Friday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. CSK says:

    Don Junior is going to start his own news aggregation service, called MxM (Minute by Minute), which he vows will give Big Tech a run for its money.

    Perhaps it will be as great a triumph as TruthSocial.

  2. drj says:

    A bit of a follow-up on the latest Hunter Biden laptop story.

    First, the Russian Ministry of defense claimed (a couple of days ago) that Hunter Biden was financing biolabs in Ukraine. And now, of course, Tucker Carlson is lapping it up.

    But that laptop story is totally legit, because NYT, yada, yada.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Thousands of teachers around the United States are resuming a strike wave in education that swept the country in 2018 and 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.

    School districts across America are facing severe staffing shortages of teachers, substitute teachers and support staff amid Covid-19 disruptions and historically low pay, contributing to burnout and worsening working conditions.

    Over the past few weeks, teachers have gone on strike in Sacramento, California, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sonoma county, California, Riverdale, Illinois, and Proviso, Illinois, as teachers in other districts have authorized strikes. Earlier this year, teachers in Chicago, Illinois, were locked out by Chicago Public Schools over their demands for pausing in-person learning during a Covid surge.

    About 200 teachers at Summit Charter Public Schools in California and Washington – a charter school network supported by funds from the philanthropic foundations of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and other wealthy Silicon Valley investors – have been fighting for a first union contract since unionizing in December 2019. The move came despite opposition from school administration, which included the firing of three union-supporting teachers.

    Negotiations have been at an impasse since 2021, and now teachers are threatening to take steps toward a strike if a new contract isn’t reached withthe administration, which includes the highest-paid school administrator in California, CEO Diane Tavenner, with a salary of more than $450,000 annually.

    During the pandemic, teachers at Summit faced threats of pay freezes and layoffs.

    “If we don’t come to an agreement as soon as possible, our teachers are preparing for a strike,” said Janine Peñafort, a Spanish teacher at Summit School Prep in Redwood, California, and president of Unite Summit Teachers, which represents teachers at the schools. “Ever since Summit expanded their schools, teachers have had less of a say in the decisions being made in our school. I think that sense of powerlessness and our demanding workload causes a lot of teachers to leave our schools every year.”

    You get what you pay for.

  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    @CSK: MxM? I’m guessing “NXIVM” was taken?

  5. Kathy says:


    Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Mars Wrigley sued for trademark infringement?

  6. Kathy says:

    My odd question for today:

    Many cities on Earth (where else are there cities?) were built alongside rivers or lakes, or near or on top of other water sources. Not all, but a lot.

    When/if we build cities on the Moon and Mars, will the pattern hold? Are there even such sources out there for the pattern to hold?

    I know there are no rivers or lakes. But Vegas, for one, was built on top of artesian aquifers, right in the middle of the desert. I don’t expect these to exist on Mars, but there may be deposits of frozen water underground which might be just as good.

    And an odd thought:

    If dark matter does not interact wither with itself or normal matter in any way but via gravity, have scientists considered theorizing what kind of particle would be capable of such minimal interaction?

    It would be outside the standard model, naturally, as we know how those particles interact through which forces.

  7. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Probably. Though Trump Senior ripped off MAGA from Reagan, and TruthSocial from Twitter, so we know they’re not above plagiarism.
    “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand!”

  8. Mu Yixiao says:

    As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m part of the steno-pool an “Admin Assistant”. Most of us are assigned to one or two departments, but I’m the “Admin-at-Large”–I support about a dozen different departments. It keeps things interesting.

    A few things have dropped off my plate recently, opening up some bandwidth for new projects. For one, I’ve been tasked with taking over the newsletter we send out to dealers. I don’t have to do any of the writing, just layout. That’ll be fun (and something I have experience in).

    The other project I’ve been pulled in to (I volunteered) is the “Museum Project”. There’s a storage room filled with old documents from the first 20 years of the company–including things like hand-written notes from the founder and pencil-drawn schematics of (then) new/prototype equipment.

    Under the supervision of the founder’s wife, we’re going through all the old documents, winnowing out the useless stuff, and digitizing all the rest. I’ll be slowly working through the early history of the company. This is going to be fun!

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Many cities on Earth (where else are there cities?) were built alongside rivers or lakes, or near or on top of other water sources. Not all, but a lot.

    When/if we build cities on the Moon and Mars, will the pattern hold? Are there even such sources out there for the pattern to hold?

    Both the moon and Mars have underground deposits of ice water (and iirc in some deep polar craters). Man can not live without water or oxygen and hydrogen is a great fuel so yes, the pattern will hold. Even a colony that is not self sustaining will want access to the available ice water.

    Of course this assumes there will be technological solutions to the many problems associated with it’s extraction.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: That sounds fascinating. A little odd to think that the founding “documents” of modern companies have all disappeared. Not only are many of them on things like Slack, but the odds of more than one or two of those types of platforms surviving for 50 years is not good.

  11. Kathy says:


    There’s lots of oxygen on both, but bound to compounds on the rocks and soil (much of Mars’ soil is essentially rust, iron oxide). As far as I know, there is very little hydrogen.

    One option would be to ship hydrogen from Earth. Another would be to capture small comets, or pieces of comets, and use the many hydrogen compounds they contain. Still another, as illustrated by Asimov in “The Martian Way,” is to tow pieces of ice-rich Saturn’s rings to Mars and the Moon.

    The problem with all these options, and for using native ice water sources, is they are all terribly expensive. But that’s true of merely traveling to these places, never mind settling them.

    BTW, I imagine Republican plans for Moon colonies would require large shipments from Earth of coal and oil, so there will be fuel for SUVs and to generate electricity.

  12. CSK says:

    Manchin says he will vote for Ketanji Brown Jackson.

  13. Slugger says:

    @Kathy: There are never going to be cities on Mars or the Moon; those are extremely inhospitable places for mammals. No oxygen, lots of radiation, etc. There may be small scientific outposts, but the performance of this generation of Mars rovers makes me think that flesh and blood are not needed. There will never be enough Can-D to make it possible.

  14. Scott says:

    A little good news.

    Russia running out of precision munitions in Ukraine war- Pentagon official

    Russia is running out of precision guided munitions and it is more likely to rely on so-called dumb bombs and artillery, a senior Pentagon official said on Thursday.

    And they don’t work very well anyway.

    Russian missiles in Ukraine have failure rate of up to 60%, U.S. officials say

    Russian precision-guided missiles are failing up to 60% of the time in Ukraine, three U.S. officials with knowledge of intelligence on the issue told Reuters, a possible explanation for the poor progress of Russia’s invasion.

    Got to wonder about Russia’s manufacturing capacity, engineering capabilities, and general dependence on worldwide supply chain for chips, specialty metals, etc required for high tech weaponry.

  15. Kathy says:


    “Never” is too final. If we wreck the planet, we’ll have to go elsewhere.

    That’s very low probability. So I’ll say what I’ve been saying here for years: there will be as much infrastructure and habitation in space as is needed to make money off space, if any money is to be made there.

    Sure, some of that might be done via automation.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    At the risk of launching a thousand comments, I’ve said everything we know about “cancel culture” is anecdote. And that if real data were collected, conservatives are probably guilty of more than of it than liberals. WAPO‘s village idiot, Marc Theissen, inadvertently produced a beautiful example. He references an incident of heckling and protest over a speaker at Yale Law. I guess this incident is a cause celebre on the right. A senior federal judge emailed all federal judges asking them not to consider any of the protesters for clerkships. (Has anyone actually identified them?) Thiessen sees the heckling as cancel culture but retribution actually affecting careers as somehow not.

  17. gVOR08 says:


    Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Mars Wrigley sued for trademark infringement?

    IANAL, but from what little I know about trademark law, I think they have to. They might lose on the grounds that, as with Domino Sugar/Pizza, no one can fail to see the difference between a tasty candy and a tasteless website. But IIRC they could lose the trademark if they don’t defend it.

  18. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Teachers don’t have to go on strike. They just have to stick to the letter of their contract. This, in itself, will grind everything to a halt.

    Go home on time, no evening work, no weekend work, no supplies paid out of pocket, etc.

    Yes, I’m married to a teacher, now a school counselor. Because she is a caring, wonderful woman she works late, in the evenings, on weekends, and the Amazon truck arrives regularly with school supplies.

    I grumble.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ve seen articles about this sort of thing being a huge issue for librarians. It’s now easy to store and index much more data, but on what medium? Paper, and microfilm, last. When’s the last time you saw a floppy drive?

  20. Mu Yixiao says:


    When’s the last time you saw a floppy drive?

    Some of what I saw yesterday was old 8″ floppies that held the original code for the control consoles. That might be gone forever.

  21. Kathy says:


    Whatever takes money of Junior’s investors’ pockets and puts it in the pockets of lawyers and other plutocrats.

    Is it just me, or does the world seem more sad and disturbing than a minute ago?

  22. Kathy says:


    Maybe all the lost ancient super-advanced civilization left all their records in floppies, CDs, thumb drives, and the cloud, and that’s why we can’t find them.

    I actually lost several documents, not important ones, which were written on an Apple ][e in the 80s.

    I recall an article or two in the 90s saying records would last forever because CDs. Well…

    The other problem is that changes in file formats can render older documents unreadable, even if you have them on a readable medium.

    What I know of history and archaeology suggests the most certain way to preserve documents for thousands of years, is to store them on acid-free paper inside a very dry, secure vault, located underground in a very dry place (like Death Valley, for example). A moderate temperature helps, but it’s not really necessary. At that, things like parchment and papyrus might be more durable than paper.

  23. Scott says:

    @Kathy: I just had all our Hi8 tapes converted to .mp4 and put on a thumb drive. My next task is to breakup and label the individual video segments. Goal is then to send them out to everyone and hope that multiple reproductions of past events will increase the probability of survival somewhere after I’m gone.

    I’m also going through photos, slides, pictures on CDs/DVDs and basically curating them. Then print the most significant ones and put into albums for posterity. After that, it is on the younger generations to preserve them. Of course, they are being put in the cloud but that is just another risk reduction measure.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: Agree in principle but per the discussions I’ve had with TM firms over the years (admittedly limited) the website / candy distinction would take precedence. The real question would be, “what else did they TM for, other than candy? Toys? Apps? It’s not hard to imagine things that apply.

  25. Gustopher says:


    If dark matter does not interact wither with itself or normal matter in any way but via gravity, have scientists considered theorizing what kind of particle would be capable of such minimal interaction?

    If dark matter only acts via gravity, wouldn’t it cluster a lot more than think it does? It’s far more diffuse than regular matter.

    Now I’m wondering how much regular matter clusters just because it acts like it is solid, with a large empty space around the nucleus of the atom taken up by the electron shell — if dark matter doesn’t have that, it really is much closer to points of mass and wouldn’t get slowed down by friction of collision.

    This probably makes de styjl nervous.

  26. Scott says:

    More evidence that Global Warming/Climate Change is causing more bad events more frequently.

    Ice shelf collapses in previously stable East Antarctica

    An ice shelf the size of New York City has collapsed in East Antarctica, an area long thought to be stable and not hit much by climate change, concerned scientists said Friday.

    The collapse, captured by satellite images, marked the first time in human history that the frigid region had an ice shelf collapse. It happened at the beginning of a freakish warm spell last week when temperatures soared more than 70 degrees (40 Celsius) warmer than normal in some spots of East Antarctica. Satellite photos show the area had been shrinking rapidly the last couple of years, and now scientists wonder if they have been overestimating East Antarctica’s stability and resistance to global warming that has been melting ice rapidly on the smaller western side and the vulnerable peninsula.

    The ice shelf, about 460 square miles wide (1200 square kilometers) holding in the Conger and Glenzer glaciers from the warmer water, collapsed between March 14 and 16, said ice scientist Catherine Walker of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. She said scientists have never seen this happen in this part of the continent, making it worrisome.

  27. Jen says:

    I wonder how Putin will spin this. Hallmark of any normal military campaign, a colonel getting run over by his own troops. Just a morale blip, I’m sure.

  28. Flat Earth Luddite says:
  29. de stijl says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    SxSW is going to sue for trademark infringement.

    (I love Austin, btw. Cool scene.)

  30. de stijl says:


    No shit?

    Manchin is a bad D. But he is exponentially better than any replacement. He sucks. He is a major distraction. He’s a rat bastard.

    Occasionally he provides that one needed vote. I’ll take it. In a normal universe Rs should own that seat. It’s West Virginia.

  31. de stijl says:


    Dark matter does not freak me out.

    It is a doohickey we have not yet figured out, but it is a tangible thing. There is definitive proof. It’s measurable (well, measurable by subtraction anyway.) It is clear that some currently unknown thing is exerting force or else our concept of the universe is just fundamentally wrong.

    The photon slit experiment freaks me out way harder than the missing mass. I could be very wrong, but I assume we are going to figure out the missing mass problem sooner than we figure out quantum weirdness.

    It is a current unknown. It is not an unknowable. I mark a pretty clear distinction.

  32. CSK says:

    This is beginning to remind me of the postscript to Animal House, where we’re told that Douglas C. Neidermeyer was murdered by his own troops in Vietnam.

  33. de stijl says:

    I did not intend to, but I inadvertently sorta turned this into a cosmology forum by kvetching about the last Spiderman movie. I apologize.

    It has been fun, though. Very interesting. Informative. Thought-provoking.

    Take it back. I don’t apologize. I stand by it.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    OK, this is a first world bitch. We’re buying one of our kids a house. The paperwork to satisfy the underwriter was a week-long misery of tracking down completely irrelevant details, (hey, what’s this charge for $49? Huh? Huh? Culminating in a signing session with a notary that was worse than an autographing line. I must have signed and dated fifty times. Such nonsense. Such a waste of my time. Jesus.

    OK, that’s it. Just had to vent.

  35. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Tiny version of similar story. I filled out a medical form that asked for my signature and date, and below it had lines for printed name and date. I printed my name and skipped duplicating the date as silly. The paperwork person in the doctors office got really pissed at me.

  36. Sleeping Dog says:

    Exclusive: China’s Sinopec pauses Russia projects, Beijing wary of sanctions

    March 25 (Reuters) – China’s state-run Sinopec Group has suspended talks for a major petrochemical investment and a gas marketing venture in Russia, sources told Reuters, heeding a government call for caution as sanctions mount over the invasion of Ukraine.

    The move by Asia’s biggest oil refiner to hit the brakes on a potentially half-billion-dollar investment in a gas chemical plant and a venture to market Russian gas in China highlights the risks, even to Russia’s most important diplomatic partner, of unexpectedly heavy Western-led sanctions.

    Beijing has repeatedly voiced opposition to the sanctions, insisting it will maintain normal economic and trade exchanges with Russia, and has refused to condemn Moscow’s actions in Ukraine or call them an invasion. read more

    But behind the scenes, the government is wary of Chinese companies running afoul of sanctions – it is pressing companies to tread carefully with investments in Russia, its second-largest oil supplier and third-largest gas provider.

    Also Reuters has a post up that Russia has announced that it will scale back its efforts in Ukr and focus on the the Donbas region. We’ll see.

  37. Kathy says:


    Light (normal? luminous?) matter interacts via the electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions as well as gravitationally . This means atoms react chemically (or most of them can), they fuse together under certain conditions, and decay to become different atoms sometimes. They also emit, absorb, and re-emit other particles in the standard model. All this in addition of pulling on each other via gravity.

    Dark matter appears to do none of this, except pull on itself and light matter. But if it does interact with itself some other way, that would be entirely new physics.

    If we can detect any of it.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I disagree. When we wreck the planet, we’ll mostly die here. A few uber riche types may get people with technical know how to make escape crafts for them*, but those sad people will discover they have no place to go.

    *Provided we wait a generation or 6 to wreck the place. At the current pace, escape may not be possible.

  39. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I consider the $400 that I paid to a real estate lawyer well spent if just for her being able to flip through the inch thick bundle of papers and immediately pull out the exact forms I had to sign and date.

  40. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Well, at least it’s (somewhat) more deniable than a simple fragging. “Honest, Comrade, we didn’t see him behind the tank when we were backing up.”

  41. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Short of a nuclear apocalypse, whatever blighted hellscape we turn this planet into will be far more hospitable to human life than another planet.

    Granted, the wealthy and lucky few might have to exterminate the rest to prevent them from pulling down the walls or breaking the domes or whatever.

  42. Joe says:


    An ice shelf the size of New York City has collapsed in East Antarctica

    I have never understood how there is an East or a West Antarctica. At that point how is not all just North (coast) and South (pole)? East of what? The next most Eastern point just to its West? Or is this some orient/occident thing? The East is South of Asia and the West is South of North America/Europe? Any explanation welcome.

  43. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Think buying a house in California is a bitch? Try renting an apartment in NYC!

  44. JohnSF says:

    Become a Russian general!
    Interesting career opportunities for the highly motivated amoral bastard.
    Rapid career progression possibilities open to the not yet dead.
    And absolutely no need to worry about your pension plan…

    commander of the 49th General Military Army of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant General Yakov Ryazantsev, killed…

    …deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army, Maj Gen Andrei Sukhovetsky, whose death from a probable sniper bullet…

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Not to me, no. I was more sad and disturbed last Wednesday when I heard the radio ad urging people to call and find out how they could turn the equity in their homes into an investment in gold. Donny Jr. is nothing.

  46. JohnSF says:

    Other news:
    US /G7 lock up the Russian Central Bank’s gold reserves: = 20% of the central bank’s total assets, between $100 to $140 billion.
    Goldbugs around the globe shriek in dismay.
    “Fiat, bitch. Can you say it?”

    Also, I think I have a crush on Czech Foreign Minister Jana Cernochova:
    refuses to join Visegrad Group Meeting in Budapest because:

    Won’t “take part in electoral campaign (of Orbán)”

    “…cheaper Russian oil is more important to Hungarian politicians than Ukrainian blood”

    Is there any vaguely remote chance of Democratic prosecutors actually prosecuting anyone beyond the idiotic Q-anonic shamanic cannon fodder?
    ‘Cause if they don’t, the current Western solidarity could be in for a disaster in 2024.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Last time I bought a house (long time ago, things may have changed), Washington State required the services of an escrow lawyer to close a property sale (probably because I live in a socialist?/corporatist?–not sure which–hell hole). My experience was that it took about 10 minutes to finish–for me anyway, the lawyer worked on the closing over the period of a week.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: I was thinking the same thing until I remembered that meridians are numbered, so from the prime meridian, the numbers increasing in value (from 0? 1?) would be East and declining in value (from 359) would be West.

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: “Is there any vaguely remote chance of Democratic prosecutors actually prosecuting anyone beyond the idiotic Q-anonic shamanic cannon fodder?”

    I don’t see how it would happen, no. And yes, Western solidarity could have problems (again) in 2024. For lots of reasons. Democrats not being willing/able to prosecute insurrectionists may be the smallest reason.

  50. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    When we wreck the planet, we’ll mostly die here.

    Of course.

    But there’s a difference between 99.999999% and fully 100% of us dying. In the former scenario, some part of human art, history, and science can go on.

  51. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    IIRC, this is why you don’t wear rank insignia in the field, and SOP is that officers are never saluted. Unless, y’know…

  52. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Thing is, y’know, it might not be so bad to go down fighting against the Nazis or Putinist.
    But to get screwed by Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tucker Carlson?
    Or senators supporting purity laws?
    That’s just embarrassing.

    It’s like Britain in 1939 quivering in the face of the Moseleyites.
    (They just locked the ars@h@les up instead)

  53. JohnSF says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    Unless you’re in the Air Force, in which case it really shouldn’t matter all that much, unless things have really gone to shinola. 🙂

  54. dazedandconfused says:

    Prime meridian. It’s east for latitude to designate the equator as 0 degrees, but for longitude there was no obvious way to select a zero starting point. Way back somewhere it was determined (probably due to British naval domination) that the meridian that runs through Greenwich would be that. It’s 0 degrees or 180 degrees on the other side of the planet. Everything east of the line through Greenwich is “east”, everything west of Greenwich is “west” for no other reason other than that’s the way the Brits think things ought to be.

    The Brits are nothing if not arrogant.

  55. Kathy says:


    Is there any vaguely remote chance of Democratic prosecutors actually prosecuting anyone beyond the idiotic Q-anonic shamanic cannon fodder?

    Apparently only those who refuse to testify before the January 6th Putsch committee and are referred to the DOJ on contempt charges.

    Everyone else raises alarms that “if we do this, the GQP will do it to us on any flimsy pretext when they take the White House.”

    I bet they will do it on any flimsy pretext regardless of what Democrats do now.

  56. JohnSF says:


    The Brits are nothing if not arrogant.

    But only ’cause we have reason to strut, baby.

    It was a choice of us or the French.

    Eat it, froggies. 🙂

    Makes up for them beating us at rugby. Oh dear.

    None of it is serious.
    Until it is.

  57. CSK says:

    A friend of mine just emailed me from the hospital where she had her hip replaced. She says she’s in terrible pain and hoping that the oxy (-contin or -codone; I don’t know which) they gave her kicks in soon.

  58. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Tru dat! I’m astounded at the people who come in to buy $30 forms packet to do their own real estate transaction… On a $750k house, ffs!

  59. Kathy says:


    A lot of books and other works survived to this day because they were copied and re-copied many times over the centuries.

    The problem with digital and even analog magnetic media is that, unlike books, the content is not readily apparent. Centuries hence, the machinery to read it and display it may no longer exist, replaced by something more advanced. Then, too, some old movies are often found to have decayed and in need of restoration and transfer to new media.

    So the secret to preserving video, audio, and photographs, is to copy them to new media as it comes along.

    Years ago my parents took home movies on a super-8 film camera. They eventually had them transfer to Betamax tapes (yeah, I know). Those tapes are still around, but there’s no VCR to play them. I suppose one could be found. But for those movies to persist, they should be transferred to some digital medium now, and who knows to what else in the future.

  60. Kathy says:

    I think Orwell would be appalled.

    Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday that the first phase of its military operation was “generally” complete, saying the country will focus on the “liberation” of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

    I suppose that’s possible, but its sounds more like “This is the plan and it has always been the plan.” regardless of Mad Vlad’s ranting about denazifying Ukraine, and how Russia really owns that territory which should never have been an independent country anyway.

    On the upside, this may provide an off-ramp, with the loss of Luhansk and Donetsk. I don’t think Ukraine would be ok with this, but also wouldn’t have much choice.

    If this winds up being the case, then Ukraine should apply to join NATO as soon as the peace treaty is signed, and request basing US, British, French, and German troops in its territory. Because Mad Vlad will at least try to fix his army so he can have another go at swallowing Ukraine a few years from now (should he live so long), or some other Russian supremacist will try once the wars of Russian succession are over.

    And I thought Cold War II would be against China…

  61. JohnSF says:


    …an off-ramp, with the loss of Luhansk and Donetsk. I don’t think Ukraine would be ok with this, but also wouldn’t have much choice.

    The thing is, as of now, Russia does not have all of Luhansk and Donetsk.
    Only the c. 1/3 they held before.
    It’s been missed, perhaps because the front lines haven’t shifted, but the JFO DNR/LNR is where the arguably the best of the Ukrainian army has been fighting, and has been a area of particularly violent conflict.
    Along with Kyiv area and Mariupol, the JFO lines have been a meatgrinder for the Russians.

    A lot of commentary seems to be “once Russia has Mariupol, they can attack Donbas” ignoring the fact that the Mariupol fighting has inflicted severe losses to Russian forces and supply capacity.
    They aren’t going to have a force left to pivot north, at this rate.

    And as to “…wouldn’t have much choice…” there have been an awful lot of instances in European history of countries being presented with “you have no choice” and responding:
    “NO. WON’T!”
    Ukrainians have a tendency to stubbornness.
    It goes with the territory, as it were.
    Chances of them now signing a peace treaty that cedes Mariupol? Not high.
    Even if the Ukrainian government did, the people of the region are unlikely to observe it.
    If Russia tries to swallow the south-east Ukraine they are going to face a very very nasty insurgency.
    And one unlikely to limit to the region.
    Ukrainian spetsnaz hunting down Russian army officers in Russia, for a start.

    The other side of the issue is:

    …Ukraine should apply to join NATO as soon as the peace treaty is signed…

    Russia has already made it plain they want any treaty to forbid NATO membership; breach meaning war restart.

    The really absurd thing is Putin’s ridiculous delusion that any treaty can prevent effective alignment of Russia’s enemies.
    He really is a “realist”, and as unrealistic as most “realists” are.
    And doubly so for his delusions of Orthodox Empire.