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kinophile

US/ NATO v. Russia - Misperceptions.

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https://medium.com/deepconnections/prevailing-gray-swans-6-august-12-2016-329f8118a4b6#.hu3xedadf

I think it's time for a new angle here on discussions of West  v. Russia. 

Very interesting article. There is an extensive start section on Syria but it is actually relevant, as it serves to reveal the current stand off in Syria.  He then works back to show how this arose,  and it's impact on other arenas (eg Ukraine) and possible future flash points. 

Certainly opened my eyes a bit more. 

The clearer understanding of Russian motivations is appreciated, and helps me,  personally, see Russia/Putin in a less cartoonist form. To me he's still a scumbag for supporting Assad, an even more merciless scumbag, in his Kneel or Die campaign against women & children.

It's still no excuse of course, but I feel I can now see the Russian national imperatives a but more clearly.

Edited by kinophile

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Notably, the author has far less faith in the USAF's potential to achieve Air Supremacy v. a layered defense of S-300/400/500. 

Potentially, Russia could make the cost in time, machines, ordnance, homeland damage etc sufficient to prevent US air protection to a Ukrainian defense against ground invasion.  At least for long enough to achieve some proper objectives (eg kettle a few brigades, gut the Ukrainian AD network, ruin it's civilian energy infrastructure, destroy its Black Sea port facilities). 

A key thing I like about this article's analysis is that he looks outside the immediate regional context, attempting to view each move/counter move through a strategic politico/techno/military lens. 

 

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Ok, I only skimmed the article, but here's my input:

I don't think Russia is going to risk nuclear escalation because we HARM'd an S-400 battery. Maybe due escalation beyond that event, but not because we blew up a SAM battery.

Further, the author makes some claims that could be debatable. Like stating that Iran+Russia+China are some shadowy cyber superpower that can destroy the west at a drop of a hat. 

I know that the Russian doctrine with nukes is looser than the west, but again, I just think its a little abrupt. Just my 2 cents.

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I read the article in detail. 

 

Seems like Russia is depicted as the victim here but otherwise seems like a good analysis. I myself haven't yet made up my mind about "who started it first". Was Russia really so hard pressed by the West?  

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8 minutes ago, Hister said:

Seems like Russia is depicted as the victim here but otherwise seems like a good analysis. I myself haven't yet made up my mind about "who started it first". Was Russia really so hard pressed by the West?  

I am reminded of a saying an old boss used to use "He hit me back first".  His point being that arguing over who started it is rather pointless.  It is better to focus on how each party in the disagreement needs to modify their behaviour going forward.

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3 minutes ago, IanL said:

I am reminded of a saying an old boss used to use "He hit me back first".  His point being that arguing over who started it is rather pointless.  It is better to focus on how each party in the disagreement needs to modify their behaviour going forward.

That is a wise thing to say IanL, one which shall save our race if it plays out OK but I am nevertheless interested in this aspect of the whole deal. My dad is busting my ass over this issue basically claiming Russia was cornered and that the West is the bad guy in this case. I don't agree with him but don't know what to serve him in order to back up my stance.    

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Haven't had time to finish it, actually only about 1/4 through, but so far I gotta say kinda backs up the whole ongoing cold war perspective I've been trying to harp on.

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1 hour ago, Currahee150 said:

Ok, I only skimmed the article, but here's my input:

I don't think Russia is going to risk nuclear escalation because we HARM'd an S-400 battery. Maybe due escalation beyond that event, but not because we blew up a SAM battery.

Further, the author makes some claims that could be debatable. Like stating that Iran+Russia+China are some shadowy cyber superpower that can destroy the west at a drop of a hat. 

I know that the Russian doctrine with nukes is looser than the west, but again, I just think its a little abrupt. Just my 2 cents.

I didn't read it as an Evil Coalition of Anti-America -  more that, combined,  even just loosely, individually or by happen chance simultaneously, they could cause a lot of cumulative damage, possibly overwhelming significant US  civilian infrastructure. I think this is his point,  that this is the power of Cyberspace where serious damage can be done cheaply,  by lower tier powers, against an unprepared tier 1 target.

 Not so much a crushing victory,  more a hard push back. 

Also,  I don't think this subject to can really be thought of in terns of Victim/Aggressor. I don't think the article is trying to identify which is which. My personal interpretation was that he is analyzing the various steps that have lead to this point,  identifing affecting motivations, pressures and conflicts.

He repeatedly makes the point that Syria itself, and by extension the current  Russian/US tension, cannot and should not be viewed in simplistic Black/White terms (eg victim/aggressor,  democracy/tyrant). 

Personally, this is a deep revision of my previous position ("don't like NATO expansion? TOUGH" ).

 

 

Edited by kinophile

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Just getting to the conclusion now but I gotta say it's kinda scared the pants off me.  I don't read the news much so its the first time I heard a lot of that, didn't know that the US had been thinking about air strikes against Syrian airfields, or that Russia has basically said that doing so could/would start a limited nuclear war and cyberwar.  I didn't know about the pipeline deal angle.  Article seemed legit, wasn't blaming anybody or doing good guy bad guy or whatever, just a long list of statements of fact.  At least that's how it seemed. I think its going to come out alright and cooler heads will prevail, but it really does seem more dangerous than the cold war right now.  @#$%@#!  

 

What do you  guys think, what are the chances that Hillary would bomb Assad's bases?

I'm feeling like I might have to vote trump even though I'm not a racist or a sexist (sorry for the bad joke. there arn't any(many) republicans in San Jose)

Edited by cool breeze

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We must not forget the pipeline was not the only reason for the conflict there. Author kinda portrays it like that. Some readers might think the US started the whole Arab spring thing.  

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Yeah but he only implies it he doesn't actually say anything like that, just plots the data and told me about something I hadn't heard, probably because I don't try to keep up on the news.  You're right that it would have been more well rounded to mention it but I think he was just trying to limit what he said to relatively new information.  Everyone knows that the Arab Spring happened already.

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It definitely got a lot less coverage than Arab Spring as I (a member of the American masses for the most part) didn't hear about the pipeline but did hear about Arab Spring, which was kind of one of the points the author was making around that point in the article.

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I was aware of the pipelines but not of just how much pressure was behind them. Pretty naive of me. 

I'm not entirely convinced the pipeline decisions lead to the rebellion - my understanding is that it was driven by sheer domestic discontent,  rather than a political "pivot" away from the Gulf in favour of Russia (ie a la Maidan). 

 

 

 

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The focus of the article is the relationship between America and Russia and its potential to spill into full spectrum and eventually possibly strategic nuclear doomsday, not about how nations are allowed to deal with dissidents/rioters/insurgents/terrorists/traitors/revolutionary heroes/whatever.  So I think it was left out as kind of a moot point to the discussion he was having with his audience.

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Just to reiterate -  I know this article and thread are nominally discussing Syria,  but I think the analysis of Superpower &  Regional Power relationships is illuminating, and applicable for understanding the Donbass developments. 

I hope he does a similar analysis of the Donbass proper. 

Edited by kinophile

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I doubt Hillary will bomb. That would be stupid and blind,  neither of which she is. She's been secretary of state -  if anyone is aware of how things really are,  diplomatically,  I'd lay my life that it's her and not Trumpf. 

Also,  she has never been one to jump to action -  she's very much a steady plodder,  not a dramatic seize-the-day type. 

But, I personally would prefer to stay closer on topic,  looking at why/how things got to here,  rather than speculating fruitlessly about an unknowable future. Not shutting you down,  @cool breeze - just my two Gaelic cents. An Admin, I am not. 

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Was just going over that section again and clicked the link.  He basically just breezes over it by giving a link that goes into great detail about the beginnings of the uprising. Providing a lot of names and such.  Basically says it all starts with a CIA staged thing because of not just the pipeline but a bunch of other reasons it list.  I don't know about any of that stuff so I'm not an appropriate judge to whether the article has any merit but it sure sounds believable and my impression of the CIA's modus operandi for a long while now.

 

  Youre the one that made the thread :P  not that bad if it gets locked, the links still there and its not much of a thread yet anyway.

 

Its from the American Herald Tribune, don't know if that means anything

Edited by cool breeze

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I sort of petered out into it pretty quickly.  It's a lot of connecting dots because there's dots and if there's dots OF COURSE THEY ARE CONNECTED TO MAKE THIS PICTURE OF A PONY! vs "there is a lot of data and events, some of whom are connected, some are not."  Also energy as a primary driving factor in the conflict is...sort of eyeroll worthy.

Or check it this way:

Given the drop in oil prices and similar products, and increased production outside of the middle east, a set of oil pipelines still have some value.  But are they enough value to be worth causing a war over?  

And the answer is no, not really.  There's enough other cheaper "cleaner" options vs creating an anarchistic festering tumor in the middle east.  

The whole SAM part is just rubbish.  It's like claiming because the US has Patriot missiles AND jets in theater (because they do, just outside of Syria) it's now an even fight.

Too many conclusions though.  Not enough analysis.   

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It does go on for a while -  he'd have benefited from splitting it,  especially when he goes off into the Nuclear spectrum.

I is agree with you about energy as a  conflict making factor. To clarify,  he does say that there are multiple sources of tension, not that just one will drive everything off the diplomatic cliff. Energy (oil) is a base element in almost all regional power plays on Earth. It's not a major factor for now w/r to Syria as the war has made it moot - no pipeline will happen until peace returns. But the element remains, and while not clean,  it's considerably cheaper and easier (technically &  politically) to establish an oil infrastructure. Some people's suggestion that oil did not, no way, no how, nuh huh figure in the Iraq War 2 invasion decision loop has always struck me as totally blind to the fundamental reality of Iraq itself -  it has nothing truly useful or tradeworthy internationally except oil. Also, energy definitely was/is a factor in Ukraine -  gas (ie energy)  was critically involved in the decision process on every side. Nothing eye roll worthy about the idea that EU/UKR Governments would consider the potential of having no heating just before winter a serious problem. It was a real worry,  especially for the UKR. 

I don't think it's rubbish re Russian SAMs.  Are you suggesting they are not a credible threat? Or that their observation of F22s in action is irrelevant?  They're  serious enough for the US military to work on serious counter measures. And if they were 'rubbish' I suspect some kind of NFZ would be in effect by now to prevent the current aerial massacre of Aleppan families,  double orphaned children and bereft parents -  by Russian planes with Russian pilots. Definitely,  the US has far greater strategic depth in  the region in terms of numbers, positioning and capabilities of weapons systems. 

But now there are 3 sets of S-series SAM systems in the ME. 4 years ago there were none. I'd certainly agree that the USAF is still pretty certain of (eventually) winning through. But deterrence can be just as much about the inflicting a cost to get to the final result, as about denying that end state.

I find Russia's desire to protect its scumbag henchman is strategically understandable, albeit morally empty. And it's a far simpler task than the US's much more complex regional commitments. In a sense,  Russia benefits from 'interior lines of commitment', where it has less at stake,  can defend it with less and can lose that commitment without as much equivalent damage. 

Interestingly,  the reverse could be true for both Russia and the US about the Ukraine. 

 

Edited by kinophile

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