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On 6/7/2022 at 12:45 AM, Dead1 said:

By all accounts goal was a quick 3-4 day take over ala Crimea and they'd be welcomed with flowers and cheers.

After realising the Ukrainian military wasn't go to roll over, the Russians reverted to standard practice of mass artillery.

Also reducing things to rubble isn't just a Russian play - US levelled both Fallujah and Raqqa when fighting dug in insurgents. Also Hue in Vietnam during the Tet offensive.

did you just a) blame Ukraine for Russia destroying the country? and b) engage in a big ol' whataboutism?

The ethnic or genetic or religious makeup of Ukraine is totally beside the point. Last I check Ukraine was, like it or not, a sovereign state with an elected government and a accepted country of the UN. That makes them a country. And any other country do not have to right to roll right in and declare them non-worthy of exisitng.

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15 hours ago, Sheol said:

did you just a) blame Ukraine for Russia destroying the country? and b) engage in a big ol' whataboutism?

The ethnic or genetic or religious makeup of Ukraine is totally beside the point. Last I check Ukraine was, like it or not, a sovereign state with an elected government and a accepted country of the UN. That makes them a country. And any other country do not have to right to roll right in and declare them non-worthy of existing.

No blame.  Merely stated the Russians went in expecting one thing and got the total opposite.

Decision to fight in cities is Ukrainian though.  It makes military sense even though it's brutal on civilians.  If Iraq dug in at Kuwait City in 1991 instead of choosing to fight it out in the desert, the US would have suffered massive casualties instead of walking over the Iraqis.  US would have won eventually but Kuwait City would be a ruin.

There's many cases of this historically - Stalingrad is the most famous but its quite common - Berlin, Budapest, Caen, Ortona, Hue, Beirut, Vukovar, Fallujah, Raqqa, Grozny and now Ukrainian cities.

 It does make good propaganda too - destroyed apartment buildings, houses, schools, hospitals etc etc.


But fighting outside of the cities makes it harder for Ukrainians given Russian advantage in artillery.  


The UN rules are irrelevant to great powers who interfere as they wish in their "spheres of influence".  US invaded Iraq and tried to make it a puppet state.  It did the same in Afghanistan.  It destroyed Libya as a functional country.  It has allowed its allies Saudi Arabia and UAE to attempt something similar in Yemen where they are committing horrid atrocities with US support (according to UNHCR this is still the largest humanitarian catastrophe in the world). US created a non-UN recognised puppet state in Kosovo (not even recognised by all NATO states and still legally part of Serbia).  In the past the US has toppled at least half a dozen democratically elected governments since 1945 and there are some suspicions it had a role in toppling of Ukraine's democratically elected Victor Yanukovych.  It recently tacitly supported coups against democratic governments in Mali, Egypt and Tunisia.

NATO member Turkey is allowed to regularly launch military offensives against Kurds in both Syria and Iraq and has done this again in 2022 - though the west cares very little here even if the Kurds have proven a loyal ally on numerous occasions including recently against ISIS.

Similarly the French continue to massively undermine the sovereignty of former colonial possessions in Africa through economic and political coercion backed up by a massive French military presence.  In fact it only recently allowed 8 former colonial African countries to take control over their own currency reserves despite these being "independent" since the 1950s!  France still regularly uses military force in Africa to ensure its influence.

Or Israel with its constant undermining of Lebanon including 2006 invasion, illegal occupation of Syrian and Jordanian territories since 1967  and  continuous military actions against Syria (including incidentally allowing jihadis a safe operating belt just outside Israel's borders with Syria).

And indeed the Russians are the same - Georgia, Ukraine, influence in Azerbaijan-Armenia, military intervention in Kazakhstan, Moldova etc etc.


Ukraine became a boiling point because the US wished to expand its sphere of influence into the Russian one.  Syria is the same - a Russian ally being encroached on by US.


And no it's not a whataboutism, it's about systems.

The American and French examples show that it's not just Russia engaging in bad behaviour.

It is literally how the system is designed.  Even the UN actually allows this as the 5 permanent security council members have veto over any action against them or their allies.   And who are those 5 permanent members - USA, Russia, France, UK and China!

(Indeed China is probably the best behaved of the bunch given its main sabre rattling is on some previously uninhabited rocks and Taiwan which is technically part of China!)


People need to not look at things as simple and single issues but understand them as part of complex systems with a lot of tacit and implied rules.



My own take on Ukraine

They played a bad game and believed Uncle Sam and are now suffering as a result.  It's horrible for their people but they really shouldn't have poked the bear.  Truth has always been that small countries bordering large powers need to be careful and wily in order to survive and prosper and maintain their sovereignty!


As for genetics

No, it's not about ethnic genetics.  I discussed culture which is totally separate from genetics.  Indeed you could be an Indian raised 100% as a Corsican and your personality and ways of thinking  and culture will be totally Corsican despite your genetics being Indian.

Eastern Ukraine and Russia are culturally as close to identical as you can get.  That does not mean Russia should occupy Ukraine or whatever.  Indeed Austria and Germany share many cultural traits but are two separate countries.  

Countries are artificial constructs and increasingly very ephemeral.  There are very few countries that are "natural" - usually those based on islands with unified cultures eg Japan or Australia or ethnically concentrated ones (often due to genocide or cleansing) ala Argentina or Finland or Croatia.

Even modern Russia is a fake artificial country - only 80% of the population is Russian and some of that is minorities claiming it for certain benefits.  Russians openly discuss the potential dissolution of their country one day.    


Eg Dmitry Medvedev in 2005

If we fail to consolidate the elite, Russia may disappear as a single state. [...] The consequences will be monstrous. The disintegration of the Union may seem like a matinee in the kindergarten compared to the state collapse in modern Russia

Eg Vladimir Putin in 2011

If (Caucasus leaves Russia), then, at the same moment — not even an hour, but a second — there will be those who want to do the same with other territorial entities of Russia, [...] and it will be a tragedy that will affect every citizen of Russia without exception.


I would not be surprised if the USA wasn't a country anymore either by 2100 given growing cultural rifts.  One can foresee Californian, Texan and some sort of massive  eastern seaboard republics emerging as the culture wars and changing demographics wear down American cultural hegemony.

Finally assigning morality to international politics is fraught with hypocrisy and also irrational decision making.

Indeed if WW2 was really for "freedom and democracy" the west would not have let USSR carve out a new empire in Eastern Europe including Poland which was original casus belli for the war.  The war would have continued except the new enemy would be USSR (indeed some like George Patton wanted to continue fighting the Soviets).


Instead common sense prevailed instead of morality.  The Soviets could have their pound of flesh and the world would be at relative peace and could rebuild.

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I was just thinking that in order to avoid neck injuries during headbanging we metalheads need to evolve detachable heads.  So when you are at a gig you simply remove your head and headbang it with your hands!  NECK INJURIES SOLVED!

Could also lead to kinky sexual situations whereby partners play head swapsies.  

Of course losing one's head would be a literal downside.

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45 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

Detaching is relatively easy, it's getting it back on that sinks most first-timers.

Literally LOL.


I think the evolution would involve easy reattachment of the head,  


It would involve some sort of ESP or possibly wifi connection so the head can continue operating the body.


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Not gonna lie lads this idea sounds like a surefire way to get ahead in life…

Not gonna lie lads this idea sounds like a surefire way to get ahead in life…


Good news blood tests show everything is normal, so there’s nothing going on there which is causing my issues with migraines or insomnia. Bad news? The GP has no idea what is causing those problems, possibly an issue with the titanium plate which is holding my face together so it’s off for x-rays on that, otherwise who knows it could be another round of various tests. Right now the only thing I know for certain is my issues aren’t caused by my condition. 

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On 6/9/2022 at 12:18 AM, Dead1 said:

Instead common sense prevailed instead of morality.  The Soviets could have their pound of flesh and the world would be at relative peace and could rebuild.

Fairly comprehensive comeback. I thought Johan overstepped a bit.

Was doing research for latest project which made me consider ethics of dropping the bomb on Hiroshima/Nagasaki - as opposed to dropping it over the sea and saying "check this shit out, Hirohito!"

What the Emperor's culpability was for the war is an interesting topic. I don't believe he was a prime mover, but he died at a peaceful old age as opposed to having to put a bullet in his head and be doused in petrol. Or executed following a trial for war crimes.

Interesting to consider if the world would be a safer place now if the allies had marched on to Moscow. They could have even struck a deal with the remnants of the German Army for assistance. They had great generals.

Ha. Forget The Man in the High Castle. THAT would make a great alternative reality. And not at all controversial.

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I don't know if the world would be safer if allies marched on Moscow in 1946.

The Soviet Army was probably the best military on the planet in 1945.   When you consider its successes they dwarfed the allied ones in Europe (USSR accounted for 75% of all German losses as well as destroying large Romanian  Hungarian and Italian forces). They also swept aside the Japanese with remarkable ease in Manchuria.

The Soviets understood blitzkrieg warfare (deep battle in Soviet jargon) far better than allies who relied on attrition (Patton and his protege Abrams were probably the only exceptions in the allied camp).

The American logistic system was the best on the planet.  Their airforce and communications were also leagues above USSR.  The US also had atomic weapons.

Both sides were struggling with manpower shortages.

I suspect the Americans would have turned USSR into a radioactive wasteleand.


What happens after that is an unknown:

- No USSR so no Cold War

- Depending on if and how many nukes were used would there be nuclear winter?

- Europe is a wreck regardless but without Soviet interference, it would have retained colonial empires for longer.  

- Chinese nationalists win in China.

-Marshall Plan becomes an interesting issue- extending WW2 against USSR would delay it.  It would also be much bigger in scope as it would cover Eastern Europe (and maybe even whatever is left of Russia).  I think it would be unsustainable and far smaller per capita.

-Much earlier growth of neoliberalism.  Soviet commies kept the capitalist states committed to building up living standards.  Without competition of USSR this becomes far less important.  Remember even in 1930s US was still massacring and murdering striking workers.


- If US is left to rule the world without a competitor then no space race and technological progress in fields sich as computing,aeronautics etc would be much slower.  Eg the revolutionary  Boeing 707 jet liner owes everything to the B-29 Superfortress bomber and US jet engine developments for fighter and bomber aircraft.  The Internet was a defence project initially known as ARPANET which was first commissioned in 1969!

-No Cold War = no Vietnam and related counter culture movement.  That has a huge impact on west and world.  The world is by default more conservative.  This would imperil social and civil rights movements etc 

It would also probably mean no metal!


Basically IMO the Cold War competition forced western capitalist elites to behave better than they would have otherwise.


Remove the Soviet bogey man and this reason to compete against him abd you remove the need to provide working people with  a decent income and living standards.


And note since Communism died in 1989 that need to push living standards has stalled and in some western countries gone backwards.

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As for Hirohito and culpability, I would say to some degree he is culpable but so are many players including most prominently Tojo but many others.


I keep saying we ascribe too much power to individuals.  All individuals are part of a system.  Even the most authoritarian leader needs to operate within a system in order to stay on power.  Piss off too many power players and you get toppled.


Also individuals can only do so much.  It os impossible for a tyrant to make every decision and be aware of every issue.


I read about how in third reich many individuals acted on their own initiative without Hitler or Himmlers direct order.  The bureaucracies and systems swallow these up and drown them in mass of information and complexity that is difficult to navigate. (Not saying Hitler isn't culpable,merely that it is more complicated and virtually all within system were culpable) 


Indeed something people don't understand is that systems of power within organisations tend to operate on their own without need for active human action.


The way decison making pathways, information flow,  cultural pathways etc etc are set up leads to certain decisions more likely to be made than not.  Bias is built in.  It is whay causes group think.


I have worked in mid level bureaucracy for 17 years now and see this all the time.

Elected ministers, theoretical organisational structures and documented procedures and policies have far less influence than people think.

As it gets more complex the system evolves on its own and certain decision making styles are baked in regardless of whether they are good or not. Miscommunication or no communication becomes the norm.

Going against the system requires a strong, intelligent and charismatic leader with capable flunkies.  And this happens very rarely.


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