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A Peace Settlement to the Ukraine War


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No, that is not the question. The question is what happens if Ukraine starts to collapse, and they still refuse to surrender. You really think Zelensky is going to surrender when Kadyrovs Chechen's knock on Kyivs door? Think again.

Personally, gut instinct tells me the Russian Army will implode long before it gets there, but Ive been wrong before.

 

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3 hours ago, glenn239 said:

1) Ukraine cannot overpower Russia.  It remains to be seen whether Russia can overpower Ukraine.  They certainly believe they can.

2) Russia has no interest in stopping the war now.  They will continue their strategy of attrition, spiralling the Ukrainian tank and artillery forces into ineffectiveness even while scaling up their own firepower complexes. This will allow them to increase the attrition ratio to a level where the Ukrainian army simply falls apart.  For whatever support the West offers, the Russians will ask the Chinese to help offset it.  

3) Ukraine does have an interest in ending the war now, but Zelensky does not for reasons of personal prestige and accountability, (if the war ends, the casualty scandal will follow and Zelensky may even face criminal charges).  That is to say, Putin's personal interests are considerably more in harmony with Russian interests than Zelensky's are with Ukrainian ones.

4) The Russians will seek to break the logjam by causing the collapse of the Ukrainian army.  

5) IMO, the easiest way for Russia to weaken the Ukrainian army sufficiently to reach the Dniepner is to drop the bridges over the Dniepner.  Why they've not done so by this point is anyone's guess, but the option remains and logistically it would be utterly devastating.

1) Your opinion, and they tend to be incorrect. So far they have overpowered the Russians in Kharkov and Kherson, despite your naysaying.

2) Again, your opinion, and they are usually wrong - there's no indication that Russia can cause so much differential attrition that will lead the Ukrainians to surrender.

3) Another example of an incorrect Glenn239 analysis, quelle surprise. No one is in position to do anything against Zelensky and that's not going to change post-war.

4) and so far they have failed spectacularly, nothing seems to point to a change in this trend, despite your wishes.

5) Or not. They haven't because it's not easy to do and Russia doesn't have the tools - a lesson from Antonovsky bridge.

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3 hours ago, seahawk said:

The question is can Russia throw warm bodies at the problem longer than the Ukraine and longer than the West keeps supporting the Ukraine - I would not rule that out.

At the current rate, the war is completely supportable by the West for the foreseeable future. This is the West that wasted 20 years in Afghanistan and Iraq in exchange for nothing - compared to that, Ukraine is super-cheap.

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I think most discussions about a peace settlement misunderstand Putin as as somebody who's fighting the war for purely territorial gains. I'm coming around to the idea that the war is now more for domestic purposes (uniting Russia against The West), this is succeeding, and a stalemate serves him just fine.  

Edited by Angrybk
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2 hours ago, Angrybk said:

I think most discussions about a peace settlement misunderstand Putin as as somebody who's fighting the war for purely territorial gains. I'm coming around to the idea that the war is now more for domestic purposes (uniting Russia against The West), this is succeeding, and a stalemate serves him just fine.  

+1. I used to think this was about land, and I think that was the original goal (along with resources and population ). But now I think Putin simply sees a 1984 style perpetual war as being to his greatest advantage in terms of domestic control. The condition of war is being normalized and is the goal now, so it appears. In that context, none of the previous failures or costs matter, and because Putin knows that NATO truly isn’t a threat, he can maintain a forever war with no security concerns on his borders.

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Nah, there has been way too much Ukraine is part of Russia/Ukraine with Ukraine/Russian language divide. I think they gambled for a quick win in the early stages of the war. A quick win means the primary purpose being for domestic consumption in that way is not possible.

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56 minutes ago, futon said:

Nah, there has been way too much Ukraine is part of Russia/Ukraine with Ukraine/Russian language divide. I think they gambled for a quick win in the early stages of the war. A quick win means the primary purpose being for domestic consumption in that way is not possible.

They gambled for a quick win, but it turned out that the Ukies were willing to fight and zelensky wasn’t a pussy. But the major factors now IMHO are that 1) Russian public opinion is massively behind continuing the war and 2) economic sanctions are unlikely to affect that (since most Russians are starting from a pretty low bar). 

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3 hours ago, Angrybk said:

They gambled for a quick win, but it turned out that the Ukies were willing to fight and zelensky wasn’t a pussy. But the major factors now IMHO are that 1) Russian public opinion is massively behind continuing the war and 2) economic sanctions are unlikely to affect that (since most Russians are starting from a pretty low bar). 

Ok, fair enough, although still not entirely sure. The decision to launch the invasion to begin with was probably an internally created confidence which would likely been spurred on by a desire to resolve the Ukraine situation (in their eyes). Putin is probably surrounded by these guys and the whole club probably doesn't want to give up on Ukraine. If it was about just Putin dragging on the war for his own and only benefit to remain in control (which keeps him from being targetted for fault in starting the war) the other generals and agents would plot against Putin... or... the surrounding generals and agents still see a need for Putin to be kept on top (since Russia Czar culture if true, or just no visible alternative) to prevent a slide to collapse of the country (as the sanctions aren't enough to do that to the energy superpower), thus not only Putin but lots of other surrounding people would see it that way. 

In a similar way, various western leaders put a stake on their on reputation and career on Ukraine win as well, as they went so far as visiting Ukraine in person and pouring 10s of billions of USD into Ukraine. So this grappling over Ukraine doesn't have only Putin tied to it, even his stake is bigger than western contemporaries. 

Well, I think there is still another round to go. The Ukraine is getting possibly its last round of free tanks since the West is already scrapping the bottom of the barrel for tanks to pass over. Similar case with arty probably. So Russia may be thinking to go one more round, knock those out, then the Ukraine would be out of those weapons. F-16s even with a green light would still take time unless piloted by western pilots. Also I seem to recall a recent public survey that support for Ukraine in the US has dropped. Typical US war fitigue for a war very distant to the US concious. That's something else Russia may still be placing bet on. I think Russia will want, as to however this war ends, to end it with territorial gain so that they can call it a win. If its status que with 2014 territory end, their interptetation spin for win would be limited to punishment to Ukraine and overly emphasized nazi eradication. If it ends with territorial loss, no spin can convince that it was anything but defeat. Putin surely doesn't want that on his name. So I think another round of fighting for the prize of territorial gain, even if it means ending it at current battle lines (or after Bakhmut), would still be desirable result for their own record. 

Continuing the war primarily just for domestic consumption seems to simple to me.

Edited by futon
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9 hours ago, Angrybk said:

I think most discussions about a peace settlement misunderstand Putin as as somebody who's fighting the war for purely territorial gains. I'm coming around to the idea that the war is now more for domestic purposes (uniting Russia against The West), this is succeeding, and a stalemate serves him just fine.  

You can do something for more than one reason. After all, there is little to no evidence he did Georgia or Crimea just to gain Domestic support.

Its probably some weird dynamic like Territory + Threat = Pride + Fear = Personal security.

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13 hours ago, RETAC21 said:

At the current rate, the war is completely supportable by the West for the foreseeable future. This is the West that wasted 20 years in Afghanistan and Iraq in exchange for nothing - compared to that, Ukraine is super-cheap.

Afghanistan was cheap in comparison. Ammunition expenditure limited and mostly only guided bombs. Artillery played a tiny part and air defence was no topic.

Ukraine is totally different. Air power plays a very small role, artillery is needed in quantities and air defence systems are key.

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1 hour ago, seahawk said:

Afghanistan was cheap in comparison. Ammunition expenditure limited and mostly only guided bombs. Artillery played a tiny part and air defence was no topic.

Ukraine is totally different. Air power plays a very small role, artillery is needed in quantities and air defence systems are key.

And so far, the "West" is using old stocks. When new weapons are provided, it will be like funding their own industry - ie, the US is not going to pay for IRIS-T, it's going to send Patriots.

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1 hour ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

You can do something for more than one reason. After all, there is little to no evidence he did Georgia or Crimea just to gain Domestic support.

Its probably some weird dynamic like Territory + Threat = Pride + Fear = Personal security.

I don't remember Georgia that well, but pre-Crimea Putin's position was not very strong, at least in the wannabe Czar scale. There were extensive demonstrations when Putin and Medvedev did their hat-switching routine and the approval ratings tanked significantly, especially when you take in to account the propensity of Russians to either refuse answering altogether or or not answer honestly when polled. So at least in some degree Crimea still was still a classic quick victory for propping up the regime schtick.

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2 minutes ago, RETAC21 said:

And so far, the "West" is using old stocks. When new weapons are provided, it will be like funding their own industry - ie, the US is not going to pay for IRIS-T, it's going to send Patriots.

Or NASAMS or Stinger.... but still the stocks for those are small and the production capability limited. And those systems are expensive.

 

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5 minutes ago, seahawk said:

Or NASAMS or Stinger.... but still the stocks for those are small and the production capability limited. And those systems are expensive.

 

Expensive compared to what? like US aid to Israel, it's less about arming your ally and more about subsidizing your industry.

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China isn't mentioned as a player here yet, but barring a full blown color revolution in Russia they can just sit back comfortably and wait for a weakened and economically isolated Russia to fall into their vassal state pocket. That was a fairly easy thing to read from their recent so-called peace proposal.

Edited by Timo
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12 hours ago, Angrybk said:

I think most discussions about a peace settlement misunderstand Putin as as somebody who's fighting the war for purely territorial gains. I'm coming around to the idea that the war is now more for domestic purposes (uniting Russia against The West), this is succeeding, and a stalemate serves him just fine.  

Which is depressing, because it means there will be no settlement even after Russia is driven out of all Ukrainian territory. Of course then Putin wouldn't likely survive such a development domestically, which makes it more likely he would escalate by full mobilization on the reason that the enemy is about to invade the motherland proper, and/or ratchet up the nuclear threats.

Given the risk for not just his own but national survival in the latter, the former would make more sense, and possibly allow to go back on the offensive in Ukraine; though he might truely need to be rearmed by China at that point. And of course it would still need a recognizable form of "sense", when again logic would appear to dictate that you try to save your previous gains by entering negotiations under threat of escalation once the pre-2014 territories become endangered.

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An interesting historical parallel for this conflict I've been thinking about recently is the Crimean War. Of course, before I say anything more I think it may be sensible to point out that any historical parallel is of highly questionable utility - i.e. little more than an opportunity for a fun thought experiment.

Anyway, in the Crimean War the Western powers were considerably more assertive but also established clearer limits to the conflict. One consequence was that Russia was more soundly defeated than I think will be possible here but also (because of the limited nature of the war) that it was able to recover relatively quickly and again threaten Istanbul within a generation.

Interestingly, in my opinion at least, Russia was able to take the blow of defeat and carry on with the only major consequence being the curtailment of its international ambitions. I wonder if "defeat" in Ukraine (whatever that might mean here) would be similarly inconsequential. Certainly, I can imagine a world in which Russia is defeated in Ukraine and the current regime remains intact. Of course, Belarus and Crimea would then continue to be "in play" (from the Russian perspective), as would Central Asian states like Kazakhstan. Yet, even in those circumstances, I can see the current elites in Russia retaining power and, probably, pivoting to greater integration with Asian powers (India and China, basically).

If any of this speculation is even vaguely close to the mark, Russian elites, feeling secure in their position, will have little incentive to stop feeding Russian plebs (sorry) into the meat grinder until the conflict becomes really untenable (and it's hard to see, at the moment what untenable would look like for them).

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15 minutes ago, BansheeOne said:

Which is depressing, because it means there will be no settlement even after Russia is driven out of all Ukrainian territory. Of course then Putin wouldn't likely survive such a development domestically, which makes it more likely he would escalate by full mobilization on the reason that the enemy is about to invade the motherland proper, and/or ratchet up the nuclear threats.

Even if Putin personally fails to survive, the ruling regime will remain in place. There's no prospect of a broader revolution in Russia of any kind. Just my two cents.

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1 hour ago, seahawk said:

Imho Russia can keep this war going until they win.

What does winning mean though? The unconditional surrender of the Collective West? That's what Russia is fighting against after all.

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10 minutes ago, Timo said:

What does winning mean though? The unconditional surrender of the Collective West? That's what Russia is fighting against after all.

First of the Ukraine.

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2 hours ago, Timo said:

I don't remember Georgia that well, but pre-Crimea Putin's position was not very strong, at least in the wannabe Czar scale. There were extensive demonstrations when Putin and Medvedev did their hat-switching routine and the approval ratings tanked significantly, especially when you take in to account the propensity of Russians to either refuse answering altogether or or not answer honestly when polled. So at least in some degree Crimea still was still a classic quick victory for propping up the regime schtick.

In 2008, Putin was still relatively well thought of. He has leverage over the west over Afghanistan. He had put the west on warning at the Munich security conference, but still had relatively good relations with the west (other than the litvinenko murder). And he pissed it all away, so he could go stomp happy on a nation to ensure they didnt drift into the Western Orbit.

Oh, im sure there was some chic for him sending an Army off to war and kicking heads, and being gloriously victorious. But as far as a distraction, I cant see it. He did, seemingly, have some wholly misguided ideas about what was happening in Georgia. And in fact there is some evidence that the Russian security service was drumming up the war, not least because as early as 1993, a CIA agent was murdered in Georgia, presumably at the hands of the Russian security service.

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/10/world/cia-agent-dies-in-georgian-attack.html

Like I say, I think he does things for more than one reason. Sometimes it may be just because he is the street bully that never grew up, and still feels the need to prove to the neighbours.

 

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5 hours ago, BansheeOne said:

Which is depressing, because it means there will be no settlement even after Russia is driven out of all Ukrainian territory.

That was my conclusion before the war as well, which is why I strongly advocated an arrangement that put Ukraine on ice for a few decades.  Even if the Ukrainians achieve their stated goals, the confrontation will continue as one front in the Sino-American global struggle.  Alternatively, if the Ukrainian army collapses under the increasing pressure, NATO is dealt a massive blow to its prestige and readiness.

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