I think the distinction is between NATO doing "nothing" and doing "effectively nothing." There's obviously been lot of activity at the political level, and a little bit of movement of military units, not to mention arms deliveries. But that's it. It's striking when you consider that NATO's entire raison d'être was to deter and defeat Russian military moves eastward. The problem is that, although NATO powers collectively can arithmetically match Russia in certain categories the equipment is spread all over the place and the various countries have no real plans to conduct conventional military operations together, still less have they practised doing so. Developing such a capacity would take years and involve massive and complex political decisions. German forces deployed forward in Poland? Turkish aircraft in Romania ? There isn't even the beginning of an idea about how to respond. And it's fairly clear that the Russians have no interest in capturing territory, so they will sit there in Russia, with the East of Ukraine under effective control, with the rest of Ukraine in the middle, and then western forces who will be doing ... what, exactly?

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"why is the West acting in a way that is obviously damaging its own interests?" There are (at least) two other factors - a) a large degree of arrogance and an inflated idea of personal capabilities on the part of government functionaries (i.e. a Dunning-Kruger effect), and b) a managerial outlook which is not based on reality but on pre-conceived but unachievable outcomes (such as Brexit).

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Refreshingly sober. I suspect, however, that in accurately explaining bureaucratic inertia that he discounts the effects of corruption which includes networked bad actors whose agenda does not benefit the nation or region in question.

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You are every polite. It will more than discomforting in The West, unless you are very well off.

Examined here without the polemics . . . https://les7eb.substack.com/p/ukraine-notes-the-long-proxy-war

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Great article

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You are correct about the US being unable to affect the Taiwan outcome.

China's military advantage over the US in the West Pacific is vast. Some of their multilayered surveillance tools are literally out of this world (one satellite has onboard AI target identification and tracking) and its 220,000 strong merchant/fishing fleet crews are all trained by the PLAN in identification of naval vessels. Sonar arrays on the ocean bed....

And its missiles outrange ours.

China's PL-15 air-to-air missile can go more than twice as far as America's AIM-120. Propelled by novel dual pulse rocket motors and flying on a semi-ballistic trajectory, the nifty PLA-15 missile homes on AWACS and airborne tankers loitering behind battle lines. In 2015 USAF General Herbert Carlisle told Congress, “Look at the PLA-15, at the range of that weapon. How do we counter that?” The general added that the USAF can field two hundred F-22 Raptors carrying six missiles while China’s more numerous fighters carry twelve longer ranged weapons. In 2019, The Air Force canceled its E-8C AWACS recapitalization, explaining that any new non-stealthy airplanes would be easy prey for the PLA-15.

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Bravo, Sir! -- or Ma'am, but you write more like a Sir. The question of authority.

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to "vlade": " I believe that Russian army is over valued right now, and has suffered major attrition against an opponent that's not in its weight category."

not sure where people who say this are getting their (dis)information. russia committed a fraction of its total forces to ukraine and, after some initial losses, has been the clear winner when it comes to casualties. even the ukie military is finally admitting this. no one who claims there is "major attrition" ever provides evidence. as for russia's air dominance...again, should i believe you or my "lying eyes"?

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As usual, I agree with much of what you write, but as usual, will concentrate on things I disagree with, because I believe that the value of discussion is in the argument not in the agreement :).

As I wrote many times, I believe that Russian army is over valued right now, and has suffered major attrition against an opponent that's not in its weight category. Hence, if we assume Sweden and Finaland in NATO, with especially Finland having a pretty good army, NATO capability would go up. That does still mean that the traditional mil powers in the Europe (Germany/France/UK) would be mostly watching from the sidelines. I'd also point out that in Ukraine, Russia has air superiority (but still not supremacy), which it would be much, much harder for it to get in Europe, if it was possible to get it at all (for numerous reasons). So I'd be far from sure of what a (conventional) mil confrontation would look like. Most "experts" (and non-experts) thought Ukraine would be gone in a week or two. Yet, here we are, almost four months down the line.

NATO doing effectively nothing. Well, you yourself contradict that, by saying that they can prolong the war, which is more than nothing.. Which then turns into how much will Ukraininans be willing to cope with. And I'd caution against Western approach here. Many people I know tell me "sanctions won't work, Russians are used to suffer". Well, I'd like to remind them that Ukrainians are used to suffering too - that most of the WW2, WW1 and large parts of th Soviet civil war were fought on Ukraininan territory, that Stalin's famine was in Ukraine etc. etc. So stuff most Western nations would not be willing to deal with right now, they will. Watching them through Western optics is a mistake - but it's a mistake to watch them through the Russian optics too.

Also, for NATO getting involved more than it already is, because of course direct involvement of NATO risks a global catastrophe, which few want to contemplate. It may not, Russia might back off the precipice, but then it may not - and thus, for many reasons you describe elsewhere, West won't be willing to accept that risk. Here's an interesting dynamics with some others, like Poland, who well could be willing to accept it, as for them (and here I don't mean just the elites), subjugation by Russia is worse than a risk of MAD, because their calculation is that subjugation by Russia IS destruction of Poland (given historical experience).

Lastly, Russia right now is hobbled to an extent by still refusing officially accept it's a war it fights, which means it can't mobilise its resources fully - although the question is, how much it would help really, as sending mostly untrained troops to the front in modern war is sure just of one thing - body bag use going up a lot.

On Taiwan. Yes, China can take Taiwan. But it may find that all it got is a semi-barren rock - same way, as if Russia does take Donbas, it will take a totally destroyed region, where anyone below 40 will try to move out as soon as they can, and repairing it to anywhere like pre-ante state will be a task for decades.

Clearly, Russia behaves as if it's still worth it, but China may decide that there are better things to focus on than Taiwan - for example, looking towards a significantly weakened Russia. But then, if Taiwan did declare independence officially, it'd likely force China's hand no matter whether it thought really rational or not, the domestic loss of face would be too much.

Which gets me to one thing - ultimately, the war, or the foreign policy, is really an extension of domestic policy.

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