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Hannibal

Would it be possible for US to park a couple of Carrier groups in the Black Sea ?

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A friend of mine saw a documentary in which the water levels have receded such that navigation isn't possible now in many places where it was before, stranding vessels.

You sure that wasn't the Aral Sea? Last year, a friend sent me some pics taken by her daughter that showed fishing boats high and dry with nary a drop of water to be seen within miles.

[added: Wilhammer got it.]

Michael

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Yeah, it was me, I said the USS McFaul that can't enter the Georgian port Batumi. Which the Navy said, among others.

This is more a port development issue than a general water level issue I think. The Georgian (well, Georgian except for the Russian patrols and checkpoints of course) port of Poti can handle ships substantially larger than a destroyer, as that's Georgia's main seaport. Batumi is relatively small, it's more of a resort/seaside port along the lines of Yalta or Sochi.

There is of course a big difference between port depth, and overall sea depth. For instance, the shallowest area of the Black Sea as far as I know is the NW corner, this because of all the rivers dumping silt into it. However, the Ukrainian port of Odessa handles friggen' huge ships, I don't know if it can take supertankers but conventional tankers (say, 50 thousand tons, maybe 100,000, look up the exact number as I don't know it off hand) can tie up right at the Odessa oil terminal.

As far as that goes nearby the Ukrainians built an oil terminal at a place called Pivdenny or Yuzhniy, depending on which language you want to call it by, which is specifically rated for supertankers.

All of which I think argues for a general conclusion that most warships could go most places in the Black Sea, but that's not the ports.

***

And in other news, the Russian guided missile cruiser Moscow went back out to sea from Sevastopol, meaning their port call was less than 48 hours. This is an unbelievably fast turnaround for Russia's Black Sea fleet, which spends maybe 75 per cent of its time in port. Official Russian reason for sending the ship back out into the Black Sea, at the same time NATO is dribbling its warships into the same area: "Planned excercises."

So as we can see there is no confronation, as the NATO warships are "delivering humanitarian aid to Georgia" (which needs it alot less than some media would have us think, BTW), and the Russians are "conducting pre-planned exercises."

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It's kind of silly, the decks of the McFaul were piled with bottled water, baby formula, blankets, and so on. Of course, Georgia has plenty of that in stores and markets, all you have to do is buy it. Buy in bulk and pretty much any supplier is happy to deliver, and if you bump the price he'll get the goods around Russian checkpoints.

However, that route would pump money directly into the Georgian not the US economy, and of course you wouldn't get any nice television images of US warships in the Black sea or US bluejackets grinning for the camera as they toss 6-packs of bottled water into a lighter.

The Russians have announced:

1. The missile cruiser is going back to Sevastopol tonight.

2. NATO is going to have 18 ships in the region by the next couple of days.

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I kinda doubt that the aid was purchased in the US.

We probably pumped money into the Turks economy. But, you could check and see where the last port stop was.

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The Russians have announced:

1. The missile cruiser is going back to Sevastopol tonight.

2. NATO is going to have 18 ships in the region by the next couple of days.

I think everyone pretty much knows that an asset along the lines of a CBG would not be sent into such a confined area so near the strength of full Russian air power. One of the Battlegroup's main survivability assets is sea room. Nato's 18 ships that are there now would have the hell knocked out of some of them if hostilities erupted, something I highly doubt will happen and Russian navel assets would undoubtedly be sunk. I don't think the Russian's would want to deal with Nato's (U.S.) long range bombers and a few surgical air strikes on Russian or Georgian soil which of course would accompany any major hostilities. The only thing this conflict is doing in the U.S. is helping McCain in the polls.

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Well, one of Obama's flunkies just said US policy towards Georgia wouldn't change much if Obama were elected, so it looks like bear baiting time no matter who gets in.

I'm beginning to think the Russians have overplayed their hand, if things keep up at this rate Ukraine and Georgia wind up in NATO, and that is about the last thing Russian foreign policy wants.

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True, but then you have to go through Turkey too, plus it's a steeper route for a pipeline.

Two more governments to pay off, and more costly to pump.

The pipelines go through Turkey in any case, and by going through Armenia you avoid Georgia.

Of course, the Turks and Armenians are not exactly in a love relationship either.

All the best

Andreas

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I kinda doubt that the aid was purchased in the US.

We probably pumped money into the Turks economy. But, you could check and see where the last port stop was.

That stuff would be sitting round by the pallet load in a USAid warehouse in Turkey, Italy or wherever, waiting for the next earthquake/tsunami/refugee crisis.

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Bollocks. It has an indefinite storage life assuming it is properly sealed. Most bottled water carries an expiry date of about 2 years, but that is kind of a formality. From a quick look around it seems that the US FDA doesn't even give a shelf life for pure water.

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Bigduke6,

Did you somehow get your handle back? If so, good for you and us! The old one was shorter and easier to type.

What did you think about the Totten article MSBoxer posted a link to? I found it quite informative, on a subject about which I knew little.

On a separate matter, a friend of mine saw some western journalist's interview with various Russian soldiers as the invasion unfolded. He concluded they were drunk and was pretty shocked. Did you happen to personally encounter any drunk Russian soldiers yourself when you did interviews?

Regards,

John Kettler

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John,

I never lost my old handle. What happened is I created and used another logon because I forgot to program the BFI website into my laptop, when my laptop and I went to Georgia. I know, I know, how could a poster in this forum forget something as important as that, when he's off to a place featuring CMSF stuff in RL action? But that's what I did. Now I am back in Kiev for a while anyway.

I thought the Totten article was highly suspect and one-sided, and posted to that effect in the thread.

I never saw a single drunk Russian soldier. In fact, I had Russian soldiers refuse vodka offered by me on more than one occasion. I assume this was because they didn't want to get caught by a journo accepting something approximating a bribe. However, they were glad to accept water from me. A couple of Russians were willing to trade souveniers, I am now the proud owner of a package of Russian-army waterproof matches, for which I had to fork over a business card and a disposable razor.

I saw more than a few Russian soldiers sacked out and sleeping as if they had been working hard and were tired. Maybe a couple of them had been intoxicated the night before, but maybe not. I saw Russian soldiers digging in, as a matter of routine, with an energy that would have been considered exceptional in a NATO force.

I spent close to a week visiting Russian army positions on a daily basis. I hung out at their checkpoints, (at times) followed their vehicle columns, and walked through their defensive positions. During this time, I only saw one vehicle broken down on the road - and that got moving pretty quickly as a matter of fact.

I can't say that there was never a drunk Russian soldier in Georgia, but from what I saw, that would be a very small exception to the general rule of sobriety and basically acceptable behavior, albeit as invaders. Discipline from what I saw was being enforced, and junior officers and NCOs were listened to and didn't have to repeat themselves.

This is not to say it was an army of supermen - by NATO standards the Russian soldiers were awful at staying in uniform, it seemed like very little initiative was expected from the junior Russian soldiers, vehicle spacing in road columns was sometimes too tight, and command could have done a better job getting the message down to the troops on how to deal with civilians. I had soldiers tell me point blank, on the record, that the reason they had invaded Georgia was to teach Georgia a lesson. I saw a supply point with trucks parked I would say too close together, clearly there were no worries about an air threat.

But drunk - no, I never saw even a single drunk Russian soldier. So if another reporter found drunk Russians soldiers, I would say he either found the exception, maybe they weren't really drunk, or maybe they were Ossetian militia not Russian regular army.

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BigDuke6,

Appreciate your take on the Totten piece, which naturally I found after I'd already posted, and especially value your firsthand insights as to the Russians in the field. In the Red on Red thread at the CMSF Forum, I told The_Red_Rage that from what I could tell, neither the Russians nor the Georgians have clean hands here. Do you agree? If the onus falls on one side, who, please and why?

Regards,

John Kettler

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John,

I basically agree with you I think there is plenty of guilt to go around. Saakashvili started the bigtime shooting and the killing, but the Russians probably suckered him into it and for sure threw international law out the window as soon as they knew their tanks were rolling.

If the Russians had just pulled out of Georgia and let things go back to status quo ante bellum, the world would be hailing them as peacemakers and so much better than the Americans who invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and stay forever. The Russians could have come out of this smelling like roses.

But I guess beating up on a little country and driving tanks all over it, and making the West hopping mad in the process, was a power high the guys in the Kremlin couldn't resist.

That's my opinion, there are others.

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But I guess beating up on a little country and driving tanks all over it, and making the West hopping mad in the process, was a power high the guys in the Kremlin couldn't resist.

I don't doubt that there is much in what you say. I think another part of it is a growing apprehension at watching NATO extended into Russia's front yard, so to speak, and not being able to do anything about it. They may view this as a nationalistic re-exerting of themselves.

Michael

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Bollocks. It has an indefinite storage life assuming it is properly sealed. Most bottled water carries an expiry date of about 2 years, but that is kind of a formality. From a quick look around it seems that the US FDA doesn't even give a shelf life for pure water.

Properly stored would be the key. Light alone will start it growing.

But I suppose, in an emergency, you'll drink anything. ;)

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I think another part of it is a growing apprehension at watching NATO extended into Russia's front yard, so to speak, and not being able to do anything about it. They may view this as a nationalistic re-exerting of themselves.

Michael

Yeah, that's the kicker, weird times. Putin lost his temper and now maybe some of his sting. I wonder if he will raise the pot?

Originally Posted by von Lucke

This just in: Russia recognizes the independance of South Ossetia and Abkhazia:

Does this raise the stakes, I don't know, do we care?

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Interesting read over on the WSJ.

Russia Is Dangerous But Weak

August 26, 2008

'In Russia," wrote the great scholar of Russian imperialism Dietrich Geyer many years ago, "expansion was an expression of economic weakness, not exuberant strength."

btw, the Russian stock market has cratered since the invasion.

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I hear that the prevailing wisdom in the West is that the best way to get at the Russians is to force their multinationals to meet corporate standards in whatever country they're in, and at the same time check and see if all the rich Russians earning huge incomes in Switzerland and London or wherever, are paying all their taxes. The idea is that the oligarchs can make Putin and Medvedev jump, and if their businesses abroad get in trouble they'll make the dinky duo (they're both quite short men) back off.

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