Colors of Blue and Gold

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Offline Richard Smith

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Re: Colors of Blue and Gold
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2022, 02:15:23 PM »

Russia Is Losing the War. Give Ukraine the Weapons to End It

This article makes a great point:

What has our 5.6 % investment (of our annual defense budget) in Ukraine gotten us? The through trashing of the Russian army. How is this not a good investment of our money?

The trashing of the Russian army is a great accomplishment. It greatly lessens the threat of Russia overrunning Europe. If Ukraine prevails, Russia will be greatly discouraged from going on similar adventures in the future. Their population may, to a certain extent, become pacifists, like the populations of Germany and Japan after World War II.

With the threat of the Russian army greatly reduced, I don't see why our defense budget could not be cut by 10 % each year., as we only concentrate the threat of China attacking Taiwan.

The threat of China is much less than that of Russia, simply because I don't think China's ambition extends beyond Taiwan. I think they just want to take everything that the old China used to control. At least, I hope that's true. In any event, reducing the threat of the Russian army should save us a great deal of money in defense spending over the coming decades.

It's funny. The same people who complain about the spending for Ukraine, are the same people who had no problem with our large defense budget over the years. I always thought we overspend on defense. I now think I was wrong. Other countries are tempted to use conventional war to get what they want. The Nuclear age has not made it impossible for an aggressor to wage conventional war to take over other countries.


Why is it the same people who are upset about our spending for Ukraine, were never bothered by the trillions we have spent on U. S. Defense?

This doesn't make sense, because our spending on Ukraine is clearly a good bet. A relatively small investment, with the possibility of huge savings in the coming years. Even if supporting Ukraine only has a 10% of success, that is, defeating Russia and reducing our defense budget by 10 % for the next 20 years, it's a great bet. Do the math.

I think the real reason, is that some people like to see the expansion of Authoritarianism, the expansion of Dictatorships. If Russia is successful, it may mean that Authoritarianism is inevitable, that Authoritarianism will eventually succeed in other places, like the United States. An appealing notion for those who support Trump.

And it is mostly people who have supported Trump who don't like our support of Ukraine, correct?

The same people who told us things were going well in Vietnam and Afghanistan for decades and we just needed to keep at it for a while longer and spend more billions are the same folks telling us this fairy tale about Ukraine.  The war has destroyed the country.  US bombs are being used on Ukranian cities, bridges, and roads.  They are killing Ukranian citizens and extending the war.  There is no effort being made to find a way to end it.  The money is being stolen by Ukranian oligarchs.   The weapons are unaccounted for and risk ending up in the hands of terrorists on the black market.  But some folks who stand to benefit are claiming it is all good.  So that's that.

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Re: Colors of Blue and Gold
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2022, 02:15:23 PM »

Online Jon Banks

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Re: Colors of Blue and Gold
« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2022, 05:37:10 PM »
Biden can help Zelensky, and Ukraine, by pushing for peace

If an enduring peace can be had through negotiation — and we won’t know if it can until we explore that prospect — then negotiations would be in America’s interest. That alone might be enough reason for Biden to steer Ukraine toward the table. But as it happens, such a peace would be in Ukraine’s interests — and most of the world’s — as well.

To start with some of the more mundane virtues of near-term peace: The war is costing America lots of money. And this spending is inflationary at a time when inflation is a big global problem. The war also fuels inflation in other ways, notably by constricting the supply of energy to European allies. And, as those allies buy American natural gas as a substitute, some European officials are accusing the United States of profiteering, revealing tensions within the West that could grow as the winter proceeds.

Meanwhile, every day the war continues, more Ukrainians die, and more of Ukraine gets wrecked. And every day there is some risk of a fluke turning this into a wider war, featuring direct NATO involvement. Even if such a war didn’t go nuclear, the devastation could be vast. “World War III” might be an overstatement — but it might not (especially in light of a recent report that China and Russia have a secret mutual defense agreement).

So, what are the arguments against a peace that leaves Russia in control of some Ukrainian territory? The most common one involves a goal shared by the United States and Ukraine and many other countries: giving Russia a big dose of negative reinforcement for invading its neighbor. This punishment could deter Russia from repeating such aggression and deter other countries from aggression by reinforcing the norm against attacking sovereign nations (even if, awkwardly, the United States has violated that norm — which is also an international law — more than once in recent decades).

Obviously, pushing Russian troops back to pre-2014 lines (Zelensky’s stated goal) or even pre-February lines, would be a powerful form of negative reinforcement — and the more powerful the better. But it’s important to see that, even without that, this war has been extremely costly for Russia and for Vladimir Putin.

Samuel Charap, an expert on Ukraine at the Rand Corp., recently said, “Russia has already lost no matter where the line is. Russia’s strategic defeat … is already a thing. That’s done.” The reason, he said, is the “astonishing damage to (a) their military capabilities, (b) their international reputation, (c) their economy, their capacity to rearm. I mean, Russia has weakened itself in the last nine months more than any U.S. policy … could have done.”

In other words: Even if Russia held onto all or most of the territory it now has, its February invasion would be seen — by it and by other countries — as a very cautionary tale, in stark contrast to its casual seizure of Crimea in 2014.

Of course, there is one argument against a peace deal that, especially from Ukraine’s point of view, is potent: Justice demands that Russia give back all the land it took. But that’s a compelling argument for more war only if Ukraine has a good chance of getting the land back through continued fighting — and getting it back at acceptable human cost. The current state of play on the battlefield casts doubt on that premise...


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