Welcome to March Forum
Steven L. Taylor
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog).
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Dr. Joyner mildly criticized General Milley for contacting his Chinese military counterpart regarding Trump’s deranged state of mind and ensuring them he would warn them in case Trump decided to “nuke” them.
I certainly hope there is not a Dr. Joynerovich in Russia who would excoriate one of Putin’s Generals who might want to insure our Pentagon that before Putin can end civilization, a 9 mm “ambien” will put him permanently asleep.
So, Dr. Joyner, will you similarly hurl the same misguided opprobrium to the Russian General as you did to General Milley if he were to back channel the Americans?
“Chain of command BS, undermining Commander in chief bla bla….” Is that going to be the pedantic argument when we are nearing nuclear Armageddon due to an unhinged lunatic?
I certainly hope there is a Milleykov in the Russian military brass who will never carry out a first strike order by a madman.
PS, bring back the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to assist Ukraine. Perhaps ex fighter pilots trained in non MIG aircraft.
@The Q: I did initially but largely reversed myself on the grounds that Woodward was likely wildly miscasting what occurred. Regardless, I don’t think the protocols for a representative democracy with multiple layers of checks and balances apply to an authoritarian regime.
I’m usually impressed with the writing at the Atlantic, but… this piece on Elon Musk sending Starlink terminals to Ukraine popped up in my RSS feed yesterday.
Not only is it a (poorly-written) hatchet job, it’s factually wrong is several key points. The one that keeps being repeated is
Except… Mykhailo Fedorov–Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister–specifically called out to Musk to provide the service and the equipment. Musk went through Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, who got permission for him to go ahead.
The remainder of the article is childish in it’s attacks (He can’t possibly provide perfect internet service to everyone, so why is he even doing this?)
Musk can be an arrogant, man-child, but he’s lending specifically-requested aid in a time of great need. Gods forbid that others do the same.
Very long and informative Adam Silverman recommended thread:
This is amusing:
Meanwhile in Russia:
Russia is temporarily halting the exit of foreign investments from the country, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has announced.
Showing an admirable determination to send the Ruble through a black hole of value implosion into a strange new dimension of worthlessness.
Congratulations guys, you just sanctioned yourselves!
@The Q: Does mild criticism require a walk back?
In law & ethics we discussed legal and ethical, illegal and unethical, legal but unethical, illegal but ethical. And when we as future credentialed pschyotherapists might be forced into such dilemmas.
You can mildly criticize someone’s behavior as potentially illegal while also understanding it as ethical an given extreme scenario.
Thank you Dr. Joyner for your response.
@OzarkHillbilly: Explains Putin’s comically-long desks.
Forget a Russian general foiling nuclear deployment, is it possible Putin gets the book depository treatment? Sic semper tyrannis, and all that.
I’m daily in touch with my Ukrainian buddy (he went back to Kyiv today, God help us) but haven’t contacted my Russian friends at all yet. Their social media feeds are silent. What is there to say?
Something that will get the attention of a lot of Russians: Russia banned from the Football World Cup.
And a close second in popularity IIRC is Ice Hockey; world championship being held in Finland in May. Odds are they’ll be booted from that, also.
People may query, why should that matter?
Thing is, Russian government has been minimizing the scale of operations, not calling it a war, claiming it’s actions are limited to “defending Donbas from genocide” with occasional references to “denazification”.
News about getting thrown out of these mass-audience events may start to bring home the scale of what is happening when people as “why are we expelled?”
‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,”
I’d rather be Ukrainian than a Republican.
A not Ukraine story:
As of today, the mask mandate for Dane County has (mostly*) expired. We’re no longer required to wear masks at work–though quite a few people still are.
a) It feels weird to walk to the bathroom or the breakroom without my mask.
b) It’s interesting to see who is and isn’t wearing one today. And more so: Of those that are, how many are wearing them wrong.
* Medical facilities still require masks, and individual businesses may require them. I’ll be stopping by the Asian food store to pick up more candy after my cardio check-up today, and whether it’s required or not, I’ll be wearing a mask in the store. It’s just courteous.
Xi Jinping declares Hawaii and Florida independent Is sending in troops to help liberate and defend them. Isn’t that wonderful?
Also I came across reporting of Pompeo:
Is it Pompeo that’s the moron, or does he just think his potential supporters are?
(Trying to work in a “Last Days of Pompeo” joke somehow, but my mind just isn’t up to it right now.)
Pat Robertson says Putin was “compelled by God” to invade Ukraine so Putin can go through Turkey to bring about the End Times by invading Israel.
@CSK: Is that dark humor or real? I can’t tell anymore.
Robertson appears to be serious. He claims it’s in the Bible.
“Is it Pompeo that’s the moron, or does he just think his potential supporters are?”
It’s both. He’s a moron and so are his supporters. And Mr. Midwest Rectitude was actually a California pot smoking surfer dude born and raised in the OC, till he left for college.
I suppose it’s the old Gog and Magog bafflegab?
I wonder when the land of Cush will turn up in the plot.
Or if Robertson might glance at a and map notice that, in this context, Russia turned right at the Sea of Azov when it should have headed straight on?
Poor old Vova, not watching the road signs again.
Thread, 1/6 –
Ok. Deep breath.
An oldie from 2017, Maria Butina etc.
” … Guns and religion: How American conservatives grew closer to Putin’s Russia … “
Uh oh. The big guns are coming out in the war.
Disney has cancelled future releases in Russia.
@charon: @charon: @charon:
I’ve been saying this for a while. Putin is a great guy, in their eyes, because he’s a “Christian” strongman who hates gays.
@CSK: Rod Dreher, for all his protestations that he’s not supporting Putin, has certainly been finding a lot of excuses for him.
(One of his most recent columns drew an analogy between the Ukraine and the poor hillbillies fighting on the South’s side in the Civil War (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”), which was bewildering to all commentators. Dude, think before you churn out your commentary.)
Terrorizing civilian targets.
Aren’t Dreher and Putin co-religionists?
My understanding of Dreher’s faith pilgrimage is that he was raised nominally as a Methodist, converted to Roman Catholicism, and then to Eastern Orthodoxy.
That comically long table of Putin’s has become a punchline of sorts:
I’ve been seeing a lot of don’t call it a “Russian” invasion because it’s just Putin and we shouldn’t blame or punish the Russian people as a whole. Framing it as a dictator issue and not a national one so don’t take it out on the populace. Problem with that is unless they start to really feel it, the bubble of misinformation and antipathy over there won’t change. The message needs to reach all of Mother Russia, not just the Kremlin that the world is *not* OK with any of this.
Why no, it’s not fair for the average Ivan to suffer for things they can’t really change but then again, it’s not fair for newly homeless Ukrainian children to hide from bombs either. War’s never been fair. What’s more, it’s not unreasonable to expect more from the Russian people considering the Ukrainians are giving it their all. There have been some protests but no real effect or reply from the people as a whole – it’s just not a thing to them…. yet. Make them feel it in the pocket book and social sphere for them to start waking up to what’s being done in their name. One off-ramp here is Putin being removed from power and this is how you get the Russian public to start considering that option.
The Felicity Ace has sunk. It’s Biden’s fault for pushing the vaccine.
@CSK: I still read Mr. Dreher a lot. I do believe he is working on this third true faith.
Do you think nuclear strike policy is an example of adhering to the principles democratic governance?
POTUS has authority to launch a strike, and AFAIK existing plans have been vetted for legality. But…
The worries expressed in the Nixon and Trump administrations imply that officials don’t have confidence in any checks on a President within current policy.
The authority of POTUS may often be described as unilateral, but SECDEF has to authenticate and those down the chain of command have to actually follow the orders. They are technically not supposed to follow orders that violate law.
It seems to me that many of our democratic features rely on good-faith actors rather than any real barrier to bad behavior. It’s hard for me to have confidence in this process.
It’s been reported that European former Warsaw Pact members, Poland, Bulgaria, and other are furnishing 70 fighter planes to Ukraine and Ukranian pilots are on the way to pick them up. It is probably too late to intercept the convoy on the way to Kiev, but as an old A-4 pilot I was drooling at the target rich environment of a 40 mile long, bumper to bumper convoy of trucks on an open highway. With fighter cover it would been easy for attack aircraft to turn that convoy into the “highway of death”.
IIRC, during the military standoff in the 1993 Russian Constitutional Crisis the commander of their Strategic Rocket Forces informed the west that he had ordered his command to stand down.
Whenever he does that he realizes he has nothing to say.
@Jen: Gawd that’s funny. And apt.
Dreher to himself: why say something in one paragraph when I’m sure that 47 more paragraphs is better?
That man needs an editor.
Here is an alternate view that disputes pretty much everything claimed in the thread Silverman liked and you referenced:
I guess we see in a few days who is right.
I don’t pretend to understand it, or really care, but apparently that’s a little complicated. There’s rivalry between the Patriarch of Moscow and the Patriarch of Constantinople. Also, speaking of Putin’s religion is like speaking of TFG’s, or Yossarian and Lt. Scheisskopf’s wife arguing about what kind of God they don’t believe in.
Dreher reminds me of some of the intellectuals like Bill Kristol’s dad, Irving, who started out in the 30s as a Trotskyite and ended up as a founding neocon. All the time searching for the true faith. I sometimes wonder if Dreher has a length of barbed wire wrapped around his thigh like Paul Bettany in The Da Vinci Code.
I still read Dreher daily because he represents a sizeable point of view, but he’s certainly been radicalized by the recent trans acceptance by the general culture. He’s a perfect example of someone who has changed tremendously based on one issue alone.
What’s more interesting to me is reading the comments at Dreher’s site*. Some of his most rabid followers openly call for a religious war. What’s intriguing to me is their insistence that their desire for a theocracy is somehow the popular positions – and is being kept from taking over the culture by “elites”, however that is defined. They believe their view of life – which is similar to that of the Taliban in many ways – is somehow a majority view in the US and the world. It’s stunning in it’s delusion.
*I’ve been banned from The American Conservative for calling Dreher out on his hypocrisy too many times. Add that to RedState, Lucianne, Daily Wire, and the Blaze as the places I’ve been banned.
@a country lawyer:
Poland has stated it will transfer 28 MiG-29s; Slovakia a further 12 MiG-29.
Bulgaria reports uncertain; some indication will 14 Su-25; maybe further 28 MiG-29 if it can get replacements (tricky for them as they currently don’t operate any other fighter; Poland and Slovakia have F-16’s).
Ukrainian pilots are reported flying them out of Poland to the dispersal bases in SW Ukraine.
However, that column is pretty likely to include a very high concentration of SAM/AA units.
Might be a difficult decision as to how much you are willing to lose to hit it.
@EddieInCA: No matter which of his true faiths he uses, my impression is that Mr. Dreher cannot get past his apparent default position that gay and trans folks are “icky”.
” It’s interesting. But, as it seems, the assumption that Russia advances with only one echelon is wrong. “
@grumpy realist: “Rod Dreher, for all his protestations that he’s not supporting Putin, has certainly been finding a lot of excuses for him”
He write a paragraph or so denying that he supports the war, then pages and pages supporting the war.
No spit. Never writes ten words when a hundred will do. (Actually, this seems characteristic of a lot of conservative writers,) The man must crank out a couple thousand words a day, except Sundays. Quality does suffer. He reminds me of Ross Douthat in that you get to the end of the stream of words and ask, “What the hell was all that about?” And yes, @CSK: , the Confederacy = Ukraine thing was hilarious.
A question for you military types. Given the advent of shoulder fired precision weapons, drones and helicopters aren’t tanks really an obsolete weapons system? Granted there maybe some utility as a mobile artillery platform operating from behind the front lines, but as an attack platform?
I don’t know how reliable this is, but if it is anywhere near correct holy hell:
“…the regular forces of Russia are communicating without digital mode, making them fully audible by everyone. ”
No wonder the rear lines are getting hit.
Can still probably “hedgehog” their way forward though; but how wide a front can they secure: may need to focus just on Karkiv and Kyiv till they win those battles.
One needs to wonder if Dreher isn’t a fellow who wears frilly panties and lingers too long over the lingerie ads for reasons that are different than most males.
As do I. Although it’s become more like not being able to take your eyes off a train wreck. That’s where I first picked up on conservatives becoming anti-corporate. But I’m not sure who Dreher speaks for anymore. Given the talent (minimal) and reputation (negligible) of most of the writers who Dreher publishes, I assume TAC is broke and won’t be with us much longer.
Doctrinally there are no differences between Russian and Eastern Orthodox.
I know Putin isn’t a Christian in any sense a real Christian would recognize. (Hence, I put the word in quotes here @CSK: .) But it makes the pro-Trump crowd happy to believe he’s one, just as they delude themselves that Trump is a Christian.
@JohnSF: One would certainly expect a convoy like the one shown in the satellite images to have a lot of AA. But from the images I’ve seen the convoy appears to be mostly trucks and BTRs (armored personnel carriers which hold about a squad of troops). I think that reflects the Russian’s awareness that they enjoy total air superiority and aren’t concerned with assault from the air.
Aircraft loss is always a part of the calculus. In Viet Nam the aircraft and crew loss in the North was high, but we continued to bomb. In the South where we had complete air superiority, loss of fixed wing attack aircraft to ground fire was negligible.
@charon: As with all things on the internet, you don’t have to look very far to find a difference of opinion.
I, too, was banned from Dreher. I pointed out that his comment section had a lot of unapologetic white supremecy rhetoric, and maybe you should police that shit up.
I see it as a badge of honor.
@EddieInCA: Yah, Dreher stopped allowing my posts through quite a few years ago.
For someone who claims “Live Not By Lies” he’s certainly extremely touchy about anyone who calls him out on mistakes, errors about law, history, or even people just having a different opinion.
Tanks have never been a “wonder weapon”, right back to their introduction in WW2 and their heyday of WW2.
Close quarters with infantry, if unsupported by their own infantry, in situations that don’t allow them to mutually support with machine guns (forest, hedgerows, built up) they can be surprisingly (and for their occupants, horribly) vulnerable.
Radiators, exhausts and track wheels are often weak points.
Main advantage is they can stand up to small arms fire and shell splinters and near misses.
And sometimes survive an AT hit or a smaller calibre artillery shell.
While their main guns can kill infantry carriers, bunkers, other tanks
As always, it’s a bit rock/paper scissors.
Helicopters are highly vulnerable to infantry SAMs and armoured AA.
Infantry with anti tank missiles are endangered by rifle fire and artillery shrapnel, unlees dug in.
My thought, and it seems you perhaps agree with it at least partly, is that Russia is a nominal democracy, and Putin is their elected leader. Which makes them responsible for what he does.
I mean, yeah, I didn’t vote for Trump, so don’t blame me, but still. I spoke up when he did things that were a problem.
I got banned from Lucianne.com for speaking ill of Donald Trump. That is not allowed. Ever.
(P.S. this is why I claim that Dreher and the most-woke-of-them-all are brothers under the skin. For all of Dreher’s protestation about being Orthodox, his writings show him to be similarly devoted to the religion of self-pity.)
That thread may be way pessimistic, claims of encirclements seem pretty inconsistent with these maps, assuming maps are recent.
There sure are a lot of people here who are into self flagellation.
I no longer read him as often as you do, but my take is a bit different. Dreher was happy being the voice of reason amongst the extremicists in his group when he assumed his world view was held by a solid majority of Americans. As it has dawned on him that this is not the case, he finds that his view of a moral America is not compatible with democracy any more, and that troubles him. But his basic tack is that it is more important that the country be governed according his world view than by democracy.
Is it just me, or is Putin looking ill? Kind of puffy. My wife thought he looked like he was on steroids.
Dude, we gotta get you a bomber jacket with patches commemorating each of those ba — ahem – – cancelations.
I do it in public, but not here.
That reminds me of him playing hockey a few years ago. Totally understandable that they didn’t, but I would have loved to see the goalie stop one of his shots or an enforcer deliver a nasty hipcheck.
Ease up on the kink-shaming.
Also, have YOU every worn women’s panties? I mean, for the men who like comfortable underwear but don’t want to spring for modal, the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual sale is like Prime Day for everyone else.
Well, at least some Russian support movements are having definite problems.
“The Ukrainian Army just captured a Russian TOS-1A thermobaric MRL”
And look at that field; looks like quite a few tracked vehicles have crossed it; and looks like it might be a bit sticky for heavy vehicles..
No wonder that big convoy is sticking to the roads.
@MarkedMan: Ah, great. Man with nukes has ‘roid rage.
He doesn’t look well, no.
@a country lawyer:
It assumes air superiority has been achieved AND the Ukes can’t deploy ground teams with RPGs and such, it’s a sitting duck for infantry too. Unless they’ve suddenly become grossly incompetent, and we can’t rule that out. There’s a thread of apparent madness running all through this magilla.
Have to wait and see how much of this convoy actually makes it to Kyiv, I guess.
You mean by reading all that crap? I really only look at Lucianne.com because it seems to encapsulate the worst of all the rest, sparing me the necessity of checking out the Gateway Pundit, Conservative Tree House, etc.
Related note: Half the commenters on Hot Air seem to be there solely to scream at Jazz Shaw Allahpundit, and Ed Morrissey for being Communist Trump-haters.
Russian finance ministry continues brilliant plans to maintain the value of Russian assets!
Russia bans coupon payments to foreign bond holders
Pure genius, lads, keep it up.
@Sleeping Dog: Both the Army’s Apache and the Marine’s Cobra fire the Hell Fire missile which has an unclassified rang of 7 kilometers. 7,000 meters is beyond the range of most ground based weapons capable of tracking a moving aircraft moving nap of the earth. Both of these aircraft can fire from a defiladed position, out of sight from direct fire. All that is required is a laser designation in the last few seconds of missile flight. This laser designation can come from another aircraft or an infantryman on the ground.
And yet more happy fun Russian economic news:
Swiss press quoting regional economic officials in the canton of Zug :
(NS2 is Gazprom owned but the construction and operation are set up as Swiss companies IIRC)
You can’t beat it.
Hear about the member of the Flagellants’s Club who lost his job?
They rest of the club had a whip round.
(Sudden though, is “whip round ” idiomatic in Westpondese?)
Sudden thought, dammit!
Edit vanishes again
@JohnSF: FWIW, this Yank has no idea what “whip round” refers to…
I kind of liked the typo, it reflected the feeling of receiving pause well. As in, “meat computer said ‘though’ to itself.”
AFAIK it’s not an idiom here. “reach-around” is but I doubt it’s the same thing.
Looks like despite their problems Russians now haw concentrated MLRS batteries within range of Kharkiv and are hammering the suburbs.
And what looks like a thermobaric strike on Kharkiv Training Base airfield.
Nope, not exactly, LLOL.
Usually refers to informal contribution to charity or to relieve hardship.
Maybe Putin is like the guy who hits his head with a hammer, because it feels so good when he stops.
The various “trucker convoys” are super pissed that no one is paying them any attention.
@charon: My knowledge of war is very limited (I’ve read some books). I hesitate to speak one way or the other on anything, only passing on things that folks who are in fact knowledgeable think are worthwhile.
Mine come largely from the user guide for Panzer General (computer game), lots of historic info in it. All about WW2 technology and military doctrines though.
I read this this AM, and that bolded part is not true:
@charon: Yeah Putin is about to get some serious war crimes on.
@OzarkHillbilly: I didn’t understand why some people are claiming they are prohibited by the Geneva convention as they have seen use by various countries over the last +60 years.
The USA has quite a collection of fuel air / thermobaric based weapons too. Ranging from the hand held SMAW-NE to full sized drop able bombs.
Reminds me of the Jane’s flight simulation games. The manual for their Longbow game was thick and spiral-bound, with a hefty section on the physics of flight in general and choppers specifically.
The US also used them in both Battles of Fallujah.
IIRC the international consensus on the laws of war re. thermobarics is similar to cluster munitions.
They are not prohibited.
They are lawful for use against military targets.
However, due to their wide area of effect, if used in areas with civilian presence, they are quite likely to in breach due likelihood of disproportionate civilian casualties.
And certainly would be if not being fired at a valid military target.
Especially likely to breach if fired in areas with civilians present using unguided rockets, as the Russian MLRS are.
IIRC restrictions are pretty much those on the use of e.g. artillery bombardment, or use of unguided bombs, etc in areas with civilians present.
Basically the crime if any lies not in the weapon, but how it is used.
I have been seeing a lot of pictures of damaged residential and other civilian buildings, Russia has a history in Chechnya etc. of that kind of thing.
On a topic that comes up here from time to time, Russia has responded to the EU sanctions by pulling their people out of Arianespace’s facilities in French Guinea, and said no more Soyuz rockets for them. Arianespace uses a fair number of Soyuz because they can only manage a half-dozen or fewer Ariane 5 launches per year. There has been at least an implied threat that the European Space Agency will be denied access to Proton heavy lift launches from Russia as well, whether already booked or not.
Guess who has available heavy lift launchers? Yep, pretty much pick a month and Elon’s got a Starlink launch (or two) scheduled that can be repurposed. And of course, when the Russians posed the question on Twitter, “Who’s gonna keep lifting the ISS back to proper orbit, and provide capsules for emergencies?”, Elon’s comment was just the SpaceX logo. Man, if Boeing’s unmanned Starliner launch now scheduled for May doesn’t go off perfectly, Elon’s going to be sitting fat and happy.
Same as it ever was. Machine guns are perfectly legal… Until you use them to mow down defenseless POWs. It’s not the weapon that is illegal, it is to what purpose it is applied to.
@Matt: Basically, they are a high tech Molotov cocktail.
Long post, brief excerpt:
Last time gas was $4+/gal here was 2008 as I recall. I guess I should be grateful that just a few hours ago I paid $3.699/gal.
In other news Denny’s shut down for good. I remember what a big deal it was when it opened in 1970.
Papa John’s out of business. That leaves at least 8 Pizza Parlors in town including one that opened in the past year and three local Pizza places that have been here as long or longer than the 54 years that I have. This doesn’t count the quick shops that sell Pizza Pies.
If I thought about I could likely conjure up memories of at least a dozen pizza joints that have opened and closed since 1968. Including my all time favorite the Purple Mouse Trap.
@Mister Bluster: As always in these cases it’s better they’re speaking up at all than not. But Jeebuz, where was Bolton for the last five years?
Going for war crimes for hitting civilian areas raises the question for places like Gaza and Baghdad, so we are unlikely to beat that drum very hard at all. Civilian casualties exceeding military casualties is something of a trademark of the industrial age.
I honestly don’t know how right wingers can watch Biden right now and call him sleepy or exhibiting any signs of dementia. That is not what I see at all.
I see Moscow Mitch has his disapproving turtle face on. 😛
@Jax: They watched Obama speak brilliantly ex temp on numerous occasions and continued to say he was an uppity … person who couldn’t speak without a teleprompter.
Hitting civilian areas is not automatically a crime.
If an enemy has forces mixed in with civilians, then they remain legitimate targets.
However, the means used against them are restricted by the requirement to avoid disproportionate casualties.
Using a single guided weapon to destroy a target is generally seen as within the bounds, use of massive unguided barrages and area-effect weapons outside them.
Barrages and area-effect are acceptable if the area is clear of civilians.
The Russian legal response (if they bother to make one beyond trollery) is likely to be response to dispersed forces.
Might be if attacking areas with infantry defences, highly dubious with MLRS barrages before even beginning ground attacks.
Tanks are cannon — direct fire, not indirect fire (like artillery). The US Army mobile artillery weapon is the Paladin, which fires 155mm artillery shells ungodly distances. Some of those shells, like Excalibur, are guided. The Army also has surface-to-surface rockets and missile systems for beyond line of sight targets, such as ATACMS and GMLRS.
If you want to hit things beyond line of sight, you don’t use tanks. Or helicopters, for that matter.