March 03, 2014
The Wall Street Journal this morning in a lead editorial says flatly that the Russian de facto annexation of the Crimea cannot be allowed to stand. That is because they are crazy...
He goes on from there. It's short but has a good deal of historical perspective so I urge you to read the whole thing.
Brian Wang has an nice collection of links giving a good overview of the problems the U.S. President faces in making good on his threats. One of the biggest seems to be that the sort of divestment and sanctions policy threatened by SecState Kerry is likely to clobber European banks. I particularly note that China is quite vocally supporting Russia. The fact that after making grand pronouncements of red lines and consequences the US did nothing is a precedent that China is no doubt very pleased with as it looks at the territorial disputes it has with its neighbors.
I don't for a minute think that getting involved in any way is a good or wise. I certainly don't think that there is anything the President could have done to stop this, nor was it in our interest to poke the bear over it. I do think that the loud and empty bluster was supremely ill advised.
The Ukrainians suffered greatly under Stalin to the point that they aligned themselves with Hitler against him. There are reportedly still elements amongst the revolutionaries who look fondly at those who did so, though how influential they actually are is unclear.
The Russians are securing Sevastopol, which, being their only warm water European port is as vital to their economy as the pipelines that cross the Ukraine. The Crimea and western Ukraine are ethnically Russian (60% or more) and so the Russian claims of protecting their own are not entirely fatuous.
This is a nasty business and it apalls me that we are involved on any policy level beyond sending some aid.
Then there is this piece that Ace linked to...which just seems rather....odd.
I know there are people who comment here who know a lot more about this than me...have at it in the comments.
Posted by: Mauser at Tue Mar 4 06:51:26 2014 (TJ7ih)
It's not like we can stop them - they're in their own backyard and we're certainly not about to provoke nuclear war over the Crimea, which at least has a plausible claim to being Russian. That said, Russia gets up to plenty else that we're not necessarily happy about, concerning political support for the likes of Syria. You'd think that we could cut them slack here (where our national interest isn't really implicated) in exchange for some slack there (where their national interest isn't really implicated, other than some arms sales).
A more aggressive administration would do so while noting that gee, all those natural gas pipelines, protecting them running through hostile territory is awful difficult, isn't it? (For that matter, we're perfectly capable of blowing up pipelines anywhere we please, and could probably rig it so that it looked like Chechens or something...)
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Tue Mar 4 15:27:29 2014 (zJsIy)
Sadly the recently discussed F1B is much too big and expensive to be useful as a replacement for RD-180.
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Tue Mar 4 20:08:52 2014 (RqRa5)
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Tue Mar 4 20:53:11 2014 (DnAJl)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Tue Mar 4 21:10:05 2014 (RqRa5)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Tue Mar 4 21:16:51 2014 (RqRa5)
For example, the vertical fin that I install on roughly every other airplane (I'm on the Surge line, and South Carolina barely counts) has massive titanium footings on it where it bolts on. And those bolts are Titanium too, all over an inch in diameter and a several hundred dollars each, since they have chips in them that tell you how tight they are.
One thing to remember though, Titanium is NOT stronger that steel, just lighter. Likewise, it's NOT lighter than aluminum, just stronger. That middle ground gives it significant advantage over the others.
It's just a real pain in the butt to work with. It's tougher to drill a hole in than either.
Posted by: Mauser at Wed Mar 5 04:48:46 2014 (TJ7ih)
Apparently a huge refinery in Tatarstan was on fire overnight. Although that might credibly be an ethnic-solidarity thing with the Crimean Tatars. I dunno, I'm not exactly clear on the exact practical relation between the Volga Tatars and the Crimean Tatars - it may be less than the apparent commonalities.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Wed Mar 5 07:43:58 2014 (1F2S/)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wed Mar 5 15:56:38 2014 (RqRa5)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wed Mar 5 16:12:03 2014 (RqRa5)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Sun Mar 9 23:54:10 2014 (RqRa5)
The air defence is especially poorly showing due to most of their equiplement being unusable. Fast replenishment is impossible with all of it being Russian-made. Measures taken after the 2001 shot-down of Russian airliners took their toll.
Second worst is aviation. Most of their kit is Russian as well, but they have some spares, flight-worthy aircraft, and ammo/bombs/missiles. They pulled their flight demo group into war posture and it formed the most fight-ready squadron. Still, their readiness is below 20%.
Army had the best showing men-wise, but they are plagued with broken equipment and a critical lack of fuel. Hopefuly they won't get caught with their pants down like their Crimea comrades at least.
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Thu Mar 13 16:34:11 2014 (RqRa5)
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