Jump to content
H1nd

Strategic and tactical realities in CMBS

Recommended Posts

Some more thoughts.

The funny thing about Russian propaganda (for it is propaganda) is that it has built up the US to be massively powerful, extremely cunning, and unbelievable competent one day and then the next day weak, dumb as rocks, and incompetent the next. It all depends on if the Russian government wants to get its people fearful of the US or show Russia to be stronger. I find it sad to see so many Russians not seeing this.

The truth of the matter is that the US does not rule the world. Yes, it can push its weight around and insist on things being done its way. But the anti-US mindset that EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD happens because the US makes it happen is ridiculous. And if you really understand the US government and its actions abroad, it's actually funny.

It is also massively disrespectful for the other countries of the world. It implies that they have no free will of their own. That their governments are simply pawns for the US to push around. That only a few countries, like the brave and mighty Russia, dares to stand against it. And Russians wonder why they don't get the respect they think they should have. If you don't show respect, why should anybody respect you back?

The French ships are a funny story. France really did want to sell them to Russia despite Crimea. So they, like the Germans, were hoping that Putin wouldn't make things worse. Putin made things worse. The French still hoped they could sell them without appearing to be putting money ahead of principles. Putin made things worse again. By the time the ships were ready to hand over to Russia, Putin had screwed things up so badly that France had no choice but to keep them. Not because the US told them to (and the US most certainly did), but because their credibility as a nation state of Democratic values was on the line. At home, within Europe, and abroad.

Putin had by far more influence in the Mistrel ships not being delivered than anybody else in the world. But like everything else, Putin never takes responsibility for the messes he makes. It's one of the advantages of controlling the government and the media.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About the sources of news for the Southstream deal going bust.

Another major criticism I have of Russians in debates is that they often hold naive views of the subjects they talk about. When their view is challenged by someone with more accurate information they demand "evidence" even when it is easy to find. When it is shown to them they usually either denny it is accurate or they ignore it and move onto some other topic.

The truth is Russia has been corrupting governments with bribes for a long time. Ukraine is the best example, but it extends to many countries. Recently there was a big scandal in Poland about Russia buying politicians. Bulgaria is a country that has struggled against corruption more than many of its ex-Warsaw Pact comrades. Ukraine's ruling elite was hopelessly in Russia's pocket.

For example, I own a Bulgarian Army "waterproof" uniform that is not. An ex government official was behind it. He was legally banned from making deals with the Bulgarian government. He covertly owned/operated two companies, one that made the uniforms and an "independent testing lab". He illegally brokered the deal for the uniforms, sent the defective uniforms to the government, the government sent it to his "independent testing lab", which (amazingly :)) approved the uniforms, and then he got a lot of money.

This is not to say that everybody in Bulgaria is corrupt, but it certainly shows they have issues with government corruption. To think that Russia is not bribing people with vast sums of money to get its way in foreign countries is naive at best. To think that the people who are willing to be bribed are all smart men is naive.

The story about the Bulgarian bank scandal is well documented. It has nothing to do with the US and everything to do with Russian greed backfiring.

Plus, Russia can no longer afford this project anyway. As it can't afford the pipeline to China or the fictional one proposed to go through Turkey. Russia also can't afford the bridge over Kerch or, apparently, the promised salaries for Crimean civil servants.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About the inevitable global conflict and Russian role in it. The following factors would lead to it:

- increasing population and expected standards of living for Asian states.

- limited resources which are required to achieve those standards of living and which are currently owned by western parties.

- disproportionate trade (in goods and services) between the two.

- conservatism vs post modernistic revolution.

The current conflict has pushed Russia into the eastern camp (Russia has been trying to sit that war out, but events shaped our destiny), and thus Russia would have to support whatever endeavour PRC or other Asian state would go for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For example, I own a Bulgarian Army "waterproof" uniform that is not. An ex government official was behind it. He was legally banned from making deals with the Bulgarian government. He covertly owned/operated two companies, one that made the uniforms and an "independent testing lab". He illegally brokered the deal for the uniforms, sent the defective uniforms to the government, the government sent it to his "independent testing lab", which (amazingly :)) approved the uniforms, and then he got a lot of money.

 

 

F-35

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About the sources of news for the Southstream deal going bust.

Another major criticism I have of Russians in debates is that they often hold naive views of the subjects they talk about. When their view is challenged by someone with more accurate information they demand "evidence" even when it is easy to find. When it is shown to them they usually either denny it is accurate or they ignore it and move onto some other topic.

The truth is Russia has been corrupting governments with bribes for a long time. Ukraine is the best example, but it extends to many countries. Recently there was a big scandal in Poland about Russia buying politicians. Bulgaria is a country that has struggled against corruption more than many of its ex-Warsaw Pact comrades. Ukraine's ruling elite was hopelessly in Russia's pocket.

For example, I own a Bulgarian Army "waterproof" uniform that is not. An ex government official was behind it. He was legally banned from making deals with the Bulgarian government. He covertly owned/operated two companies, one that made the uniforms and an "independent testing lab". He illegally brokered the deal for the uniforms, sent the defective uniforms to the government, the government sent it to his "independent testing lab", which (amazingly :)) approved the uniforms, and then he got a lot of money.

This is not to say that everybody in Bulgaria is corrupt, but it certainly shows they have issues with government corruption. To think that Russia is not bribing people with vast sums of money to get its way in foreign countries is naive at best. To think that the people who are willing to be bribed are all smart men is naive.

The story about the Bulgarian bank scandal is well documented. It has nothing to do with the US and everything to do with Russian greed backfiring.

Plus, Russia can no longer afford this project anyway. As it can't afford the pipeline to China or the fictional one proposed to go through Turkey. Russia also can't afford the bridge over Kerch or, apparently, the promised salaries for Crimean civil servants.

Steve

So Russia has been corrupting and meddling in the affairs of others but US was not? Glorious!

It would be interesting if you could provide evidence towards your statements that Russia could not afford this or that.

Edited by ikalugin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve,

The conflict was initiated by the West, via sponsoring a take over in power by western/central areas of Ukraine, which could not out vote the eastern/southern areas of Ukraine. Same thing happened in 2004, as it did in 2014.

Previously, since before 2013 there has been an active ongoing public campaign to isolate Russia politically (by boycotting the Olympics, the Magnitsky process and so on). Hence Russia has been reacting to the western attacks, not attacking Ukraine as it may appear to you.

The roots of this conflict are within the resolution of the cold, where West assumed that Russia had no rights for national and security interests and thus ignored those. If not the actions by Yeltsin or the first maidan, the 2007 speech or the Georgian war were the waking calls that there is a need to respect Russian national and security interests.

However instead of seeking a good compromise, by providing the security guarantees to Russia, everything was done to threaten Russian security, including the expansion of NATO eastwards.

You could of course go and talk about the need to isolate evil Russia from the rest of the world, but the you have a right to express that view if you wish.

Note, Russia is not actually fighting a Cold war with the West at the moment, as we are free to acquire the critical consumer and industrial goods (and other things). It is a false sense that we are isolated economically and politically, an example of hybris on part of anyone who thinks so.

Now, onto the budget. The reason why we don't get a budget deficit due to falling oil prices is:

- because ruble also fell, which meant that we got the similar level of ruble budget income.

- the share of oil incomes is not as major as it is assumed.

Stuff about the budget deficit being shifted onto the large state owned corporations is simply not true - my father runs one (Rostelecom to be specific) and does not have any such issues.

So, to sum up, the sanctions and falling oil prices are not a good thing, but they are not doing critical damage to Russian economy as some appear to think.

We will revisit that statement in six to nine months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve, given your obvious foresight into how this conflict was predictable, do you have any predictions as to what will happen now that Russia is invading Ukraine for the 3rd time?

I wish I could :(

Predicting Putin's behavior up until a few months ago was really easy to do. It was identical many other Russian moves against neighbors. In fact, it was something that the Soviets did as well. The Winter War is a great example.

Russian (and Soviet) planning is extremely interesting to me. In many ways it is superior to the planning of other nation states and militaries. But it is not without its flaws.

The Russians carefully select their goals and develop a multi stage plan. The Russians are clever enough to know that "no plan survives first contact with the enemy" so they deliberately do not plan all stages in the same amount of detail. The earlier stages are planned in more detail, the later ones in less. The first stage, however, is planned down to the last bootstep (to the degree possible). That is because the first stage is the one that is most likely to succeed if planned well, most likely to fail if not. After that it is degrees of improvisation.

The Crimean plan was very well planned and mostly went according to plan. The plan for "Novorussia" went very poorly, partly because of the failures of the Crimean plan's results. So things had to be improvised. Specifically, they scaled down the expectations and concentrated only on Donbas for the short term. The armed insurrection was started there without the usual "false flag" reason to use as an excuse for "peace keepers" to arrive. Russia hoped that the Ukrainian government/military would do something stupid to give them an excuse, but the excuse did not happen.

The "separatists" were told that if they did certain things that Russia would send them in, but Russia did not feel they did and so did not invade. The "separatists" were documented to have attacked Russian forces and territory a few times and claimed Ukrainians did it. Their own "false flag" event. Hey, they went to the same KGB/GRU schools, so no big surprise they used the same techniques :D

Now things went off script. Russia has never had a "peace keeping" operation fail to materialize after starting a false conflict. This means Russia is responding in new ways that nobody can predict. Even people who feel they know Putin very well, perhaps even personally, have no idea what he will do next.

Logically Putin should have backed down many times over since the Spring. It should have been clear that the plan beyond Crimea was a failure and that he should not expose Russia's economy and political standing to punishment for pursuing a failed war against Ukraine. But he didn't take any of the opportunities offered, but instead saw the offers as a sign of weakness and pushed even harder. This cycle has repeated itself many times now.

One sign that Russia is going to go on the offensive is that a few weeks before Russia will announce some sort of "peace talks". It then hits as hard as it can to convince the other side that it has to give Russia what it wants at the talks. Days before, or just at the start, of the escalation in fighting key Russian government officials express "concern" or "outrage" or something else about the type of action they are directing, but of course say the other side is responsible. Then they get to the "peace talks" and hope to walk away with what they want.

That's the only real pattern to this. Other than every time Moscow sees that Ukraine has the separatists in a bad position, he sends in specialized equipment, weapons, and military personnel in measured quantities to at least halt Ukrainian advantages.

Those are the only predictable things now, and they are both operational/tactical. There is no predictability about Russia will do strategically, except (so far) to continue the misery in Ukraine and put the Russian people at greater economic risk.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the OSCE Observer mission site (latest 21 January report)

 

"A Ukrainian soldier in a hospital in government-controlled Konstantinovka (56km north of Donetsk) told the SMM that he was being treated for injuries sustained at the Donetsk airport on 19 January. He said 80 Ukrainian soldiers in total had suffered the same injuries, manifested in uncontrollable muscle spasms, vomiting and difficult breathing. Some, he said, had become unconscious. Eleven of the soldiers had been transferred to a hospital in Dnepropetrovsk, he said."

 

The symptoms look suspiciously like a chemical agent weapon of some sort was used in Donetsk airport, more so when some 80 soldiers get the same symptoms more or less the same time.   This, if true, could mean a significant change in the conflict with potential larger ramifications if found to be true.

 

I really hope this is not the case because the ramification of chemical weapons being used potentially can throw all previous political and military assumptions out the door.

Do you remember the issues that arose after 9/11?  There are a lot of poisonous materials in modern structures, asbestos, various chemical compounds etc.  Reduce that through constant pummeling into a fine powder and then go live in it for a bit.  I would expect a variety of respiratory ailments.  I seriously doubt Russia would consider an escalation to chemical agents, the threat that even giving up on the airport constitutes just doesn't warrant it.  It would be far less dangerous to just commit regular armed forces.  Yeah the west would be pissed off, but if it comes out there was a chemical agent used, the entire west would be firmly united for a serious escalation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The conflict was initiated by the West, via sponsoring a take over in power by western/central areas of Ukraine, which could not out vote the eastern/southern areas of Ukraine. Same thing happened in 2004, as it did in 2014.

Of course the Ukrainian people had nothing to do with this. They all marched on Maidan against a well loved President because Nuland gave them some cookies. But I understand why you continue to stick to this false story, because otherwise it makes Russia look like it's a naked aggressor with no justification for killing thousands of people.

 

 

 

 

Previously, since before 2013 there has been an active ongoing public campaign to isolate Russia politically (by boycotting the Olympics, the Magnitsky process and so on). Hence Russia has been reacting to the western attacks, not attacking Ukraine as it may appear to you.

I have two eyes, a functioning brain, a couple of decent ears, and access to a wide variety of information. What you say is the known Russian position on the world, but it has little similarity to what I view as reality.

 

 

 

 

The roots of this conflict are within the resolution of the cold, where West assumed that Russia had no rights for national and security interests and thus ignored those. If not the actions by Yeltsin or the first maidan, the 2007 speech or the Georgian war were the waking calls that there is a need to respect Russian national and security interests.

Funny. Russians accuse America of pushing its weight around and making the world do what it wants, and then Russians can then say (with a straight face and no irony) that Russia should determine what goes on outside of its borders to the point of armed conflict against the will of those peoples. I have this silly notion that Ukrainians and Georgians should decide for themselves to what degree they want to have relations to Russia.

 

 

 

 

However instead of seeking a good compromise, by providing the security guarantees to Russia, everything was done to threaten Russian security, including the expansion of NATO eastwards.

You could of course go and talk about the need to isolate evil Russia from the rest of the world, but the you have a right to express that view if you wish.

The strongest voices for NATO expansion came from countries that had previously been dominated by Russia. Funny, they didn't seem anxious to return to Russian control. And still don't. Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Poles are the most adamant that NATO put forces on their soil and that Europe do something about Russia in Ukraine. I suppose these countries could misunderstand Russia's intentions, but I'm going to defer to their judgement.

 

 

 

Note, Russia is not actually fighting a Cold war with the West at the moment, as we are free to acquire the critical consumer and industrial goods (and other things). It is a false sense that we are isolated economically and politically, an example of hybris on part of anyone who thinks so.

It is not a full return to the Cold War, for sure, but if you think business today is the same as last year... well... that's not a supportable position.

 

 

 

Now, onto the budget. The reason why we don't get a budget deficit due to falling oil prices is:

- because ruble also fell, which meant that we got the similar level of ruble budget income.

- the share of oil incomes is not as major as it is assumed.

For sure the collapse of the Ruble has helped domestically, but it's made international issues far worse. The international issues are of great importance because Russian banks do not have the resources to fund all the debt that needs to be serviced, nor does it have the capital to fund new business ventures on a grand scale.

Stuff about the budget deficit being shifted onto the large state owned corporations is simply not true - my father runs one (Rostelecom to be specific) and does not have any such issues.

What is your opinion of this reporting?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/four-horsemen-russias-economic-apocalypse-104900173.html

 

 

 

 

So, to sum up, the sanctions and falling oil prices are not a good thing, but they are not doing critical damage to Russian economy as some appear to think.

As sburke said, we'll check in with you periodically over time. It is going to take a while for the full extent of the problems to show themselves.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to the strategic options, there are two of those around:

- waiting for Ukrainian economy to collapse before the Russian one while maintaining military status quo.

- invading.

A hybrid scenario of using Donbas population for military victory is also possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As sburke said, we'll check in with you periodically over time. It is going to take a while for the full extent of the problems to show themselves.

Steve

I think Dan said that, but I'll second it... or is that now third?  Rosneft struggled to make their debt payments in December and more are coming due this year.  If the economy is so stable and not really in trouble, why is the leadership so frantic?  Somebody up there at the top thinks it is a problem.  Actually quite a few people and they have made public statements about it.  It isn't just the west that is saying the Russian economy is in trouble, your own bankers are saying it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

F-35

 

US media reports it's a corrupt project that is costing the US taxpayers billions. But since US media is unreliable, as Russians say it is, the only sensible conclusion is that it's just biased US media spinning a story in order to make the US government look bad. But in reality the plane has no problems and is under budget.

See, you can't have it both ways. You can not say "US media is accurate" about only the stories you like and say it is "inaccurate" about the ones you do not like.

The F-35 is also an example of how good the Western media is at reporting corruption and abuse. How many Russian weapons systems have been subjected to the same sort of scrutiny? Or are all Russian military contracts 100% honest and effective?

 

So Russia has been corrupting and meddling in the affairs of others but US was not? Glorious!

I never said that. I offered up that as evidence that the reporting that Bulgarian officials were bribed by Russia to push through South Stream, but then botched it by fighting each other, is inherently believable. And I had to do that because the reporting on the Bulgarian corruption was dismissed without a single reason stated other than "it's US media".

 

It would be interesting if you could provide evidence towards your statements that Russia could not afford this or that.

Simple math. Russia doesn't have the money to do everything it needs or says it wants to do. Or are you telling me the Kerch bridge project, as promised by the Russian government, is on its way to reality? Somewhere I found a statement from the finance minister saying it was on hold, but I'm not going to bother looking for it. As for the pipeline to China, it was widely reported that Russia was going to have to finance it but now can't find anybody to lend them the money. Well, except possibly for the Chinese at a big markup.

Ah, but here I go doing your homework for you. You write great English and seem to understand it well enough. Use Google like I do and you'll find all kinds of things to read.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
false story

 

Why this time you didnt call it propaganda?

I have this silly notion that Ukrainians and Georgians should decide for themselves to what degree they want to have relations to Russia.

 

But then they do, you call them terrorists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to the strategic options, there are two of those around:

- waiting for Ukrainian economy to collapse before the Russian one while maintaining military status quo.

- invading.

A hybrid scenario of using Donbas population for military victory is also possible.

Agreed those are some of the options that Putin is considering. Ending the war in Ukraine is an option, but Putin clearly doesn't want to go that route. So the Russian population is being gambled with for something which is ultimately not in the Russian people's best interests.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or are all Russian military contracts 100% honest and effective?

 

Its simple - if some one produce bad gear he went to siberia.

 

US media

Not only US media. There were debates in UK and even Israel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why this time you didnt call it propaganda?

I had a moment of weakness. I will correct that... "propaganda".

But then they do, you call them terrorists.

This makes no sense at all. When has a democratic movement against an autocratic regime been called "terrorists" by the US government? The US has definitely called authoritarian movements against any government "terrorists". For example, the US view is ISIS is a terrorist organization fighting against a terrorist government.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to the strategic options, there are two of those around:

- waiting for Ukrainian economy to collapse before the Russian one while maintaining military status quo.

- invading.

A hybrid scenario of using Donbas population for military victory is also possible.

I don't think I understand the hybrid scenario, could you elaborate? 

 

As to option 1, I wouldn't count on that.  The west might very well call Russia's bluff and back Ukraine financially.  There are members of the US congress pushing for lethal aid.  I don't think it would be a stretch to see them push a financial package to keep Ukraine in the fight.  Germany has unilaterally already extended additional financial aid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its simple - if some one produce bad gear he went to siberia.

Unless he was well protected by political connections.

 

Not only US media. There were debates in UK and even Israel.

Once again you have dodged my point.

You are only too happy to point to Western media and say "ah-ha!" when it suits you. But when it does not, you say it is "biased".

You also claim that I am blind/biased against criticism of my own government. This is also not true. The F-35, like many high tech military projects, is a horrible case of corruption and government fraud. I have no problem admitting this, in part because I have faith in accuracy of Western media. So when Western media shows evidence that Russia corrupted Bulgarian politicians and bankers, I also believe it. I am consistent, you are selectively inconsistent.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason why you can't predict what Putin would do next is not because he is mad/unpredictable, but because your descriptive theory is faulty in the first place.

Yet I predicted, almost with complete accuracy, events up until about June. I guess I got lucky.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About the inevitable global conflict and Russian role in it. The following factors would lead to it:

- increasing population and expected standards of living for Asian states.

- limited resources which are required to achieve those standards of living and which are currently owned by western parties.

- disproportionate trade (in goods and services) between the two.

- conservatism vs post modernistic revolution.

The current conflict has pushed Russia into the eastern camp (Russia has been trying to sit that war out, but events shaped our destiny), and thus Russia would have to support whatever endeavour PRC or other Asian state would go for.

Unfortunately only folks who think Russia is in the "eastern camp" is Russia.  China is going to take Putin to the cleaners.  Why do you think there was suddenly a deal with China that Russia has been negotiating for years that suddenly gets struck right as Russia is in trouble?  Do you really think China suddenly said "we have to back Russia as a united front against America"?  Or do you think Russia had to make concessions due to it needing the deal more than China?  And I really do think long term China will make a grab for Siberia, even if it is done by supporting indigenous groups autonomy from Moscow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes...?

The F-35 has been a consistent talking point of the Putinbots (i.e. Kremlin sponsored bloggers/posters) and state media. It is part of a fairly routine process of taking the next best US weapon out there, pointing out it's real and imagined problems, then comparing it unfavorably to whatever the latest Russian equivalent is. I've seen this behavior since about the start of the Internet. It's a time honored tradition.

The F-35 does have a lot of problems. That's for sure. And we know of them because Western media reports on the flaws. This does not happen in Russia or China. And if Western media produces their own criticisms of their weaponry, it is called unflattering things.

Remember, Western media is inaccurate if it is unflattering to Russia, accurate if it is unflattering to the West. It's a very obvious habit which can be clearly seen in this thread. Over and over and over again.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately only folks who think Russia is in the "eastern camp" is Russia.  China is going to take Putin to the cleaners.  Why do you think there was suddenly a deal with China that Russia has been negotiating for years that suddenly gets struck right as Russia is in trouble?  Do you really think China suddenly said "we have to back Russia as a united front against America"?  Or do you think Russia had to make concessions due to it needing the deal more than China?  And I really do think long term China will make a grab for Siberia, even if it is done by supporting indigenous groups autonomy from Moscow.

Actually, he answered this already. It is his view China was unable/unwilling to press for more favorable outcome because Russia was not in a vulnerable position. Apparently he does not view China as being the cunning and ruthless business people I do, but instead soft and cuddly types who are willing to "take one for the team". Because, apparently, China and Russia are true allies. Industry experts who have pointed to specifics in the deal and shown that they are bad for Russia aren't as well informed as you and I think they are.

If I've misstated your position, kindly correct me ikalugin.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...