Russia invades Ukraine -- The regional situation

Mod notes in the Russia invades Ukraine {2022-02-24} (Part 2) thread admonish posters to stick to ‘breaking news’. But wars do not happen in isolation. There are issues of strategy, strategic, tactical, and diplomatic. Wars affect countries other than the belligerents. There are socio-economic impacts around the world. Limiting a thread to ‘Breaking! This happened today!’ and not allowing historical comparisons and whatnot does not allow for discussions that provide a wider context. I started this thread so that the whole situation may be discussed, rather than ‘This happened today.’

To start off, I would like to address the missile attack by Russia upon Ukraine that happened a couple of days ago, where Russian missiles violated Poland’s sovereign airspace to hit targets in Ukraine from behind. It is my position that no non-belligerent’s – and no NATO country’s – sovereign airspace may be used by the warring countries. It is my position that the non-warring countries should shoot down any Russian military aircraft or missile that strays into their airspace. Yes, there is the risk of shooting down a civilian aircraft; but I believe the risk is small.

You’ll notice I said non-warring countries should shoot down any Russian military aircraft or missile that strays into their airspace. What about Ukraine? Well, Ukraine isn’t launching attacks from NATO airspace. If they did, the NATO country would say ‘Look. We don’t want World War Three. We want you to win, but knock it off.’ Putin doesn’t care. He knows NATO is not going to attack Russia. That’s why Russian weapons should be smacked down. NATO: ‘We’re not going to attack you, but you will not use NATO airspace to conduct your attacks. We are within our rights to defend our own airspace, and we will.’

So there’s the thread kick-off. Please feel free to discuss the entire regional situation (Europe, NATO, etc.), historical comparisons to past battles or wars, comparisons to present or past heads of government… as long as it relates in some way to the Russian invasion of, and war in, Ukraine.

Yes, Poland and other NATO countries can and should shoot down or otherwise neutralize Russian military assets that cross indy their territories. But they should be very careful and ensure they have proof after the fact.

If the Russians do it again NATO / Poland should certainly step up their alert to be able to shoot down many/most such occurrences in the future.

Meanwhile as an economy of forces measure NATO may increase the alert, but not to the point of 24/7/365 no-leakers levels of coverage. That outcome would be permitting Russia to spend a dime once to force NATO to spend $100 every day UFN. Which is not playing smart defense.

This isn’t about NATO resolve, or backing down in the face of provocations. This is about playing to win the decade-long war. Which needs to be kept affordable and tolerable to the publics of the Western democracies.

ETA: Great idea for a thread. I can imagine lots of cross links in the breaking news thread to posts here that previously would have gone there.

Thank you. There were interesting discussions in the other thread that were… erm, ‘shot down’.

Shooting down enemy weapons in their own territory might make for some realistic ‘combat training’. After all, training must occur. Now, there are Ukrainians (particularly pilots) training in NATO countries. I’m not quite sure what would happen if Ukrainians in a NATO country shot down Russian weapons during their training.

I’m being careful how I post this (to avoid getting in a trouble with a certain moderator, since this is a pro-Ukraine stance) but yes, of course, the NATO and other nonbelligerent nations have every right to shoot down something Russian that enters their airspace. That was the case even before the Ukraine war began. My bigger concern is the massive amount of deference that is shown to nuclear powers like Russia. This sort of stance only further encourages nuclear proliferation. The West keeps condemning nuke proliferation yet shows tyrants like North Korea, etc. that they are fully justified in getting nukes and that nukes are the smart route.

It strikes me that I have not read much about Belarus recently. Any news of the clumsy bear with the really big hands?
No, I don’t mean Gérard Depardieu, who might lose his Russian citizenship or maybe has lost it already because he critizised the invasion, I mean Lukashenko


Reminder that this thread is not a suitable place to complain about moderation.

This article is from yesterday.

  • Lukashenko claims to have received tactical nuclear weapons in October 2023.
  • The Belarusian parliament has approved a bill to give immunity to the ex-president.
  • Exiled Belarusian activist Vadzim Prakopieu has been sentenced in absentia to a second 25-year prison term.
  • At least 125 Belarusians were detained upon returning to the country in 2023.
  • Evidence submitted to the ICC in June says Lukashenko was complicit in the kidnapping of 2,100 Ukrainian children. Belarusian confirm over 1,000.

Jesus, he collaborates with the children’s abduction too? And the Belarus’ authorities even confirm it? The post-soviet mindset is alive and sick as ever. Thanks for the link!
Do they really believe that confirming “only” 1,000 out of 2,100 cases makes it any better?
Concerning those tactical nukes: are there any informations available about the chain of command? How many red buttons are there, and who has access to them?

Oh… Please note that the article is from The Kyiv Independent, which may have an agenda. I did not delve into the claims.

Да, конечно.
(Translation: Yes, of course)

From the more limited thread:

This reminds me of a question in an Ethics class my wife took. Basically: The Nazi regime was evil. It is unethical for anyone to support the Nazi regime. Imagine Sgt. Schultz. He’s good to his family, kind to animals, and overall a nice guy. Is he being unethical to be in the German Army in WWII? The problem is that students are only allowed to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’, using only the information given. There is no provision for ‘If he refuses to fight, he will be sent to a concentration camp,’ or ‘His family would be punished.’ It breaks down to a maths class ‘word problem’: ‘Anyone who supports the Nazi regime is being unethical. Sgt. Schultz has no choice but to support the Nazi regime, therefore he is being unethical. Question: Is Sgt. Schultz being unethical?’ It’s a crap question with crap restrictions.

As it pertains to this war, Rosie is a legitimate target. She may have no choice but to support Putin’s regime, but she is supporting it. That makes her a legitimate target, even though she is a non-combatant. If she is killed in her apartment, then no; she is not a legitimate target. But she is when she is at the factory.

I replied to @eschereal’s question in the other thread but it really belongs here. Oops on me; still learning.

Well, yes, of course.

The whole and entire point of the NPT was exactly to get “everybody” signed up to it while they were each and all willing to be part of either the Eastern or Western blocs led by the USSR and the US respectively.

Precisely because the only two stable configurations for nukes on Earth are only the two implacably opposing big guys have them, or everybody has them.

As you say, once nukes get beyond the big two, everybody else wants them for regime survival reasons.

My argument is that that problem was built into the “physics” of the situation since the early 1960s. It’s taken the collapse of the USSR, the rise of China, and many other international changes and evolutions and revolutions to get to the point where the current dynamic of multiple rogue and legit nations are each seeking nukes for themselves. And can afford to do so.

I have been viscerally bothered by the Ukraine war thread being so strictly modded ever since the first thread started at the beginning of the war. It’s only visceral because I do understand the reasons behind the strict moderation. But I’ve never really liked it very much partly because of reasons you mentioned “…wars do not happen in isolation… There are socio-economic impacts around the world” and just because there is so much more to discuss than only the daily nuts and bolts of the battles.

All of that is to say that I have long felt that any “breaking news” thread should automatically have a companion thread started where people can discuss freely all of the implications of the goings-on.

And it’s lots better that way instead of creating little side-threads every time someone starts talking about issues that are not allowed in the main thread. Put it in the companion thread instead (IMO).

Sadly I’m not sure that ‘only the two implacably opposing big guys have them’ is stable.

Cuban Missile Crisis - Wikipedia

(In any case, if Trump is re-elected President :nauseated_face: , he might start WW3…)

A big-power nuclear duality with everybody else sheltering under one or the other “nuclear umbrella” is stable only in the sense of not motivating additional countries to get nukes. Cheaper and easier to free-ride under the big boy’s (credible) umbrella.

It’s certainly not stable in the sense of “No mistake (or reckless leader) could ever provoke a very rapidly spiralling and wildly destructive war”. As you rightly say. And as has nearly happened more than once.

Because the NPT cat got out of the bag early, and because producing nuclear fuel and nuclear delivery vehicles is becoming relatively cheaper versus small country GDP, the net result is the world is now on a course to where every nation will eventually have nukes if something else doesn’t intervene. That was the instability I was talking about. Metaphorically speaking, we’re experiencing the first couple rounds of what’s really an exponential chain reaction of nuclear proliferation.

Once a handful of minor countries have them, everyone is going to be somewhere in the queue to get them for themselves depending on

  1. Ability to pay.
  2. Number and severity of historical grievances.
  3. Dangerousness of any regional or ideological competitors & foes.
  4. Aggressiveness / assholicness of their own political leadership.

The recent intrusion into Polish airspace raises a disturbing question.

Was air defense caught off guard and couldn’t respond?

Or were they told by higher ups not to respond?

The news I read said the missile was in Polish airspace for about three minutes. That’s not enough time for many phone calls to supervisors. There may have been long-standing orders not to shoot it down.

Link Poland says Russian missile entered airspace then went into Ukraine

Nice job fellas :clap: :roll_eyes:

why in hell would you NOT respond? … you have no idea where this missile will explode … so just plain logic suggests to shoot down anything that is not your own (and ask Q’s later)…

I can’t fathom a scenario where downing a foreign missile on your turf would be seen as an agression … so what would the UPSIDE of not shooting it down, be?

As I understand it, the problem is issues with mistaken detection and potentially downing something that isn’t a missile.