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Ukraine - Superthread

brihard

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hanging Ukraine out to dry, it is sickening to say the least if this is what our western governments think is okay.
I don’t think it’s a matter of it being “ok”, but rather a calculation of interests.

Might be the strategic intent is not to risk a major loss of combat power in direct confrontation, and instead to sap Russian strength by feeding one hell of an insurgency. The US has done that before.
 

MilEME09

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I don’t think it’s a matter of it being “ok”, but rather a calculation of interests.

Might be the strategic intent is not to risk a major loss of combat power in direct confrontation, and instead to sap Russian strength by feeding one hell of an insurgency. The US has done that before.
Russia's history of not leaving it's occupied territories says other wise, look at Chechnya, and Dagistan, they never left, Georgia, still there, Ukraine still there since 2014. Will there be a force left in ukraine to run an insurgency?

On the political side, the Former president has returned to Ukraine to face charges, who want's to bet he made a deal to be put back in power after a Russian invasion?
 

Czech_pivo

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Russia's history of not leaving it's occupied territories says other wise, look at Chechnya, and Dagistan, they never left, Georgia, still there, Ukraine still there since 2014. Will there be a force left in ukraine to run an insurgency?

On the political side, the Former president has returned to Ukraine to face charges, who want's to be he made a deal to be put back in power after a Russian invasion?
The timing of it is quite amazing.
 

Good2Golf

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Might be the strategic intent is not to risk a major loss of combat power in direct confrontation, and instead to sap Russian strength by feeding one hell of an insurgency. The US has done that before.
…before getting caught in it, itself. 😉
 

Altair

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I don’t think the Russians would want the bridges so as to allow themselves to cross the Dnieper going west, but rather seize or destroy them to prevent the Ukrainians and any allies from reinforcing across the river headed east. Those bridges are strategic key terrain. I suspect Putin’s eyes are not cast farther west than the river, at least at this time. Bite, hold, consolidate. I could also see the river being a red line for foreign intervention.
Depends on the situation. If they break Ukraine in the east and they have nothing credible left in the west to stop them, why stop?

As for red lines, what will the west do if they cross the Dnieper that they wouldn't do if Russia invades in a few weeks?

War?

More sanctions?

What?
As for Canada’s response: I think we can dispense with any notion that we’re at the big boys table here. Any response will be for domestic consumption first, and to show our allies we’re still here second. But we are not strategically relevant. We made that choice years ago.
Yup.
If Russia has air superiority, Ukraine is in an extremely bad way. Conversely, if allies step in and Russia loses air superiority, different game. Air parity is still bad for Ukraine- but if the USAF and RAF decided to flex their technological edge, that could make for a very interesting and different campaign. Could Western air power meaningfully attrit Russian artillery? Could they at least make massed mechanized movement unviable?
And what are the chances that the USAF and RAF step in to help Ukraine? If these options were on the table, why would it not be used the second Russia invades?
If the west decides to move by air, what would that look like? Which countries would allow basing? I imagine a lot of aerial tanker movement, AWACS, and heavy lift carrying parts and munitions… But munitions by air are inefficient. Is there any indication of aerial munitions being moved to the theatre in bulk?

The public OSINT on this is fascinating to watch. Russian soldiers definitely seem to think they’re going in- and a friggin’ TON of kit is moving that only makes sense if Putin intends to at least credibly look like he is about to invade…
I don't think this is a bluff.
 

MilEME09

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I don't think this is a bluff.

I agree, it is not a question of if Russia will invade, but when, and Joe Bidens comments are either bait or a sign that no discussions about ukraine without ukraine was a lie.
 

The Bread Guy

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Czech_pivo

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LOL, I'm certain Putin would love another direct call with Biden to talk about Ukraine, he'd love to get Biden taped on a call saying that a small incursion by Russia into the Ukraine would be ok.

 

Good2Golf

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SeaKingTacco

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daftandbarmy

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15 Tri-walls of “IMP - Dinner #7 (Poutine)”

Probably hair products. They've helped keep the PM out of trouble ;)

Trudeau Ohcanada GIF by keenlydesign
 

brihard

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As goes Germany, as goes Europe.

I don't know everything about SWIFT, is it a US run system? Can the USA block Russia and Europe continues with business as usual?

Regardless, if this is the case we are seeing a huge public split on the response to Russia.
I meant to answer this earlier, sorry for the delay.

SWIFT is a messaging service. It lets bank A order a transfer of funds to bank B. It’s not the only such service, but it’s the biggest one.

With that said, the challenge there is that the US doesn’t truly control it, and also it can be worked around. Othing stops Russia establishing its own service or using another existing one, though getting foreign banks to buy in would take work.

The real leverage the US has is the ability to sanction US dollar transactions. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is able to designate entities and even whole countries for sanctions regimes. Here’s where that matters:

Let’s say you’re the Sovereign People’s Republic of Fantasia. You produce a lot of coal but you need a lot of oil. You have a trading relationship with West Isle, who happen to produce quite a bit of oil.

Fantasia has the Fantasia People’s Bank, who deal with the Bank of West Isle. Thing is, major commodities aren’t traded in Fantasia Ruble or West Isle Dinars- they’re generally traded in US Dolllars for predictability, stability, and consistency. Neither the Fantasia People’s Bank nor the Bank of West Isle directly hold large US dollar holdings for trade. US law requires that US dollar banking happen through US banks. So, foreign banks will have a correspondent banking relationship with a US bank. They will hold an account (or accounts) at that bank, through which USD funds happen.

Say Fantasia buys $20m USD of oil from West Isle. The Fantasian People's Bank doesn't have the ability to directly send $USD to the Bank of West ISle. Istead, Fantasia People's Bank sends a message to their correspondent bank, JP Morgan Chase. They direct JP Morgan to send $20m USD to West Isle's correspondent bank account at Wells Fargo. The money is went, Wells Fargo test Bank of West Isle that they're now $20m USD richer, and boom, the oil is shipped. I'm simplifying, but this is the essence of it. Fantasia gives West Isle $20m USD, but those USD never actually leave the US banking sytem.

What the US can do is to block individuals, corporations, or whole countries from access to this correspondent banking, through sanctions regulations under various legislation. Say Fantasia commits hostilities against a neighbour and the US gives a shit, US can direct that no US bank will deal with Fantasian banks, in the extreme case, or maybe with any accounts linked to certain Fantasian political figures. This has the effect of cutting off their legitimate access to a lot of international trade that's $USD denominated. North Korea, for example, is almost completely cut off in such a fashion. Doesn't mean they aren't able to engage in some trade, but normally there are layers of money laundering needed to pull it off. That makes it more expensive for them, and every now and then, their camouflaged activities in US banks will be detected and assets frozen. The US can also seek civil forfeiture of identified assets.

So, what the US could do would be selectively or broadly cut off Russian access to $USD correspondent banking. This would be devastating in the short term... But would also screw allies who buy necessary commodities form or sell them to Russia. Narrower, more targeted sanctions would be more likely. Rather than cutting off German imports of Russian gas through wholesale excision of Russia from $USD banking, they could go after individuals in the Putin regime, and businesses near and dear to them. Make it hurt for the political leadership.

Obviously the risk is that if the US overplays its hand, Russia, probably with China, moves to start commodity trade relationships in another currency. While there are major barriers to this, the juice could end up being worth the squeeze. I could see Russia trading commodities with Europe in Euro. Yen could be another sufficiently capitalized and stable currency for commodities trading. I'm sure China would love to push the Yuan for such a purpose. So the US needs to be careful that it doesn't play into China's long term hand.

There are layers and layers and layers to sanctions matters when you're dealing with a major foreign power with a lot of bilateral trade relationships. Sanctions can be extremely surgical, or extremely blunt. Blunt may work for the DPRK... Probably not so much for Russia, other than maybe as a short, sharp shock.
 

Czech_pivo

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I meant to answer this earlier, sorry for the delay.

SWIFT is a messaging service. It lets bank A order a transfer of funds to bank B. It’s not the only such service, but it’s the biggest one.

With that said, the challenge there is that the US doesn’t truly control it, and also it can be worked around. Othing stops Russia establishing its own service or using another existing one, though getting foreign banks to buy in would take work.

The real leverage the US has is the ability to sanction US dollar transactions. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is able to designate entities and even whole countries for sanctions regimes. Here’s where that matters:

Let’s say you’re the Sovereign People’s Republic of Fantasia. You produce a lot of coal but you need a lot of oil. You have a trading relationship with West Isle, who happen to produce quite a bit of oil.

Fantasia has the Fantasia People’s Bank, who deal with the Bank of West Isle. Thing is, major commodities aren’t traded in Fantasia Ruble or West Isle Dinars- they’re generally traded in US Dolllars for predictability, stability, and consistency. Neither the Fantasia People’s Bank nor the Bank of West Isle directly hold large US dollar holdings for trade. US law requires that US dollar banking happen through US banks. So, foreign banks will have a correspondent banking relationship with a US bank. They will hold an account (or accounts) at that bank, through which USD funds happen.

Say Fantasia buys $20m USD of oil from West Isle. The Fantasian People's Bank doesn't have the ability to directly send $USD to the Bank of West ISle. Istead, Fantasia People's Bank sends a message to their correspondent bank, JP Morgan Chase. They direct JP Morgan to send $20m USD to West Isle's correspondent bank account at Wells Fargo. The money is went, Wells Fargo test Bank of West Isle that they're now $20m USD richer, and boom, the oil is shipped. I'm simplifying, but this is the essence of it. Fantasia gives West Isle $20m USD, but those USD never actually leave the US banking sytem.

What the US can do is to block individuals, corporations, or whole countries from access to this correspondent banking, through sanctions regulations under various legislation. Say Fantasia commits hostilities against a neighbour and the US gives a shit, US can direct that no US bank will deal with Fantasian banks, in the extreme case, or maybe with any accounts linked to certain Fantasian political figures. This has the effect of cutting off their legitimate access to a lot of international trade that's $USD denominated. North Korea, for example, is almost completely cut off in such a fashion. Doesn't mean they aren't able to engage in some trade, but normally there are layers of money laundering needed to pull it off. That makes it more expensive for them, and every now and then, their camouflaged activities in US banks will be detected and assets frozen. The US can also seek civil forfeiture of identified assets.

So, what the US could do would be selectively or broadly cut off Russian access to $USD correspondent banking. This would be devastating in the short term... But would also screw allies who buy necessary commodities form or sell them to Russia. Narrower, more targeted sanctions would be more likely. Rather than cutting off German imports of Russian gas through wholesale excision of Russia from $USD banking, they could go after individuals in the Putin regime, and businesses near and dear to them. Make it hurt for the political leadership.

Obviously the risk is that if the US overplays its hand, Russia, probably with China, moves to start commodity trade relationships in another currency. While there are major barriers to this, the juice could end up being worth the squeeze. I could see Russia trading commodities with Europe in Euro. Yen could be another sufficiently capitalized and stable currency for commodities trading. I'm sure China would love to push the Yuan for such a purpose. So the US needs to be careful that it doesn't play into China's long term hand.

There are layers and layers and layers to sanctions matters when you're dealing with a major foreign power with a lot of bilateral trade relationships. Sanctions can be extremely surgical, or extremely blunt. Blunt may work for the DPRK... Probably not so much for Russia, other than maybe as a short, sharp shock.

If the US orders all US banks and extends that to include all world-wide banks that deal with US banks, to stop processing payments in USD to any Russian entity, then Russia is effectively shut out of the world wide banking system.

This is what they've done to Iran. There are ways around it, but its extremely difficult and time consuming.

A number of years back the US implemented something called FATCA and basically forced all governments (banks) that deal with US banks to enforce this US led tax imitative. We here in Canada were forced to do so, but only after an 'agreement' came into place that all US banks had to identify and report to the CRA all known Canadians who had bank/investments accounts in the US, just like all CDN banks were forced to report all known Americans living in Canada (outside Canada but had bank accounts or investment accounts here) to the IRA. Each year all CDN banks/investment firms (and yes, it include Mutual Fund companies and things like RESP and TFSA) send their lists of 'US Persons' to the CRA who in turn turn it all over to the IRS. This includes any/all dual Citizenships or anyone who was born in the US here in Canada - in essence about 1 million CDN's a year.

Back to SWIFT, if the US goes down this path it can/will cripple the Russian economy. All that nat gas that goes to Europe, guess what, the Russians won't get paid for it, the Euro's freeze and the gas gets turned off.
 
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