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Ghost of LL

Burnt Ends
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Everything posted by Ghost of LL

  1. Whoa--that's not right. Kissinger told the Nixon campaign about the status of the peace talks. It was Nixon who used that information to sabotage the talks. Let's not let our enthusiasm for denouncing Kissinger absolve Nixon of his manifold wrongdoings.
  2. Yeah. You know, everyone seems to have celebrated Kissinger's death, without anyone really explaining or identifying what he did to deserve such celebration. And I have to admit that I don't fully grasp it. So he advocated for the bombing of Cambodia. Yeah--the United States shouldn't have done that. I mean, the North Vietnamese shouldn't have been using neutral Cambodia as a transport route and a base of operations. But still--it's not great. But Kissinger wasn't the president who ordered the bombing. It's Nixon who bears the responsibility for that. And the manner in which the bombing was carried out--which I think can be fairly described as "indiscriminate"--was a military decision. The USAF, not Kissinger, bears responsibility for that. So I guess I'm a bit "meh" about Kissinger in the grand pantheon of deaths that I will celebrate. But obviously, I may be woefully ill-informed on the issue, so I welcome any education coming my way.
  3. The "murder appears to be violent"? Really? A murder may have been violent? Please tell me more.
  4. Is it really your contention that the Russian military is stronger today than it was on February 1, 2022? Are you contending that the Russian military is comparatively stronger vis-a-vis Nato than it was on February 1, 2022? And to the extent you're contending that the Russian military is stronger either in absolute or comparative terms, on what evidence are you basing that? When you say "they've had to adapt to this new kind of warfare," what evidence of such adaptation are you seeing? Where have those adaptations been successful? Because Russia's war aim continues to be the conquest of Ukraine. But for 20 months, they haven't had any meaningful gains. That doesn't reflect any successful adaptation to me. The reality for any objective observer is that this war is weakening Russia in every way. Russia may not be losing. But it's not winning. And for Russia, that is losing.
  5. And thank you, Aaron Rodgers, for demonstrating that no rational person could think Texas doesn't deserve to be in the CFP and that the only reason one would argue otherwise is a manic hatred of the Longhorns.
  6. That didn't really bother us when we invaded Grenada.
  7. Battle doesn't harden an army that suffers the casualties that the Russian Army has suffered. Would you say that the United States Army was "battle tested" in 1974? Fuck no, you wouldn't. The United States Army in 1974 was severely degraded, and that's after having suffered 50,000 dead in ten years, not 70,000 in 20 months. The Ukrainian Army is also battle degraded. And the Ukrainian nation is suffering mightily. Their interest is for this war to successfully end at the earliest possible time. So from that standpoint, the interests of Ukraine diverge somewhat from the interests of the United States.
  8. The very best thing that can be said about Russia's current status is that it is not losing strategically significant territory and it may make marginal gains from time to time. But overall the front could properly be characterized as "static." And from an American standpoint, that's fine. I know a lot of people are emotionally invested in Ukraine and fervently hope that the Ukrainians will be able to expel the invaders from the whole of its territory. But speaking purely of America's interests here and being completely dispassionate, the current status quo benefits us more than an unequivocal Ukrainian victory would. Right now, while Russia is bogged down in Ukraine, it is unable to threaten any of our Nato allies. Even the Baltic countries, which the Pentagon has always worried could not be readily defended in the event of an invasion, now face no realistic threat from Russia. An end to the war would mean that Russia would have a chance to rebuild and replenish its military. But for now, it has to increase its budget just to keep up with the stocks it is losing on a daily basis to the Ukrainians. Russia is militarily weaker than it was in January 2022, and that decline is continuing. And the decline isn't just military. It's economic and diplomatic. The sanctions haven't had the crushing effect for which one might have hoped. But they've had an effect all the same. The Russian economy is stagnant; inflation is high. That's right, friends--it's the Fed's great fear: stagflation. And there's not a damned thing the central bank can do about it. Russia certainly can't sell weapons on the international market; nobody wants their garbage. At the same time, Russia's military ineffectiveness means its diplomatic stature is decreasing. Everywhere from Kazakhstan to Armenia, its former satellites are exerting their independence. And maybe once upon a time, someone might have given a fuck about Russia's position on Gaza or Venezuela; now, nobody does. All of Russia's losses have worked to the benefit of the United States. Russia's losses in the international arms market are being picked up by American manufacturers. Russia's diminishing diplomatic stature has been filled by an increased American role in the Caucasus and Central Asia. American O&G producers are making up for the loss of Russian hydrocarbons on the international market. America's allies are finally realizing that they need to contribute to allied defense. And all this is being accomplished at virtually no cost. The United States spends money that . . . goes to American defense contractors. We get a jobs program; Russia gets dead people. Why would we want this to stop? And I think the answer from the position of the United States Government is, "we don't." So, yeah, @Ken Griffey Jr--Russia is doing just great. As an American, I kind of hope Russia keeps doing this great indefinitely.
  9. I don't love that, because then the Venezuelans will frame their aggression as being a reaction to Anglo-American imperialism in the form of a base being built on Venezuela's borders. And while that may be bullshit, it'd gain a lot of traction around Latin America and undermine our ability to build a broader CONMEBOL coalition to counter the Venezuelan aggression. It'd be far better to let the Brazilians take the lead. And to the extent Brazil needs support, we can provide that covertly.
  10. Only aggy would describe us as being "the Cal-Berkeley/Stanford of the east" and consider it to be a pejorative.
  11. The UK does have the ability to project power . . . or at least enough power as would be necessary to fight off Venezuela. The Royal Navy has two active carriers, each of which has more than enough combat capability to destroy the Venezuelan Air Force is pretty short order. The challenge, then, is ground support in a jungle environment against a non-mechanized adversary. And as the USAF demonstrated in Vietnam, that presents some challenges. That's where the Brazilian ground forces come in. And yeah--they do have an interest there. As the Fish points out above, Brazil has a strong interest in keeping their road through Guyana to the Caribbean ports open. And yeah--it is their road. It was built with Brazilian money and serves primarily Brazilian interests. It's the same way it's "our Canal," irrespective of Panamanian sovereignty. But beyond that, there's some regional dick swinging that comes into play here. Brazil sees itself as the regional hegemon. And if you're the regional hegemon, you don't take too kindly to one of the subordinate powers trying to upset the regional status quo without your pre-approval. That's just not how this works. So Brazil has an interest in putting Venezuela back in its place and demonstrating to the rest of CONMEBOL that shit can't go down in South America without Brasilia's say-so.
  12. I haven’t thought about aggy all weekend. But then I see this thread and, oh it’s so good when it touches your lips.
  13. With all the talk of not just Texas, but also SMU (which is in the discussion for a January 1 bowl) having OU as a very good loss, I’m starting to wonder whether OU is going to get into the playoffs.
  14. There’s no choosing. The 2 and 3 seeds play in the Rose. I’m counting on Georgia and FSU losing.
  15. That’s it—I’m pulling the trigger on Rose Bowl tickets.
  16. I have absolutely no clue who this rando is.
  17. This college football season has been incredibly fun, and PAC 12 After Dark has been a big part of that. I’m really going to miss this conference.
  18. Have we reached a consensus on whom we’re cheering for here?
  19. Yeah, and I think this is worth remembering as we continue to hear whining and complaining about Texas from the Irate8. It was Nebraska that destroyed the Big 12 when they decided they were sick of losing to Texas. It was a petulent little baby temper tantrum that sowed the seeds of the conference's destruction and ultimately cratered their own program.
  20. But to that point, the Big12 CG is an ESPN property. It could easily simulcast the game on LHN if it so chose.
  21. I kind of weirdly like trains, as some of you have noticed from my occasional spats with @Spankytoes on various European travel treads in which he advocates for flying between European cities and I favor taking the train (including overnight trains, which are seeing a major resurgence across Europe). And one train-centric trip I have toyed with taking from time to time is the Trans-Siberian. Tangentially, there is a very peculiar subset of train nerds out there who have taken the BAM. There are a number of videos on YouTube. And on that line, the primary tourist attractions are the stops at largely deserted Soviet-era towns that were originally built and settled for the workers that built the BAM. The Soviet expectation was that those towns would be further populated by people coming to work in nearby coal mines and other industries that would pop up along the BAM. But with the fall of the Soviet Union, those enterprises never materialized. And the workers who were there to build the railway left. So you have these deserted Soviet towns that are kind of similar to what you will see in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. So you can go and see that without getting all radioactive. By the way--one of those videos is from that delightful Englishman whose videos about Donbas were posted on this thread about a thousand pages ago. It's really an interesting watch.
  22. The BAM is a real interesting piece of late-Soviet era planning. The purpose was to create a line parallel to the Trans-Siberian further away from the border with China for obvious strategic reasons. For much of its length, the Trans-Siberian runs just a few miles from the Chinese border, which is a real problem given the tension of Sino-Soviet relations. The entire thing was a shitshow from the beginning. The Soviets sent a bunch of workers out to new towns that didn't have electricity or running water (many of which are now abandoned). And the permafrost on which the line is built is now thawing, which is going to destroy the entire line in the next decade. The tunnel that was attacked took nearly 30 years to complete. So if it was structurally compromised, that's not going to be an easy fix. It runs a mile underground and is 10 miles long. But here's the thing--there is an old bypass line that they used on the BAM during construction of that tunnel. I don't know what kind of shape it's in, but it'd obviously be a lot quicker to bring that into operation. And, of course, there's always the Trans-Siberian. So on balance, I don't think it's that big of a catastrophe.
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