In context of the current civilian-war zone in Ukraine, I came across some interesting tidbits while doomscrolling the InbterWebs this afternoon, a goodly chunk maybe mainly on how Vlad Putin is an unhinged asshole who could nevertheless make the entire planet suffer for his cruel brain farts.
Michael McFaul, an Obama-era ambassador to Russia, noted on a Sunday TV show Putin has apparently become unglued: ‘“To get kicked out of SWIFT as it happened to Russia yesterday, and then to have the president of Russia get in front of his generals and say, ‘We need to prepare for nuclear war.’ That doesn’t sound very rational to me … Remember, this guy’s been in power for 22 years. He doesn’t listen to his aides. Even when I was ambassador eight years ago, he was very dismissive of anybody around him. He’s out at his compound, doesn’t come into town very much, and, under COVID, he’s been more isolated … I sat in the room with him for five years when I worked in the Obama administration. I speak Russian. I listened to him, and I know what he says — he’s increasingly unhinged in the way that he talks about the regime.”‘
Couple that shit with Ukrainians having the mettle:
Putin may have misjudged https://t.co/VnTPG6aUqX
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) February 28, 2022
In that ‘expletive‘ deleted from the clip above, the people are chanting “Putin is a dickhead!” Even under occupation, the city doesn’t really surrender, and this in-your-Russian face attitude has captured the world’s attention. The increasingly ‘unhinged’ dictator is facing the consequences of one dumb-ass move. He refused to accept the mettle of those Ukrainians.
Vlad ‘misjudged‘ might be an understatement word — per New York Magazine this afternoon:
After attacking Ukraine on multiple fronts in a blitzkrieg meant to quickly neutralize resistance, capture the capital Kyiv, and (perhaps literally) decapitate the Ukrainian government, the Russian army has gotten bogged down in a much tougher slog than it seemed to have been ready for.
The Russians have not established air superiority, taken control of any major population centers, or successfully demoralized the Ukrainians, even as the invasion has displaced millions and sent hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring over Ukraine’s western borders. Russian forces, who have allegedly begun launching indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas, are continuing to close in around Kyiv, but the slow progress has come at great cost.
Another response Putin clearly misjudged was the one from the rest of the world. Europe, NATO, and the broader global community of democracies have been much more united in their willingness to punish Russia economically than Putin likely expected.
This weekend, U.S. and European financial authorities moved to freeze Russian central bank assets and cut major Russian banks off from the global SWIFT banking system — the so-called nuclear option of financial sanctions, which will hobble Russian firms’ ability to do business internationally and Moscow’s ability to use its foreign currency reserves as a cushion against economic isolation.
The SWIFT cutoffs still exempt transactions related to energy exports, which will limit their economic impact (on both Russia and Europe) for the time being, but the moves lay to rest any notion that the West is too timid to risk the collateral damage of significant retaliation against Russia’s economy.
Beyond the antics of an unhinged, dangerous asshole, the Russian invaders are not being run competently:
Holy moly… https://t.co/3g04B2rmOB
— Myles Davies (@mylesdavies) February 28, 2022
The Russian army is seemingly not worth a shit — via Slate this afternoon:
After four days of fighting, the Russian military is bogged down in Ukraine. In part this is due to the valiant resistance of Ukraine’s army and civilian defense forces.
But it’s also due to the fact that the Russian army just isn’t very good.
News reports, tweets, videos, and emails from the battlefields show Russia’s armored vehicles abandoned for lack of fuel, its soldiers foraging for food, its transport planes shot out of the sky, its various military elements—tanks, infantry, aircraft—unable to coordinate their aims.
Michael Kofman, a military analyst at CNA, an Arlington, Virginia–based think tank, who has been following the battle closely, tweeted late Sunday afternoon, “It’s taken me a while to figure out what [the Russian military is] trying to do, because it looks so ridiculous and incompetent.”
B.A. Friedman, a military historian and tactician, went further: “This isn’t a good army executing a bad plan. It isn’t a good army executing outdated or out-of-context tactics. It’s a bad army!”
And so, as the Russian invaders met resistance, they didn’t quite know what to do. Military operations designed to take place sequentially—Step 1, then 2, then 3, etc.—fell apart, catastrophically.
If Step 2 hit a big obstacle, the by-the-book soldiers moved on to Step 3 anyway. Therefore, large troop-transport planes tried to land, even though the airport hadn’t been completely secured and Ukrainian air defense systems hadn’t been destroyed.
As a result, two Il-76 transport planes, each carrying 100 airborne troops, were shot down.
In order to compensate for this shit, Vlad vapes for bigger, nastier weapons:
Cluster munitions used specifically against civilians targets. https://t.co/Rm6M5yCGeu
— Mark Hertling (@MarkHertling) February 28, 2022
Horrible part of waging war is how immoral the whole freaking project — humanity on the downward slope.
Context per Military.com this afternoon:
A preschool in northeastern Ukraine was slammed with rockets early in the morning of Feb. 25, reportedly leaving three civilians, including one child, dead, according to local media footage and international human rights organizations.
Drone video footage of the aftermath of the bombing shared on Twitter showed pools of blood in the school’s parking lot, shattered glass from windows and blast marks on the roof as locals rushed to the scene.
“While I was walking down [with] my wife, there were immediate explosions,” an older man told Amnesty International, a London-based human rights organization. “You see, everyone is covered with blood, everything. Look at it. … It kills me, the fact it’s a kindergarten.”
The attack, which Amnesty International said appears to have been carried out by Russian forces, is suspected to have utilized rocket-fired cluster munitions — a widely banned and controversial weapon known to wreak havoc over a large area and leave unexploded rounds in areas, which lead to civilian deaths years after a conflict.
While many countries have banned their use, the U.S. has resisted calls to pull them from the Pentagon’s arsenal, with the Trump administration reversing a previous policy that would have eliminated the American stockpile over time.
Cluster munitions have also taken the lives of U.S. service members. An extensive New York Times review of casualty records from Operation Desert Storm indicates that at least 12 American service members were killed and dozens of troops wounded by dud bomblets; approximately 12 more were killed in Iraq and Kuwait by the munitions after the cease-fire.
Cluster munitions open mid-air and disperse smaller submunitions — anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds — onto a target. They can be fired from rocket launchers or ground artillery or dropped as bombs by airplanes.
“There is no possible justification for dropping cluster munitions in populated areas, let alone near a school,” Agnès Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, said in a press release. “This attack bears all the hallmarks of Russia’s use of this inherently indiscriminate and internationally-banned weapon, and shows flagrant disregard for civilian life.”
However, that’s from the warped Vlad brain fart of self.
Another contextual Vlad loop of flying shit off his Ukraine misadventure — officials are cutting into his coolness: ‘Today, World Taekwondo — labeled as the International Federation that governs the sport and is a member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and International Paralympic Committee –announced it had revoked Putin’s honorary 9th dan black belt that was given to him in November 2013.‘
Yesterday, another class deleted:
In light of the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine, the International Judo Federation announces the suspension of Mr. Vladimir Putin’s status as Honorary President and Ambassador of the International Judo Federation.https://t.co/QQDZbF6rfd
— Judo (@Judo) February 27, 2022
We now have a direct link between kung fu fighting to cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
Yet here we are once again…
(Illustration out front: Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity)‘ found here)