Heuristics for Ukraine (and other places)

NB: some of the following is from a recent videoconference that included our own Trent Telenko, who is very much the man of the hour, but some of it is more publicly available, not to mention common sense. First, though, as is my wont, a quadrant diagram to organize my presentation …

I. Theater “Hardware” (physical assets/consequences)

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Aristos a la Lanterne!

When the rage of downtrodden French peasants, living-on-the-edge city dwellers and frustrated bourgeois towards the ruling nobles and royalty final exploded into a kind of civic wildfire, there was no appeasing their collective anger. A handful of wary and fleet-footed aristocrats, or those who had made a good living out of serving the royals and the nobility fled from France in all directions. The slow and unwary made a humiliating appointment with Madame Guillotine before a contemptuous and jeering crowd, if they had not already run afoul of a mob with pikes and knives, and ropes at the foot of civic lampposts. (The fury of the French Revolution flamed so furiously that it that eventually it burned a good few leading revolutionaries themselves. As the Royalist pamphleteer Jacques Mallet Du Pan remarked pithily, “Like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children.) For a long time, my sympathies as regards parties in the French Revolution tended to be with those who fell out with it, sympathies formed by popular literature and music: The Scarlett Pimpernel, A Tale of Two Cities, Dialogues of the Carmelites, and other tales which basically tut-tutted the madness which overcame all reason and discretion, and championed those who had the brunt of it fall on them, either justly or not. How fortunate that our own very dear revolution had been able to escape such conflagrations: Loyalists in the colonies might have suffered being tarred and feathered and ridden out of town or having to leave in an undignified rush when Yankee Doodle went to town and made their independence stick. But the jailhouse regrets of those who called up and inflamed that conflagration, even inadvertently is not my concern here.

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Day Five of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.

The last five days have seen the Russian Army pushing into Ukraine  from the North, South and East with multiple failed helicopter & parachute drops around the cities of Kyiv and Odessa in the Southwest, plus three amphibious operations in the South that has left Mariupol all but surrounded.

The Russian Army started with only 3-4 Russian division-equivalents (roughly the size of the Israeli forces in Sinai in the 1967 Arab-Israel War) entering Ukraine, which is about the size of Texas with twice Texas’ population.  The Russians sent these units in five separate columns into Ukraine with the truck park sufficient to support three columns, a shortage of fuel trucks and very poor radio communications.
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3-4 division equivalents are insufficient to even attempt to occupy the Ukraine unless the Ukrainian people themselves give up, and they haven’t.  The opposite in fact as there are about 150 battalion sized Ukrainian territorial militia being handed out weapons in addition to active & reserve Ukrainian ground forces.

The next three maps give a useful overview of the military events to date.

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Progression of the Russian invasion to date
Progression of the Russian invasion to date

 

Uk Ministry of Defense update on Ukraine
UK Ministry of Defense update on Ukraine

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The Odessa Steps

The early Soviet propaganda movie, The Battleship Potemkin, culminates in a prolonged and shocking sequence of local citizens – men, women and children – gunned down by remorseless Czarist soldiers on Odessa’s famed harbor-to-town staircase. The sequence remains a shocker. (And is still studied in film schools, apparently, for being ground-breaking effective and technologically ahead of the time.) Historically, there was never such a massacre on the Steps, but the sequence served as a kind of cinematic shorthand for State brutality aimed at essentially harmless, unarmed, unthreatening civilians in a public place; civilians who were seen to be defying the authority of the State. And so the armed minions of the State acted – because even the mildest defiance of Authority on the part of ordinary workers and their families is a stab at the heart of those Authorities. They cannot brook defiance, and so out come the armed police, just as they have this week in the streets of Ottawa with regard to the truckers protesting vaccine mandates. All the forces of the law, with the cheerful approval of the Canadian established media, the intellectual and ruling class – it’s really rather breathtaking, this concentrated venom and enthusiasm for breaking heads and bones, all aimed at the workers participating in a civil and well-organized street protest. (It would seem that as far as the RCMP are concerned, Dudley Do-Right and Constable Benton Fraser both have left the building – so much for Canadian ‘polite.’)

What will happen now that the ordinary working stiffs of Canada have been so casually abused by their native ruling class; threatened with having bank accounts frozen, their means of earning a living confiscated, themselves arrested, while their pets and children given over to the tender care of animal shelters and the child “protection” authorities? How far will this protest go now, bouncing down the Odessa Steps like a runaway baby carriage? It could be that Canadians, with the ethos of being polite, courteous, and truthful, may be truly shocked, shocked to the point of open rebellion over being consistently lied about and bullied by their ruling elite. In America, our own flyover country residents are perfectly accustomed to being abused as stupid, red-necked rubes by our own elite class. It’s what we have come to expect of NPR, the political ruling class, the New York/Hollywood cultural axis and the inside-the-Beltway-Washington DC denizens; what we have come to expect of them anyway. It may be a new and shocking development to ordinary, working-class Canadians, this contempt for the working class, though. Comment as you wish.

The Proper Frame for the Narrative

I am watching matters develop with regards to the trucker strike, with appreciative interest, seeing that is really another variant of a grass-roots spontaneous civic spontaneity, much like the Tea Party was, some years ago. The Canadian trucker protest has that in common with the Tea Party protesters – but the difference might be that the independent trucker community is a smaller, a more cohesive and even more media-savvy and self-disciplined party. The various Tea Party protests were more general, cut across class lines (at least the urban-focused one that I was involved in was, no matter what the establishment national media might insist) and focused more upon voting in various political races then upcoming, and protesting the general monetary incompetence of the Obama Administration.

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