Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Perils of Armchair Prognostication...

 "It's so easy to be wrong -- and to persist in being wrong -- when the costs of being wrong is paid by others..." -- Thomas Sowell

The Overlord made a boo-boo.

I took a look at the circumstances surrounding the threatened (at the time) invasion of Ukraine and decided that Vladmir Putin wouldn't invade his neighbor. I didn't think he had to, seeing as how collective Western leadership was little more (and in many ways a good deal less) than a bunch of third-string Chamberlains and would-be Quislings, too comfortable to stomach any deviation from the "international order" whereby bureaucrats the world over constructed a web of trans-national "rules" intended to guarantee "stability".

Certainly, the same mechanisms that brought us global lockdowns, mask mandates, a series of failed vaccines (produced only AFTER the virus began mutating into myriad forms -- there's REAL Diversity! -- thus rendering them ineffective), economic ruin, and systems whereby democracy and constitutions were undermined by an international bureaucratic regime. The Minister for Losing Important Paperwork in Germany is dependent for his daily bread on what the Deputy Plenipotentiary of Potted Plants and Vending Machines in Jakarta does, who in turn is beholden to the Deputy Assistant Assistant Deputy for Recycling Used Tampons in Washington, would work!

"Experts", after all.

"The World" doesn't work according to any logical principles -- it works according to the needs of an international class of politically-connected paper-pushers and motormouths, and their need is to keep their cushy and useless jobs, forever, and extract a good living from society, to boot. This doesn't require success.

See: The United Nations, for example.

And here was the Overlord, believing himself better informed (he still believes he is) about Russia than the Secretary of Second-Hand Bedspreads in London, or the Undersecretary for Laundering Chinese Bribes in Foggy Bottom was, because The Overlord studies history and forgot that whatever the "experts" get wrong, too, it's mainly because they don't study (or care about) history, or because they simply suffer no consequence at all for being incorrect while people die, and maybe I'm just a dude in his pajamas spouting off with no real understanding of "how these things work".

(Actually, it is shorts and t-shirt, barefoot, because "comfort". Pajamas are for pussies).

Well, Vladimir Putin proved me wrong. He stepped over the border and his army is currently inching (literally) it's way towards Kiev (fuck this politically-correct spelling of "Kyiv"; I've always known it as "Kiev").

And then Putin somehow makes it worse by giving a lengthy speech in which he lays out his case for military action...and proves me right on his supposed casus bellum, anyway. What I discounted was Putin's ability to turn what would be a perfectly legitimate laundry list of reasons for an invasion into a sappy moral-equivalence argument, and take the plunge.

Normally, soft, flaccid, kindergarten-level moral-equivalency arguments make Leftists happy, if only because a moral-equivalency argument is meant to undermine conventional morality; the Left makes them because in their convoluted thought process, two wrongs always make a right, so long as "the right" people get screwed and Socialism/Communism prevails.

But in this case, the favored weapon of the brain-dead Left has had the opposite effect of that intended.

Putin invaded because he thought no one would challenge him. Certainly not the Biden Administration, even if an invasion interrupted the ten percent of everything to The Big Guy. Biden might be a greedy Capitalist Running Dog in the eyes of Moscow, but even Capitalist Running Dogs are known to occasionally be realists and decide that a time comes when it pays to "cut your losses" and fold your hand before running like a guilty husband from a whorehouse (see: Afghanistan).

Especially if you forget what country you're talking about.

Putin didn't expect anything in the way of a meaningful response from Joe Biden. And he was correct -- what he got was Vice President Kneepads, who must have been off her fellatio game that day, because three days later Russian troops crossed the border, dispatched to Munich (oh, the irony of a meeting taking place in Munich under these circumstances!).

Then again, it seems as if she has less of a clue about all of this than her boss does. Putin KNEW that Biden wouldn't so much as lift a finger to defend Ukraine, just posture and virtue signal for a domestic audience.

What Putin did not expect, however, was the response from the other, even-squishier Benedict Arnolds in Berlin and Brussels. They seem to have rediscovered their backbones. Suddenly, Germany is rearming (amazing: this is now a good thing?); suddenly, weapons are flowing into Ukraine (or about to) from Warsaw, Budapest, Tallin and other points west. NATO is beginning to seriously think about invoking Article V of it's charter -- even though Ukraine is not a member.

The same goes for including Ukraine in the European Union.

If anything frightens Putin -- because even an obviously-befuddled Joe Biden with a nuclear arsenal doesn't, and that proves he's fucking nuts -- it has to be the specter of a re-armed Germany and a rapidly-expanding-and-arming EU and NATO.

And this morning I read that Sweden and Finland, traditional enemies of Russia, have begun asking for, or seriously considering, membership in NATO.

Four things I have taken away from the events of the last week:

1. Ukrainians have balls of steel.

2. The Russians apparently aren't very good at anything. That 40-mile-long-convoy is not a convoy: it's a stationary target. Speculation is that they have no fuel to move forward. To quote a famous dude who learned a rather harsh lesson in relation to this sort of thing, coincidentally, in Russia:

"Amateurs discuss tactics: professionals discuss logistics" -- Napoleon Bonaparte.

If the speculation is true, and Russian troops are stranded, strung out on highways and such because they haven't got any fuel or spare parts, or they can't attack because they lack ammunition and food, it speaks volumes about the real threat that Russia poses (in conventional military terms) to anyone. Ukraine is, literally, next door.

I was wondering why the Ukrainians haven't hit this fat, juicy target and arrived at three possibilities:

a) They can't. They lack the aircraft or artillery, or both, to turn this into a 21st century Highway of Death, ala Iraq.

b) They choose not to, perhaps seeing the destruction of that column as an escalation that would send Putin into a tirade of pride and open the door to doing his worst, or

c) It appears as if we have two nations who can't fight very well, the only saving grace, to date, is that one side is merely less militarily incompetent than the other.

3. Of all the fucking people on the planet to get it right, it had to be Mitt fucking Romney?

4. Modern media is an insane asylum. While getting factual information from an evolving and fluid war front was always difficult, the ability to now spew information -- which no one pretends to verify, which is subject to a multitude of new avenues for misinformation, and served up in bite-sized morsels by an industry which lost any pretense to credibility or objectivity long ago -- is disturbing.

I think it was Orwell who once admonished himself for keeping a diary in which he made what were believed to be very prescient and logical predictions about the future of war, for after reading them with the advantage of distance in time, he found himself to be wrong on every point it was possible to be wrong on.

Perhaps I should take his advice?


JB_Honeydew said...

Overlord, it is times like these that I always fall back to something a good friend of mine used to always say....

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

I think that applies here nicely LOL

- JB

Anonymous said...

Sir, I believe you did not mention the possibility of nuclear war. Could you provide your take on this?

Matthew Noto said...

On nuclear war:

No way. There's no point, I believe. I know that Russian military doctrine sees the nuke as merely a useful (or perhaps necessary) adjunct to conventional military operations but that is both overkill and an escalation that draws a new host of enemies that Russia cannot contend with.

The war you lose is the war on multiple fronts that cannot be served with the resources at hand.

Just ask Hitler.

The threat of alerting nuclear forces to ramp up readiness is just that: a threat.

According to some retired generals I've seen on TV or read in Op-eds, the order doesn't seem to have been followed up with any meaningful action. One would expect that a "go on alert" order would entail specific activities that no one is currently seeing -- there's no reports of submarines moving about, no mobile launchers in transit to their firing positions, no aircraft being readied that anyone can see.

This sort of thing is difficult to hide.

I could be wrong on that, too, but I have no sources but what I see or read.

And one must assume that even if Putin wants to start using such weapons, he's not the only one who makes that decision -- The Russian version of the Joint Chiefs (STAVKA) has a say, and the commanders and men on the ground, in the air and at sea have physical control of the weapons in question, and you have to figure some of them may have second thoughts, or just refuse to obey. It's happened before.

You know, they have families, too.

We shall see.

Matthew Noto said...

P.S. you would also have to take into consideration that having made the case that Ukraine is both sovereign Russian territory and that Ukrainians and Russians are so deeply connected culturally, why go through all the trouble of launching a land attack and then turn the place into a glass-topped, smoking, pile of self-lighting crater?

Doesn't that defeat the purpose of reunification?

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed. Your explanation seems logical and it does not make sense to completely flatten something that you want to fuse with your own lands. Thank you for your take on this matter.

GMay said...

I was waiting for this post. It takes a big man to admit he's wrong, and with that you've just disqualified yourself for high level service in the US State Dept, or public service in general.

I know you're crushed.

Matthew Noto said...

Having worked with government types many times as a private contractor -- which pays significantly better and which does not require one to spend all of their time soliciting bribes or depending upon a union to defend their worthless and illiterate ass -- I'm happy to be disqualified from such.

Just remember: The Government consists of millions of mouth-breathing imbeciles who only have a "job" because a) they managed a 62 on an exam written in such a way as to allow monkeys to pass, and b) because of Affirmative Action, the lowest-performing "successes" get chosen for employment first.

Bear these two things in mind, and one can easily imagine why The Government runs the way it does.