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Culture War Roundup for the week of January 16, 2023

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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 and the population is likely to be hostile to Russia, meaning that to integrate it into Russia proper will be difficult if not impossible.

Ukraine is extremely important when it comes to base level goods like grain and iron. If Russia manages to capture just a decent chunk of Ukraine it could considerably strengthen any leverage it has over NATO and the EU. On top of that Russia as a government seems to be open to Asian immigration. It doesn't need to integrate Ukrainians, though it certainly can to an extent. Russia can just ethnically replace the population. Where the western elites have trapped themselves rhetorically as well.

Russia can just ethnically replace the population.

Russia has its own demographic crisis looming. One potential reason for this war is to secure the grip on or even outright absorb ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Replace them with who? The Chinese are allies but not family and the various Russian minorities may be growing faster than the ethnic Russian population but they're not large enough to replace Ukrainians and have their own issues.

I don't know if you are an ethno-nationalist but these priors of racial families don't need to apply if folks writing policy happen to not be ethno-nationalists. If Russia opens the gates to large scale Asian immigration, which doesn't have to come from just China but the various Asiatic regions surrounding Russia, they can easily be underway to repopulate the region. In a few decades time there will be no reason to even consider Ukrainians to ever have existed in the first place, as far as Russia is concerned. Ukraine, not that anyone would ever call it that, could just be a regional melting pot of various immigrants of diverse ethnic backgrounds that exists within Russia. And if we cut the same historical corners as is being done in Europe and the US, we can say that it was never anything more than that in the first place.

Who are those Asiatics "surrounding " Russia you talk of — like, Uzbeks? And do you suppose the Chinese will flock to war-torn Russia-controlled Ukraine?

Russia already has very lax immigration policy and conducts population replacement, the popular sentiment among politicians is that Slavs are inferior workers and voters who think too highly of themselves. There's just nowhere near enough people in Central Asia to make it matter for purposes of repopulating Ukraine, and even Central Asians will be reluctant to say the least. I get the feeling that your model of the situation is informed by, like, 19th century racial stereotypes — Yellow Menace and stuff.

Along with Tajikistan and Kazakhstan and anywhere else.

I suppose migrants will flock to the regions that offer some economic salvation. I don't think I'm making predictions grander than any of the predictions already made by market speculators about the potential gains to be made through investing in war ravaged Ukraine after most of the fighting dies down.

Better paying jobs, higher quality of life. Indoor toilets. And all the other stuff that makes the third world move to or as close as they can to the first.

Russia's primary money maker is exporting fuel and other natural resources. The parts of its industrial sector that rely on Western inputs are going to suffer from sanctions or, worse, be made unproductive.

Not a great environment.

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Wait, Russia wants to conduct population replacement? And who do they want to replace their population with? I was under the impression that the country was fairly racist and slavic-supremacist.

Wait, Russia wants to conduct population replacement?

In effect yes. Or at least people who matter in Russia do and act on this intention. You can consider this analysis to be representative of the underpinning rationale. Immigrants are an economic necessity in the simplifying Russian economy (simplifying, to some extent, because of adaptation to uneducated slave labor), see. Russians don't want to work for subsistence wages, don't breed enough, and we sure can't entice people from nations with high human potential to come over.

Moreover, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, Russia continues to be in need of foreign workers. Marat Khusnullin, RF Deputy Prime Minister, in an interview with the RTVI television channel at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, emphasized that "...the lack of migrants is a great risk for the country's economy, and now is the main problem in construction. Nearly 50 per cent of migrants work in the construction sector. And unfortunately there is a low level of productivity in construction which makes it impossible to do without migrant labour in the next one to two years. Russians, unlike migrants, are not prepared to work 12 hours a day at a construction site for around 50,000 rubles at the most. The average wage makes up 25 per cent of the cost of construction and up to 50 per cent in some cases. Using the labour of migrants reduces the cost of construction. [46].

Of course, one must recognize that experts arguing for it are mostly blank slatists with leftist politics (and their sponsors are capitalists who couldn't care less about identities of worker bees), so they're not really thinking of this in terms of population replacement where populations are substantial entities. Like the late demographer Vishnevsky (also known as Rabinovich) argued,

Russia does not need Chinatowns or African villages, but a real migrant adaptation machine. [...] When there was a mass migration of peasants to cities in the USSR, essentially they were the same Africans. Yes, the language was the same, the people were identical, but very different cultures clashed. There was a system of "digestion": elimination of illiteracy, workers' schools, cultivating a desire for education. It was not always good, but it was implemented on a large scale and more or less functioned, allowing many immigrants from the countryside to master the urban culture. The authorities recognised the need for this work and allocated funds. Teachers were enthusiastic and felt they were missionaries, bringing culture to the masses, and their work was not tedious. If we managed to re-create something like this in relation to migrants, there would be a result. But there is no demand for it. Meanwhile, it would be fatal to hesitate: the larger the population of a country, the more migrants it can digest. Right now we have one hundred and forty-three million people, and when we finally recognize what needs to be done, there may only be one hundred million left.

So, if done well, there's no loss here, Russians and non-Russians are fully fungible.

And who do they want to replace their population with?

The same offer you've seen above, Central Asian Turkic peoples mainly.

I was under the impression that the country was fairly racist and slavic-supremacist.

Sure, that's what one can get from listening to Western Neo-Nazi Putin Stans and from resentful Washington "policy experts" of Baltic stock (who are, ironically, wielding quasi-woke anti-colonial discourse and Pride badges to obscure their own SS roots) alike. Or from our pal Kamil Galeev, who seeks to advance his tribe and admits gleefully to exploiting gullible Westoids by feigning admiration of their naive slogans. There's plenty of trivia to substantiate the accusation. «Russians have a slur for every nation and ethnicity they've interacted with», so popular on Twitter (who doesn't?). «Russian landlords discriminate against non-Slavs» (of course, Americans of all people know how this goes and just why the market may reward making inferences from a person's ancestry; except their supposedly most-oppressed minority is American, genetically different but of the same language and faith and comprehensive civilizational background, and not straight out of an impoverished society stuck between tradition and modernity, in the middle of a tribal conflict, rife with opiate abuse, underground Salafi mosques and ISIS sympathies). «Here's a list of a dozen minority surnames of military dead in Ukraine, this is evidence Ruskies have smuggled an ethnic cleansing into the war!» Or, like, «there was an unironic Neo-Nazi march in Moscow... just 10 years ago!» People who seriously parrot this crap are either ignorant or knowingly deceptive, just happy to get some rhetorical ammo for their preconceived attitude with regard to Russians.

In reality, Russians are about as racist and supremacist as is typical for Eastern Europe. Of course, far more ethnic Russians than Western Europeans are racist as hell, but they have about as much systemic power to act on this prejudice as Appalachian Whites. Many, especially of the older generations, are thoroughly brainwashed by the false Communist era messaging of давно поперемешались все/нет никаких русских – «we've all been mixed up long ago anyway/there aint such thing as an [ethnic] Russian» – message that fails to convince peoples with healthier ethnic self-identification and thriving diasporas. All have to respect the authoritah of «ethnics»; not a single one among well-known people in Russia is more dangerous to offend than Ramzan Kadyrov, privates serving on a strategic nuclear site can be wantonly bullied and robbed by a random local ethnic bandit, and for your average small business owner local Dagestani mafia matters at least as much as local cops. Putin tries to appeal to our schizophrenic «multinational Russian people» by saying he's a Lakh, an Ingush and so on. He sometimes courts with Russians too, saying that we should try to attract diaspora Russians even more than other immigrants. And of course there's the 'Triune Russian People' pretext for the war.

But that's about it.

Interesting. It seems like there’s not enough people in the stans to actually replace Russia, and even the would be replacement theorists know it.

Stans have high (and increasing, post-USSR) TFR, so in the long run something may work out, but yeah, this far it only slows down the process of decline, even in Russia alone. Which is why the suggestion to repopulate Ukraine with those guys is preposterous.

I don't know if you are an ethno-nationalist but these priors of racial families don't need to apply if folks writing policy happen to not be ethno-nationalists.

I don't think you can boil down Russia to a simple ethnonationalist picture, but they've been talking about defending Russian minorities for years and how Ukraine (especially the eastern half) was basically Russian in a very ethnonationalist way.

If Russia opens the gates to large scale Asian immigration, which doesn't have to come from just China but the various Asiatic regions surrounding Russia,

If. But do we have reason to think that Russia has the disposition of Canada here? Their demographic problem has been obvious since the chaos of the collapse of the USSR but they haven't done anything like Canada's...robust 1% immigrant intake from what I know.

I mean, yeah, if. By the same token there was no reason to think Russia would actually invade Ukraine. Despite having 'issues' with them for the better part of two decades. Some things don't happen until they do. Same was true for mass migration into Canda.

I don't think anyone can logic their way into the correct position here. The main point I'm making is that Russia has options. Arguing whether they will or wont is, to me, irrelevant to that point.

By the same token there was no reason to think Russia would actually invade Ukraine

I don't agree with this claim and find it highly dubious.

As I said to another person it was predicted - down to the year!- by Peter Zeihan.

Beyond that, John Mearsheimer also argued back after Russia conquered Crimea that Russia would likely continue its imperialism in Ukraine, though his accuracy may have been let down by the belief that Russia was too smart to go for maximalist goals and annex the country (though, in his defense, mayhaps Russia wasn't actually trying to annex the whole thing but to overthrow the government and replace it with a puppet combined with perhaps claiming the more Russian regions).

If you wish to go back to before the first invasion...I reject that too. Russia has always been clear that it considers NATO expansion aggravating, even back in the more conciliatory Yeltsin days. American strategists like Kennan specifically noted this and lamented expansion for the dangers it would bring - even when Russia appeared prostrate. Putin was also consistently against it and consistently concerned with Ukraine in particular. Crimea was obviously of strategic importance. The idea that Russia would act after the revolution/coup and US officials on the ground triumphantly crowing and trying to pick Ukrainian government officials isn't fanciful. How do I know? Because Bush pushed for Georgian and Ukrainian entry into NATO and his own European allies blocked everything beyond a tepid claim that Ukraine and Georgia would one day join without any backing. Why do you think this was except for fear of Russian action?

(Which then promptly came against Georgia btw)

Same was true for mass migration into Canda.

This is also a very dubious claim. Canada is a settler state. Open immigration predates the modern era. What's new is unconstrained mass immigration from non-whites.

It's the same situation as Australia; it has always been a land that took migrants. The cultural change is the nature of the migrants and the consistency of huge inflows.

Now, it's true that that was driven by the demographic decline but Canada and Australia already had a "hook" they could hang this new brown immigration on - "we're a nation of migrants".

You can't craft that narrative today; especially while talking about unifying or protecting the various Russian peoples as a goal.

The main point I'm making is that Russia has options.

And I think those options are vastly more constrained than you imply.

Ukraine is huge. To demographically replace it would take huge numbers of people* that are a) untrustworthy (Chinese) b) too small (Russian minorities) c) not necessarily popular amongst the very people Russia wants to rule - if Russia gains anything it'll be the Donbass. Are Russian speakers - allegedly happy to join Russia - going to be happy being ethnically cleansed from their own land? I thought the whole point was the unification of ethnic Russians!

* Canada needed 300,000 people to keep up with its one percent per year target, Ukraine is slightly larger than Canada at 43 million to 38.

I don't agree with this claim and find it highly dubious.

If you didn't cut the claim up into pieces then it would be easier to digest.

This is also a very dubious claim. Canada is a settler state. Open immigration predates the modern era. What's new is unconstrained mass immigration from non-whites.

Yes, it's new. Which was my point. How is the claim dubious? The immigration numbers into Canada today are completely unprecedented. Settling unsettled land is not the same as migrating into a city like Toronto.

It's the same situation as Australia; it has always been a land that took migrants.

Every land, by definition, has always been a land that has taken migrants. Or by definition could be called a 'settler' state. This is exactly the kind of corner cutting history I mentioned in an earlier comment. The point being made is the obvious difference between what is happening today and what was taking place earlier in time. Since you have already acknowledged the obvious differences I am at a complete loss as to what you are trying to say.

And I think those options are vastly more constrained than you imply.

They're not. You could bring up every single one of these arguments in relation to muslim immigration into Europe. Still doesn't change the fact that it can take place. It doesn't matter how incompatible the Koran is to French liberal egalitarian values. You just need to move people around. Moreover, you don't need to replace every single person in the country. You just need to have enough working age people to fill in the bigger industries. Your argument is simply not serious or thought out. We are talking 10 million tops. At a migration rate of 500k a year we are talking 20 years. Which is exactly why I said that it could be done in a few decades time.

I thought the whole point was the unification of ethnic Russians!

Nowhere did I mention 'the unification of ethnic Russians'. This is bordering on not being worth my time.

The Russian birth rate is 1.5 which is more or less the same as Western Europe and higher than much of Europe. Russian demographics aren't really that bad. Considering that Russians die younger, they are in far better shape than Italy that has a lower birth rate combined with people who are retired for decades.

The Russian birth rate is 1.5 which is more or less the same as Western Europe and higher than much of Europe.

The simple answer is that Western Europe (and Japan and South Korea) is in trouble too, so this isn't comforting at all. Being around the same spot as other demographic decliners sounds good until we zoom out.

Considering that Russians die younger

Russia is also the one part of Europe trying to fix problems via mass military conquest and action. Wars are best fought with young men and a consistently (very) sub-replacement birth rate means that that pool is not going to replenish as much or ever be as big.

(This is actually why Peter Zeihan predicted Russian imperialism by 2022 - because he thought it would be the point of demographic no return - in one of his surprisingly nakedly correct bombastic predictions. He...makes a lot of them)

And while it may be beneficial to avoid as much of a short-term financial crunch it's still sub replacement and countries still need people for work and consumption.

It also goes without saying that Russia has challenges that Italy/other US-aligned states doesn't that matter here like:

  1. Sanctions on Western companies working for it which means Russian industry & workers will have to pick up more slack - if they even can.

  2. Sanctions on resource exports that Russia uses for money (and to support welfare )

(This is actually why Peter Zeihan predicted Russian imperialism by 2022 - because he thought it would be the point of demographic no return - in one of his surprisingly nakedly correct bombastic predictions. He...makes a lot of them)

Peter Zeihan is interesting to me. I enjoy watching him, but very much from a 'where can I poke holes in the argument, and what is left.'

There are a number of things I'd give him high marks for, but also a plethora of areas where I go 'but this specific prediction does not follow from the supporting argument.' I'd tend to call him directionally correct, and strongest at the macro-level where he's a bit more forward leaning/seeing than a lot of contemporary wisdom, but weaker when he goes from theory into actual policy impact. There are things where he's absolutely grounded- Peter was identifying the policy paralysis/failure implications of the Chinese COVID response before the public breakdown of Chinese COVID policy- but there are places he misses the boat, either for not recognizing other pre-requisite factors (piracy is not going to instantly pop up to cripple global naval trade; a failure of the Chinese economic model does not mean a collapse of the Chinese state). Sometimes these are part of his bombastic showmanship- the man's job at this point is to shock you into paying attention to his underlying points- and parts are more general analytic failures.

I'd put him in the category of 'you need to be able to support wheat from chaff', but once you do Peter is interesting because he's comfortable bucking the conventional consensus and saying the parts out loud that leading conventional wisdom in the future. Over the last decade it's been interest as a number of things Peter has been saying when they were controversial are uncontroversial now. It's not that he's alone in saying them- the future implications of demographic trends has hardly been a secret- but he's rare in being consistent, public, and most important making specific predictions (some nations will make 'now or never' policies before demographic issues) and translating broad knowledge into actionable advice (demographics + regions at most risk for instability -> specific industrial relevance). He has enough expert/rare knowledge it identify specific indicators or specific disruptions- the Ukraine war's impact to neon production to chips is an example- and a willingness to share perceptions that aren't typically held/propogated by the prestige/establishment media (a recent video on the prospect of nuclear breakout by American allies- not a common media topic).

He's not always right, but he's consistently enjoyable with genuine insights often enough to be worth paying attention, if only to try and define why you disagree with his arguments.

Peter Zeihan is interesting to me. I enjoy watching him, but very much from a 'where can I poke holes in the argument, and what is left.'

Yeah, I enjoy Zeihan but I do go find some reviews to read after I'm done with his books. I have a much longer "digestion" period for his work than most others.

He's managed a blend of demographic studies, manufacturing and geopolitics in a way that makes him very attractive as a popular-facing commentator (if you start with Zeihan you'll get a broad outline of the questions, if not the answers). But he goes a bit over the top and the trouble is that his reach is so broad and he projects so much certainty that - unless you're a domain expert yourself- you're not sure when he's on firm ground (in terms of things like US demographics it's not a big risk but what about when he starts talking about things way out of his field like the politics of Tanzania?). You have to go back and pick through all of it without the distorting effect of his charisma.

I get that part of it is just his humorous writing/speaking style and it clearly seems to work for him since he seems to be permanently on tour. But some of the stuff he says is simply too much

(piracy is not going to instantly pop up to cripple global naval trade; a failure of the Chinese economic model does not mean a collapse of the Chinese state)

Case in point.

It's one thing to say China will collapse as a nation - that's already eye-catching enough. Saying things like China will collapse this decade, "for sure" (which I've heard him say)...too much for me. Most academics I read don't talk this way.

I think this is a very fair critique, and specifically the point of recognizing the effect of his charisma and tour model. He is, at the end, in the business of convincing you to either buy his book, pay him to show up and talk, or both. Having that sort of overriding interest doesn't make everything he says suspect, but as you say it needs to be digested.

Ukraine has little value from an economic standpoint. When you look at the amount that Ukraine produces, you'll see it's very little. Wheat for example: 20 million tons at $300/ton or just $6 billion/year. That's about 3% of the world supply or about 1% of the yearly revenue of Wal-Mart. If Ukraine production in all categories went to zero overnight, the market would barely even notice.

Possible counterpoint: Commodity prices went up because of the invasion.

Counter counterpoint: Commodity prices went right back down again now trade at pre-invasion levels.

It's not about dollar revenue, it's about control over natural resources. Ukraine has some of the most arable land in the world as well as holding significant shares of the total amount of high quality iron ore reserves and various other metals. If Russia holds power of the lion share of these various resources in conjunction with China they can turn the western dominated 'economic sanctions game' on its head. Just like Russia did with gas.

*edit, I should have added that the geographic location of Ukraine is also very relevant, considering the ease of European access to said resources.

I think these tend to be short term issues. The world has plenty of arable land to feed itself it’s just that it cheaper to use ukranian land than unused land elsewhere. In the short term shutting down ukranian production means big price spikes because hungry people pay what it takes. In the long term you just start producing elsewhere on lower quality land and prices are 5-10% higher than before.

The world has plenty of arable land and is also a very small place when Russia and China are throwing their weight around. The argument here isn't that the sky will fall. The argument is that the leverage the west has over the rest gets weaker. Potentially getting turned on its head.

In the long term you just start producing elsewhere on lower quality land and prices are 5-10% higher than before.

Maybe, but spike in food costs and permanent 5% increase is not "the market would barely even notice". And that may be enough to trigger new waves of migration counted in tens of millions.

"wheat is 10% more expensive" is noticeable for people in USA or Europe but they will at most complain and may push them to vote differently. It is different where people spend 50% of budget on food where that may be enough to trigger riots, famine and mass migration.

they can turn the western dominated 'economic sanctions game' on its head. Just like Russia did with gas.

I'm almost positive I'm being heavily downvoted for being a contrarian (oh the irony!) but this is the kind of misconception that I'd like to counter.

Russia's gas supplies were quickly replaced after some painful short-term disruptions. The world has centuries worth of coal which Germany is so giddily burning right now. One commodity can be replaced with another.

Likewise, Ukraine's wheat production or rapeseed or iron isn't important. Reduce world exports 10% and the price will spike, followed by a demand response, and shortly thereafter a supply response, and pretty soon the price of wheat will be right back where it started. I'm heavily invested in commodities and have watched all this develop before and will again.

I don't see the misconception. The point being made is that in a war of commodities having control over resources is important. Controlling more of X is better than controlling less of X. It's not about the sky falling on the heads of those who get economic sanctions applied to them. Of course markets adapt to their conditions as best they can. But the more or less leverage you have, the more or less impactful the sanction.

Ukraine has little value from an economic standpoint. When you look at the amount that Ukraine produces, you'll see it's very little. Wheat for example: 20 million tons at $300/ton or just $6 billion/year. That's about 3% of the world supply or about 1% of the yearly revenue of Wal-Mart. If Ukraine production in all categories went to zero overnight, the market would barely even notice.

...what?

Ukraine produces about 33 million tons of wheat, which is a bit over 4% of global production, but it exports about 19million tons, which is 9% of global exports. Taking nearly 10% of wheat exports off the global market is not 'market would barely even notice,' it's 'arab spring food riots,' because most of the most volatile countries in the world are not food self-sufficient.

Similar deal with other crops. Ukraine only produces about 3.5% of global corn, but what it does produce is 12% of the global export market. You're looking at even larger fractions of other items- 17% barley, 20% rapeseed, and around 50% of global export share of sunflower meal and oil. These are non-trivial shared of the global food market.

https://www.fas.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2022-04/Ukraine-Factsheet-April2022.pdf

This gets even worse when one considers the Pakistan flooding, which has wiped off a considerable share of the global export rice market off the market for this year.

Ukraine has burned through multiple iterations of armaments and is now reduced to begging for active NATO matériel

That's technically correct but deeply misleading. Ukraine always has been at very deep disadvantage against Russia in almost every armament there is. Western supplies helped to reduce this disadvantage a little, but they were not even nearly enough to close the gap, and for ammunition, the supplies were always below what is being spent on the battlefield and what is necessary for overcoming Russia's size advantage. Not because the West doesn't have it - but because the West is reluctant to get deeply involved. There's nothing to "reduce" and "multiple iterations" have always been way below Ukrainian needs. So there's absolutely nothing new there. Ukraine begged for Western support since day one, and the West didn't give them enough since day one, and still doesn't.

Germany has been reluctant to send heavy weapons since day one, and even a cursory look at the ties of German elite with various Russian business enterprises and "German-Russian friendship societies" can give an ample explanation why. Exhibit 1, Boris Pistorius, Germany's minister of defense. Who has argued against sanctions on Russia, was member of parliamentary "friendship society" maintaining links with Russia's "parliament", and is a close ally of Gerhard Schroeder (of Gazprom fame). One can only wonder why such leadership is not sending modern tanks to Ukraine...

Does not sending tanks prove collusion for any other country, or is it just for Germany?

Not sending tanks does not prove collusion, collusion explains not sending tanks. German elites were in bed with Russia way before the question of tanks has arisen - and, tbh, nobody was really bothered by it too much, exactly because they didn't foresee they'd have to send tanks. But now, when it is obvious that Russia is not what the kumbaya squad though it was, that collusion explains why they are so reluctant to change their actions.

Not a parsimonious explanation. If collusion explains not sending tanks in the case of germany, how do you explain the reluctance to send tanks for similar countries (US italy france etc) ?

US does not want to get involved in a war in Europe. Or at least some part of the US doesn't. That's the same story since WW1. If you ask why US wants to be involved in Libya or Iraq or Somali, but not in Europe - I don't have a good answer for you, it is what it is.

As for the rest of them, its a combination of Russian ties (Germany was leading the way, but Russian money and Russian energy dependency is all over Europe, it's not unique to Germany at all, though France has much less energy dependence due to the developed nuclear production - I always was fascinated how unexpectedly sane French approach in this area has been) and again, reluctance to get involved in a far away conflict that they feel they don't have much stake in.

a whole smattering of reasons. Anyway, it appears germany will give tanks after all, and the US too. That's what I'm talking about. Are you confused by that, is your theory refuted?

Germans could be fighting russians in kiev in 2 years, and you'd still find people saying 'we must not forget their entire political class has been bought by russian money. Ex-Bundeskanzler Schröder...... etc '.

Are you confused by that, is your theory refuted?

I am not confused by that at all. State politics is not a one-bit switch. It is a complex combination of thousands of complex interests. There are powerful interests in Germany against intervening in Ukraine, and less powerful in the US (coming more from isolationist place than anything else, unlike Germany) but still existing. There are also pressure from the other side to help Ukraine, aided by the revelations of more and more war crimes committed by Russians. The outcome of this interplay of interests can change over time, there's nothing confusing here and nothing refuting the existence of these interests. The pro-Russia fraction was powerful in Germany, but its power is not infinite and gets eroded as the war goes on - now to the point that they are too weak to prevent Polish tanks to be sent to Ukraine. One day, hopefully, they'd be so weak they couldn't prevent the same for German tanks. It does not refute their existence at all.

Germans could be fighting russians in kiev in 2 years,

Unlikely, for several reasons. First, if Russians get as far as going into Kiev, the EU would decide the war is lost for Ukraine and would cut the losses. One of the reasons they are increasing the help now because they are seeing their help can do something and not just increase the losses. Second, I do not see Germany committing any number of troops to fight Russia anywhere. Poland - maybe. Estonia or Latvia - maybe. US - very, very unlikely but there's a tiny chance. Germany? No way. Third, German army is right now not exactly in the fighting condition, as I read. They have a lot of iron and so on, but they suffer from long neglect and disarray. I don't think they want to fight anybody.

we must not forget their entire political class has been bought by russian money. Ex-Bundeskanzler Schröder...... etc

Obviously, we must not. Why would we forget the fact, which is true? I don't think removing true information from consideration makes any model better.

now to the point that they are too weak to prevent Polish tanks to be sent to Ukraine. One day, hopefully, they'd be so weak they couldn't prevent the same for German tanks.

No, they are sending their own tanks. These powers of collusion are that weak. They are at present invisible, indistinguishible from null. Again, and in real time, your belief in german-russian collusion has failed to pay dividends.

Unlikely, for several reasons.

That's not the point. Actual boots on the grounds war is just the maximal opposition one state can express in relation to another, I was contrasting it with a belief in collusion between them. In other words, I was trying to find a hypothetical that would falsify your belief. You maintained it, so I can now declare it unfalsifiable.

I don't think removing true information from consideration makes any model better.

True information should always pay rent, and this one's behind.

More comments

It is a sufficient explanation, not the only explanation.

If in february you were adamant there was collusion (because of German-Russian friendship societies etc), you would have predicted a degree of support for ukraine from germany that would be considerably less than what actually happened. The belief is epistemic dead weight.

The American ploy of 'if you send Leopard 2s to Ukraine, we'll give you Abrams on the cheap' - isn't it a rather transparent attempt at fucking the German economy even more ?

I don't think the price of a dozen (or even several dozens) tanks plays a significant role in the trillion-dollar budgets/GDPs here. It's sounds like a B-movie plot rather than something that actually happens. The US is trying for a long time to get Europe to do 2% of military expenses that they agreed to, and I think it still didn't happen, Germany barely getting to 1.5. With this level of spending, I don't thing fucking the economy is a big concern.

Also, from what I understand, the manufacturer of these tanks said that they can't make too many more than they do now anyway, at least soon, so I am not sure who is being fucked by replacing them with Abrams, if that indeed might happen. Also, according to the Wiki, Germans plan to replace them anyway by 2030, which again makes the plan of fucking the German economy by temporarily replacing some tanks not a viable plot.

Also, Germans until this point objected to Poland sending L2s to Ukraine too, which does not have any potential to affect German economy at all, except maybe Poland buying more modern tanks to replace the old ones (where Leopards would be the first choice since they already have everything set up for them) - again, nothing fucking German economy here. And now Netherlands wants to buy some L2s from Germany to give it to Ukraine - again, no fucking the German economy I can detect here. I am not sure whether the Germans would agree - but I think it'd be a good deal for them, unless there are some non-economic reasons not to do that.

Europe has cca .. 3600 Leopard 2s. If eventually say, 1000 get sent to Ukraine, to replace the destroyed Ukrainian T-64s, that'd mean a lot of lost contracts for Germans.

so I am not sure who is being fucked by replacing them with Abrams, if that indeed might happen.

The war stimulated defense spending, it's reasonable to expect they'd have attempted to revive the manufacturing.

If 1000 gets sent to Ukraine, the war will end pretty soon after. But right now we're not even near that level of commitment, good thing if they manage 10% of that. So far I understand it's more like 1%: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2023/01/22/germany-okays-a-dozen-polish-tanks-for-ukraine-hundreds-more-could-follow

But I don't see how it's "a lot of lost contracts for Germans" - if these tanks are already bought, the contracts are already paid for. Now imagine they all get sent to Ukraine and stay there (either somehow destroyed, or hanging around keeping the peace after the victory). I imagine they would need eventually to be replaced. Since the rest 2600 are Leopards, and having similar tanks is easier than having different ones, for obvious reasons, that mean the same Europeans now come to the Germans and say "give us more of those Leopards, we need to replace those we sent to Ukraine". I'm not sure I understand - how is this a loss for Germany in your book? Of course, if somehow Americans had a Jedi trick that would make the owners of those 2600 to replenish the missing 1000 with Abrams, that would be a lost opportunity for Germans - but I don't see how it would suddenly happen. As far as I know, militaries don't just jump to an entirely different supplier on a dime. If they planned to replace L2 with Abrams, that decision wouldn't be caused by giving tanks to Ukraine - it'd be taken independently, and there would not be additional loss to Germans to allow the tanks to be given to Ukraine - if country X intends to no longer buy Leopards, it'd not buy regardless of what happens to existing Leopards, whether they go to Ukraine now or sold to Saudi Arabia in 5 years.

The problem is that with a few words changed, everything you've said also applies to Russia.

Russia can't replenish its materiel at the ridiculous rate it has been expending it and even the deep soviet stockpiles will begin to run dry. It's worth noting that the single greatest donor of weapons to Ukraine has been Russia courtesy of many gifts left behind in good will gestures.

As for rhetoric, if what we're hearing in the west is hysterical then I lack words for what prevails in Russia. I recall discussions of sinking the UK under a giant tidal wave caused by nuclear explosions airing on Russian national television and the ongoing drumbeat of how this conflict is an existential crisis for Putin Russia.

Nobody on this earth knows how this war will end, or when. Some people may think they do and some might even turn out to be correct, but that will be a coincidence. This kind of business is far too large, complicated and full of moving parts to understand from any angle while it remains in motion, only once all the pieces have stopped will we be able to pick it apart and declare how obvious it was how things would turn out.

That said I still favour Ukraine over Russia on this one, they've got much stronger backing, have proven to be surprisingly competent and far more motivated than their Russian adversaries. The Russians by contrast have a military so dysfunctional that it verges on that of an Arab state, which seems to be institutionally more focused on battling with reality than with the enemy. Incidentally this aspect has been somewhat dissapointing for me, a long time fan of Russian doctrine, who has frequently argued that the Ivans are not as incompetent at warfare as is popularly believed. Apparently this sage wisdom must be updated to include military as well.

The biggest handicap to Ukrainian victory at this moment is the strange reticence of some western politicians to cheaply win a decisive victory over a long term adversary.

The biggest handicap to Ukrainian victory at this moment is the strange reticence of some western politicians to cheaply win a decisive victory over a long term adversary.

The strange thing to me is this Bizarro-world some some people are living in, where Russia is the West'l long-term adversary.

Other than CNN telling you that it's so, is there actually any post-1991 evidence that Russia is, in fact, our "long-term adversary", or is it just something that certain people keep repeating to try and meme it into truth?

I think it facts checks true that Russia is a long term enemy. It doesn’t need to be that way but their behavior has created the situation. They’ve got about a 100 years consistently chose to fight on the anti-west team except for the 5 years in ww2.

If someone keeps going to war with you then I think I can fact check it true that they are the enemy.

chose to fight on the anti-west team except for the 5 years in ww2.

I would rather phrase it as "Hitler kicked them out of his own team and had no choice than cooperate with West"

I feel like Poles need to recuse themselves from talking about Russia entirely.

It's fairly clear now that Stalin's plan was for Germany to repeat WW1, exhaust the West and then use war fatigue and the Red Army to secure more land for USSR.

I feel like Poles need to recuse themselves from talking about Russia entirely.

I can do it in exchange of Russians recusing themselves from invading countries in Europe (I am single person but just recusing from specific way of murdering other people in specific part of the world is much smaller sacrifice, or at least it should be).

is there actually any post-1991 evidence that Russia is, in fact, our "long-term adversary", or is it just something that certain people keep repeating to try and meme it into truth?

  1. Not rejected its imperial aspirations and have not even pretended that it will give up "sphere of influence" that includes my country (unlike Germany)

  2. Bombing country next to mine and murdering civilians there and trying to destroy its economy

  3. Doing its best to disrupt global food supply by invading Ukraine and blocking grain shipments (they were strongarmed into suspending this)

  4. Have not clearly rejected USSR as awful and evil failure (unlike Germany with Third Reich)

  5. Repeated use of its position of cheap energy supplier for blackmail

  6. Invading other countries in Europe (they have not got memo that European countries decided that this is not acceptable after WW II mess)

  7. Being so corrupt that they are not usable as ally for example ally against China

  8. Being utterly useless as an ally (as Armenia discovered)

  9. Assassinating people in Europe without even enough decorum to keep it hidden

  10. Repeated extreme war crimes (for example: using hospital list in Syria as target list, Bucha)

Overall Russia is overambitious corrupt, useless as an ally, extremely aggressive lead by idiot that dragged it into a tragic war. That demonstrates it clearly enough even for Germans, but it was obvious already earlier.

And no, Russia is not entitled to empire in the central Europe - nor powerful enough to build one again, at least for now.

Well stated! I'm quite deeply shocked that someone wouldn't consider Putin's Russia quite antithetical to the West. The fundamental one is "invading another country in Europe". All the rest was kind of generic and shitty dictatorship stuff, but that one crosses a rather literal line.

today - Georgia, tomorrow - Ukraine, the day after tomorrow – the Baltic States, then, perhaps, it will be my own country, Poland'

President of Poland in 2008, in Georgia, Tbilisi

(if anyone is confused why support to Ukraine is over 1% of GDP of Estonia and Poland gave Ukraine 230+ tanks and other equipment)

Other than CNN telling you that it's so, is there actually any post-1991 evidence that Russia is, in fact, our "long-term adversary"

They don't have gay pride parades.

This is a low-effort sneer, not an actual observation or even a speculation. You've received a warning and a tempban already for this kind of thing. Since that seems to be all you're here to do, banned for another three days (not escalating this time because this was such a trifling comment that normally would have only gotten a warning, but expect the next one to be significantly lengthier if you keep it up).

It's an overly succint reply that unjustifiedly presumed familiary with the SSC blogpost corpus.

E.g.

https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/07/08/gay-rites-are-civil-rites/

Russia, in a sense, is not just a strategic enemy of the US because it threatened US economic and military dominance of Europe, but also represents nationalism / christianity, the enemy that managerial regime has completely defeated in the West.

Russia has been an opponent of Western interests in several areas since 1991: Yugoslavia, the Caucauses, and now Ukraine. Even in the 1990s, when Western aid was keeping the lights on and the bread in children's mouths in Russia, Yeltsin was often willing to challenge Western interests in Yugoslavia, as much as Russia could (not much). Under Putin, Russia has become an ally of pretty much every anti-Western government in the world.

It's not a symmetric adversary, in the sense that Russia has long ceased to be an existential military threat to NATO countries, Japan etc. That doesn't mean that it's not an adversary, and while Russia is not very important in comparison to China, it's been a lot more willing to stage external military operations.

As far as Russian resources being depleted, is it true that they've largely restrained from using air power? If so their aircraft resources would seem to be in good shape.

is it true that they've largely restrained from using air power? If so their aircraft resources would seem to be in good shape.

Given that they restrained from it due to being shot down when they tried to use it, I am not sure. On the other hand not sure whether even F-35 would survive for long in area so covered with AA.

The Serbs figured out how to shoot down stealth jets in the 90's, so we can probably assume that first world militaries all have anti-stealth jet capability.

The serbs shot down one stealth jet (that is an order of magnitude less stealthy than an F35 or F22) out of dozens of bombing runs in the exact same flight path. Not exactly a good track record.

Still, USA in Serbia got quite cocky (flying the same routes over and over again) and F-35 may have some new tricks as stealth is not some boolean yes/no switch.

they've largely restrained from using air power?

Both sides have done so, IIRC because right now the balance is strongly towards AA over air power.

The usual "military expert" answer is that both countries have inherited Soviet AA, so both Russian and Ukrainian aircraft are in danger of being shot down.

Airpower in the sense of aircraft? Yes. Airpower in the sense of precision munitions? No.

Since the early days of the war, air defense on both sides of the conflict has kept airpower to a minimum. The threat of surface-to-air missiles has kept aircraft flying low, which is one reason why so many man-portable weapons got kills in the opening weeks/months. Since then, helicopters and fixed-wing have stayed behind the lines and supported as a rocket/missile firing platform. This means they still exist in good numbers, but aren't being risked.

However, a key capability is the capacity for precision fires. Airpower is incredibly effective when it can put a bomb/rocket/missile onto a target in ways that ground forces or artillery can't. Here, the Russians have attrited themselves pretty heavily. It's not that the Russians were ever an American-style smart-bomb air power- the Russian doctrine is expecting to steadily lose the air war against American air power- and so the Russian focus is more on presision rockets / missiles that can do the key targetting fast and early enough to let the ground forces advance.

In this respect, the Russians have shown signs of severely depleting their stockpiles. This is very normal, but we're talking 'hundreds per week in the opening weeks, versus dozens produced per month.' The Russians have implicitly shot through many of their stockpiles, as things such as anti-ship cruise missiles have been used in ground-attack roles for non-tactical targets. Even the entire Ukrainian energy infrastructure attacks late last year are indicative of depletion- that sort of goal was not only a considerable sink of resources, but resources that were presumably bet on being more successful at delivering strategic results than being used tactically.

Between expenditures and such, Russia has lost many of its long-range precision fires... including those carried by aircraft. While the platforms are still there, and certainly have more munitions to load, Russia has largely 'shot its load' in terms of precision air power systems that can be used safely, and while more fires will come these will lack the intensity and disrupting effect of the early-war period.

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.

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 about the future of this technology and we might get answers either by:

studying academic papers/experiments about them

waiting for a china-taiwan war (unlikely)

waiting for a new israel based war (no idea)

waiting for the ukrainian APS system to be deployed or for western countries giving APS to ukraine (e.g. germany supposedly has one)

waiting for the armata systems to see some action in Ukraine, most likely but only if the war last a few years.

But your initial point is wrong, ATGMs have currently and probably for the foreasable future, destroyed tanks economics.

This is an unrealistic claim as of yet.

No, pretty much Israeli trophy use fighting Hezbollah showed that is the case.

Feel free to prove me wrong there, however. That's what I remember as being the case.

Also, iirc, US and other NATO are going to buy Trophy and install it.

That is why America entered into a grueling, year+ long advance and retreat conflict with Iraq which completely degraded the 11th armored cav and the rangers and needed to reactivate the draft leading to... Wait a second, that didn't happen at all!

Listen, if a wizzard magicked all nukes out of existence, Nato could turn Russia into a parkinglot in a couple weeks. Shit, the US could probably do it on their own.

They would then inevitably lose the occupation, but lets not talk about that.

So what the worlwide coalition in the gulf war managed to destroy Irak air defense quickly and that allows you to generalize from a single event to the U.S having a power that make it transcend Russia performance in Ukraine? What is this imaginary magic technology they have that disrupt their abilties? None, you are just wishful thinkingly over-generalizing.

I have not extensively studied Irak military but:

  • They had osbolete air-defense, zero S-300..

  • I have heard that the Irakis aircrafts pilots universally refused to fly, no will to fight what a joke

“When United States and coalition forces invaded Iraq in 2003 [during Operation Iraqi Freedom], they faced no Iraqi Air Force opposition. Not one Iraqi warplane attacked the invaders as they proceeded toward Baghdad,” Daniel L. Haulman, PhD Air Force Historical Research Agency.

It seems they didn't use air force significantly in gulf war either.

  • probably not enough modern ATGMs and probably no GLONAS/GPS

So Irak air defense and will to fight was basically in practice a joke, not something comparable to Ukraine in any realistic way.

Note though that during the Vietnam war, North Vietnam even with virtually no air force managed to take down a crazy high number of U.S planes: 8,540 + 1,351 allied

Nato could turn Russia into a parkinglot in a couple weeks.

A groundless childish fiction based on a weak and uncomparable single event with zero a priori argument, the only one would be the 100 million dollars "stealth" F-35 on which I call bullshit as being not enough to disrupt a war especially considering their weak payloads, maintenance burden and vast detectability loopholes. Besides that point U.S and russian hardware are largely comparable in most cases.

the TU-160 is... the fastest military aircraft to exists.

You might have drunk a bit too deep of the propaganda.

You are right I misremembered but:

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]

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

Well, if USA would invade Ukraine then large part of population would be really happy and even larger part would immediately start to think how to profit from that.

Even if we assume that Ukrainian military fights as much as it can, then we get Gulf War rerun.

the number of americans willing to die is a scarcer resources than in authoritarian countries.

Still larger enough to maintain military.

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

not sure

Secondly ATGMs have broken the economics of tanks.

Definitely not true.

This is it, we can no longer make disruptive military attacks

And that is why Kharkiv offensive has not happened.

bio-weapons

that is a dead end as far as military use goes, mentioning them seriously is really weird here

The only remaining "hopes" for military tactical disruption

Or proper use of existing tools. Assuming no nukes, USA would be able to simultaneously take Kyiv and Moscow and all major cities in both Ukraine and European part of Russia. Even if Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Finland and Baltic states would be hostile to USA.

If USA army would deploy in Ukraine (and gremlins would steal Russian nukes) then the war would be over within months - and that is only because Crimea would be really annoying to retake without heavy casualties.

Well that's all well and good, but you could say exactly the same things about Ghani's Afghanistan vs. the Taliban. Indeed, the Taliban had zero state resources compared to Russia's nonzero. But despite receiving infinity NATO materiél, Ghani's Afghanistan fell the instant there weren't Coalition troops on the ground. Ukraine doesn't have Coalition troops on the ground, therefore...

I find it pretty hard to cast the Russians in the role of the Taliban considering that the Taliban was the group resisting a foreign invasion and not the other way around. The Americans lost to the Taliban despite not even resorting to drafting soldiers, why do you think the Russians are ahead of the curve on this?

I feel like I'm being gish-gallopped here, because now you're moving the goalposts into the conscript/professionalism of the army and home ground advantage and whatever. The only point I'm making is that receiving a jillion dollars' worth of NATO aid didn't help the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan much, so there's hardly a guarantee it'll help Ukraine. Indeed, iirc pre-war Ukraine was about as corrupt as Afghanistan, so we might expect most of the materiél is getting pawned rather than used on the front, which is why the NATO dollars weren't much use in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan fell apart because the government wasn't full of rabid nationalists but full of tribals profiteering off the war.

It's a completely different situation in Ukraine.

iirc pre-war Ukraine was about as corrupt as Afghanistan

Not according to the Corruption Perceptions Index:

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

Naturally an imperfect measure, but do you have a better one?

The only point I'm making is that receiving a jillion dollars' worth of NATO aid didn't help the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan much, so there's hardly a guarantee it'll help Ukraine.

What does helping Ukraine mean to you? The last big movement of the war, the Kherson retreat, was enabled by Western long range artillery making the supply situation of the Russians on the western side of the Dnepr untenable. There are hours of video material showing how Western weapons are being used effectively by the Ukrainian forces.

The Afghan army, aside from never receiving gear as advanced as Ukraine, had a fundamental issue with morale. This is not the case in the current war AFAICT. The comparison with Afghanistan seems like a stretch to me.

No, I'm pretty sure that the NATO dollars weren't any use in Afghanistan was because Islamic republic of Afghanistan troops saw Islamic emirate of Afghanistan forces and promptly surrendered or ran away. This does not appear to be a major problem for the Ukrainian Army. Despite a lot of the aid getting embezzled, IRA forces generally held an equipment advantage over taliban troops, they just refused to fight(and thus lost).

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.

It's not at all obvious. One of my cousins volunteered for the war in April and immediately found himself in a training center and then at the front. My own brother was mobilized in October and he still comes home for the weekend. The capacity of the training and supply centers cannot cope with 300,000 mobilized. Probably, Russia can train about 80,000 people per month, maybe 100,000.

And the meaning of the war of approximately equal in quality armies lies in quantity. Ukraine successfully advanced near Kharkov, not because Himars and not because Javelin. But because they were able to bring their army to almost a million people (And NATO provided them with equipment, equipment and artillery) against 300 thousand Russians.

The reduction in the numerical advantage of Ukraine after mobilization led to the stabilization of the front line and a small advance of the Russian army. But if Western countries are able to ensure the mobilization of Ukraine about 150-200 thousand soldiers per month, then at some point they will achieve a numerical superiority sufficient for a new successful offensive. And it does not look impossible for NATO countries.

They will have to give a significant percentage of the current stocks and equipment in service with NATO countries, but this is not impossible.

As for what? Well, because since 2014 a lot has been invested in Ukraine. Authority, money, prestige. All this is worth something. It does not matter for what reason politicians have committed themselves to support Ukraine. What matters is that they took it. Secondly, after the end of the war, Russia will obviously take vengeance. If there's a guy in Iraq who wants to shoot Americans, he'll get whatever weapon he wants. ATGM, MANPADS, explosives. And if he is competent enough, then the Kinzhal missile to fight aircraft carriers.

Wagner, significantly reinforced, will continue to attack European colonies in Africa and this will require a large number of resources to counter. For NATO countries, it is much more profitable to continue the conflict in Ukraine, so as not to get a conflict with Russia around the world. It's just that NATO only spends money in Ukraine. In other hypothetical conflicts, NATO will waste money and the lives of their soldiers. This is a significant difference.

And most likely politicians in NATO understand this. And I would expect a really huge supply of the Ukrainian army in the coming months. It is strange that Germany does not want to supply its tanks now, but I would bet that the US will be able to convince them in time.

Does Ukraine have the men to keep pushing into the army? It seems like they've probably exhausted their supply of able-bodied conscripts.

Lol. With a population of 70 million, Germany mobilized about 18 million people during the Second World War. And Germany needed industry and economy to support the front. Someone had to make tigers, panthers, fokewulfs, shells and wheat. Ukraine does not need any industry or economy. Hence they can mobilize a larger percentage of people. They certainly have more old people, but they have fewer children. So with a population of 36 million (optimistically) people, they could well mobilize more than 9 million. They have many refugees, but almost all of the refugees are women, so migration has little effect on mobilization potential.

The refugees that have shown up in my area (rural-ish Canada) definitely include families and single men -- it doesn't seem overly disproportionate towards single women. There's been a lot of incentive for males to get out of the country -- does anyone have actual stats on this?

Men have been banned from leaving Ukraine since February 2022. Someone could pay a bribe (And people who can afford to go to Canada can also afford to pay a bribe), but it is likely that the gender ratio of refugees as a whole is highly disproportionate in favor of women.

But even if it is not 9 million but 4 million. The mobilization potential of Ukraine is still far from being exhausted.

I haven't enquired as to how they managed it, but these guys definitely left post-invasion, and have been accepted as refugees by Canada.

The point being that while in theory there's no difference between theory and practice, in practice there is. While the stats I seek probably aren't available from the Ukrainian government, they might be from countries accepting Ukrainian refugees. This would be much more useful than "it is likely that the gender ratio of refugees as a whole is highly disproportionate in favor of women", which happens to be contradicted by my lying eyes.

But even if it is not 9 million but 4 million. The mobilization potential of Ukraine is still far from being exhausted.

But either way the vast majority of this cohort will have no better combat usefulness than the equivalent Russian mobilizee -- of which they surely have just as many to throw in the meatgrinder?

But either way the vast majority of this cohort will have no better combat usefulness than the equivalent Russian mobilizee -- of which they surely have just as many to throw in the meatgrinder?

Except that Ukraine has a better chance of getting equipment for those men. Russia has to make everything for itself.

In modern warfare this is not an insignificant difference.

Russia also has to worry about potential state protection; an autocrat's army is never just for external opponents and even the Russian people may have limits on what they'll tolerate if the war is manifestly going poorly and Putin is squeezing more and more people in its name.

Russia has to make everything for itself.

Russia has been making everything for itself for 100 years -- can they no longer do it? I don't know, and unless you are involved in the Russian MIC, neither do you.

even the Russian people may have limits on what they'll tolerate

As may the Ukrainians, one might suggest?

More comments

With all due respect, this is one of those cases where your lying eyes can be expected to give a not terribly accurate picture. Most Ukrainian refugees went to Poland, and the vast majority are in Europe. The group that went to Canada is by definition atypical.

Oh sure -- that's why I'd like to see some actual statistics.

But in the absence of statistics, choosing whether to believe my lying eyes vs internet randos and/or motivated parties, well...

In Germany, we have quite a few refugees, including in our town. They are all women and chlidren. There are no men that I know. Perhaps some very old ones, but I haven't seen them.

All my friends from there are still alive and mostly not conscripted. Yeah they can keep going. They can triple their forces if need be.

All my friends from there are still alive and mostly not conscripted.

..and how many of them are out of the country ?

One hears stories of teenage Ukrainian boys getting draft notices in Prague and not being seen since, but one also sees Ukrainian men in the workplace who seem perfectly healthy and in no rush to go off fight the Asiatic hordes.

I mean specifically Ukrainians in the country.

You didn't make it clear enough, though. You said 'from there', not 'there'. Important distinction. I've met a lot of guys 'from there' while working various shit jobs 'over here'.

Tactfully, I'm not asking them if they're draft dodging.

I'd be interested in seeing a good report on UA draft, % evasion, actual number drafted, and how many they've shot for desertion.

Russians are the only ones with incentives to be interested in that, so possibly some of the more clever nationalists has a good writeup based on open data and leaks.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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..

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.