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46 minutes ago, glenn239 said:

The question only arises if neocons in Washington decide to "2003" the Tehran regime in a war off aggression. 

Since when it will be an war of aggression since Iran is attacking USA allies? 

When USA restored Kuwait independence was it an war of aggreession too?

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On 10/17/2023 at 7:31 PM, Markus Becker said:

I can't drink as much as I want to celebrate and at the same time puke. After more than a ... year the retards around Biden finally realized that shooting back is not escalation. 

I'd like to think that worry about 'escalation' was not just fear of that Russia would somehow start to use 'more violence' or whatever. First, I think USA hoped that by holding back high-end wargear, they could use it a bargaining chip to force Russia to de-escalate. "If you don't play ball, we'll send them ATACMS and M1 and F-16's".

Second, they probably were worried about Russian counterreaction, not in Ukraine, but elsewhere. USA has global interests and is nearly always fighting a war. It was very convenient that no major power was willing to openly supply Al Qaida or ISIS with modern armament. But the next time USA intervenes somewhere, it is more or less given now that Russia will flood support to the other side, just for spite.

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13 hours ago, Josh said:

As for China, I just don't think Iran matters at all and I cannot see why you do. I guess it is a way to annoy the US somewhat, but I don't see the strategic gain. Also were Iran to totally collapse and suddenly become a Western vassal, I don't see the down side for China either: they will still have to sell oil to someone, and in that fantastically unlikely scenario The West (TM) would allow them to sell it to anyone, just like Iraq.

I'm not really sure why you think China cares about a Muslim theocracy. As a general rule, they aren't into religion of any kind, and I don't see the strategic gain for them. Make a case; paint a picture where China gives a fuck about Iran.

Anecdotally, some of my Chinese nationalist contacts are slightly obsessed with Iran, seeing it as another "great civilisation" that has fallen but has great prospects for rejuvenation. For these reasons, they see it as a potentially strong ally.


Iran and Pakistan seem to be integral to belt and road connections into in SW Asia. I still doubt they would do much in response to a U.S. attack on Iran though.

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On 10/19/2023 at 8:04 PM, glenn239 said:

Russian claims are that the Ukrainians fired 9 ATACMS in their first attack and that some of them were shot down.  What constantly surprises me with the Russian army is that they ignore everything until they get kicked in the teeth enough to learn otherwise.  Here, you'd think with hard intel of ATACMS transfers that they'd have bothered disbursing their helocopters better.

I saw Russian claim that Berdiansk field was attacked by 3*ATACMS and 3*GLSDB, with some shot down. But it appears GLSDB has not been delivered yet? Ukrainian video showed launch of six ATACMS, but unclear if it was for Berdiansk or Luhansk attack.

I think Russians were perfectly clear with ATACMS prospects. Furthermore, Berdiansk has been attacked by Ukrainians many times before, by Storm Shadows, and Tochka which has broadly similar capabilities. But the frontage which Russians have to guard for is huge, and especially with losses in AD systems, they cannot maintain maximum density everywhere. 

Talking about Storm Shadows, have there been strikes recently?  Ukrainians have done drone strikes on Crimea recently, and converted S-200's (which I presume are 'Groms' which Russians occasionally claim to shoot down). But I have not seen cruise missile strikes reported, though I don't follow very closely.

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24 minutes ago, Yama said:

...Talking about Storm Shadows, have there been strikes recently?  Ukrainians have done drone strikes on Crimea recently, and converted S-200's (which I presume are 'Groms' which Russians occasionally claim to shoot down). But I have not seen cruise missile strikes reported, though I don't follow very closely...

I haven't seen SS either nor Scalp EG the French version in weeks. Either they have ran out or the Su24M's have been destroyed. If I was Russian these Su24M's would be a primary target.

 

Edited by TrustMe
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Ive heard that before too, usually before a spectacular. Most likely the airframes are aging and need a lot of work to get them operational, so they lay them up, get a number of them operational, then fire off 8 or more at once. Its less surge than pulse operations, or so it seems to me.

And ultimately, why not? They seem to have ATACMS to spare at the moment.

 

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14 hours ago, Roman Alymov said:

Under this definition, taking into consideration Russia de-facto entered war (back in 2014, when events started) as de-facto colony of the West, controlled by comprador administration - we are now in MUCH better position. 

Yes.

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1 hour ago, Yama said:

Second, they probably were worried about Russian counterreaction, not in Ukraine, but elsewhere. USA has global interests and is nearly always fighting a war.

That is the definition of "escalation" that I think applies to Russia and Ukraine, yes.  The Russians will not retaliate directly against NATO for arms supplies to Ukraine, but the Russians can and will do all sorts of things to make things more difficult elsewhere as opportunity arises.

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1 hour ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

They seem to have ATACMS to spare at the moment.

One assumes the Americans will have advised the Ukrainians on ATACMS salvo sizes in order to overcome expected Russian AD defense performances.  This will not reflect the number of missiles available, but rather, thenumber required to achieve a specific result. 

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15 hours ago, Josh said:

Fair enough, but I think that is already something that has nothing to do with anything the Biden administration does. Outside of just giving Russia whatever it wants, which seems to be your solution.

I never said "give Russia whatever it wants", that's just you actively distorting the conversation.  What I have said that the US is no longer a hegemonic power and needs to be more selective in where and when it chooses to fight.  Nothing good for Ukraine or the West will come of using neocon tactics in Ukraine and other places outside of the core regions of American interest.

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You have not made a convincing case for why Russia arming Iran would be effective in stopping the US from arming Ukraine.

My position is the Sino-Russians would have no particular interest in arming Iran until Iran is actually at war with the United States.  So, when you look for evidence of China arming Iran now, to me that's a bit like the captain of the Titanic sending out the lifeboats before he even hits the iceberg.

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 Please state your specific scenario where Russia back Iran and it somehow makes the US back down, because I think your idea is more like step 2 in the underpants gnomes.

Who said anything about "makes the US back down"?   I didn't.   We're talking a scenario where Iran and the US go to war at some future date, and Tehran after the war has broken out asks the Russians for weapons so that they can hit back.  Nothing about backing down, or brinkmanship, or Underpants Knomes.  

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The idea that the US degrades is your own and you need to support it. How exactly does China or Russia benefit? State explicit issues for the US.

If we assign the US position in the Middle East in 1991 an arbitrary geopolitical supremacy value of "100", then we would need all sorts of variables and metrics to measure it in comparison to the current day.  I do not know what the AI supercomputer would kick out as the figure for that.  Maybe something like  '25' for Biden right now versus a '60' at the end of the Trump presidency?

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I think there is almost no chance the US attempts regime change and there is even less chance China does anything about it. China is not arming Iran for reasons I have already posted several times and that no one has disputed so far.

  Biden appears to have zero respect in either capital and seems now considered a pathological liar all over the Global South, (his recent ME trip was a complete disaster when every Arab country cancelled their meetings with him rather than have to endure him).  Any war against Iran will be considered a direct and severe provocation in both capitals regardless of what Biden says.

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I don't see how these are different things. Please explain.

China's position today is similar at first glance to Germany's in 1914 in that at that time Germany had vast trading interests across the world, but no capacity to defend those interests on the high seas if at war with Britain.   Germany's trade interests were one thing, it's capacity to defend those interests were another.

But China is quite different from 1914 Germany in a key way.  Unlike Germany, it is able to defend its trading interests to some extent by maintaining a series of alliances in Central Asia, Russia, Africa, and the Middle East.  That is where Iran comes in.  Look at a map of the Belts and Roads. Iran is smack dab in the middle of it.

Note that China's policy towards India I think is also dictated by Belts and Roads.  Like Iran, Pakistan is a vital Chinese link in the chain, and in order to keep the Indians distracted from Central Asia, the Chinese need to play up their own disputes with India far beyond the real value of the, frankly, worthess mountain territory that is actually at dispute on their border. 

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Perhaps not, but it make them a non entity in terms of economics or military influence.

As above.  Iran's geographical position WRT Belts and Roads automatically makes it a vital strategic partner to China.  And, like with Russia, that fact holds true for China both for defensive as well as for offensive motives.

 

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I think this is most likely, with the caveat that....

....a US threat to any of its vital partners such as Iran or Russia may force China to undertake a more aggressive foreign policy sooner than the Chinese would otherwise choose to.

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if China perceived any weak political will in the US to intervene in Taiwan it would pounce.

Nope.  The Chinese are going to build up their military and bid their time.  Taiwan isn't going anywhere. 

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And I think Biden has made it clear he won't stand for that, and I think it won't happen under his watch. A contested 2024 election that leaves a political void in the US presidency could well allow China to act. A chaotic Trump administration Part 2 might as well. A steady Biden administration likely would not. He has said on multiple occasions he would commit the US to the defense of Taiwan.

IMO, you're conflating Washington talking points for the real world.   The Chinese do not care about irrelevant factors such as whether a presidency is at odds with the Washington elite, or whether Democrats and the GOP are at loggerheads.  None of that matters, it is a distraction.  The only thing that matters is the military and geopolitical equations.  Once, maybe 10 years from now, the PLA finally reports to the CCP that it can wipe the floor with any US coalition, look out, you are going to get both barrels of what you desperately seem to want. 

 

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Key Takeaways:

Russian forces launched a renewed offensive push near Avdiivka on October 20 and marginally advanced, indicating that the Russian military command remains committed to offensive operations in the area despite heavy materiel and personnel losses.

Ukrainian forces continued larger-than-usual ground operations on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast on October 20 and established a confirmed presence in a settlement on the east bank.

Russian and Ukrainian sources continue to indicate that the Russian units defending the east bank of Kherson Oblast are relatively less combat effective than other Russian forces elsewhere on the front.

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast but did not make confirmed advances.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Southern Military District (SMD) headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, Rostov Oblast, on October 19 to discuss the battlefield situation in Ukraine with Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, around Avdiivka, west of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and made limited advances in some areas. 

Russian Investigative Committee Head Alexander Bastrykin argued on October 20 that Russian authorities should strip migrants of acquired Russian citizenship if they are unwilling to fight in Ukraine.


https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-october-20-2023

Edited by txtree99
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19 hours ago, Roman Alymov said:

... scepricism to parliament-type elected representation is wide spread across all former USSR ...

To answer again.

[OT]

Yes, that's how I learned it in the socialist school too. Something like this often sticks extremely firmly. A strong leader gives people the feeling of security that everything is going well and that the citizen does not have to worry about anything.

What I read, I think in a Chelyabinsk newspaper. Valentina Tereshkova comes to the Duma with a large briefcase full of letters from apprehensive citizens (also an old method of socialism). And immediately the constitution is changed. For example, so that the strong leader can continue to rule as long as he thinks it is necessary. The successes are really impressive.

[OT/]

 

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