sue fictitious entities, etc.). So if that wasn't the real goal, what was?

The judge in this case strongly suspects the real purpose of the (bogus) lawsuit was to use it as a vehicle for fundraising. The vast scope of characters sued matches with this explanation because while a disparate cast of defendants legally frustrated the lawsuit in the courtroom, it does make for a better headline when soliciting donations (Clinton! Adam Schiff! James Comey! Lisa Page! Peter Strzok!). Trump has a pattern of filing frivolous lawsuits (like suing the Pulitzer Prize Board for defamation for awarding NYT and WaPo) and then following up with "breaking news alerts" soliciting donations for his Save America PAC, so the timing matches up. The fundraising efforts appear to be working well, with the PAC having about $70 million on hand as of last fall.

The sanction this judge imposed is the highest by far imposed on any of Trump's attorneys. It's possible this is a coincidence, but the day after the sanctions, Trump voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit he filed in Florida (??) against New York's Attorney General. I'm assuming the judge hopes the $1 million penalty will discourage further waste of time for the courts and other potential defendants, but the fundraising mechanism I described feeds itself. The higher the sanction imposed, the more urgent the breaking news alert begging for money will be.

=edited

It's not like anyone objects (or should object) to shots taken at Biden. I'm starting to feel like this place may have a problem.

Your post was high quality. One can always disagree on substance, but their criticism of the form doesn't hold water. Partisan complaints based on impossibly high standards shouldn't be rewarded with edits, let alone apologies and bans.

Thank you. It's certainly possible that some partisans want to react to arguments they don't like by throwing a tantrum instead of engaging with the argument itself, but given the amount of productive feedback I received in this thread, it's worthwhile to remain receptive to valid criticism and acknowledge it.

I think any issues it had were solved with changing the headline to:

Does Trump sue just to fundraise?

I actually ignored the post from the start, but I can understand someone being frustrated at essentially being Rick-Rolled into reading another "Orange Man Bad!" post. Likewise the "You're about to be triggered" warning was picking a fight. The post as it is now, is perfect.

I actually ignored the post from the start, but I can understand someone being frustrated at essentially being Rick-Rolled into reading another "Orange Man Bad!" post. Likewise the "You're about to be triggered" warning was picking a fight.

I agree with this criticism, and credit to @aqouta for convincing me of the errors of my ways. I feel silly that I did not consider "open question as headline" as an option before.

Seeing ymeskhout and Nybbler duking it out is like seeing mommy and daddy fighting. Stop it, think of the children!

That said, the post was good and informative and Trump should not be above reproach. The attempts to raise the costs for criticising Trump on The Motte reads to me like a cheap attempt to enforce consensus. That is not why we're here.

This is my read of it as well, particularly considering how many are coupling with the thought-terminating cliche phrase "Orange Man Bad". It is highly ironic to me that this phrase, supposed to mock "NPC-like" left-wing behavior, has just become a reflective crutch to be employed by MAGA and MAGA-adjacent folks every time someone criticizes Trump for anything, anywhere, no matter the quality of the criticism.

Trump is the former US president and quite potentially a future US president as well! He should be criticized, and criticized a lot, for his various maneuvers and wheeling and dealing!

Well, I wouldn't use it if the criticism was substantive, but most times it does amount to nothing more than "Orange Man Bad". Trump is supposed to be uniquely awful. Situate him in the context, demonstrate that this is so and that it's not the equivalent of an instance in the past when everyone was shocked and horrified by how uniquely awful and unprecedented such and such was.

We're currently seeing with Biden, for instance, that taking batches of classified documents home with you after leaving office is not a once-off, uniquely Trumpian, case. And indeed Biden did it before Trump, after leaving office as Vice-President for Obama. But somehow this is different. "Oh but Trump opposed and fought, Biden co-operated". Biden had these documents for six years, had no idea he had them, left them lying around in cupboards to be found by people clearing out old offices, and in his garage. Of course he didn't fight, he was all "I have classified documents? Okay, if you say so". Is this supposed to be better?

We're currently seeing with Biden, for instance, that taking batches of classified documents home with you after leaving office is not a once-off, uniquely Trumpian, case. And indeed Biden did it before Trump, after leaving office as Vice-President for Obama. But somehow this is different. "Oh but Trump opposed and fought, Biden co-operated". Biden had these documents for six years, had no idea he had them, left them lying around in cupboards to be found by people clearing out old offices, and in his garage. Of course he didn't fight, he was all "I have classified documents? Okay, if you say so". Is this supposed to be better?

Yes. Being in violation of the rules because of negligence and then cooperating to rectify the mistake is better than openly flaunting the rules, if you believe the rules are just. Which I do in this case, even if its enforcers aren't.

Well, in this case, I find it pretty hard to argue that it's a substantial criticism, in the way that I haven't seen this particular criticism before and it adds to the image of a Trump being a type to ignore the formal rules of the system to pursue personal agendas, surely something one would mostly not want to see in a president. Furthermore, it taught me things about the American legal system I hadn't read about or even considered before. Summarizing this particular post just as "Orange Bad Mad" seems, indeed, nothing more than a reflex, and it's not the first time I've seen this thought-terminating phrase just being used as an automatic dismissive reaction to any and all criticism of Trump.

Yes, yes, heaven forbid that people are informed what the thread is about, so they can scroll by if they're not interested.

Trump is the former US president and quite potentially a future US president as well! He should be criticized, and criticized a lot, for his various maneuvers and wheeling and dealing!

Criticize President Trump? Inconceivable! It has never been done before!*

*) Which is to say: there's nothing wrong with beating a dead horse, but stop acting like criticizing Trump is what people have an issue with.

I haven't seen this particular criticism of Trump before, and I found it interesting to read.

Sure, I'm not saying it shouldn't be posted, just that people miffed because this wasn't what they were signing up for have a right to be miffed.

arguing with Nybbler means you're probably gonna lose

Definitely curious to hear what you think of what folks like Lawfare called the "speaking indictments" of Robert Mueller. They used this term specifically to describe an indictment that is aimed at "telling a broader story" rather than narrowly focusing in on specific crimes. Are you similarly critical of legal actions taken to harm Trump?

Can you point to a link about what you mean about "speaking indictments"? I'm familiar with the term only generally and don't immediately see the relevance.

I have my beliefs but I also like to think I just follow where the evidence takes me. Here's me being critical of the case Liz Cheney was trying to build against Trump regarding his knowledge about the crowd on J6. I'm sure there are other examples.

This link has an example of the phrase:

The document is what prosecutors term a “speaking indictment”; that is, it describes facts about the defendants’ activities beyond what is strictly necessary for the counts it charges. The purpose of a speaking indictment is more than to simply list charges; it is to tell a story...

I don't have much of an opinion of it. What they call speaking indictments looks like it has about the same amount of detail that I see in charging documents I deal with every day in state court. In your link it's clear why the prosecutors assumed a jury trial would never happen, so adding details into an indictment makes sense. Shrug? Sorry, I'm not sure what you're asking.

I'm confused. Do you disagree with their assessment that prosecutors make a distinction along the lines they described? Do you agree that prosecutors make that distinction, but your assessment is that this particular one isn't in that bucket? Or maybe you think that they're right that some prosecutors make that distinction, but you think those prosecutors are just full of bollocks or something?

I don't know enough about federal criminal indictments in general to have an opinion on this. "Speaking indictment" appears to me to be more like a term of art descriptor than an exact distinction.

Would you stipulate that the authors are plugged in with what federal criminal prosecutors think about such indictments in general? Then, under the assumption that they're right enough about the idea that such a thing was what happened here, would you be even remotely as concerned about it?

I think you're overstating the choice of venue issue. In practice it's pretty flexible.

Look at when SDNY when after Bannon et al. None of the defendants were in its jurisdiction. They couldn't find a victim. The case was similar -- residents of SDNY heard about "build the wall" so they had jurisdiction.

For things like libel you're supposed to be able to sue in your home state. If the defendant is politically connected (eg NYT) it'll often get transferred, but that's more of an exception.

There have been a few explanations floated for how the lawsuits proceeded...

Fundraising was undoubtably a goal.

Stating all of the allegations in one place for the historical record was probably a motivation. Multiple separate lawsuits wouldn't have been able to convey Trump's side clearly.

The choice of lawyers was questionable. Trump has a thing for hiring ex-prosecutors. They don't have the right experience for this sort of litigation. I suspect that they are grifting Trump... filing half-assed lawsuits so they can bill him and say they did something. Ex-prosecutors aren't the sort of people who actually want to present a strong case against powerful federal insiders.

Another probable goal was just to get to some level of discovery. Getting the various defendants to admit to various facts not in dispute would have been good for Trump's record. It would have been something historians would have needed to acknowledge.

A more out there explanation I've heard is that the goal of the lawsuit was to create a single intelligence silo. It provided a justification to read in all of the lawyers on information that's still classified. Multiple lawsuits would have meant that lawyers could only be read in on specific information relevant to that specific case.

Filing before the statute of limitations had expired was impossible in this case. He wouldn't have been able to sue as president. Legally he could, but it wasn't practical to. Plus high level bureaucrats have too many ways to slow things down... information came out as a trickle, then he had to wait for official investigations to wrap up.

I think it would be helpful if you pointed to links or sources for your claims. For example, I don't know where you're basing the claim that personal jurisdiction is flexible. The wikipedia page on the topic should be enough to showcase how complicated the analysis is and cases get bounced all the time for failure to establish personal jurisdiction (which typically happens because the plaintiff either wants to sue in their home turf for convenience or is maybe judge shopping). Similarly how does filing a frivolous lawsuit help the "historical record" versus just writing a book or issuing a press release? Etc

Content Warning: This post criticizes Trump

This is obnoxious and unnecessary.

Some people thought that my post was a pretextual excuse where I discuss the US legal system just as a vehicle to criticize Trump. The whole point of the post was to criticize Trump, so I wanted to make that clear to anyone who would read this. How else would you propose I address this concern?

How else would you propose I address this concern?

Don't use something deliberately provocative like "Content Warning". If the point of your post is to criticise Trump first, and the legal arcanities are second, then state that at the outset: "I want to criticise Trump from the standpoint of the lawsuits he takes".

You're perfectly free to say "Orange Man Bad" but why drag us through a history of "bills in equity" to get there? In fact, I think if you did do a post about the history of lawsuits, it would be more informative, more entertaining, and more acceptable as well as more in keeping with the spirit of this place.

Yes, the spirit of this place is about arguments and disputes, but don't be boring while you do it.

reposting, does this provide any insight as to why I included the history?

I do often wonder if I am overexplaining things. Because of my job, I don't think I am well calibrated on how much non-lawyers need/want something explained. I'm a nerd about minutiae like the history of civil procedure and personally find the subject interesting so when I started writing about a "bad" lawsuit, it seemed relevant to include some background on what makes a "good" lawsuit. The point, one which I probably should've been clearer about, is that we used to have this very formal and stodgy standards for how lawsuits are worded but that changed in favor of something less formal. The intent was to encourage people to speak more plainly, and I showcased the Dioguardi case to highlight how low the bar was. The risk with less formal standards is that people might ramble on, and so I thought it was relevant that courts want you to get to the point when you file a lawsuit.

All those things combined (less formality, preference for short and plain statements) showcase the challenge judges have with strictly policing the gratuitous parting shots lawyers/clients include in their lawsuits. So towards that end I highlighted Armstrong's example as a rare case of a lawsuit being dismissed for being too long, as a way to illustrate the limits of what judges are willing to put up with. The point was to set the stage for how Trump's 193-page lawsuit should be evaluated. I think if I just linked you a 200 page PDF and said "this is bad", few people would understand why.

I hadn't read the earlier version or the exchanges of opinion. So I came in to the "Does Trump sue just to fundraise?" version.

It seemed to be leading into an interesting wander through the history of American lawsuits and how that developed, but then that was set aside for "Orange Man Bad".

I don't think I'm a Trump partisan, but I don't much appreciate thinking you're offering me a slice of apple tart and then it turns out to be stewed prunes. I like stewed prunes, but if I'm all set up for apple tart, that doesn't please me.

It would have been better to dump the history of lawsuits if you were just going to go "Trump is a big poopy-head for suing Hillary". Then I could have skipped the entire thing.

Conversely, if you had left out the "Trump is a big poopy-head" stuff and told me about Italians and Lance Armstrong, I'd have read and enjoyed this and possibly upvoted.

As it is, the impression I have of this entire exchange is you sneering about "partisans" not appreciating your legal genius, and the people you're arguing with sniping back at you. I. Don't. Care.

The 'overexplanation' here was great, and I'd have enjoyed reading another eight paragraphs of it.

Same here. Leave out the Trump stuff, give us the legal "did you know?" No I didn't, tell me more!

Thank you, I appreciate that. I'm embarrassed to admit that those few paragraphs took literally hours to write, mostly because I kept getting distracted by research rabbit holes. If there's ever a topic you'd be interested to see me cover lmk

I saw the down thread squabbling and can registering nothing beyond a desire to recoup the precious minutes wasted in reading it. I will be brief for the sake of you and others. Your disagreement would be best resolved by not having happened, the second best solution is to have it be ignored or at least contained to the offending response thread. Editing your post in any way to make this disagreement more visible cannot possibly improve it. If you wish to make someone seem like an unhinged partisan for dismissing valid criticism this is practically the worst way to achieve your goal. You know, I know and everyone reading your post knows that this warning has no purpose other than to sneer.

You make a good point about visibility, and I edited the content warning to a more natural sounding open question. I put [edited] at the bottom. I would have edited more of a note but I'm already at 9991/10000 characters.

Significantly better, thank you.

Adding the other poster's name was gratuitous but I think the content warning was fine as it was. People are mad at you because they don't enjoy reading long posts criticizing Trump and they admit as much. The content warning gives them a chance to minimize it and move on, which is what they should do instead of getting mad and telling you to delete your post.

Partisans here know what they're getting into when they read long form analysis of Trump lawsuits. A content warning is as much of an insult to the reader's intellect as a warning that an aquarium may contain fish. @ymeskhout frequently makes posts of this type that I genuinely find valuable, especially with the aggressively neutral wording emblematic of a good lawyer that lets the facts and framing damn their opposition in a way low effort swipes simply irritate. It's frankly below them.

I don't think partisans do know what to expect.

My own biases are flattered by @ymeshkout's take, but if certain usernames were at the top, I'd go in assuming apologetics. Or at least "Here's why there's a problem Trump wants to combat."

For what it's worth, coming into the version that asks "just to fundraise?" I think it's pretty reasonable. That's a hypothesis, it's made clear from the start, and then the rest defends it. I read it as less stilted than a Content Warning and less of a bait-and-switch than just segueing partway through.

People are mad at you because they don't enjoy reading long posts criticizing Trump and they admit as much.

Some people did have thoughtful feedback downthread which I found persuasive and noted accordingly. For that reason, I'll hold out hope that people are not mad over something as petty and childish as what you're describing.

I've written before about pretextual excuses, such as when NYC *claimed *their employee vaccine mandate was for public health reasons, but then implemented exceptions that were inconsistent with their lofty claim.

Or, for instance, when someone writes a long comment purporting to be about the US legal system, but is really just a vehicle to take a shot at Trump.

  • -27

Or for instance, when someone writes a short comment purporting to make a point, but is just trying to dismiss anything that might be critical of Trump.

@Dean believes that I may have misinterpreted your post as if you were accusing me of pretending to write about the US legal system just as a vehicle to criticize Trump. Could you confirm that my interpretation was off-base? As I said before, the whole point of the post was to criticize Trump's behavior. Was that not sufficiently sign-posted?

I apologize for the inclusion of your name in my content warning edit. Could you provide me any suggestions on what I could have done differently to address your criticism above?

The post to me read as just a shot at Trump, not so much criticizing him for engaging in lawfare but gloating over him being sanctioned for it. The whole long introduction on the legal system read as an attempt to add verbiage to make the post acceptable as a Motte top-level post. As for what you should have done, either not posted it or gotten to the point more quickly.

I sincerely appreciate you took the time to respond to my question. Which part do you identify as "gloating"?

Distributed throughout the second half. The whole tone of that half strikes me as just gleeful that Trump's people are being sanctioned.

I don't see what you're referring to. Can you point to any sentence and maybe provide an example of how you would rephrase it?

The post was awesome, informative, and even cited. Why quibble?

Sorry for the misunderstanding, the post was fully intended from the beginning to be about the $1 million sanction Trump and his lawyer received this week. As I started writing it, it made sense to include background info on pleading standards as way to showcase contrasting examples (Armstrong lawsuit vs Tesla lawsuit). Which part do you find pretextual? Would you find it helpful if I included a content warning at the top?

Edit: I apologize if my overly long introduction left you feeling duped about the content of the post. I added a content warning to make it clear what the core subject of the post is. If you have any other suggestions please let me know.

You should get a couple days ban for being so antagonistic. That edit to the original post is a shameful act for someone that's supposed to be a mod.

  • -11

@The_Nybbler believes that my post was pretextual, in other words that I was falsely claiming to write a post about the US legal system as a way to conceal my hidden purpose of criticizing Trump. I maintain that my real purpose was always from the beginning to write a post criticizing Trump, but given how long my intro about the US legal system was, I can understand why someone might potentially be mislead. Since I can't add a title to the comment I added a content warning to more explicitly signal what the post was about. What would you alternatively suggest for me to do to address The_Nybbler's concerns?

I'm not saying I agree with Nybbler. Someone behaving poorly does not excuse behaving poorly yourself. That edit's purpose is to be a petty insult, if it wasn't there'd be no reason to mention the person you're insulting. You could have easily just left the name out, but you wanted it to be insulting. I was asked to review the original post before I went into the thread and I thought it needed a warning because of the way it just called out another user seemingly for no reason. But after reading your post in response, the edit of that, and then the edit of the original post. It's just pure insult and pretending to be otherwise. I can understand banter and swipes and barbs to people with whom we disagree. But you go out of your way to humiliate and troll other users and get away with it because they made a mistake and were wrong and you are right. It's an aggressive and uncharitable trend you make a habit of and it disappoints me immensely that you can just get away with it because you do it with a smile and a bunch of links.

That edit's purpose is to be a petty insult, if it wasn't there'd be no reason to mention the person you're insulting. You could have easily just left the name out, but you wanted it to be insulting.

I understand your point about including his name and have edited it out. If you have any suggestions on how I ideally should have responded to The_Nybbler 's claim that my post was a pretext for criticizing Trump I'm all ears. It's weird to be accused of hiding a motivation I'm not hiding, so it seemed logical to respond by double-underlining the core topic of the post with a banner explicitly announcing the topic up top. How else am I supposed to respond to that kind of accusation?

But you go out of your way to humiliate and troll other users and get away with it because they made a mistake and were wrong and you are right. It's an aggressive and uncharitable trend you make a habit of and it disappoints me immensely that you can just get away with it because you do it with a smile and a bunch of links.

I remain open to receiving feedback on what I write and I genuinely don't understand how the first post is an example of trolling. I thought I was transparent when I wrote: "If I'm being fully honest, the scenario I would find the most emotionally satisfying and personally motivated towards pulling off would be where motteposting blunders haplessly into my trap and exposes himself as a complete hypocritical partisan about the standards of credibility he applies. I must admit that I did not get that, and I'll specifically give credit for things he did that were commendable." I'm not sure what is ambiguous about that or what else I'm supposed to say. What do you think is missing?

I similarly don't understand the criticism over the second link. DradisPing refused to admit they made a mistake and as far as I know this remains the case to this day. Do you think it's inappropriate to point out when someone confidently asserts false information and refuses to admit error? Furthermore, I maintain that examining why someone's mistakes happen to fall in the same direction is a topic worth examining. Which part do you disagree with?

Focusing on a single person for no reason to expose them as a bad faith actor is trolling. People are not ants in an antfarm. Not giving a person any time to respond at all before you make a top-level post detailing how wrong they are and pointing them out by name over and over is not the act of a person engaging in a debate. It's rude, tactless and unnecessarily aggressive. But it's clear to me that you are either unable to understand how your actions can affect other people or simply don't care. You wrap it all up in nice-seeming language but it's not. These are things you do to people you see as enemies. We're supposed to be having discussions and arguments with people that we may disagree with but they're still people. You are not treating people who disagree with you as people, you're treating them like they're enemies that need to be dissuaded or dismantled. Charity: from where I'm sitting you give it to no one.

You're losing me on the definition of trolling you're using. I don't see anything wrong with exposing someone's mistake, especially if I am emphatically accommodating rehabilitation ("it's fair to conclude DradisPing was mistaken. If so, I will preemptively praise them for editing their post and admitting their error."). I don't see the problem with this approach because I explicitly invite others to do the same to me. A good example of where I was scrutinized and a situation I wish happened more often is this post by @Fruck where they ask genuinely thoughtful and penetrating questions about why I had the beliefs I had. I walked away grateful for that exchange because it prompted productive introspection on my end.

If someone pointed out a mistake I made and gave me space to either correct it or justify it, I can't think of a reason why I would register that as a hostile act.

@The_Nybbler believes that my post was pretextual, in other words that I was falsely claiming to write a post about the US legal system as a way to conceal my hidden purpose of criticizing Trump.

Strangely, @The_Nybbler did not say that you were falsely claiming to write a post about the US legal citizen as a way to conceal your hidden purpose of criticizing Trump.

We can tell this because on reviewing what @The_Nybbler wrote, which you quoted, which was-

Or, for instance, when someone writes a long comment purporting to be about the US legal system, but is really just a vehicle to take a shot at Trump.

...which does not say you were falsely claiming to write a post about the US legal system, or that you were doing so as a way to conceal a hidden purpose, or that your purpose of critizing Trump was hidden. In fact, key framing words such as 'falsely' and 'hidden' do not appear, which the key word 'vehicle' as a metaphor in the context of a criticism of pretext is removed, thus creating substantive change of position from what Nybbler wrote and what you claim he said.

This would politely be called strawmanning, except that strawmanning is a device when engaging in an argument with someone, but you aren't engaging with Nybbler, you are deliberately re-characterizing what Nybbler said in conveyence to external audience.

Which would politely be called 'lying about what someone said to someone else.' Which is a reoccuring feature of yours.

I maintain that my real purpose was always from the beginning to write a post criticizing Trump, but given how long my intro about the US legal system was, I can understand why someone might potentially be mislead. Since I can't add a title to the comment I added a content warning to more explicitly signal what the post was about. What would you alternatively suggest for me to do to address The_Nybbler's concerns?

Delete the post, apologize for poor writing quality, and apologize to @The_Nybbler for poor conduct.

Edit: And I see he has edited back out the troll he had edited in, but no apology in the post. Typical and meeting expectations, I suppose.

I don't have a dog in this fight having skipped the main post until i saw the back snd forth. But i interpreted theNybblers response in exactly the same way ymeskhout did.

I don't know if that was what he meant, but it is how it read to me.

Same. I felt that Nybbler was being clearly antagonistic and snide, without any sort of provocation.

I thought it was a bit of a joke. The OP started with “standards for clear concise pleading” and then sorta strayed away from that into a discussion about lawfare. Thus, the joke is that OP’s post arguably contradicts the clear concise pleading because the first half is irrelevant to the second half.

I didn't mean it as a joke but admit that I inadvertently got myself owned

Strangely, @The_Nybbler did not say that you were falsely claiming to write a post about the US legal citizen as a way to conceal your hidden purpose of criticizing Trump.

I interpreted his statement to mean that my post was an example of a pretextual excuse, and I don't know how else the statement would make sense given what he was directly responding to ("pretextual excuses, such as when..." flows into "Or, for instance, when someone..."). So if @The_Nybbler wasn't calling my post a pretextual excuse to criticize Trump, something which requires lying, then I will apologize for the misunderstanding. I still would be eager to understand exactly how I managed to misinterpret that sentence.

Delete the post, apologize for poor writing quality, and apologize to @The_Nybbler for poor conduct.

Thank you for the thoughtful feedback. Which part do you believe constitutes bad writing?

The Big Serge has a good overview of the RU-UA war. The TL;DR is that Ukraine has burned through multiple iterations of armaments and is now reduced to begging for active NATO matériel, hence Germany's reticence to send Leopards. One should understand that Europe's and even America's production capacities have atrophied badly over the decades. Losing hundreds of tanks - the number that Ukraine is asking for - isn't something you replenish within a year.

Serge's prediction that Ukraine will lose the war "gradually, then suddenly" seems plausible given Russia's attrition strategy. If we assume that Russia will win this war, then the question needs to be asked.. how much will actually change? Ukraine as a country isn't particularly important and the population is likely to be hostile to Russia, meaning that to integrate it into Russia proper will be difficult if not impossible.

I keep hearing hysterical rhetoric that the West must win this war or... something something bad. It reminds me of the flawed 'domino theory' that was used to justify the Vietnam intervention. While I don't think NATO will ever proceed towards direct intervention á la Vietnam, I can't help but think that too many of the West's elites have trapped themselves rhetorically where Ukraine's importance is overblown for political reasons (so as to overcome domestic opposition towards sending arms) and it has now become established canon in a way that is difficult to dislodge.

Ukraine as a country isn't particularly important

It depends what you mean by that, indeed a russian takeover wouldn't directly change the world but Ukraine and Russia are the largest food exporters in the world IIRC.

Ukraine also has (had?) a monopoly in noble gas.

Ukraine was a key driver of Soviet science, engineering and military tech, see e.g the antonov which would BTW enable cheaply to have a potent successor to Hubble if anyone cared as usual.

However Ukraine has lost all its technological glory since the population will to stay in the USSR has not been respected https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Soviet_Union_referendum

It's pretty important to understand what was being voted for here. Just understanding the context of the original asked question offers clues:

Do you consider it necessary to preserve the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics, in which the rights and freedoms of a person of any nationality will be fully guaranteed?

This is connected to Gorby's drive to salvage the rapidly decaying Soviet Union by reforming it as a decentralized state. In other words, if you're voting "Yes", you're not voting for "old" Soviet Union, you're voting for a new decentralized state, where the autonomy of the individual republics would be greatly expanded.

However, as the site says, there was an [additional question in Ukraine](Do you agree that Ukraine should be part of a Union of Soviet Sovereign States on the basis on the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine?):

Do you agree that Ukraine should be part of a Union of Soviet Sovereign States on the basis on the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine?

Note well: the Union of Soviet Sovereign States. This already presumes the existence of a whole new kind of an entity. Moreover, the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine stated:

The Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Декларація про державний суверенітет України, romanized: Deklaratsiia pro derzhavnyi suvernitet Ukrainy) was adopted on July 16, 1990, by the recently elected parliament of Ukrainian SSR by a vote of 355 for and four against.[1][2]

The document decreed that Ukrainian SSR laws took precedence over the laws of the USSR, and declared that the Ukrainian SSR would maintain its own army and its own national bank with the power to introduce its own currency.[2] The declaration also proclaimed that the republic has intent to become in a future "a permanently neutral state that does not participate in military blocs," and that it would not accept, nor produce, nor procure nuclear weapons.[2]

What exactly was the difference between this and independence? Beats me! This referendum was accepted by 80% of the votes, and as others point out, after the Gorby's reform plans fell through, Ukrainian voters confirmed formal independence with 92 % of votes.

Presenting the 1991 Soviet referendums as some sort of a yes/no vote on independence with no votes winning is quite misleading. It was all part of an ongoing process leading to Ukrainian independence, and indeed can be considered more as further indication of the popularity of independence, rather than opposition to it. In any case it seems obvious that early-90s Ukrainian voters wanted more sovereignty from Moscow. That, quite clearly, has not been Moscow's intent.

Ukraine also has (had?) a monopoly in noble gas.

Certainly not. They were a major producer, but there are other sources including the United States, and US production ramped up after the annexation of Crimea.

As for Ukraine's "will to stay in the USSR", that would have been rather tough given the events subsequent to the referendum that resulted in the dissolution of the USSR. Ukraine was a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States until 2018.

Certainly not. They were a major producer, but there are other sources including the United States, and US production ramped up after the annexation of Crimea.

They may be thinking of neon specifically. IIRC, pre-2022 Ukraine exported half of the world's industrial-grade neon.

I am also thinking of neon specifically. I'm fairly sure that "exported half of the world's industrial-grade neon" refers to exports only; it does not take into account neon sold domestically (which is significant in both the US and China, at least). They still had a big chunk of the market but not quite so catastrophic as it seems.

However Ukraine has lost all its technological glory since the population will to stay in the USSR has not been respected https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Soviet_Union_referendum

Very slippery. Are you unfamiliar with Ukrainian history or were you being mendacious?

However Ukraine has lost all its technological glory since the population will to stay in the USSR has not been respected https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Soviet_Union_referendum

Well, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Ukrainian_independence_referendum had 92% of support after it become obvious to everyone that USSR imploded.

The TL;DR is that Ukraine has burned through multiple iterations of armaments and is now reduced to begging for active NATO matériel, hence Germany's reticence to send Leopards.

If this is the level of analysis on offer, it's beyond worthless. Russia too has "burned through" much of their advanced equipment and is now mostly limited to their own domestic new production or mothballed shit from the '50s and '60s. Of course Ukraine wants good weapons, rather than the outdated military surplus most countries have been dumping on them. This is not an indication that anyone is "winning" or "losing". This is what happens in attritional combat.

Germany isn't reticent to send Leopards because the Ukrainians are losing, they're reluctant to send them because they don't have very many and their politics is incredibly fucked up around military matters, for understandable historical reasons. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/1/21/what-is-stopping-the-supply-of-german-made-leopard-2-tanks

Here's a technical video about IFVs specifically, what sorts are involved, how many, tactics etc. https://youtube.com/watch?v=UGZi-F3tz-o

Germany isn't reticent to send Leopards because the Ukrainians are losing, they're reluctant to send them because they don't have very many and their politics is incredibly fucked up around military matters, for understandable historical reasons.

I'm nor particularly persuaded by German appeals to history on this. It hasn't stopped the large-scale export of German arms in general, or the export of other German arms to Ukraine, or the historical point that one of the biggest victims of German aggression in WW2 was the Ukrainians themselves. Appealing to history is more often a pretext to some other interest, the question being what.

The three that come to mind for me are Scholz seeking domestic/western concessions, maintaining Russian energy imports as long as possible as a way to gain time before a total energy cutoff, or a desire to keep the Americans from benefiting from a general European military-recapitalization in tanks, which would happen if everyone's German tanks were sent to Ukraine. No one of these has to be dominant, as all are mutually reinforcing.

For the first, seeking a concession, there is something to be said that Scholz is in a poor position internally and approving arms exports is a tool in his tool kit for internal political compromises. The better part of a year later, it's clear that the much-vaunted German turning point has been mostly wasted and wanting for the last year. The Defense Minister was uninterested in military reform, it's not clear the Ministry is capable of it, and it remains to be seen if the new Defense Minister wants to do it as well, or if he'll go through the motions but happily slow-walk while making the right noises. What people do miss is that slow-walking can serve multiple purposes- it can be a way to frustrate things you don't want to happen, or to solicit concessions in exchange for speeding up. If Scholz approves tank transfers in general, he's unable to gain concessions- domestic or external- in exchange for doing so going forward. Call this the 'is seeking a bribe' option- and what the 'bribe' is could be anything, from American concessions on the Inflation Reduction Act industrial subsidies that Germany can't match, to coalition partner concessions improving Scholz's internal political stability.

For the second, for all the media hub-up of sanctions on Russia, it's very easy to miss that Europe continues to import quite a bit of energy from Russia, and that Germany's expenses with the winter energy crunch could still get much, much worse. In this framing, Germany is blocking tanks in order to keep Russian energy exports coming to Germany / Europe, rather than a more severe restriction. On one hand this is a concession to energy blackmail, but in another this is a time-buying strategy in order to continue to establish alternative energy export infrastructure. The longer the final Russian cutoff can be prevented, the better, and a German perspective could well be that tanks are unnecessary to more or less sustain the current position, which is preferable to a swing towards Ukraine that cuts into German energy before all/more infrastructure import infrastructure comes online.

Finally, the third is a military industrial complex interest objection. Basically, military budgets are rarely consistent across years, but come in waves as militaries inject new capital into their armies via new purchases/modifications, or entire re-capitalizations of existing forces. These recapitalizations are really lucrative if you can sell to it due to the nearly guaranteed follow-on contracts for decades after. This was more or less achieved by Germany during the cold war / post cold war, selling the Leopard tank to Europe. To a lesser degree it's also a benefit of the 'ring swap' agreements, where Germany agreed to send German vehicles to Eastern European countries to backfill the Warsaw Pact surplus they sent to Ukraine. The Germans would be getting new service/maintenance contract customers over the long haul... unless, of course, these are in turn sent to Ukraine, leaving the donor states truly empty and needing recapitalization to get new tanks.

The issue for German arms industry is that they're not in a place to support an expansion of tank production and arms sales to compete for major tank recapitalization. The German industry isn't enough to maintain Germany's own tank fleets, let alone replace everyone else's. If everyone were to give up their Leopards, Germany would both lose the current Leopard support contracts, and lose out on the replacement contracts. In the short term, the only credible immediate replacement for Europe would be Abrams tanks from stockpiles, and the Americans have already been sweeping the European air force recapitalization efforts with the F-35. If the Americans brought out Abrams from stockpiles not for Ukraine, but to back-fill the Europeans who give their Leopards to Ukraine, that would be a long-term loss of German contracts and defense-industry influence.

In this final reading, Scholz's reluctance to send tanks is a more French-style nativist industrial self-interest of 'buy (German) European.' The reason for Germany to not only not send it's own tanks, but not signal that it will approve other people sending their German tanks, is to ensure that German tanks remain on the books in European inventories. If the German tanks disappear in Ukraine, there's a very strong chance that many established German tank partners will not replace them with German kit, but with American surplus Abrams, which could be procured cheaper and faster from American refurbishment than entirely new German tanks at a time when Germany's own tank force needs recapitalization. And if the Americans get in the European tank market, then it will be very, very hard to get them out, as the Abrams themselves could be updated for who knows how long, and political dynamics of Ukraine have made American defense ties stronger than the pre-war appeals of Strategic Autonomy => Buy French/German European kit.

This view would also partly explain the reported German demand that the Americans send Abrams into Ukraine in exchange for the German permission for others to send Leopards. The point is less the Abrams effectiveness, but rather to keep the American refurbishment committed to supplying Ukraine, rather than displacing Leopards in European countries, giving the German arms industry and government time to try and preserve more of the European tank market market share.

Finally finally, there's also the black-comedy take that Scholz is actually a secretly brilliant and cold-blooded manipulator who wants to extend the war, seeking to both maximize the damage to Russia and use the European energy crisis to disrupt less stable/subsidized economies in Europe, increasing Germany's relevant power within the union. In this read, Scholz is the most ruthless pro-American prime minister in ages, deliberatly sabotaging the political viability of the German pro-Russia/anti-American movement, and otherwise trying to get the American more and even over-committed to helping Ukraine, so as to prevent the Americans from working too hard against China as Germany tries to use the opportunity to make favorable engagements with China to maximize the German position further.

This one is a bit silly, but it would explain a number of German slow-walkings, as a form of perpetuating the war and driving other actors, including the US, Poland, and Russia, to over-commit resources to German relative advantage.

What kind of inept denial is this? You seriously believe Russia will run out of tanks before Ukraine? You are wrong by multiple order of magnitudes.

Also the purity thinking that modern military machines transcend the old ones is very common and childish. In fact considering the very strong economic and usefulness diminishing returns of the newer iterations, peak maximally useful military machines are generally from the 70s + a few cheap modernisations on top such as a 1 dollar gps/glonas chip.

  • -20

You seriously believe Russia will run out of tanks before Ukraine?

I'd love to know where you read that, because it wasn't in my post.

the purity thinking that modern military machines transcend the old ones is very common and childish.

Once again, you're reading things I didn't write.

Do you have any criticisms of what I did write?

Is your handle consciously ironic?

You seriously believe Russia will run out of tanks before Ukraine?

I'd love to know where you read that, because it wasn't in my post.

You are very clearly implying that,

The TL;DR is that Ukraine has burned through

You answered originally about a statement that Ukraine is suffering major hardware attrition (implied including tanks)

if this is the level of analysis on offer, it's beyond worthless.

The fact that Ukraine will loose the war abruptly (even non-linearly) is trivial and will happen when they e.g. mostly run out of tanks.

This analysis while simple is not worthless but quite obvious and potent and also at this rate will happen in less than 2 years.

Russia too has "burned through" much of their advanced equipment

Your "too" make it seems as if the losses are proportionately comparable, they're largely not since russia has much more reserves, and not just 1960s stuff. Besides contrary to popular belief 60s tanks are still effective. In most cases even modern shielding is insufficent against an ATGMs and therefore useless. It's more a number game.

  • This is not an indication that anyone is "winning" or "losing"

Russia is winning the attrition war even though at great losses, and therefore it is an indication that russia will win (if western countries do not send massive amounts of tanks)

So yes you clearly implied that Russia will not win the attrition war.

the purity thinking that modern military machines transcend the old ones is very common and childish.

Once again, you're reading things I didn't write.

You said that idea in a mild form and it is the default mental belief in online forums:

mothballed shit from the '50s and '60s. Of course Ukraine wants good weapons, rather than the outdated military

The difference in effectiveness is extremely overatted however my argument mostly stand for the 70s, less so for the 50/60s but still stands.

You are very clearly implying

You're either illiterate, illogical or lying. Readers can choose. This may adjust their priors on whether anything else you say can be relied upon.

I did not say, imply, or even discuss who is going to run out of what first. Both sides have burned through a lot of gear, so claiming that one side's consumption of military ordnance is a sign of defeat is fallacious. The same argument could be made about Russia, and would be just as stupid. I didn't say anything at all about tanks specifically, so your assertion that I "implied" that Ukraine would run out of tanks first is bullshit top to bottom. You are making this up, which brings up the more interesting question: why?

When someone is this desperate to argue against a strawman, it makes me wonder about motivation. My post wasn't a reply to you. You clearly didn't read it. Your metrics for talking about military conflicts are (charitably) total amateur hour. You obviously know next to nothing about warfare, as evidenced by your discussion of military vehicles and technology.

You accuse me of making specific claims that never appear in my writing. Let's drill down on something you claim:

peak maximally useful military machines are generally from the 70s + a few cheap modernisations on top such as a 1 dollar gps/glonas chip.

Go ahead, tell me where exactly you put your "one dollar GPS chip" in a BMP-1 to make it work. Do you just glue it to the engine manifold, or does it have to be connected to anything? Does that thing cost any money? Does it need electrical power? Does it need an antenna? Does it need encryption? Whose GPS satellites are they going to ping? Do you think that those satellites might have the ability to collect that data? Could the US department of Defense knowing where all your BMPs are have any repercussions if they were to tell the Ukrainians?

On what do you base the judgement that "maximally useful" military vehicles were built in the 1970s? The fact that the Russians mothballed most of them would seem to suggest that they do not agree. Your assertion is not that the vehicles are useful, but that they are "peak maximally useful". That would seem to be both laughable, and contrary to the belief of every military in the world. People use old 1970s tech not because it is "maximally useful", but because they can't afford the stuff that is maximally useful, and the old stuff works well enough in most situations*.

Since you seem to be a tank-wanker, let's put this in direct terms. If you were Russia, and you had the option of a T-72 or a T-14, you're saying the T-72 is the clearly superior choice? Let's put this on record so we can tease out how much we should trust your opinions on the matter.

*Exceptions for people fighting armies that do have the "maximally useful" stuff.

peak maximally useful military machines are generally from the 70s + a few cheap modernisations on top such as a 1 dollar gps/glonas chip

Are you actually serious about this? Or is it some joke? Or is it "effectiveness over resources, assuming that soldiers and their training costs nothing"?

Are you claiming that it applies to such types of military machines as planes, satellites, night vision, AWACS, drones and communication gear?

And AT, ASAT, PGM etc?

For what your claim applies? Definitely not for static machine guns (here peak is earlier), maybe for standard issue riffles. Anything else?

What kind of inept denial is this? You seriously believe Russia will run out of tanks before Ukraine? You are wrong by multiple order of magnitudes.

Multiple? Can you clarify what you think is the difference of tank count between Ukraine and Russia?

Are you aware of what "order of magnitude" typically means?

Are you claiming that Russia has 100x or 1000x more tanks thank Ukraine? Because that is a quite brave claim.

Finally someone on a tribe topic that can answer one of my comments through curiosity and truth-seeking driven questions rather than baseless denial and non-constructiveness.

peak maximally useful military machines are generally from the 70s + a few cheap modernisations on top such as a 1 dollar gps/glonas chip

Are you actually serious about this? Or is it some joke?

I am very serious about this, I have studied most of the Soviet hardware that exists.

Or is it "effectiveness over resources, assuming that soldiers and their training costs nothing"?

? I did not factor training costs much in my analysis but that's not the salient part and anyway training costs and training time (incapaciting inertia) have allegedly massively got up with modern (90s+) hardware especially ineptly for the F-35 and for the Abrams (22 weeks for a tank! although most of it is probably actually unecessary).

The russians tanks brought autoloaders which reduce by 1/5 the number of soldiers needed to operate them but that is only a marginal optimization.

effectiveness over resources

Yes as you've seen I am mentioning economics but not only.

Are you claiming that it applies to such types of military machines as planes, satellites, night vision, AWACS, drones and communication gear?

It applies mostly for the main two salient categories, aircrafts and tanks.

satellites, night vision, AWACS, drones and communication gear

Of course not but those are cheaps and have all mostly plateaued regarding metrics. About AWACS/radars there are still advances needed towards exploiting anti-stealth loopholes but that is a "niche" topic.

For what your claim applies? Definitely not for static machine guns (here peak is earlier), maybe for standard issue riffles. Anything else?

static machine guns

well considering Ukraine is successfully using the Maxim gun from 1884, that can be a valid point.

Little known fact is that USSR has superior machine guns because of a trivial technology, they are propelled by gaz instead of electric cable, that imply that they are transportable instead of fixed, but the main usefulness is that they start to spin and are ready to fire faster. However as with most modern weapons (my salient point) that is only a very marginal optimization that supposedly does'nt make much of a difference.

maybe for standard issue riffles

yes

So about tanks:

The T-72-B3 (from the 70s) are great tanks with an effective shielding, an autoloader which abrams lacks and a larger gun than the abrams too. BTW kinda ridiculous that Abrams lacks explosive reactive armor, which modernized T-72 are getting. However the competition on shielding and gun size has become mostly useless for most purposes, it is trivial to understand that the shielding coverage of a tank only cover specific parts, especially: the gun has zero protection, the turret is a weak point and a tank is useless without a working continuous track. Even on the parts covered with large shielding, it is generally ineffective against an ATGM.

Therefore gun and shielding have reached extreme diminishing returns. However a T-72 cost 5 to 10 times less than a T-90M/Abrams.

That makes T-72 extremely superiors to modern tanks as with the same money and closely comparable effectiveness/survivability (low in both cases) and I can assure you 10000 T-72B3 would destroy 1000 Abrams/T-90M both psychologically and effectively.

It is essential to understand that because the U.S and to a lesser but significant extent Russia fails to realize the plateauing and the non-linearity of economic costs, those countries are actively becoming weaker and weaker militarily.

The T-14 armata is a clever optimization (unmaned turret but with less shielding...) but is probably less effective than a T-90-M if I understand correctly, as while it improves humans survivability, it lowers the tank survivability, which is inept.

About anti-air:

By far the most important anti-air hardware is the S-300 (IIRC the partiots are largely inferior) from the end of the 70s. The S-400 is simply not cost effective and therefore mostly a failure.

about aircrafts:

The same goes on and even more potently,

The SU-25/27 (70s) cost approximately 10 times less than the F-35 while having 2 to 3 times larger payload and almost twice faster max speed. Of course the F-35 is stealth but with its prohibitive cost, stealth paint maintenance, very small payload, probably doable stealth loopholes (SU 27 have IRST https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_search_and_track, SU-35 have L bands radars, etc.. or simply optics)

The SU-75 is an interesting development regarding costs but still very high https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su-75_Checkmate

The F-35 even has a x band signature, with some machine learning/hardcoded recognition software, given its static structure, I'd bet even without said loophole it is very much doable to make its stealthless useless. Besides, it becomes detectable as soon as it deploy its weapons.

But the best way to take down a F-35 would be to deploy 1 0 0 0 0 0 loitering drones at 1000 dollars piece, after all that's exactly the cost of an F-35 and they are as much optically visible and loud as your regular aircraft.

For those reasons investing in a large army of SU-25/27 is much less risky than a few F-35 with probably soon to be broken stealthness, however given the extreme sucess of S-300 and other SOTA anti-air, one should be lucid and understand that the SU-25/27 are also obsolete and that we should mostly return to extremely cheap turboprop WW-2 style aircrafts.

Such planes can be made to have modern variants optimized for cost at aproximately between 0.1 to 1 million dollars, therefore costing less than the modern anti air missiles and having increased maneuvrability/reusable weapons vs drones.

Both drones and those planes very ironically are said to be stealth for X-rays, as they can fly low, fly "slowly" and are more stealth than F-35 X ray only stealth, as they have smaller hitboxes and low thermal signature (against ISRT). The same way birds are actually stealth.

Thus they could ironically have increased survivability against S-300 and ATGMs vs the SU-25/27, but most importantly they are so cheap they can be replenished quickly and do psychological and tactical swarm.

In that regard, at a 1000 vs 1 ratio, it is plausible that aircrafts have peaked in the 50s.

Moreover, those planes could have even better stealthness and dramatically reduced cost by making them out of wood, like many of the very sucessfull WW2 USSR airplanes.

It is important to realize though that those planes should still be modernized variants regarding avionics/radars. And that air to air missiles have not peaked in the 70s, and despite the significant cost increase putting very long range missiles on those remarkably cheap planes can be very worthwile and is trivial.

Another thing to realize is that turboprop planes can be quite fast actually, if made with contra-rotating propellers, a technology that has only seen the light after turboprops were no longer trendy see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupolev_Tu-95

What I believe the most in though would be drones with guns such as https://www.businessinsider.com/israel-drone-that-can-fire-a-sniper-rifle-while-flying-developed-2022-1?r=US&IR=T

or https://www.newscientist.com/article/2227168-turkey-is-getting-military-drones-armed-with-machine-guns/

In fact it is doable and has been done to design hardware and software stabilizers for guns on drones.

Guns are disruptively superior to missiles since you can only have a very small amount of missiles on a drone but can have a lot of gun ammo.

Add to that the cheap cost of a swarm of 10000000 of those drones and you supposedly insta-win a war.

To understand that properly, one has to observe a few things:

  1. war performance is autistic. Nothing like on the movies, humans are rightfully afraid of dying thus they are not actively focusing on killing others but on intimidating others and reducing their exposure. People with guns, aircrafts, helicopters, it doesn't matter it's all the same, haven't you realized it yet? They all do fake shots in the background.

A couple of periodic rounds/fire all day long in a given vague angular direction. It maintains the enemy at bay but to precisely aim at others needs to expose yourself to too much risk. Therefore the reality of war is mostly dumb firing at nothing.

This disruptively change with a drone with a gun, a currently non-existent concept in ukraine. Because the drone operator mostly don't care if the cheap drone is destructed. Most videos of drones are autistic to watch, they really take their time to drop one little grenade unacurately that might kill one guy and gone is the payload the drone needs to be refueled.. despite soldiers being AFK and completely unaware their is a drone right above their heads.

With a gun and a stabilizer, you can multiply the number of kills per drone by 10X-100X, especially compounding the innovative psychological terror.

All my points, the extreme diminishing returns of military performance metrics of most hardware classes, the extreme non-linear increase in cost, and low industrial production capabilities and the superiority of cheap swarming and of non-human fear impaired aiming, each of those individual 4 points are basic and are enough to disrupt the effectiveness of military powers.

I was curious about the specific numbers.

If we go by public figures from last year, Russia was supposed to have 12,500 tanks and 30,000 armored vehicles for Ukraine's 2,500 tanks and 12,300 armored vehicles. Those were the optimistic estimates on either side including reserves and old models.

So 5x and 2.4x. Which, while not as crazy as multiple of the typical orders of magnitude is still a pretty extreme military advantage.

How much that's evened out by the West's production and how much has been destroyed on either side I think is impossible to know reliably at this point, for obvious reasons. But if we assume similar levels of attrition that's a lot of difference to make up for.

You might be interested to read my analysis regarding optimal military hardware composition https://www.themotte.org/post/317/culture-war-roundup-for-the-week/56897?context=8#context

So 5x and 2.4x. Which, while not as crazy as multiple of the typical orders of magnitude is still a pretty extreme military advantage.

Right it's not multiple order of magnitudes per se currently, but semantically they are not on the same scale which is my point.

However the multiple order of magnitudes could already be true through attrition,

if we suppose for example that Ukraine has lost 2000 tanks and still has 500, and make no asymetric assumption and therefore suppose ukraine ha lost 2000 tanks and therefore still has 10,500,

10500 / 500 == 21X so one order of magnitude of difference

now the attrition continues 1 year later,

10100 / 100 == 101X, 2 order of magnitudes, see the argument?

still a pretty extreme military advantage

adds to that, that russian tanks are more moderns than the Ukraine ones

and that on frozen fronts like bakhmut or all of the last months, the offender has a major attrition advantage supposedly since Russia has 100X more artillery (let alone precision missiles, and drone superiority)

off topic but I find it kinda weird they didn't manage to make Ukraine army totally incapacited by banning their access to GLONAS.

People also fail to realize that Ukraine has better military hardware than France, UK and germany quality wise.

But quantity wise the difference is beyond crazy, the ignorance of the layman is so strong, France has 200 tanks, UK has 300 tanks

Tank wise, Ukraine could have invaded France and UK 10 times each. 10 France

Ukraine has possibly the best anti-air on earth, etc..

Worth noting is that in both cases unknown part exists only on paper. Many of this 12 500 tanks were stored in Siberian mud, under open air, without maintenance, for decades. For obvious reasons that is not good for tanks. Ukrainian military got better, but was extremely corrupt and Russian military corruption was not much better and has not really improved - so many of this tanks were sold for scrap or only rusting shell remains as someone has stolen everything steleable.

No idea how many of this tanks can be refurbished into something mowing under own power. Maybe half?

Disparity is a bit lowered by fact that for Russia option "we lost every single tank in this war" is worse than for Ukraine.

Note also that some tanks were delivered - for example Poland send 230+ tanks (so far the largest delivery), more may come while Russia has no real resupply options.

On the other hand, Russian factories are producing new ones - though hopefully war will not go for so long that it will change total numbers much.

And yes, overall that is really really bad for Ukraine. But not by multiple order of magnitudes, unless taking base 2 or other trickery.

And for example in https://twitter.com/witte_sergei/status/1616478656863571969 this twitter poster demonstrates being unable to distinguish between "losses and captures confirmed by reliable public info" and "actual losses and captures".

And fails to understand that Russia has more weaponry than Ukraine.

Or is deliberately lying and misleading pro-Russian troll. Or both. Take your pick.

is twitter poster demonstrates being unable to distinguish between "losses and captures confirmed by reliable public info" and "actual losses and captures".

...that was absolutely a case of sarcasm, Oryx is deemed very unreliable by the pro-Russian side as people took a look at his claims and found he'd verify a loss based on a photo that was e.g. not even from the war,etc..

Oryx is apparently run by some Bellingcat guys, of the 'Russia will run out of cruise missiles any minute now' fame.

Oryx is deemed very unreliable by the pro-Russian side

I wonder what this people think about Russian MoD claims :)

Has Big Sergei made fun also of all Russian MoD claims that were equally suspect as Oryx listings?

And is rejection of Oryx based "he refused to list 'destroyed' HIMARS" or anything more serious.

as people took a look at his claims and found he'd verify a loss based on a photo that was e.g. not even from the war,etc..

Is it just me or

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is displayed?

I seem to remember that ArmchairW was definitely not some epitome of high quality.

And overall I expect that in thousands of cases some sneaked through, Oryx is quite good but not some god. Definitely at least some checking is done, many many claims were rejected as invalid or pointed out to be duplicates.

I would care more about response to discovered problems and is it something systematic.

I seem to remember that ArmchairW was definitely not some epitome of high quality.

He, like SergeW, are partisan and thus prone to biases, but his reviews of Oryx were more or less correct.

I've noticed him having not the best record in prediction and being too optimistic many times, but he's still one of the better pro-Russian accounts.

However in regards to the reviews of Orxy, I've gone through several of them, and he wasn't being irrational about it - just well motivated to find problems.

Another demonstration of why adversity is absolutely necessary for any measure of quality.

Is it just me or

Locked account.

Dude was under severe attack from the malformed dogs and got burnt out on the whole thing of spending hours daily researching and posting.

He kept locking and unlocking his account even while he was active.

It got to the point they were making up stories about his time in the army, photoshopping pictures of him etc, making parody accounts etc.

The TL;DR is that Ukraine has burned through multiple iterations of armaments and is now reduced to begging for active NATO matériel,

wat?

First of all, they were asking for WW III at the start (AKA no fly zone, AKA "close the sky").

Asking for NATO matériel is also not a new thing. They were asking for modern tanks and planes from start.

And obviously, in large scale war you will burn though armaments. Russia also did this. Ukraine is trying to get supplies from NATO, gets ammo from weird African countries and diesel and shells from Bulgaria. Russia get cruise missiles from Iran and supplies from North Korea.

No idea why either is surprising to anyone, even pro-Russia twitter trolls like Big Serge. It just proves that leadership on either side is not a total idiot and war in ongoing on a large scale.

Russia get cruise missiles from Iran and supplies from North Korea.

They're getting Doritos aka the cheap drones with moped engines from Iran, there were some mentions of cruise missiles but have they actually been used ?

Yeah, I meant Shahed-136. Probably should refer to it as a drone like everyone else rather than argue that it is closer to shitty cruise missile than shitty drone.

Ukraine as a country isn't particularly important and the population is likely to be hostile to Russia, meaning that to integrate it into Russia proper will be difficult if not impossible.

This is an oversimplification, there's no such thing as the "Ukraine population": different people have different believes. This is like saying the "USA population" believes X. Sure, some do, but not all.

You can say the majority of the population is likely to be hostile to Russia (I have my doubts about that), but some will not.

Why do you have doubts about the majority of Ukraine being anti Russia?

Ukraine is not one but two countries, split roughly in half, see pasts presidential election polls to contemplate the seggregation

Because if you look at historical polls and elections you can see Ukraine has been pro-Russia a substantial amount of its short history, in particular the regions in the east, and in particular the regions in the east that speak Russian. If you look at recent polls like "Ukraine should continue fighting until it wins the war" you can see these regions as not particularly eager to continue fighting, it's only the western regions that want to fight, and in particular Kiev. If you look at a density map you'd see the south-eastern regions are particularly denser.

There's also the referendums where a significant part of the population voted to join Russia. Even if you consider them a complete sham, there are interviews of people voting clearly wanting to be part of Russia.

I believe people underestimate the desire for peace and having a normal life, and also the devastation of war. Which is why I don't find surprising at all the westerns part of Ukraine so eager to continue the fight: they haven't seen any of it. The regions who have been devastated by the conflict the most are the ones most eager for it to stop.

Moreover a lot of things can change, for example there's talk of Poland absorbing part of the western region of Ukraine, other neighboring countries could also do the same. If that happens Ukraine will be left without the most anti-Russian population.

Plus, Russia is already helping the new territories it has annexed, that could sway opinion in their favor.

And finally there's a lot of information in Telegram channels which if true would paint in a greener light the Russian forces and the Ukrainian ones much less so, which will eventually move public opinion.

In just don't trust Western mainstream media to paint an accurate picture of what Ukrainian people actually want.

for example there's talk of Poland absorbing part of the western region of Ukraine

That is coming only from blatant pro Russia-propaganda. Notably, in Poland it is treated less seriously than proposals to take Moscow by land invasion. And the second one is proposed by narrow group of edgy teenagers.

If you treated either of this "talks" seriously then you need to reevaluate sources of your info.

That's probably coming from Ukrainian nationalists too, who have also accused Orbán of wanting a piece of Ukraine..

who have also accused Orbán of wanting a piece of Ukraine..

In case of Hungary it may be not utterly baseless due to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zakarpattia_Oblast and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarians_in_Ukraine

..didn't they also accuse Poland of trying to get a piece of Western Ukraine on account of it previously having been in Poland ?

Russian state TV had claims that Poland will partition Ukraine, though they were rather lying about plans to cooperate than accuse. I think.

There were also unverified but relatively credible claims that politicians in Poland had offers from Russian officials about participating in invading/partitioning Ukraine, for many years.

Obviously that would be idiotic for multiple reasons. At least it turns out that sometimes people manage to learn something from history, even politicians.

That is coming only from blatant pro Russia-propaganda.

I do not follow Russian sources. If you want me to follow up on my sources I can do that, but to dismiss everything if that turned out to be unsubstantiated is a fallacy.

I do not follow Russian sources.

Maybe in this case they has fallen for some absurd claims? Or Korwin is trying to find new topic for hot takes?

Either way as someone from Poland this has basically zero support and is about as likely as annexing Kaliningrad.

I am curious what is your source of that claims.

but to dismiss everything if that turned out to be unsubstantiated is a fallacy.

Definitely, but confidence in such source should be reduced.

I do not follow Russian sources

They didn't say that you did.

And I did not claim that they said that I did. But if I'm not following Russian sources it means I got the information from a non-Russian source, and I can tell you they are generally reliable.

It's possible that my source is right. Just because something happens to be used in Russian propaganda doesn't mean it's wrong.

I'm curious to hear what you think of his analysis on the Ukrainian counteroffensive at Izium.

It is obvious why Ukraine would want to dislodge Russia from Izyum. This would simplify and secure lines of communication to Slovyansk and greatly complicate the Russian push in the Donbas by freeing Ukraine’s northern flank. To achieve this, they are attempting a thrust toward Kupyansk, with the aim of cutting the line connecting Izyum to Belgorod in the north. This operation, I believe, is doomed to spectacular failure.

He wrote this on September 9th... and Izium fell to Ukraine two days later.

But I doubt I'll actually get a response. You linked a blatant propaganda account to claim Ukraine is doomed, and have refused to respond to anyone who's called you out on it.

I don't think anyone has had a spotless record in this war. US intelligence got the invasion right but then publicly claimed that Kiev was in danger of falling 'within days'. How did that pan out?

But the facts speak their own language: if Ukraine was doing well, they wouldn't need to ask for NATO materiel when the same NATO countries no longer have "easy" choices available to them, such as mothbolled ex-Soviet stuff.

At any rate, trying to handicap the chances of UA victory wasn't the primary aim of my OP, but rather to question the assumption that victory in this conflict for the pro-NATO side is of such titantic importance that the media and the political class would have us believe. As I outlined in my OP, Russia is unlikely to be a long-term winner even in the event of battlefield victory and Ukraine's importance has also been grossly overstated.

I don't think anyone has had a spotless record in this war. US intelligence got the invasion right but then publicly claimed that Kiev was in danger of falling 'within days'. How did that pan out?

I think that a lot of people in the US Intelligence Apparatus and State Department seriously underestimated both the Ukrainian public's willingness to fight, and the degree to which the UAF had reformed itself post Yanukovich. As usual they were more interested in their own pet theories and political narratives than they were looking at the ground-level truth. Accordingly they, much like the Russians, expected the UAF to fold rather than fight which is probably a major part of why they were able to call the invasion correctly.

Meanwhile you have guys like me and the former French Minister of Defense who back in January of 2022 were claiming that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was unlikely precisely because any attempt to occupy western Ukraine was likely to end very badly for the Russians and "Putin is not that stupid". Ok we turned out to be wrong about Putin (or at least his level of confidence in his own troops), but back in April of 2022 I predicted that Russia would be unable to actually hold any territory west of the Dnieper, this was characterized by many here (including yourself IIRC) as a "bold take" but almost a year later I'd say my priors have been pretty well born out by events. How about yours?

I don't think anyone has had a spotless record in this war.

OK, what Big Sergei predicted? Can you link to some brilliant analysis that was validated by now?

I looked at their Twitter account and it is as bad as you would expect from "pro Russian Twitter account making bold predictions".

US intelligence got the invasion right but then publicly claimed that Kiev was in danger of falling 'within days'. How did that pan out?

It was in the danger of falling. Had the airport been secured, Russia would've been able to double the size of its Ćernobylj-Buća force, allowing it to push forward.

I don't think anyone has had a spotless record in this war. US intelligence got the invasion right but then publicly claimed that Kiev was in danger of falling 'within days'. How did that pan out?

Pretty well.

The US intelligence assessment that Kiev was in danger of falling led to Western policy changes that including flooding the Ukrainians with man-portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry that could be widely and rapidly distributed to both formal and informal forces with minimal training, and with far less risk of being intercepted/destroyed by local Russian air/artillery capabilities than conventional weapon systems. These asymmetric capabilities thus allowed Ukrainian irregulars to greatly slow and even stop Russian mechanized forces, allowing Ukrainian artillery to do decisive damage while mitigating key Russian strengths that- had there been a lack of anti-armor and anti-air capability- could have been far more successful.

This is a classic case of an intelligence assessment driving the policy changes that change the underlying assumptions that drive the intelligence assessment. That is the entire point of investing in intelligence as a national capability- not so that someone will tell you what will occur if you try policy X, but what will occur if you DON'T try to change a situation. And this doesn't even get to the dynamics of publicizing intelligence to drive public support for policy to achieve results supported by not-publicized intelligence.

But the facts speak their own language: if Ukraine was doing well, they wouldn't need to ask for NATO materiel when the same NATO countries no longer have "easy" choices available to them, such as mothbolled ex-Soviet stuff.

Why not? No one aside from you claimed at the time, before aid or during aid or after aid deliveries, that the amount of aid delivered was expected to be enough for Ukraine to wage the rest of the war successfully. Key categories of aid- especially munitions- being insufficient has been a reoccuring point of discussion since the start of the war.

Ukraine doing well due to receiving an influx of expendable resources establishes a correlation of doing well with getting expendable resources. Asking for [Type NATO] expendable resources as [Type Soviet] expendable resources is exactly what you would expect if doing well is a result of expendable resource delivery.

At any rate, trying to handicap the chances of UA victory wasn't the primary aim of my OP, but rather to question the assumption that victory in this conflict for the pro-NATO side is of such titantic importance that the media and the political class would have us believe. As I outlined in my OP, Russia is unlikely to be a long-term winner even in the event of battlefield victory and Ukraine's importance has also been grossly overstated.

You relied heavily upon a propaganda fluff piece author whose thesis has been claimed for most of the war despite all operational developments to the contrary, and you didn't even identify specific claims of gross overstatement.

You done goofed on the central and ancillary points of your argument. 'For the sake of argument, what if we assume the Russian propagandists are right' is not a particularly interesting or compelling argument when the reasons why the Russian propagandists are wrong is also applying to other areas of the discussion.

So as far as I can tell, Russia is losing this war, as it is almost a year later and they have failed to complete their objectives in forcing Ukraine back into their sphere of influence or secured territorial integrity. All observers assumed Russia would swiftly win this war, but their armies and industry are in such a shambles that they are unable to defeat the Ukrainians in the field and are reduced to terror bombing with artillery and missiles.

Against an inferior foe which they (according to Serge) have destroyed multiple times over. How could you not have great gains against a numerically and qualitatively inferior foe?

Does this sound like the strength of a great power to you?

The 'attritional strategy', so as far as I know, is a cope. There was no grand plan to grind the Ukranian resolve to fight through manpower and material because that would be planning for defeat, and even worse, planning for defeat against an inferior power. Now Russia is isolated and scraping the bottom of the barrel for allies while the entirety of the Western military-industrial complex is pumping every available resource into the country.

The Soviets, with their empire, couldn't match the American spend on military, much less all of NATO. How can the Russian Federation - a faded, declining power in comparison - hope to match a richer, larger version of the alliance? So as long as the Ukrainians want to fight, they will have the latest and greatest in NATO arms. The only hope for the Russians was to win early and decisively. If Serge's narrative is for a long war then there really is no hope of victory left - one that is worth throwing away the last of the Russian youth and prosperity.

reduced to terror bombing with artillery and missiles.

As far as I can tell, you are taken in with propaganda. There's terror bombing in Ukraine, but most of that was going the other way, and always explained as 'Donbass has been shelling itself since '14)

The recent 'terror bombing' by a repurposed anti-ship missile was almost certainly a successful interception that failed to detonate.

I say this because the missile Kh-55 is well within the parameters of S-300 which Ukraine uses, yet they're lying about this, in spite of the data showing it's well within the abilities of S-300 is all over the web, and you can also find reports of past intercepts by UA, as The Times noted.

The Arestovych who admitted the truth due to possibly miscommunication had to resign.

The Soviets, with their empire, couldn't match the American spend on military, much less all of NATO. How can the Russian Federation - a faded, declining power in comparison - hope to match a richer, larger version of the alliance?

...uh... what? No, seriously, you think present-day US military or NATO as a whole has more conventional weaponry than it had back in the day?

That's beyond laughable, as any look at the order of battle, production numbers and so on would reveal. I thought it was common knowledge that conventional forces have contracted greatly not just in Russia?

Russia has some major problems with its army and industrial organisation, as despite being able to produce as much as steel as US in WW2, and something like ..20% of world's fertilizers, they don't have all the artillery ammo they need at the moment.

The quality of military analysises on the web is very low as usual.

People think that if the U.S was invading Ukraine they could do it in a matter of months, spoiler: they can't.

Firstly occidental populations are past the point of dying for killing humans, the number of americans willing to die is a scarcer resources than in authoritarian countries.

Secondly, war has changed the prior advantage of air superiority and tank superiority is gone. Anti air such as S-300s have broken the economics and impact of aviation. Secondly ATGMs have broken the economics of tanks.

This is it, we can no longer make disruptive military attacks, it's all a slow attrition and geographic crabbing, with extreme losses of military machines.

I could argue that soviet miltary machines are in many regards highly superior to their U.S counterparts both in metrics and in economics but that is besides the point, for both superpowers, the efficiency and economics of past wars is long gone as Ukraine spectacularly shows.

The only remaining "hopes" for military tactical disruption would either be true drone swarming, which russia doesn't do enough, or tactical nuclear bombs, or bio-weapons or a much more highly targeted attack on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine.

The only classical card Russia has not played is the real terror bombing of using bombers which russia has not used a single time in this war. While modern antiair would destroy a lot of bombers during a swarm, if russia sent enough they would achieve disruptive destruction also, it would be interesting to see the TU-160 in action since it is the fastest military aircraft to exists.

edit tu-160 is the fastest bomber, not the fastest aircraft.

It is the largest and heaviest Mach 2+ supersonic military aircraft ever built and second to the experimental XB-70 Valkyrie in overall length. As of 2022, it is the largest and heaviest combat aircraft, the fastest bomber in use and the largest and heaviest variable-sweep wing airplane ever flown.[2]

  • -16

Anti air such as S-300s have broken the economics and impact of aviation. Secondly ATGMs have broken the economics of tanks.

  1. Whether integrated air defenses can truly withstand competent airforces who also have things such as stealth cruise missile is unclear

Secondly ATGMs have broken the economics of tanks.

  1. Oh yeah. Is an ATGM cheaper or more expensive than the dead simple dumb muniition used by APS systems ? Cause these aren't expensive to make, and almost completely negate legacy ATGMs unless paired with a sophisticated jamming attack ..

APS surely are an interesting topic:

The U.S does not yet seems to have a soft kill APS in production but Russia uses the

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shtora-1 on T-80 and (all?) T-90s

According to the manufacturers, Shtora decreases the chances of a tank being hit by an anti-tank missile, such as the Dragon, by a factor of 4–5:1.[10]

While russia has in addition 3 generations of hard kill APS, the U.S has 2 independent proof of concept models

first APS in history:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drozd

Although reported to offer an 80% increase in survival rate during its testing in Afghanistan, the radar was unable to adequately detect threats and the firing of its rockets caused unacceptably high levels of collateral damage.[1]

later succeded with the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arena_(countermeasure)

The computer has a reaction time of 0.05 seconds and protects the tank over a 300-degree arc, everywhere but the rear side of the turret. The system engages targets within 50 metres (55 yd) of the vehicle it is defending, and the ammunition detonates at around 1.5 metres (1.6 yd) from the threat.[10] It will engage any threat approaching the tank between the velocities of 70 metres per second (230 ft/s) and 700 metres per second (2,300 ft/s), and can detect false targets, such as outgoing projectiles, birds and small caliber bullets.[11] Arena works during the day and night, and the lack of electromagnetic interference allows the system to be used by multiple vehicles as a team.[23] The 27-volt system requires approximately one kilowatt of power, and weighs around 1,100 kilograms (2,400 lb).[11] Arena increases a tank's probability of surviving a rocket-propelled grenade by between 1.5[11]–2 times.[24]

Despite being very interesting, It seems this system is not in use but is available for export versions

Last gen deployed on Armata vehicles:

Afganit (Russian: Афганит, lit. 'Afghanite') is a Russian active protection system (APS) employed on modern Russian Armata family of vehicles.[1] It is intended to supersede the Arena APS and utilises radar and electro-optical sensors in the ultraviolet and infrared bands.[2][3] The millimeter-wavelength radar detects and tracks incoming anti-tank munitions. The system can reportedly intercept armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot kinetic energy penetrators in addition to high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) munitions.[4][5] Currently, the maximum speed that can be intercepted is 1,700 m/s (Mach 5.0), with projected future increases of up to 3,000 m/s (Mach 8.8).[6] According to news sources, it protects the tank from all sides.[7][8]

A few armata (not the T-14) have been seen in Ukraine but not meaningfully deployed yet.

Interestingly Ukraine has its own APS:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaslin_Active_Protection_System however I have no clue how much it is used in practice?

About the US prototype APS:

n 2006–2007, the Institute for Defense Analysis found Quick Kill to be relatively immature and had significant development risks. Important components such as the radar were not yet fully developed and testing of the system as a whole was on hold while the warhead was redesigned. They also found Trophy, which uses a shotgun-like kill mechanism, to be the most mature of the 15 systems they analyzed.

while the other one seems promising:

However, in August 2018 the Army decided not to continue qualifying Iron Curtain onto the Stryker, saying that while the system "generally worked in concept" and was "generally able to hit its targets," it was still not mature enough.[11]

China recently deployed the GL-5 which has a range of 100 meters, twice that of arena (no clue for afganit)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GL5_Active_Protection_System

innovative since it launch 2 rockets.

The irsaely trophy seems interesting. Gun based.

almost completely negate legacy ATGMs unless paired with a sophisticated jamming attack ..

This is an unrealistic claim as of yet.

Firstly as we can see, at least for Russia and the U.S, hard kill APS are nothing more than uncertain and possibly buggy proof of concepts.

Russia did deploy some successfully in afghanistan but the fact they didn't deploy them shows that the tech is mostly not ready.

It could be that the new APS system on armatas is disruptives and working well, but that is unproven. It's possible but uncertain that using recent machine learning techniques would yield lower danger/false positives but given the classical inertia, if that were the answer, we're not ready to see that deployed until 20 years, and even so ML techniques have generally dangerous error rates.

It would be interesting to evaluate how much deployed in the wild are the ukrainian and chinese and israeli APS systems are though.

and what about hard kill APS for aircrafts/helicos?

As for soft kill APS, well russia is the only to have one widely deployed but Ukraine still manage to destroy T-90s just fine.

beyond the real world production ready-ness/falsepositives issues/safety of hard kill APS, what the manufacturer says is not necessarily objective truth

about the range, the claimed 360 degree coverage, reaction time, etc

especially I suspect many APS are weak and possibly useless against top-down attacking ATGMS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_protection_system#Top_attack_munitions

Overall I am very curious