Breaking the Ukraine Stalemate

Will taking the war to Moscow change Putin's calculus?

Some interesting commentary in recent days.

Harvard’s Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy (“The Morality of Ukraine’s War Is Very Murky“):

What is the morally preferable course of action in Ukraine? At first glance, it seems obvious. Ukraine is the victim of an illegal war, its territory is occupied, its citizens have suffered mightily at the hands of the invader, and its adversary is an autocratic regime with any number of unsavory qualities. Strategic calculations aside, surely the proper moral course is to back Ukraine to the hilt. As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told a gathering at the Yalta European Strategy meeting in Kyiv this month: “When we are talking about this war, we are always talking about morality.” Not surprisingly, he conveyed the same message when he visited Washington this week.


What’s missing in this view, however, is an acknowledgement that the morality of a given policy also depends on the potential costs of different courses of action and the likelihoods of success of each one. If we are talking about human lives, we must look beyond abstract principles and consider the real-world consequences of different choices. It’s not enough to proclaim that the good guys must win; one must also think seriously about what it will cost to produce that outcome and whether it can in fact be achieved. Although there is no way to be 100-percent certain about either the likely costs or the probability of success, refusing even to consider these features is an abdication of moral responsibility. (For a rare attempt to perform the kind of analysis I’m advocating, see a RAND Corporation report here.)


The moral case for pursuing peace—even if the prospects are unlikely and the results are not what we’d prefer—lies in recognizing that the war is destroying the country and that the longer it lasts the more extensive and enduring the damage will be. Unfortunately for Ukraine, anyone who points this out and offers a serious alternative is likely to be loudly and harshly condemned and almost certain to be ignored by the relevant political leaders.

Those who believe the long-term answer is to send Ukraine more advanced weapons and get it into NATO and the European Union as quickly as possible—as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman opined last weekend—have it exactly backwards. Putin went to war primarily to foreclose this possibility, and he’ll continue the war either to prevent it from happening or to ensure that whatever remains of Ukraine is of little value. It makes sense to give Ukraine enough support that Russia cannot dictate a peace, but that support should be tied to a serious effort to bring the war to a close.

Hardliners have an obvious reply to these arguments, of course. “Ukraine wants to keep fighting,” they insist—correctly, “and we should therefore give them whatever they need.” Ukraine’s resolve has been extraordinary, and its desires should not be dismissed lightly, but this argument is not decisive. If a friend wants to do something you think is ill-advised or dangerous, you are under no moral obligation to aid their efforts no matter how strongly committed they may be. On the contrary, you’d be morally culpable if you helped them act as they wished and the result was disastrous.

Of course, these moral tradeoffs diminish if you believe Ukraine can win at an acceptable cost and that this outcome will have a profound positive impact around the world. As noted above, this is the war party’s central argument. Given the disappointing (if not disastrous) results of Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive, however, that position is getting harder to defend. Hardliners now hope that more advanced weaponry (Army Tactical Missile Systems [ATACMS], F-16 aircraft, M-1 rifles, hordes of drones, etc.) will tip the balance in Ukraine’s favor. Or they speculate that Russia is running out of reserves and will soon be on the ropes. I hope they are right, but it is telling that these hawks are mostly silent on the issue of Ukraine’s own losses. To be specific: How many Ukrainians have been killed or wounded, and how long can Kyiv continue to replace them? This issue is vital to any attempt to assess Ukraine’s prospects, but reliable information on it is almost impossible to obtain.

The snipped parts in between, alas, are claptrap about Western provocation sparking the war and the usual talking points about corruption in Ukraine.

The Economist (unsigned) (“Ukraine faces a long war. A change of course is needed“):

The War in Ukraine has repeatedly confounded expectations. It is now doing so again. The counter-offensive that began in June was based on the hope that Ukrainian soldiers, equipped with modern Western weapons and after training in Germany, would recapture enough territory to put their leaders in a strong position at any subsequent negotiations.

This plan is not working. Despite heroic efforts and breaches of Russian defences near Robotyne, Ukraine has liberated less than 0.25% of the territory that Russia occupied in June. The 1,000km front line has barely shifted. Ukraine’s army could still make a breakthrough in the coming weeks, triggering the collapse of brittle Russian forces. But on the evidence of the past three months, it would be a mistake to bank on that.

Asking for a ceasefire or peace talks is pointless. Vladimir Putin shows no sign of wanting to negotiate and, even if he did, could not be trusted to stick to a deal. He is waiting for the West to tire and hoping that Donald Trump is re-elected. Mr Putin needs war to underpin his domestic dictatorship; any ceasefire would simply be a pause to re-arm and get ready to attack again. If Ukrainians stop fighting, they could lose their country.

Both Ukraine and its Western supporters are coming to realise that this will be a grinding war of attrition. President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Washington this week for talks. “I have to be ready for the long war,” he told The Economist. But unfortunately, Ukraine is not yet ready; nor are its Western partners. Both are still fixated on the counter-offensive. They need to rethink Ukraine’s military strategy and how its economy is run. Instead of aiming to “win” and then rebuild, the goal should be to ensure that Ukraine has the staying power to wage a long war—and can thrive despite it.

Much of the prescription that follows, alas, is pie-in-the-sky.

Kate de Pury, 1848 Magazine (“It’s not the drone strikes that are hurting Moscow, it’s the traffic jams“):

A few minutes into a taxi ride along one of Moscow’s main thoroughfares, I get anxious. The driver seems to be veering off in the wrong direction, and we are being swept along in dense traffic. “It’s quicker under the bridge and along the embankment,” I venture. He swears and taps the map on his phone screen. His navigation app flashes up different routes in rapid succession, then freezes.

Like most cab drivers here he is not from Moscow and doesn’t know its streets well: he’s completely reliant on apps to find his way around. They freeze several times a day now, he tells me. Signal interference is a problem for passengers too: when I try to summon a cab the apps place me at random spots in the city that are nowhere near where I’m standing, or simply say, “geolocation problems, please try later”

Swerving across busy lanes to get back on track for my destination, the taxi briefly passes the Kremlin. “They block the gps and we suffer the pain,” the driver grumbles. It’s widely assumed the Russian authorities have turned off geolocation services due to a recent wave of Ukrainian drone attacks on Moscow. Neither the cab driver nor I mention this to each other: talking about the war (referred to here as the svo, a neologism derived from the initials of the Russian words for “special military operation”) is risky in Moscow, and trust these days is in short supply.

In the first year of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the war felt far away and life in Moscow went on pretty much as normal. But since the first drones reached the Russian capital in May, the city has been on permanent alert. Overnight attacks have mounted. At the end of July drones hit a skyscraper in the business district, and the following month they struck buildings in residential areas. Now drones fly into Moscow and the surrounding areas about once a week. The campaign hasn’t caused significant damage or casualties so far, suggesting it is primarily aimed at creating fear.


Disruptions to taxi services mostly affect the middle classes (a friend who works as fashion stylist worries about being late to meetings and greets my suggestion that she walk to them with a laughing-face emoji). Disruptions to internal flights are a wider problem. Increasingly, planes are delayed or cancelled because of “operational reasons” or “delayed incoming flights”, which travellers now assume are euphemisms for drone attacks (or the signal disruptions aimed at preventing them).

This affects a huge number of people – most airline passengers wanting to get from one part of Russia to another still have to make a connection in Moscow. The capital’s airports are crammed with anxious passengers craning their necks to see the arrival and departure boards. Older travellers, perhaps remembering the interminable queues of the Soviet era, seem to be less agitated.

The first two pieces continue a theme I’ve sounded since the early days of the conflict, when it became clear that Russia was not going to have a swift victory: there was no obvious way for the war to end. That remains true to this day. The Ukrainian people have shown incredible resolve, reminiscent of Londoners during the Blitz. And the steady supply of Western weapons have allowed them to continue inflicting severe damage on the invaders. But, in terms of actual territorial gains, not much has been accomplished and there is no end in sight.

Walt’s insight that massive loss of Ukrainian life with no prospect of achieving an acceptable end any time soon is problematic, while hardly novel, is worth keeping in mind. But I’m more placated than he is that the Ukrainians themselves have made that choice.

While we’ve all seen reports that Ukrainian drones are creating fear in Moscow (The Daily podcast episode earlier this week, “Inside Ukraine’s Drone Attacks on Russia,” was quite good) de Pury’s was the first report that I’ve seen detailing just how much disruption they were causing. This is good news.

It is also a possible answer to the first question. Putin is willing to let Russians die fighting in Ukraine indefinitely. Perhaps taking the war to Moscow is the antidote to that resolve.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Scott says:

    In these situations, I always think of the Jacob Riis quote which seems to apply to a lot of situations in life.

    Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.

    I suspect this war is going to happen like a lot of things in life: Grinding steady state and then sudden collapse. The model is WWI where the Germans and French/British were at stalemate for 4 years and then over. Along with the collapse of the entire German Empire and monarchy.

  2. gVOR10 says:

    A trivial thing, but for the last week or two here in FL our GPS has taken to reporting poor satellite reception and freezing. I don’t recall it ever doing that before except in parking structures. I’d idly wondered if it had something to do with Ukraine. Anyone else seeing this?

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    If a friend wants to do something you think is ill-advised or dangerous, you are under no moral obligation to aid their efforts no matter how strongly committed they may be. On the contrary, you’d be morally culpable if you helped them act as they wished and the result was disastrous.

    This is like a problem with object memory for dogs. Show a dog a ball and the dog will follow where the ball is. But then put the ball under a blanket and the dog might have problems, depending on the dog.

    These guys have the same deal with Russia invading Ukraine. They can follow that argument for as long as its visible in their minds, but then put a blanket over it and the whole thing goesa away and now it’s Ukraine who is somehow provoking the situation. They just can not retain the idea that Russia invaded Ukraine for any noticeable amount of time.

    It’s very peculiar. Might be senility or how they expect the world to treat them, right or wrong.

  4. Modulo Myself says:


    Some thought this about World War I as well. The larger problem with negotiating is that Putin has no real way out except in fantasy. They could strike a deal to give Russia the Donbass and Crimea, and he could try to play it to the Russians as a victory, even though this is exactly what they started with. But Ukranians will need enormous amounts of assistance to rebuild their country. Where is it going to come from?

    So Putin will be left with a population who has to swallow the bullshit about this war and its costs plus a country on the border rebuilding with money coming from the west. I predict that pro-Russia freaks will be like well Putin should be able to assist the Ukrainians and not the EU and the US. Putin probably thinks this too. Meaning that the problem is that when you are so upside-down with reality, you can’t actually cut a deal that means anything to anyone else.

  5. On the one hand, Walt does raise a legitimate point about a broader calculation of loss of life v. moral considerations. On the other (and to the point of the snipped paragraphs), Walt also has a POV on this (which is that the war is to be blamed on NATO expansion, etc.) so in many ways this feels like he is just trying to win that argument.

  6. Tony W says:

    Moscow is a legitimate target for a country trying to rid itself of a pestilence that seems unwilling to respond to normal battle losses by retreating, and at the same time willing to lose lives and treasure pursuing murky goals resembling lebensraum more than anything else.

    Attacking Moscow will add a fraction of a percent of the injury Putin has inflicted on Ukraine, back on the area surrounding the Kremlin. This won’t affect Putin personally, but will affect those who keep him in power.

    At this point, if traffic jams are the sum of the inconvenience for the average Russian that Putin has inflicted, then it’s high time to make it more painful.

  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s an interesting debate topic whether NATO expansion is to ‘blame’ but it no longer matters. There’s a war on and how it started is for historians. In 1917 no one cared much about Archduke Ferdinand.

    Russian history is neatly summarized by that brilliant philosopher, Raylan Givens. “You run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. You run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.” Russia is the asshole.

    American and Western hostility to Russia is grounded in Russian belligerency and thuggishness. Were Russia to change course and decide to become a normal country – stop murdering people on London streets, stop fomenting coups and counter-coups in Africa, stop denying the legitimacy of the Baltic countries as well as Ukraine, stop being the louts they’ve been throughout their history – we could make peace deals that would address their endless paranoia about the Caucasus and Poland. Of course it would help if the Russians could for once actually be relied on to abide by the terms they agree to.

    Russia today is like the UK in the 50’s or 60’s, still thinking they’re the big swinging dick, when they don’t actually have much dick to swing. They are not a superpower, they are a regional power and thanks to Putin’s blundering even that’s in doubt. Putin has created the very problem he feared: he has expanded the border between Russia and NATO, he has placed the Caucasus in jeopardy. He couldn’t lift a finger to help Armenia. Russia’s weakness has been laid bare. It’s a sort of bloodier version of the Suez Crisis when two weak colonialist powers, France and the UK, thought they’d better just seize the Suez Canal and the real power, the US, said, ‘Nah, I don’t think so,” and yanked their chains.

    In any case, this is all working out great for the US. No one has any doubts about who swings the biggest dick now.

  8. drj says:

    Stephen Walt is being unserious.

    Let’s say a peace deal is struck that sees Ukraine giving up land and (some) autonomy for peace.

    Will Putin be satisfied or will the war be renewed in a couple of years with Russia in a stronger and Ukraine in a weaker position?

    If one listens to what the Russians themselves are saying (which includes calls to outright genocide) the answer is plain as day.

    But somehow the Stephen Walts of this world never go there. It’s all one big, bad-faith argument.

    ETA: A good starting point would be to look at Putin’s 2021 article “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” which lays out the argument that Russia will never be satisfied until Ukraine is reunited with Russia proper.

    And that is, let’s say, the mild version of official Russian discourse.

  9. gVOR10 says:

    @Tony W: I don’t know if attacking Moscow is morally right or will be effective in pressuring Putin or making the war visible to average Russians. I am pretty sure it’s diverting Russian air defense assets from Ukraine.

  10. Erik says:

    It would be helpful to know which moral theory/framework forms the basis for these arguments, since evaluation of the moral logic being applied depends on that context and the goals of that theory. Often disagreements framed in moral terms have more to do with conflict over the priority of goals than over means to achieve them, but the actual argument centers on means with the goals barely implied, leading people to talk past each other.

  11. JohnMc says:

    Ukrainians would point to lists of locals marked for torture and death among many other premeditated crimes and ask Prof Walt to account for the morality of not resisting Russian domination over a single Ukrainian person or place.

  12. Andy says:

    Morals have an important part to play in foreign affairs, but it would be foolish to let moral calculations dominate.

    Secondly, war itself requires setting aside the normal morals of human society, even for countries that are subject to an invasion, like Ukraine. Even the “good guys” have to make moral compromises and often end up engaging in immoral acts. War does that.

    So, I’m skeptical of attempts at calculating what is the most moral or least immoral path forward in either direction. Such calculations are inevitably based on subjective criteria and priorities.

    As for the course of the war, my analysis is basically unchanged. Neither side has the ability to win decisively. I think that’s why all these WWI theories are now so popular. But WWI isn’t the only model or historical example. I get that many hope that Russia is fragile and will crack, but that is just a hope. It could be Ukraine that cracks. Or – more likely IMO – this will be like many historical conflicts over peoples and borders – they may not be resolved for decades or maybe never. As a technical matter, this war began in 2014, so it’s already almost a decade old.

    As for what the US should do, I’ll keep coming back to the issue of sustainment that I’ve been harping on for well over a year now. The ability for us to supply Ukraine out of stockpiles is not sustainable – as should be obvious – and we’ve already run out of key munitions. If we are to continue or increase the present level of support, that means huge investments in military production, which cost a shit-ton of money, and have lengthy time horizons. It’s the same with Europe, whose collective defense production is anemic. Most people still seemingly do not understand that this type of conflict is a black hole for people, materials, and resources, and it’s why most governments have to implement a war economy to sustain the fight. Is there a political will here in the US to do that? I have my doubts. And I especially have my doubts about Europe, which has a long history of underinvestment.

    It should also be noted that there’s a tendency of many in the West to focus on tech-fetish WRT Western equipment. As most military experts will tell you, the human factor matters more – training, employment, tactics, and strategy. Fancy gear doesn’t mean much without the training, skill, and will to use it – which should now be obvious given the experience of the offensives by both Ukraine and Russia to this point.

    It is also a possible answer to the first question. Putin is willing to let Russians die fighting in Ukraine indefinitely. Perhaps taking the war to Moscow is the antidote to that resolve.

    The ghost of Giulio Douhet lives on I guess. The history of attacking cities to win wars by causing the population to turn against their government doesn’t give much hope for that. The effect could well be the opposite, as history has shown many times.

  13. Gustopher says:

    The snipped parts in between, alas, are claptrap about Western provocation sparking the war and the usual talking points about corruption in Ukraine.

    I think the war will end up being won or lost on the propaganda front in the US.

    Between the right wing being openly pro-Putin, to the “why are we spending money on Ukraine when we have this other problem we have never considered bothering to address like homeless veterans”, to the Lefty McLefterson tankie belief that “it’s all because of US imperialism expending NATO to Russia’s borders and the US can do no right so the best thing would be if we did nothing”… there’s an argument for everyone.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the made up claims about Joe Biden are focusing on Ukraine. Hunter profited from the family name in China too, but tying Ukraine to the made up claims about Joe is just another way to get people exhausted about Ukraine and whittle away support. It’s “her emails” all over again*. Just make everything touching Ukraine feel toxic.

    And I don’t see a counter-offensive on this propaganda front.

    Drone attacks on Moscow are fine. Traffic jams in Moscow are fine. I’m not sure it moves the needle fast enough.

    I would want to ratchet up the pressure by attacking the people who actually support Putin — how many dead oligarchs before they want a swift end to the war?

    *: I can still remember that palpable, physical feeling of exhaustion when the Comey letter came out. That “I don’t want to deal with this Clinton shit any more” thought. I voted for her anyway, but with a chill down my spine at the thought of all the people who wouldn’t.

  14. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Michael Reynolds: While we’re on the topic of assholes, Putin’s rhetoric reminds me of a story one of my co-workers once told me. It seems there was a supervisor who frequently ranted about the “assholes” he had to work with. One Friday, he was on a tear: “Assholes! Assholes! Why am I surrounded by assholes?” From another cubicle, a ghostly voice said, “Because you’re a turd.” But I doubt it changed his behavior and Putin won’t change either.

  15. JohnSF says:

    Walt is, once again, being the IR theorist getting smacked in the face by the wet fish of historical reality.
    Ukrainian (and for that matter, European) agency is central.
    What, for instance, happens if the US presses Ukraine to make peace by threatening an aid shut-off, and Ukraine tells Washington to go sit on it, and makes that threat public?

    As regards the drone attacks on Moscow, and other targets in Russia, the current situation is only the fore-shadowing of what may be coming.
    It is often forgotten Ukraine is a considerable industrial and technological power in it’s own right. And was a major area of missile production for the Soviet Union.
    Their current Neptune cruise missile has already been used to sink the Moskva, and destroy Russia’s main S-400 air defence system in Crimea.
    Much more effective than anything Russian cruise missiles have achieved.
    There have been reports since 2015 of Ukraine working on an extended range version, capable of reaching Moscow.
    And also the Hrim-2 ballistic missile, with a 500km range.

    Ukraine has already effectively crippled the Russian Black Sea Fleet and seriously degraded Crimean air defences.

    As for the land battle front. after an initial try at a breach, Ukraine seems to be trying for a positional advantage: to gain sufficient ground in key areas to bring crucial transport points within GLMRS range, while the launchers are outside the range of Russian guns.
    It’s a slow, incremental process. But it seems to working.
    And once achieved, will make the Russian southern salient extremely difficult to sustain.

  16. DK says:

    Putin went to war primarily to foreclose this possibility, and he’ll continue the war either to prevent it from happening or to ensure that whatever remains of Ukraine is of little value.

    Putin himself has refuted this by openly admitting the real motives behind his imperialistic warmongering: his belief that Ukraine and other former Soviet states do not have a right to exist independent of Russia.

    Putin could not have attacked Kyiv in 2022 to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, because Ukraine was not then NATO-eligible and had not been so for the duration of Putin’s dictatorship. Prior to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2013, Ukraine was a Russian satellite state, and thus could not have joined NATO except by Putin’s assent. From 2013 on, Ukraine has been at war with Russia and thus NATO-ineligible. As Putin knows.

    Per usual for this congenital liar who reigns over a culture of lies: Putin was lying. Until, in a rare fit of emotion, he let the mask slip.

  17. DK says:


    What, for instance, happens if the US presses Ukraine to make peace by threatening an aid shut-off, and Ukraine tells Washington to go sit on it, and makes that threat public?

    Answer: the US and Europe will be revealed to be feckless in the face of authoritarian imperialism — giving a greenlight to Russia and China to attack more neighbors.

    Those who think abandoning Ukraine will result in peace do not understand human psychology. Abandoning Ukraine now will likely lead to more war in more places. Such talk is premature.

    One, with or without our support, Ukrainians will not soon stop fighting for the right to control their own destiny.

    Two, once Putin sees that it took less than two years for transatlantic resolve to crumble — despite the war’s relatively low cost to the West — he’d be a tactical fool to not ramp up his genocidal campaign. He’d have every reason to believe NATO is a paper tiger and try to swallow the Baltic states.

    In either case — wholesale slaughter Ukrainians or a Russian attack on a NATO member state — the US would be prompted to intervene, this time with American boots on the ground.

    Three, Putin’s good buddy Xi, observing Western weakness and Russian success, will go ahead and attack Taiwan. Because why not? If the West greenlights the annihilation of white people, you can be sure we won’t give a damn about the Taiwanese.

    Given that the US is spending less than 5% of our yearly defense budget on Ukraine, those who want this war to end sooner rather than later should actually be encouraging NATO signatories to dramatically increase defense production and Ukranian assistance. NATO members can absolutely afford to do so.

    Do we have the strength and strategic intelligence to do what needs to be done? That verdict is out.

    It’s a good thing our parents, grands, and greats were around to push back on the Third Reich’s bloodthirsty expanionism. Were if left up to us, we’d all be speaking Deutsch and writing Kanji.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    Russia has security concerns that would be legitimate if the concerns were not of their own making. Russia really is damned hard to defend in the west and almost as bad in the Caucasus where the Turkey-Azerbaijan alliance is legit scary. Turkey may soon be, if it isn’t already, the dominant naval power in the Black Sea. That’s oil and natural gas and pipelines and exports out of the ‘Stans, there’s a lot for the Russians to worry about. They’re also setting the stage to lose Belarus which you’ll notice is not rushing to send its own forces into the meat grinder.

    But again, these are all concerns because Russia is the belligerent drunk at the end of the bar yelling, ‘Come at me, bro!’ No one is looking for trouble with them, nobody wants European Russia, but they don’t seem able to be anything but thugs.

    The real fear for Russia should be China. Millions of Chinese are pressed right up near the Russian border facing a handful of Russians sitting on trillions of dollars of resources. Russia is broke, backward, and losing population with no real prospect of making it up through immigration. They don’t have anything like the ability to defend that eastern border if the Chinese want to carve off a few pieces. It’d be nukes or surrender and nothing in between.

  19. dazedandconfused says:

    I don’t agree with “it’s not working”. IMO this war is still in the attrition phase. What counts is the damage each side is doing to each other’s assets, particlary artillery, not how the lines on the map are moving. The important information is being kept strictly withheld by both sides. All we get is the map. We don’t know if it’s “working”, and only a few people deep inside the military for each side have a valid opinion and they aren’t saying anything.

    Morality takes a back seat on the issue of pelting Moscow, what counts is what works and what doesn’t. If the goal is to rally the Russian people behind their leaders, start bombing civilians in Russia. This will silence whatever dissent there is and enable Putin to go to full mobilization. If that is not the goal? Don’t do it. Instead just inconvenience them with carefully targeted occasional small drone attacks, make the Russians keep a lot of AA assets up there, as they are now.

  20. JohnSF says:

    Meanwhile, Walt’s old wingman John Mearsheimer continues to circle closer to the plughole.
    He is now turning up on Aaron Mate and Max Blumenthal’s ‘The Grayzone’, and didbarrend lawyer Andrew Mercouris’s “The Duran”, and citing the ludicrous “Big Serge”:

    As one highly knowledgeable blogger on military affairs

    Soon to star on a 4Chan near you!
    Reputation self-destruction to rival that achieved by Seymour Hersh.

  21. Jay L Gischer says:

    I see two possible stable endings to this conflict:

    1. Russia conquers Ukraine, dissolves its government, and annexes it’s territory.
    2. Russia capitulates in a way that makes it clear that they don’t think they can or want to do this sort of thing any more.

    Anything else ends up with Ukraine looking like Korea. That can be called “stable” only because it’s an armed camp, with lots of US forces there as a trip wire, and US weapons aimed at Pyonyang, just in case some Kim or another gets ideas.

    I mean, yeah, somebody might think that’s a good answer, I guess.