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US/ NATO v. Russia - Misperceptions.


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2 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Ideally the non-combatant and combatant have certain responsibilities to make sure they are known to each other.  Dozens of civil aviation operator thought Ukrainian air space was safe enough for high altitude operations, inclusive of the people who put the missile system there.  MH-17 was where it was supposed to be, at the altitude it was supposed to be, marked and transmitting like it was obligated to be.

ICAO states that it is the responsibility of member states to close the airspace in the event it is not safe. MH17 was flying where the Ukrainians told them to.

2 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

They could have even done it as "separatists" by releasing a video showing the usual idiots in camo dancing around "captured" Buks, and Sky Commander Boris Badinov announcing the liberation of Donetsk's skies from the HATO sky plauge, and all who violate the blessed skies of the Free and Not Russian Puppet People's republic will be smote, by the way we only have the launcher so be mindful we couldn't tell a SU-25 from a very angry flock of seagulls.

They actually did. The militia basically declared a no fly zone, and they showed a captured Buk. The Ukrainians ignored it because according to them, the captured launcher was not operational.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian planes were being blown out of the sky, including at 6500m, leading them to complain about the usage of advanced air defense systems. They knew and chose to do nothing, there is no way around that fact.

53 minutes ago, sburke said:

Russia slipped the BUK in there unannounced totally changing the equation.

As I've said, the separatists announced having a captured Buk. The Ukrainians were all like "lol".

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I looked into overflight fees and an interesting picture emerged. On one hand, Ukraine had self-interest in keeping its airspace open to collect overflight fees. On the other hand, Ukraine is an IASTA member, and one reason why its airspace would have been preferred over Russia for overflight is because Russia, not being an IASTA member, charges steep overflight fees:

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

"Countries that are not signatories of the IASTA charge overflight fees as well; among them, Russia, is known for charging high fees, especially on the transarctic routes between North America and Asia, which cross Siberia.[11] In 2008, Russia temporarily denied Lufthansa Cargo permission to overfly its airspace with cargo ostensibly due to "delayed payments for its flyover rights".[13] European airlines pay Russia €300 million a year for flyover permissions.[13]"

And respecting @kinophile 's wishes:

"Nato-Russia tensions move to Balkans with military drills"

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37834388

"Nato is holding a civil emergency exercise in Montenegro while neighbouring Serbia prepares for joint training with 150 Russian paratroops."

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Okay I am bored after 3 conference calls so I will bite

rebels announce they captured a facility with BUK, the only source for that I can find is through an unnamed Russian source so questions are

did they really?  If Ukraine knew it had no functional equipment there then they had reason to scoff at the claim

if they did, then why did Russia feel compelled to send one?

 

oh and it is still Russia's fault regardless.  Their BUK, their missile, their fault 

go Cubs!

 

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Thanks @Machor.

I'm not a professional analyst,  so please forgive if this is grindingly obvious to the more experienced/informed amongst you. 

It seems that,  long term, Russia is increasing pushing it's presence outwards in sequence. Baltics.. Ukraine.... Syria/ME... 

The Stan's are stable enough for now, but Russian/Iran antagonism is old and deep.

Im curious if Russia will next start mucking with Afghanistan... It wouldn't take much to unravel NATO's work, and Russia seems intent on deliberately mangling US influence in any region it can reach. 

Which I get -  I mean, if Russia started dicking around in Central America, the US would be all Say What, Now? So the defense of interest in a given nation's near-abroad is understandable,  geopolitically speaking. 

The question then,  If Russia started pressuring Afghanistan,  is what, really,  could the US do about it? 

A counter strategy could be to try and big Russia down in combat with capable rebels, but where? Ukraine is locked in, it has far too strong a Russian garrison around it. Syria has a functional, legally recognized government and army. Belarus is not geographically or topographically suitable for a rebellion movement. 

That leaves the Stan's. 

 

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24 minutes ago, sburke said:

it is still Russia's fault regardless.  Their BUK, their missile, their fault

For sure.  At the end of the day, they or their proxy pulled the trigger, they are the ones (in my opinion) that should apologize and pay damages (although that is impossible, no country is ever going to fully pay for collateral damages, most of our countries would go bankrupt if that were the case).   Whoever put the plane in that area in the first place -- well, if there is a law covering that type of negligence, I would definitely prosecute. 

go 'noles!

 

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3 minutes ago, kinophile said:

The question then,  If Russia started pressuring Afghanistan,  is what, really,  could the US do about it?

I think in the long game, Russia's economy can't compete with the West's.  I think they are going to wreck their country in the long run if they try to keep playing this game at this level of commitment.  The cost is insane.  America can get away with the level of funding they spend on the military because their economy is so big, their currency so wide spread, there are ... different economic rules when it comes to the American economy and everyone else.  They could borrow money to keep it up infinitely longer than the Russians can.

I get that being a world power and not being as ... respected as much anymore is really tough to deal with, but I think this militaristic play in the long run is going to do them far more damage.  Each dollar they spend on these adventures is a dollar less of investment in their people or infrastructure.

I think China is much smarter buying soft power through infrastructure around the world, and making a real push to wean themselves off oil.  It's annoying to me that China is now likely a world leader in green energy tech, or quickly headed in that direction.  

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1 hour ago, hattori said:

being a world power

I contend that this is the heart of the problem - they are no longer a world power, but trying to do business like one. Russia is a major regional power with certain political investments overseas, just like Britain and France. Can you picture one of those two trying to mess with the US?

Now China is an up-and-coming world power. I would be worried about them as the US, but then I am not after seeing the Chinese students driving white Porsche Panamera and other white luxury cars [white, always WHITE] where I live, or reading about the Chinese flocking to give birth in the US: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/04/01/china-usa-birth-tourists-business-strong/24887837/

 

Edited by Machor
Corrected Porsche Panamerica to Panamera
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1 hour ago, kinophile said:

Thanks @Machor.

I'm not a professional analyst,  so please forgive if this is grindingly obvious to the more experienced/informed amongst you. 

It seems that,  long term, Russia is increasing pushing it's presence outwards in sequence. Baltics.. Ukraine.... Syria/ME... 

The Stan's are stable enough for now, but Russian/Iran antagonism is old and deep.

Im curious if Russia will next start mucking with Afghanistan... It wouldn't take much to unravel NATO's work, and Russia seems intent on deliberately mangling US influence in any region it can reach. 

Which I get -  I mean, if Russia started dicking around in Central America, the US would be all Say What, Now? So the defense of interest in a given nation's near-abroad is understandable,  geopolitically speaking. 

The question then,  If Russia started pressuring Afghanistan,  is what, really,  could the US do about it? 

A counter strategy could be to try and big Russia down in combat with capable rebels, but where? Ukraine is locked in, it has far too strong a Russian garrison around it. Syria has a functional, legally recognized government and army. Belarus is not geographically or topographically suitable for a rebellion movement. 

That leaves the Stan's. 

 

What would Russia gain by mucking Afghanistan? Afghanistan is a disjointed, war torn country currently in a arguably civil war with several beligerrents, among which the Taliban who have proven to be quite capable 'rebels'. They are currently actively 'mangling US influence' in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The rest of the Stans are arguably like Central America is for USA and enjoy special Russian attention or are even directly in Russia's sphere of influence, at least according to my knowledge.

Besides I don't think 'mangling US influence' is a goal in and of itself for Russia, rather increasing Russian influence in strategically important regions ought to be a goal in and of itself.

edit: seems like Russia is doing itself a disservice on the international front since a couple of years, imo the priority for Russia's current leadership is the 'internal market'. Staying in power is the name of the game, not reinstating a SU like empire although some might actually dream of such a thing ;-)

Edited by Lethaface
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I can see how this will be difficult to approach taxonomically. Russia's sheer size gives it a freebie power projection capability.

Out of curiosity, I did a comparison of GDPs. According to the World Bank, in 2015 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal) ), Britain was in the 5th place and France in the 6th, while Russia lagged in the 13th place behind the likes of Italy and Canada (I wouldn't know). Contrast that with the GDPs of the US and Soviet Union in 1990 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superpower ), which were the first and second, respectively.

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In fairness to Russia, this is because they are ridiculously dependent on oil.  70% of their exports and over half their GDP is oil.  The price has gone from $145 a barrel to $30.  They have been hammered by the Saudi's deciding to drive the price of oil down in late 2014.

This is almost a repeat of the 80s.  In the 70s, oil prices were really high, and the Russian economy masked a lot of weaknesses with this oil money -- things like a growing enormous black market most people were taking part in.  Then the price of oil collapsed in the 80s, and the Russian economy got wrecked.  The old soviet style "communist" economy couldn't handle that kind of shock, and it was totally over exposed with military spending, no computer industry, and embroiled in foreign conflicts.  Fortunately for the Russians now, their economy can handle it better now, but it's not something they can keep up forever.

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What's interesting about that chart is that Russia, Mexico, and Norway were the only three net oil exporters pumping their oil like no tomorrow. Something like corruption and lack of strategic planning in the energy industry comes to mind, but then there's Norway...

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27 minutes ago, hattori said:

lol, no need, we sell it all to the U.S. anyways.

No, but we've got long memories.  Let's just say we only consider the end of the War of 1812 to be an Armistice, and maybe we've spent the last 60 years convincing you guys to be peaceloving and largely pacifistic, but before you know it, Onterio will be renamed New Texas, while Alberta becomes Exceedingly North Dakota.  

Re: MH-17

Only touching on a few things:

Given that most major airlines were still flying over the Ukraine, it stands to reason a shoot down was not even dreamed of.  I think it's hard to argue negligence in a case where the outcome was so far removed from what most airplane operating companies expected, you'd really have to prove the lot of them, inclusive of a company operated by people who knew there were missiles active in the Ukraine had some inkling that a commercial jetliner could be shot down.

Personally I think the Russians messed this one up.  If I woke up on the wrong side of the neu-iron curtain:

1. Put Buks in Eastern Ukraine as happened.  For sure I'm going to bag a few Ukrainian planes, best case simply put the Ukrainian airforce is out of the war.  Worst case I've made them bleed using something I have an excess of.

2. Ensure Buks are displayed literally covered in Ukrainian markings.  Anyone with a brain won't believe it, but the fiction is maintained enough for people who want to believe.

3. Operate.  If something objectionable is shot down, as Russia announce our horror, blame the Ukrainians for forcing the separatists to defend themselves with  an incomplete SAM system that couldn't tell one plane from the next.  Strongly imply the real target was some Ukrainian SU-25 or something about to napalm babies.

4. "Meet" with the seperatists.  Offer to exchange a Russian enforced no fly zone for turning over all the "captured" heavy ADA systems.  Herald this as a triumph on the road to peace in the not at all puppet states I'm actively carving out of the Ukraine.

5. Ukrainian air force isn't really in a position to challenge me, attempts to shoot down my "peacekeeper" planes give me a chance to retaliate against pretty much anything I'm offended by in the Ukraine.  I nominate myself for a Nobel Peace Prize.  

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Wanted to note that I've read the entire Bellingcat report on the 53rd SAM Brigade. Absolutely first rate work which clearly delimits the known from the probable to the no data. The OSINT detective work is dazzling and terrifyingly comprehensive. The report is beautifully laid out, has tons of photos, and the typeface, plus considerable white space, make it a quick and easy read. Those not interested in the whole thing would be well advised to start at page 100 or so and read to completion.

VladimirTarasov,

I know the way the Red Army works is you often get the actual command authority first, because you've got the stuff, and the actual appropriate rank follows later. But the situation with what I'll call the 20th CAA absolutely baffles me. The CO is a general-major, one star (so says Wiki), corresponding to a US brigadier general, one star, yet the 20th Army is a multiple division force. Seems to me someone's missing several stars! By way of comparison, the mighty US V Corps of the Cold War, which fairly corresponds with a CAA, was commanded by a lieutenant general, a three star.

Regards,

John Kettler

 

Edited by John Kettler
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1 hour ago, Machor said:

Don't know about Putin, but Kim Jong-un is hiring (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37515254 ). You shouldn't let your talent go to waste.

I have never been as cold, or as wet as I've been in Korea (different seasons!).  South Korea made up for it because it's full of South Koreans, but I cannot imagine how much it'd suck across the border.  

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10 hours ago, kinophile said:

Belarus is not geographically or topographically suitable for a rebellion movement. 

I would disagree. Belarus is culturally close to Ukraine but politically close to Russia. This division alone could cause problems down the road. Belarus has been within the same jurisdiction with Ukraine for a very long time; first with Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and later the Russian Empire. Belorussian culture and language is very similar to Ukrainian culture and language. This is evinced by the number of Belorussian liberals that volunteered in the ATO while there have been none (AFAIK) that joined the Russian side in the war.

Conversely, Putin pays Lukashenko (dictator of Belarus) an obscene amount of cash just so he doesn't migrate to the European Union. This arrangement satisfies both parties as Lukashenko and his people can live relatively comfortable lives outside of the European sphere and Russia keeps the west out of Russia's back yard. Interestingly, Belarus can still maintain their sovereignty despite being an ex soviet state that borders Russia because unlike Ukraine 1995-2013, Belarus has a very strong army for its size and population that can deter any surprise shenanigans from Putin, should Lukashenko decide to change the arrangement.

As the war in Ukraine rages on we might start to see societal rifts in a nation that is one of the most stable in Eastern Europe.

3 hours ago, hattori said:
4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

Someone is going to invade Canada soon

lol, no need, we sell it all to the U.S. anyways.

It's about time that America's Hat should join as the 51st state in the union.

 

Edited by JUAN DEAG
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33 minutes ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

I have never been as cold, or as wet as I've been in Korea (different seasons!).  South Korea made up for it because it's full of South Koreans, but I cannot imagine how much it'd suck across the border.  

Hey in case you didn't see it in the general forum, there is a PBS special on tonight about Chosin, so far pretty good

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12 hours ago, hattori said:

lol, no need, we sell it all to the U.S. anyways.

Ooooo!!!  Can I buy Québec?  I spend so much money there already, I figure I've put in enough to qualify as a down payment.  Plus, the locals would love my rule because I'd immediately lower the price of beer in pubs.  Even with the favorable exchange rate a night on the town bites more than it used to.

Back to the MH-17 thing.  Remember that I said there's blame to spread around after something goes badly.  What was routine and acceptable the day before is all of a sudden grounds for being drawn and quartered in public the day after.  In hindsight the airlines should probably have stopped overflying the Donbas area.  However, without hindsight it looked safe right up until the time MH-17 was shot down.  Plus, if any government airline should have known how dangerous things were about to get it would be Aeroflot.  Why?  Well, the same people managing Aeroflot were the same people putting the Buk into Donbas.  Yet Aeroflot kept on flying.

Let's also keep in mind that the ultimate responsibility for assessing safety lies with the airline, not with airspace status.  What do I mean by that?  There's no law or even government statement of warning that I, as a citizen of the US, should not walk into a dangerous inner city area at 2 in the morning wearing fancy clothes and singing a happy tune.  Whether it's smart or not is for me to decide.

Plus, no matter how much blame one wants to heap onto Ukraine or Malaysian Airlines, it's a tiny nibble out of the responsibility Russia has for all the civilian deaths.  That's because Russia deliberately acted in a way that was not only illegal but also extremely reckless.  The lying and hindering investigations after only makes it worse.

Steve

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