Russia will determine the terms of any "treaty" arrangement as this US-NATO-UK Ukrainian Proxy War to weaken Russia enters its terminal phase - The Winter Offensive. It is lost - to Russia.

Much is made in the Western mainstream of "losing territory".

It is not WWI and territory counts for little during this conflict.

Here, what counts is dead Ukrainian Armed Forces - their complete destruction along with the smaller presence of US-NATO-UK forces and those wide eyed misguided volunteers, read Western State sanctioned mercenaries.

In this conflict, God Favours Russia . . . https://les7eb.substack.com/p/ukraine-long-proxy-war-vi-god-favours

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There is one set of exceptions to the generalization that, from the Liberal perspective, wars are abnormal events. Liberalism is a teleological worldview and, as such, views events that advance the world to the "next" stage as necessary or desirable. Admittedly, these views were influenced by contemporary sentiments that were as Romantic as Liberal, but wars like the First Italian War of "Independence," American Civil War, and even Britain's colonial conflicts to "end slavery" in West Africa (and, for that matter, many of the colonial wars to "spread civilization" during the 18th century), and, for that matter, framing of the First World War by Wilson all drew support from the "Liberals" of the time. So it's not so much that the "Liberals" can't comprehend that deal making for averting wars is impossible under some conditions, but rather, they are inclined to believe, at least in some conditions, the obscurantist "other" on the wrong side of history are so irrational that they would not make the otherwise inevitable deals, whether they are the Habsburgs, the American Southerners, the sultans of Sokoto, or, as per time after time, the leaders of Russia and China. Of course, this brings us back to the crusading mentality of the "post Christians" per your essay some weeks back.

This, I think, leads to and is predicated on a peculiar paradox: Liberalism, again as a teleological ideology, looks askance on "backwards" societies and does not care to deal with them as equals, in good faith. So mutually satisfactory deals with them are impossible unless the "other" also embraces Liberalism--and so the inscrutable Russians, Chinese, or, for that matter, Rednecks are really forever beyond deals for the Liberals as they refuse to embrace Liberalism for some reason or another This, of course, is the formula for constant recourse to holy wars.

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I'm new to your writings and still making my way through your previous posts. I will be reading all of them and currently around half-way through. I just wanted to say as a younger reader, I'm taking so many life lessons away from these essays that it has blown my mind. Each one has at least 2/3 revelation moments that are influencing me in similar ways philosophy has (but with a better dose of reality from you). It feels like you're teaching me many realities of life that sneak beneath the surface and I am looking forward to each future post.

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Thank you very much. That's very kind of you. I started this site because I don't like reading people who shout at me or want to convince me of things, and I wanted to try to explain to others how I think that part of the world, at least, works in practice.

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In a sense, the current Ukraine war has its roots in the US imposing the Ukraine SSR's administrative boundary on Russia as international boundary in the early 1990s.

At the time, Russian officials saw Donbass as an issue and losing Crimea as unacceptable. Crimea held a referendum that voted to restore its autonomy as an autonomous republic within Ukraine, then attempted (back in 1991!) to hold a referendum on Crimean independence from Ukraine, but Ukraine threated to withhold their energy and water, so that referendum was never held.

As it emerged from the USSR, Yeltsin's Russia was too dependent on US aid to force the issue at the time. (Also, a treaty giving Russian rights to the naval base at Sevastopol, Crimea eliminated the issue that Russia would not have been able to accept.)

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Gorbachev enacted a law on quitting from USSR, which demanded the secceeding republic to hold referends in every autonomois republic they contain and give them a chance to bail out and become first-rank republic of USSR instead.

This would mean a huge rank boost for local authorities, and given then general unpopularity of everything Soviet the outcome of those would be all but predefined.

Actually the Crimean referendum you refer happenned after that law. It would make no difference just a year before.

None of Soviet Republics did it though. Neither Ukraine, nor Georgia, nor Russia.

In a somewhat perverted sense, Johar Dudaev of Chechens could be seen as a Soviet office defending remains of Soviet Checheno-Ingush republic against capitalistic Russia invasion. This seems, for legalistic perspective, fully mirror the situation with Crimea and Ukraine.

For many years Moscow mayor Luzhkov was challenging Yeltsin, and he was shuffling to Crimea and back to paint himself in good light.

Yeltsyn was a very talented populist, as another talented (by less so) populist Gorbachev could witness. Yet Yeltsyn never tired to use Crimea care himself and gave Luzhkov free rign tk paint Yeltsin a sell-out.

Another interesting moment was Gorbachev's public promises to remake USSR into some better, different union. But Soviet republics did not want to univocally change the founding treaty. Not sure if Gorbachev personally hoped for it, but his backers probably knew better. In this deadlock the only practical way to transit to Union 2.0 was to dissolve USSR and then pursuade independent state to form the new Union. However the legal dissolution of USSR would be the exit of all the republic from it, and then the new exit law would be triggered, causing dissolution of Russia, Georgia and others.

Russia had really many autonomois republic, still does.

Stalin BTW was very critical of that Lenin's concept, but Bolsheviks then were high on piper dream of Permanent Revolution and United States of Earth and disregarded those fears.

So, when Gorbachev tried to kickstart (the second time) his delusion of creating Union 2 without divourcing Union 1 first, he asked Russia+Ukraine+Belarus liders to start the process a trois, without other Republics. But those three, after meeting and discussing this prospects, instead just killed the USSR off. In unlawul way, but what should they had done instead?

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Another great piece!

I think the trickiest part here is that beneath the very noisy drumbeat for war until total victory in both the economic and shooting war, the various power factions in the US are not, I believe, in broad agreement, let alone the EU level crowd, EU/NATO member countries, and, of course, the Kiev regime itself.

Even given the best will in the world, how does or could the RF negotiate with this congeries of factions, nations, and supranational bodies? I am possessed of a vivid imagination, but try as I might I can't sketch a plausible negotiated ending to this to my own satisfaction.

So, I think this one ends (or, mostly, sputters out) without negotiations, especially as the collective west has spent so long demonizing the RF that it seems like negotiations will not, in any case, be politically possible.

The shooting aspects of this conflict, I think, will run down as weapons for Ukraine do, and the Kiev regime is steadily ground into pieces. Unless, of course, it flares up into WWIII (unlikely, but not impossible). What remains at the end? No idea - a rational world would see the corpse of Ukraine carved up by the survivors, but that would involve negotiating, which seems like anathema.

The economic side formally resolves into the collective west and "the other guys" with the rest of the world ultimately forced, by secondary sanctions from the collective west if nothing else, into one side or the other.

It's a bleak prospect, however you slice it, but I can't envision any rational-ish resolution emerging from this mess.

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Americans/English out, French/Germans down, and Russians sort of in....we would be returning to 1815, it seems.

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Not so sure if Germany will be "(still) down". According to Wikipedia, Germany's economy by PPP is slightly larger than Russia's. If the US was out of the equation, then Germany and Russia would no real problems and have complementary resources to trade. However, it remains to be seen if Germany has the courage to ditch the US umbrella and throw its lot in with Russia and the forthcoming super-BRICS +++ / SCO which seem to be growing prospective members like bunches of grapes. If Turkey decides to join the SCO and later BRICS, then it would have to leave NATO. If it leaves NATO then that could give Germany a powerful impetus to follow. One or both of these would be a terminal blow to NATO.

Time will tell.

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Now that Poland holds the keys to all gas pipes to Germany (they recently complete their own pipeline so that Norway to Germany pipe could be blown with no harm for Norway itself) talks of German courage look... Postmature.

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Well, either they summon the requisite courage, or they lapse into a semi-medieval poverty and vassalage. It's entirely up to them to choose

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Dec 1, 2022·edited Dec 1, 2022

There are some historical precedents where "letting things play out" among the locals rather than imposing or mediating an unsatisfying peace resulted in an arguably worse outcome, though I'm in general agreement with your thesis.

The example of Flamininus' "liberation of the Greeks" after Rome's Second Macedonian War comes to mind. Flamininus was such a Hellenophile that following King Philip of Macedon's defeat and reduction, his policy was to remove Roman garrisons (an insanity) and permit the Greeks a startling degree of political freedom, which of course led immediately to various wars and crises between the Greek leagues (Achaeans vs. the Spartans, etc.) and other states (Macedonia vs. Pergamon, especially following the war with Antiochus).

This instability was a curse to the Romans, their Senate perpetually haunted by bickering Hellenic envoys that provoked exasperation and contempt. In the end Rome was again forced into war with Macedonia, and after defeating King Perseus, totally repudiated Flamininus' policy and imposed a humiliating peace the locals despised but that lasted, with some minor interruptions, a century until Mithridates.

This example and others like it suggest to me that the world is a holistic thing and that it's as much a mistake to over-emphasize local realities as it is distant perceptions. Local grudges will not be allowed to run their course if doing so would be too vexatious to the power players.

We could see an absolutely hated peace win the day in Ukraine if, for instance, the Russians start losing the Indians and the Chinese. The result would be probably something like the Korean situation, which has proved mighty durable indeed, though from what I gather the Korean nationalist intellectuals hate it and pine for reunification.

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Concur, "Americans out, Russians in and Germans (still) down would be enough."

Put another way: Western Europe is the western peninsula of Eurasia soon to integrate with the Heartland.

The most consequential changes I anticipate will be at the Vatican. 1054 schism will be denounced, Vatican claim to embody both civil and ecclesial authority will be renounced.

Religion is upstream of culture and far more so of politics.

Heraclitus: War [conflict] is the father of all things. Without conflict -- aka activity, movement -- nothing is.

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Nov 30, 2022·edited Nov 30, 2022

> All this suggests that there is little real point in trying to negotiate some all-embracing political settlement for Ukraine, with a large and elaborate set of structures for implementation

It feels ironic that of all the nations today Americans should be first to understand it (maybe they do, but choose to work against it?).

There is a Nebula winning books series, "Enemy Mine" and the book#3 is exactly about it.

About how an external force could stop the conflict.

1. Wait until total majority of population grow genuinely sick of the permanent war.

2. Became the killer of extremes from both sides and the hate spongebob for every, so moderate factions could start negotiating without being labeled traitors, nor letting extreme factions wag the dog. "They would resolve nothing. Their only role would be to keep shouting not shooting".

3. Just keep doing just that for generations, until new generation grows up who never knew pre-war situation and is not anchored in it. "Those would be them who finally finish the war".

Of course, just a work of fiction, but today it seems fiction sounds more plausible than real politicians...

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Russia has shown itself to be very patient, but I don't see them having patience for that scenario.

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Nov 30, 2022·edited Nov 30, 2022

In which role? In which conflict?

Russia vs West?

Russia vs Ukraine?

Europe+Russia+China vs Oceania?

I would argue the opposite. Russia (in the role of conflict party) grew very tired of permanent war with West, so Russia patiently for decades tried the appeasement.

Would West have any agency (in the sense of being agreement-capable) Russia would likely to settle.

Today Russia seems to fall back to her customary war of attrition, trying to make West tired of the war.

But if you would say there seems to be no third patry, some black swan becoming universally trusted arbiter when all parties exhaust themselves, then i have to agree.

Would you read Strugatsky memories, there is an image of "a de-spirited demiurg, constructing the world with cruel sobriety". Maybe Nazi thought themselves doing so.

Russia seems to longer hoping to entice or bargain Ukraine, like it was for about 300 years, but rather to reduce it to wasteland that would want to be threat but won't be capable.

In the end that also is a kind of solution to a conflict, the removal of a party.

Post-Versailles FUKUS sought to re-develop Germany to live from the rent (debt, loans). Russia does not seem to seek a rent from Ukraine. So it could afford regular lawnmowing.

Same for EU. If EU does not want to make a stand of their own, if it oscilates between hating Russia on American order and hating Russia on superiority hubris, then bleeding EU by Ukraine and reducing it to hateful but incapable "small peninsula at the edge of Eurasia" is a solution too. With all Putin's love for Germany - it did not work out.

"1984" envisioned Africa as a helpless play ground sandbox. Well, maybe West Europe can fit too.

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Yes, your 'wasteland' and opponent-removal solution would seem to be the only realistic outcome. Russia realises fully now that the US and Eu are not 'agreement-capable'. They must be brought nose to nose with their defeat. US greed is helping Russia to defeat the EU through forced de-industrialisation, and the US will be in turn defeated through de-dollarisation and internal infrastructure collapse and dissent, although this latter will take more time.

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