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Messages - Cain

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16
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: March 02, 2022, 10:10:41 am »

The thing is, if Russia's going to threaten to invade if Ukraine's part of NATO or not, then they might as well join, since the opportunity cost is exactly the same. "Neutrality" isn't really an option here, even that will be taken as trying to remove themselves from Russia's sphere of influence. That's what is so damning about the whole thing, the Minsk agreement would have effectively made them neutral, but that apparently wasn't acceptable enough to Putin's people.


If Ukraine is a part of NATO, doesn't that obligate the US and NATO to do a lot more than send them weapons when attacked? Theoretically pushing us closer to direct conflict and subsequent Nuclear Annihilation? Based on a lot of talk going around by World Leaders, Military Strategists, and every-day idiots on my Facebook feed, I no longer buy the assumption that everyone believes in MAD. And that should have been pretty predictable, considering it's merely an extrapolation of the concept of "Chicken" to Global proportions. I can find article after article of that game ending in countless dead idiots on the freeway. For that reason, we shouldn't consider direct conflict and invocation of MAD as an option. It might have been a pretty concept when even the Nuclear Arsenals of two countries couldn't turn our planet into a soot-covered, radioactive icy hellscape, but we're past that now.

Putin couldn't have been completely unaware of how much Ukraine has been building its Defenses since 2014. I refuse to believe that even a frustrated Putin would consider a direct Military Conflict to be cheaper than the de facto conditions of the Minsk 2 Agreement (Culture Wars and Intelligence/Espionage operations to establish Hegemony over Ukraine with the help of Political Factions from the Donbas and Crimean Peninsula.). If the US and NATO were willing to do the bare minimum, like talk Ukraine off the ledge Re: NATO membership (Which literally no one wanted anyways.) and actually moving forward with the Minsk 2 despite its disagreement on the interpretation, and overall cared more about preventing escalating conflict even when inconvenient, I think Russia would have avoided a full invasion and countless lives could have been saved.

I speak as someone who knows their own signaling couldn't possibly affect a foreign country. Nothing I say or do is going to affect Putin's decision-making. But if I kick up enough shit about my own country's actions/inaction, I have a higher, even if negligible chance of making someone in Washington attribute more value to human life and do better.

We're able to properly condemn the actions of people within a country/society using the Justice System. When their actions put the Liberty of others in Jeopardy, we quite literally have the ability to, with a seemingly external overwhelming force, put them in their place and maybe even rehabilitate them when we're feeling humane. When we're talking about the scale of World Super-Powers with the ability to end organized Human Life as we know it in less than an hour, there is no external overwhelming force that can come to the rescue. We actually have to take into account the concerns of absolute pieces of shit, and concede when it means living to find another way to beat them. I don't think we can continue treating War on the World Stage like some Moral pissing contest between opposing views on "Nation Sovereignty", as if the US Government or NATO ever gave a shit about that anyways. Countries do not exist in a vacuum - Sovereignty does not mean "Can act without consequences". There are ways of organizing against Autocrats that don't involve putting us all at risk, even if those methods might require us to admit that our own forms of Human Organization are inherently violent and wrong. I'm done pretending like the World Leaders should get a free pass to play ignorant every time another country starts a very predictable and preventable catastrophe.

/rant

Not directed at anyone here. Just completely disgusted by our general views of conflict as a species right now.

You're now conflating Ukraine's wish to join NATO with NATO actually allowing them to join.

Under the Minsk agreement, not only would Russia have had a veto over NATO membership, NATO is bound by it's own charter which requires countries that have "ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes, including irredentist claims, or internal jurisdictional disputes must settle those disputes by peaceful means in accordance with OSCE principles. Resolution of such disputes would be a factor in determining whether to invite a state to join the Alliance." No-one wants to get into a nuclear war for the Donbas.

Clearly even with the Minsk agreement, Ukraine was not going to be any position to join NATO any time soon. The same issues are why Georgia has not yet joined NATO, despite it being even more popular there.

As for Putin, look at the number of wars he's launched at this point. He's drunk on impunity, he thought his military logistics were better than they were and that he had a plan to knock Ukraine out in a blitzkrieg strike. Clearly he was wrong.

17
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: March 01, 2022, 02:03:50 pm »
The thing is, if Russia's going to threaten to invade if Ukraine's part of NATO or not, then they might as well join, since the opportunity cost is exactly the same. "Neutrality" isn't really an option here, even that will be taken as trying to remove themselves from Russia's sphere of influence. That's what is so damning about the whole thing, the Minsk agreement would have effectively made them neutral, but that apparently wasn't acceptable enough to Putin's people.

I haven't been able to get my head around it, I expected posturing but not an outright invasion, is there really that much support for it back in Russia?
What do you think of the economic sanctions, will they be tight enough screws to finally get people to turn on Putin and end this mess, say if it was coupled with heavy losses in Ukrain when they expected a cake walk?

Honestly, it's hard to say where Russian public opinion is. My impression is that the war is not popular at home, given the protests that occured and the messages on social media. At the same time, this is a modern war, so my assumption is that any such messages are being amplified to try and undermine Russian morale and feelings of legitimacy. On top of that, Russian TV and social media is controlled to a certain extent that such popular expressions will be scrubbed. And it's worth noting that the Russian opposition movements were proscribed as terrorist organisations and dismantled last year, so the state of the Russian opposition is pretty poor rigt now.

I doubt the sanctions will be tight enough, though kicking them out of SWIFT and the rapidly depreciating value of the ruble are going to hit ordinary people hard. Could cause them to get angry at Ptin, could create a "rally around the flag" effect. Hard to say. I also think it's fair to say that any UK sanctions in particular will be extremely lacklustre and riddled with loopholes, because the Tories need that funding. And I do think people will not be impressed once this bogs down into an insurgency, which increasingly seems to be the case. The Russians tried a blitzkrieg but their logistics and supply lines apparently suck pretty hard.

18
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: February 26, 2022, 09:46:06 am »
I think you're giving too much credit to the US here and too little agency to the Russians.

Let's be very clear here: Russia had a choice. I thought up until about a week ago that this was simply then playing hardball on the Minsk agreement - a framework agreed upon by Russia, the US, the EU and Ukraine that in theory would have resolved Russia's concerns about NATO on their borders without dismembering Ukraine entirely. The essence of it would have been that the separatist regions of Ukraine would have been recognised as having a special regional status and greater freedoms to institute their own laws but in return would get a veto over future national security arrangements. This would have allowed for Russia to covertly control them from behind the scenes and use them to keep them out of the NATO framework. Again, this was agreed to by the US, though Ukraine was dragging it's feet on implementing it.

However, we can now clearly see that was not the case. Indeed, Russia was engaging in duplicitous diplomacy with France and Germany right up until the point the invasion started precisely to convince them that this was their aim.

Furthermore, the Ukraine of today is not the Ukraine of ten years ago. Despite not being a member of NATO, it's armed forces have been considerably hardened by US and EU aid, most notably advanced Stingers and MANPADs were unlocked for sale a couple of months back - in conjunction with everything else they've been given over the past eight years, they have the means to turn Ukraine into a hellish insurgent landscape. The kind of urban fighting that commanders hate and irregular fighters love - that's what awaits the Russians currently in Kiev and Odessa, and they are going to be bloodied night and day until they leave. Bombs on the street, rat poison and glass in their food...it's never going to end and they'll be looking over their backs every moment they're there.

Finally, Russia's economy cannot afford a protracted conflict, and nor can their military. They are trying to run a superpower on an economy the size of Texas. Three-quarters of their available manpower is now concentrated on Ukraine or the borders around it. That means they are weaker everywhere else - and the longer this goes on, the weaker they will get. NATO won't take direct advantage of this, because no-one wants two nuclear powers fighting - but you can bet Russia's partners in the Middle East, the Caucasians and in Central Asia will feel their absence.

In short, there were a lot of reasons to believe that Russia would not invade, because invading is about the dumbest thing Putin could do. But he did. Putin chose to wage a war of aggression, when he had other options available, and the reasons for that are complicated but essentially there is a revanchist, nationalistic movement within the Russian "mainstream" that wishes to rectify the "mistakes" of history, such as the dissolution of the Russian Empire and it's successor state in the Soviet Union.

This movement views countries like Ukraine and even Belarus as illegitimate creations of the Soviet state that should have returned to a Russian status at the end of the Cold War. It's this movement which managed to get a vote through the Russian Parliament that those Ukrainian regions be recognised as independent - and certainly it can be argued that such a proposal never would have made it through without being agreed on from higher up. But Russia is not a straightforward dictatorship where a single man rules - there are factions and key constituencies who need to be listened to and supported, and there is negotiation back and forth between these groups and various power centres in the Russian state, which includes oligarchs who stand to profit not only from a conflict in Ukraine but the establishment of new markets where sanctions are not applied to them. These power centres, for their various reasons, decided a Ukrainian invasion was the way to go, and so allowed the vote to go ahead.

That's not to say that the US and NATO do not share some blame - they certainly could have done more, both historically and in the present to try and assure Russia of it's security aims. At the same time, given what has already been provided, it's hard to say what would have actually convinced the Russians to back off, without a complete change in NATO policy going back to the early 1990s or similar. A democratic Ukraine was always going to be on contentious ground with an autocratic Russia - and would naturally seek allies and frameworks agreed on with them to try and blunt any Russian aggression. The lack of natural barriers - barring the Dnieper - in the region mean security is always going to be fraught and hard to obtain in any concrete way except through these alliances and agreements, and short of telling Ukraine to fend for itself and leaving it to the Russians to absorb, I think any degree of assistance was always going to be looked upon by a suspicious Kremlin as the first step in a NATO agreement. In short, Russia views Ukraine in a simple binary position of either it is with them, or it is against them. Clearly it is not with them for now, so the only thing to do is secure a regime change to ensure that is not the case in the future.

19
Aneristic Illusions / Re: So, how's that Brexit thing coming along?
« on: February 09, 2022, 11:59:17 pm »
The Tories barely give a fuck of what's happening outside the home counties.

20
Aneristic Illusions / Re: So, how's that Brexit thing coming along?
« on: January 26, 2022, 10:37:47 pm »
Well there was what, 15 parties? Lockdown months were March, April, May, June 2020, December 2020, January 2021, February 2021?

Missing a few months but it sounds like there was a party every two weeks from here.

21
Aneristic Illusions / Re: So, how's that Brexit thing coming along?
« on: January 23, 2022, 05:09:35 pm »
Liz Truss perhaps? I don't know much about her, but as I understand it, she's pretty anti-immigration. I know the refugee assistance group I work with is not happy with her.

The Commander
DIA

They definitely tried to make her, and Sunak, a thing. I'm not sure how many in the party are biting, but attempts were made.

The ever shrinking circle of pure brexiteers getting kicked out by the ever changing requirements of what a True Brexit means.

It's almost like ridiculously amorphous purity tests in politics are a bad thing!

22
Aneristic Illusions / Re: So, how's that Brexit thing coming along?
« on: January 22, 2022, 10:26:13 am »
Not joking btw, I fully expect that "Boris is a secret Remainer who ruined Brexit, we now need [Tory idiot of the moment] to step in and deliver REAL BREXIT."

I just don't know who the idiot of the moment will be.

23
Aneristic Illusions / Re: So, how's that Brexit thing coming along?
« on: January 22, 2022, 10:24:41 am »
Soon Brexit will be terrible and it will all be Boris Johnson's fault.

Calling it now.

24
I dont like the Telegraph but what are the toughts on any substance on this?
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/01/11/scientists-believed-covid-leaked-wuhan-lab-feared-debate-could/

Playing it out in my head:
They suspected this was a lab-leak from China
Knew that China would never accept responsibility, or any kind of investigation
They could even react to an accusation of such with hostility and the last thing we want is a pandemic and a war at the same time

I put very little stock in it for several reasons:

1. The Telegraph. While historically their links with MI6 and the MoD are good, that doesn't mean much when the MoD and MI6 are crazy.
2. There has been a big push to try and blame this on China by elements in the US and UK with very little evidence. While China's actions in pressuring the WHO to look less seriously are suspect, given the largely unfounded push to try and blame them, it's a lot more understandable.
3. It seems an unncessary complication over the key facts of how we understand viruses generally break out. It's also definitely possible that there were some elements of mishandling at a lab, but at the same time if China was doing anything with a virus, they'd make something far deadlier and far less likely to blowback on them with this. In other words, it would be an accident at worst, not an act of war.
4. Chinese military doctrine does favour unconventional approaches, but it also doesn't generally favour WMDs. For example, look at China's nuclear missile stockpile in comparison with Russia and the US. Their policy is minimal credible deterrence combined with overwhelming conventional forces deployed in novel arrangements.

25
RPG Ghetto / Re: Unified Vidya Games thread
« on: January 11, 2022, 07:33:44 pm »
So I did finally get around to some hardcore Wrath of the Righteous gaming over Christmas, and I am here to report that the Siege of Drezen music is fucking awesome.

.

26
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: January 11, 2022, 07:31:16 pm »
:lulz:

That saves me the search & replace.

 :lulz:

27
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: January 08, 2022, 01:32:09 pm »
Best I can do is ANTIFA

I THINK ABOUT ANTIFA 19 HOURS A DAY

I SIT IN MY BASEMENT AND ROCK BACK AND FORTH, AND FOAM GUYS OUT OF MY MOUTH

ANTIFA CAN SECRETLY FLY

ANTIFA SECRETLY RUN EVERYTHING AND OWN EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE

MY DOG IS SECRETLY ANTIFA.  I SHAKE HIM FOR ANSWERS BUT HE WAS TAUGHT TO KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT.

ANTIFA CAN TELEPORT

JERRY SEINFELD IS A SPACE ALIEN WHO CAME FROM THE ANTIFA MOTHERSHIP

ANTIFA OWN AND RUN EVERYTHING BUT THEY ARE NOT SMART, NO SIR, THEY ARE REALLYDUMB

I LIKE TO ACCUSE ANTIFA OF MANY THINGS AND THEN ACCUSE THEM OF WHINING WHEN THEY RESPOND TO MY ATTACKS

YOU ARE SECRETLY ANTIFA

EVERYONE IS ANTIFA

THERE ARE NO ANTIFA

HELP ME, THE VOICES IN MY HEAD FRIGHTEN ME

OHHH MY HEAD HOW IT HURTS

ANTIFA ARE SECRETLY AFRAID OF FRUIT

WHERE IS MY MEDICATION?

28
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: January 08, 2022, 12:33:41 am »
It happens. My sister somehow got it from her flatmate who isn't sure how she got it in the first place, and they both work from home as well.

29
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: January 04, 2022, 08:23:55 pm »
Who'd have thought a pandemic with no precautionary measures taken might mean people being off sick?

30
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: December 27, 2021, 04:53:01 pm »
It is fairly enjoyable. After a couple of episodes it does feel rather like they got the band back together, on the overall writing front. No idea if that's true, but it comes across as the case. And Michael C Hall is on point as always.

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