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The reason of the strongest is always the best
We shall demonstrate it soon :

A lamb was quenching its thirst
In a stream of pure water
A wolf arrived, on an empty stomach
By hunger brought to the premises
« Who makes you so bold as to muddy my beverage
This animal said, full of rage
You will be punished for your temerity
- Sire, the lamb answers, may Your Majesty
Not get angry
But rather consider
That I'm quenching my thirst
More that twenty feel below Them
And that, by consequent, in no way
Can I muddy Their drink.
- You muddy it, repeated the cruel beast
And I know that you've spoken ill of me last year
- How could I if I wasn't born yet
The lamb retorted, I'm still suckling my mother
- If it's not you then it's your brother
- I don't have any - Then it's one of yours
For you hardly spare me, you, your shepherds and your dogs
I've been told so. I have to avenge myself. »
On this, to the deepest of the forest
The wolf takes it and eats it
Without any other form of trial.


- Jean de La Fontaine, 1668

The best revenge is living well, and it really bothers me to see internet soapboxing in general because all you can do in the end is live your life in the best way possible.


Ukraine? What do I care? I have IBS and an endless list of things to do. If you disagree, then you are nothing but a thief.



The best revenge is living well, and it really bothers me to see internet soapboxing in general because all you can do in the end is live your life in the best way possible.


Ukraine? What do I care? I have IBS and an endless list of things to do. If you disagree, then you are nothing but a thief.
Huh???



Ukraine? What do I care? I have IBS and an endless list of things to do. If you disagree, then you are nothing but a thief.
If you don’t care, why do you keep posting in this thread?
__________________
I’m here only on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. That’s why I’m here now.



Okay, I'm reopening this thread, but in a very probationary sense, and with two notes:

First, please ensure that any disturbing photos are posted with spoiler tags. I would never allow someone to post gruesome injuries or pictures of dead bodies in most contexts. It's reasonable to bend or suspend that policy due to the real-world import of these events, but viewing them should still be something people get to choose to do, or not.

Second, please do not confuse the importance of the news with the importance of a thread about the news. This thread has no effect on the conflict, and whether it remains open or closed has no effect on your individual abilities to follow the news or express your opinion about it on a million other sites, most of which are more appropriate for that expression anyway.



Opinion question: is Putin just pushing the envelope to see how far he can go and how much he can get away with while threatening the nuclear option (i.e. bluffing while he maneuvers) or is his threat real and can we or the world afford to call his bluff?

This seems to be the crux of most speculation and debate regarding the rest of the world coming to Ukraine's aid right now.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
Opinion question: is Putin just pushing the envelope to see how far he can go and how much he can get away with while threatening the nuclear option (i.e. bluffing while he maneuvers) or is his threat real and can we or the world afford to call his bluff?
He's demonstrated his willingness to crush innocent lives the most deliberately spectacular and damaging way (his intent is to traumatize Ukraine and the surrounding countries). And he knows his opponents would have qualms about it (if anything because their leaders require democratic support).

If anything he's the one wondering if they would retaliate to nuclear strikes or not.



He's demonstrated his willingness to crush innocent lives the most deliberately spectacular and damaging way (his intent is to traumatize Ukraine and the surrounding countries). And he knows his opponents would have qualms about it (if anything because their leaders require democratic support).

If anything he's the one wondering if they would retaliate to nuclear strikes or not.
Well, that's the debate. It's virtually assured that if he launched a nuclear strike (at least against any NATO countries) he and his country would be obliterated in retaliation.

He and Russia overall is not really in any great immediate danger (outside of economic sanctions) by attacking Ukraine - apparently he can crush as many lives there as he wants without having to worry about his own life - the same could not be said if he launched a nuclear missile.

So, the question is: is he willing to risk his own destruction, or just bluffing to get as far as he can by holding the rest of the world hostage with a threat he's unwilling to carry out since carrying it out would mean forfeiting everything he has gained - including his country and his life?



It's time to have some fun
Opinion question: is Putin just pushing the envelope to see how far he can go and how much he can get away with while threatening the nuclear option (i.e. bluffing while he maneuvers)

or is his threat real and can we or the world afford to call his bluff?...
Can we afford not to call his bluff? In all seriousness if we belly under to him we'll teach Russia, China and N. Korea that fear and intimidation will let them get their way. That to me is the real risk.



Opinion question: is Putin just pushing the envelope to see how far he can go and how much he can get away with while threatening the nuclear option (i.e. bluffing while he maneuvers) or is his threat real and can we or the world afford to call his bluff?
Both. Putin's greatest weapon is fear. Putin and Russia, as a state, have been using fear in almost every element of their all-around actions in the past years. From threatening countries with nuclear missiles to trying to terrify Ukraine into submission at the very beginning of this year's war (needless to say, they failed) to using trolls from Olgino to spread pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian fake news (e.g., spreading the news that Ukrainians in Poland are robbing stores and attacking Poles). If you instill fear and doubt in your adversary, it's much easier to control them. And it's easier to make them stop acting while you do whatever you want.

But Putin did lots of miscalculations in this war. First of all, Russia was prepared for a very short military operation. They quite literally expected Ukrainians to give up their country just like they did Crimea back in 2014. There are many factors in this, and to not get political, let's say there was still a lot of intimidation and wrong-doing on the Russian side during and before the annexation of Crimea anyway. But back to the point, Russian military strategy assumes that Russia has no business going into an offensive war if they do not have three times as many troops as their adversary. It is estimated that Russia gathered around 200,000 troops for this war. That's most likely less than Ukraine (no official data on that yet though), and not enough to take over a country that big, anyway. Unless... you actually expect the majority of the country to welcome you with flowers. Well, Ukrainians welcomed them with bullets instead, so there you have it. Another part of Russian military strategy is that in the first wave of the invasion you always send poorly-trained conscripts and obsolete military equipment to "feel" your enemy. After that, in the second wave, you send your 'real' powerful, trained, cutting-edge forces. Well, that's not what happened during this invasion. Some of the best and most modern stuff was thrown into Ukraine right away.

Why am I saying all this? Well, that's because Russia did a major f*ck up, and now they desperately try to save themselves. They try to pay Syrian War veterans to come and fight for Russia for some lousy 300$ a month. They transport some super-old tanks from Primorsky Krai (that's the other side of the country!). They come up or rather try to revive the old Soviet idea of penal battalions and whatnot. Putin done goofed and unless he's absolutely mad or a total idiot, he knows this (there's a whole different theory that his generals are afraid to tell him the truth so they sell him lies about Russia actually winning the war, etc.,). The issue with Putin knowing that he f*cked up is that he may have not much to lose. Some people in the Kremlin may want to overthrow him. If he gets desperate, there is no telling what he'd do. But... is that really true?

Putin's second-best weapon is the insanity bluff. The issue here is that it's very hard to tell a difference between a complete madman and an unrelenting butcher, and Putin can be either or even both. His strategy is to instill enough doubt and fear in both his allies and enemies so that they will not be willing to take the risk, whatever that risk is for each of these groups, respectively.

There was an alleged leak from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), in which the question of whether Putin would use a tactical nuclear missile was left as 'it's possible'. But this leak has never been confirmed (then again, why would Russia confirm their Security Service had a leak, LOL).

So yeah, there's no easy answer to your question. And this uncertainty is Putin's trump card.

So, the question is: is he willing to risk his own destruction?
Nope. The question is are his subordinates willing to risk it? Nuclear weapons do not work the way you see them in films. Putin doesn't have a fancy suitcase with a red button hidden under his bed. Using nuclear missiles is a complicated process that goes through several people. Should just one of these people choose to object to the order, they could thwart the entire master plan. Putin can be as out of his mind as it gets and maybe he has nothing to lose, but his subordinates do have lots to lose. They have their families and whatnot, and even a slave has a breaking point at which they stop listening to their master and revolt.



Can we afford not to call his bluff? In all seriousness if we belly under to him we'll teach Russia, China and N. Korea that fear and intimidation will let them get their way. That to me is the real risk.
Right - that's one argument. I call it the "bully" argument (as I heard one commentator say similar things): If you don't stand up to them now, then they will take their aggression to extremes, gaining confidence & power with each conquest - the only way to stop them is to "punch them in the nose" and, like most bullies, they'll back down once they realize someone as big as they are is not going to allow their bullying anymore.

However, I've heard other pundits argue that the U.S. & NATO cannot play Russian Roulette (literally) with the entire human species if Putin is mad enough to engage in nuclear war. In a card game maybe you can afford to lose a hand, but in this case, the stakes involved in calling a bluff are too high to even think about it.

As someone said in a movie once, "We're in this for the species, boys and girls."



Right - that's one argument. I call it the "bully" argument (as I heard one commentator say similar things): If you don't stand up to them now, then they will take their aggression to extremes, gaining confidence & power with each conquest - the only way to stop them is to "punch them in the nose" and, like most bullies, they'll back down once they realize someone as big as they are is not going to allow their bullying anymore.
The standing-up-to-a-bully argument loses a lot if not all of its strength with a country that has a nuclear arsenal. Look at the Bosnian War. Yep, the West helped, but that's because Serbia was fighting basically everybody around, AND they did not have nuclear weaponry. But Russia does. And that one detail makes it hard to help Ukraine in the most straightforward way possible. Well, basically what you said in the second part of your post.

But Ukraine used to have nuclear missiles! In 1991, Ukraine had the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal. Ukraine got rid of it in exchange for security guarantees included in the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances signed in 1994 by the United States, Russia, and Great Britain. Draw your own conclusions.



My personal experience with the bully analogy is that whenever I stepped up to some kid on the playground or in the class room who was giving me a hard time, or one of my friends a hard time, in all but one instance I got the absolute snot kicked out of me. Sure, lots of bullies get away with their shit because they make threats and puff out their chest. But a lot of the time, they also have the muscle to back up what they are threatening.



Now, was that one instance of me bettering the bully a delicious delicious thing? Of course. But he was also a bully who was short, not very strong and was clearly all mouth. So basically the opposite of this situation where we can't be entirely sure exactly how much power Putin has behind his threats. Or how much he is willing to use. But it is certainly a lot more than the puny little skinhead who was giving me a hard time.



So, as popular as the story has become that all you need to do to best a bully is stand up to them and they will shrivel up like the true coward they are inside, the reality of this is it wasn't even true in the schoolyard. And so I'd hope we wouldn't extend this reasoning towards the possibility of a thermo-nuclear war.



You ready? You look ready
Unpopular opinion: Russia has more power than we give them credit. They have basically upended the entire world’s economy with their invasion. Arguably, even more so than COVID upended the world.*

Yes, Russia suffers a lot more than we do, but if you look at their history the country has a long never ending quagmire of painful suffering. Their populace is practically engrained with an immense capacity to endure pain, both spiritually and economically.

But just look at the results of this invasion: Americans are going to see record increasing prices across the board due to the funnel choke of an oil/coal/natural gas embargo, and Europe will see even greater price increases. Billion dollar companies have had to write off millions in assets to cut bait and run which, while a drop in the bucket, is still a painful blow to western interests.

So to answer @Captain Steel’s question, I think Putin’s agenda is to see how long he can squeeze the world economy. He is quite possibly thinking that Americans, specifically, will crack under the weight of our economic increases and demand inaction of our leaders to soothe the pain on our wallets. I, for one, am in an entirely new precarious position going forward and financially unprepared for the hardships the world is about to face. Nonetheless, I will never give Russia the satisfaction of demanding inaction of my leaders and will continue to stand with Ukraine’s interests. No matter the effects it has on my life because it pales in comparison to those who are fighting for their very lives.



Free Movie

Netflix has uploaded an Oscar-nominated documentary film Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom to their YouTube channel. You can watch it FOR FREE.



Recommended.



A system of cells interlinked
Russia doubled its gas and oil production and also doubled its energy output by nuclear power plants, while Europe cut all of the same stuff.

Whoops!
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"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



Russia doubled its gas and oil production and also doubled its energy output by nuclear power plants, while Europe cut all of the same stuff.

Whoops!
Yes, because Europe is being all green and conscientious.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
Sanctions against Russia. Coca, Pepsi, MacDonald, Philip Morris are pulling out of the country. I don't know anymore if we're trying to punish Putin or bribe him.

"Oh shit why are their soldiers so much healthier than ours, all of a sudden ?"



Sanctions against Russia. Coca, Pepsi, MacDonald, Philip Morris are pulling out of the country. I don't know anymore if we're trying to punish Putin or bribe him.

"Oh shit why are their soldiers so much healthier than ours, all of a sudden ?"
I’m genuinely interested if any spin doctors will try to sell that side of things. “Right, we’re going back to salads and kefir.”