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Fri Mar 4, 2022, 11:35 PM

Putin, TFG, and a possible look into the future

The Ukrainians have done a masterful job of marshaling social media in their favor, and I think that the sanctions are likely to ultimately force Putin from office. Biden's numbers have been going up pretty dramatically as this plays out. I also think that the Jan 6 committee is unearthing more and more evidence of the involvement of the Russians at all levels with the GOP, and the wedge that's emerging between Trump praising Putin and Trump trashing Putin is confusing even to his base, even as the more moderate members of the GOP recoil from Trump's pro-Putin messages, which has the potential to hurt the GOP in the Fall.

Having said that, the situation at this point is very fluid, and things could go wrong very, very quickly. The first obvious thing is that Putin could push the nuclear button. Putin is not necessarily acting fully rationally at this stage. The closest analogy (and it's a damned close analogy), is the scenario of a hostage situation where the perpetrator has a bomb primed to go off if anyone gets too close. Stopping the perpetrator by any means necessary is important, but he could very easily end up killing all of the hostages if care is not exercised. The perpetrator does not care - he'd prefer to get out of the situation alive, but it's not necessarily a requirement for him.

The second question comes in dealing with the other consequences. A no-fly zone has been proposed, and I suspect it will become a reality, but it's a very complex process to make happen quickly. Ukraine is the size of Texas, meaning that it will be very difficult to respond to incursions quickly, and by setting it up, we end up with the scenario where the two world powers with the largest arsenals of nuclear weapons are directly shooting one another's aircraft out of the sky. Personally, I don't see any way to avoid it - Ukraine will fall otherwise, and once Ukraine falls, Putin will be in a far better position to attack NATO. Ukraine has been seen by both sides as a buffer zone for a reason, and the fact that Putin no longer believes that reason to be valid should give a good indication of his true intentions.

One point that I've not seen discussed. Ukraine has long been described as the Midwest of Russia. They supply about 60% of the grain and suet (fat processing) to Russia and also supply a significant percentage of countries from India and Pakistan to the EU. They grow wheat, rice, maize (corn), soybeans, barley, sugar beets, and rye there. They planted their winter wheat crop in October with the expectation that it would be harvested in early June. At this stage, it is very likely that, as the Russians advance, the Ukrainians will be torching their fields, and they WON'T be starting planting for their summer wheat crop at all. That means that by summer, there will be no bread in russia, no cereal, no vodka (made from Ukrainian rye). The Russians grow cattle and potatoes and that's about it, but there will be feedstock for the cattle, no processing of fats for shortening.

The sanctions are going to hit Russia hard. They have about three weeks of supply in their supply chains, but I expect that by now most stores are likely getting emptied as people start panicking. They have comparatively little access to funds even if there were goods available. Their aircraft are going to start running out of supplies for repairs, and fuel is going to be a big issue - already the supply chains to the Ukraine are effectively broken, and the Russian military there is having to live off the land.

By the end of March, there will be massive demonstrations in Moscow, St. Petersburg and elsewhere, and the army, which is already 90% consolidated in Ukraine, will have to be called back (by someone) to handle the riots at home. This is going to stretch the army to thin, and, unpaid, underfed, and increasingly fighting friends and family, the Russian army is going to fall apart. Remember that the average Russian soldier is just out of the equivalent of high school in Russia, was used to talking to friends on Instagram, and is now facing incredibly harsh pressures from their peers. They are not hardened soldiers.

I think it very likely that by early April, Putin will realize that the end is nigh, and will either try to escape by helicopter to a personal plane or will be assassinated outright. What he will leave behind is a power vacuum. I think there is a reasonable probability (25-30%) that the Easternmost provinces of Siberia, the ones on and near the Pacific, will leave Russia altogether, and likely will form a breakaway country. China will be delighted to help them, as it puts them into a position to make a claim on Arctic oil reserves, something they have deserved for a while. China might also try to coerce the southern territories such as Tuva and Alkay and Zabalkalsk that share a border with Mongolia into their orbit. By this time next year we might be talking about Russian China.

Longer term, Russia's going to be very unstable, even if Putin is gone, and that's going to play out globally. It pushes up the timetable for a US-Chinese War, it's going to destabilize NATO (ironically), and then there's the very real question of what to do with 6,500 nuclear weapons.

I'm not saying that this will happen, but I think that it's a fairly likely scenario given what's happened recently. I can't rule out that things will go nuclear, especially given Russia's willingness to hit a nuclear reactor.

Immediate implications for the US (beyond additional inflation): Trump's done. Between his devotion to Putin and what's being unearthed by the Jan 6 committee, Trump has no possibility of political redemption, particularly since i believe that his connection (blackmailing?) by Putin will ultimately come to light. The same may be true of Mitch McConnell, especially with the CEO of Rusal now on the lam and being sought by US and EU authorities. I expect that, as the sanctions continue, many GOP politicians who relied upon Russian money for campaign funds are going to find those funds drying up.

This will likely answer a question that I've been wondering for a while now. How is it that so many absurdly unqualified people have ended up getting elected on the GOP side? Where has the money come to run expensive campaigns for these people? How did people like MTG actually make it to Congress. I think we're going to discover, as those same supposedly deep pockets get away from the heat for awhile that they were laundering Russian money, and as that money fades away, so too will the destabilizing influences in Congress.

So what's your thoughts?

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Reply Putin, TFG, and a possible look into the future (Original post)
Metaphorical Mar 2022 OP
Eko Mar 2022 #1
relayerbob Mar 2022 #2
Texaswitchy Mar 2022 #3
2naSalit Mar 2022 #4

Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 11:47 PM

1. the war in Ukraine will drag on

putin and Russia with tighten down and keep going. Eventually (maybe a year or even a couple) putin will pull back from Ukraine, he will step down or he will be replaced. Russia knows how to endure, don't underestimate it.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2022, 11:58 PM

2. The FSB created an incredibly powerful psyop

Lots of people are truly incapable of independent thought, sadly especially in rural areas. At the risk of pissing off people here who are rural - I've lived there and in urban environments, and it is clear that a large percentage of the "cream of the crop" of the rural people leave, heading to places (cities) where they can get good jobs and enjoy their lives. Coupled with GOP attempts to destroy our education system over decades, this tends to leave vacuum/echo chambers that Fox (IMO, Russian agents) and cynical pols (also in some cases, Russian agents, or just greedy bastards) like to exploit.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sat Mar 5, 2022, 12:07 AM

3. Going to be roller coaster ride.

The Republicans were getting all kinds of money from Russia.

Remember the NRA and the little red headed spy.

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Response to Metaphorical (Original post)

Sat Mar 5, 2022, 12:17 AM

4. China...

China can/probably will supply things like wheat and other commodities for a time. I expect other measures mentioned will do their damage, though.

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