Since America & NATO are balking I guess Ukraine's best defense right now is being commanded by Generals January & February.

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I would convene an emergency meeting of NATO to announce to Putin that if Russian troops invade Ukraine, (1) Ukraine will immediately be invited into NATO and (2) a no fly zone will be declared over all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea. And then move substantial NATO air power to Poland and the Baltics to enforce the no fly zone. . . . I doubt NATO would agree to these measures, and thus I expect eastern Ukraine will join Crimea as part of Russia.

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Jan 26, 2022·edited Jan 26, 2022

Every time I compose a lengthy comment I inadvertently delete it. Eh.

Anyway, I was going to comment that Putin sees Russia as the new champion of Slavophilism, and thus of both Russian nationalism proper and of the Russian ethnic and linguistic diaspora. That's a dream - arguably not unlike like Islamism or Han Chinese Red Imperialism - that has lately lured nations and peoples away from the messy and disillusioning chores of liberal democracy. It also both exploits and compromises the diversity of peripheral countries while undermining their internal stability.

As such, it can't be beaten with such brute force or sanctions as the West is likely to deploy, but needs somehow to be turned back dialectically against Russia itself.

To wit: Imagine if the Austrians and Sudeten Germans had been vociferously anti-Nazi instead of fanatically pro-Nazi in 1938.

I believe this is known as jujitsu. https://youtube.com/shorts/_HupHLmvDKQ?feature=share


Unfortunately I lack the martial arts training to demonstrafe how to apply this technique to Russia in general or Putin in particular.

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Why doesn't TFG reach out to Putin, go over there as Putin's Puppet and bring peace to the Former Soviet Union like he did with the Middle East. Putin should invite Trump! That would really monkey wrench everything. Putin could say Trump was "the real president" and Trump could declare Ukraine is and always has been, part of Russia.

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"...But the opening credits sequence is so weird and goofy and . . . amazing? . . . that I can’t get it out of my head."

I had to wait till evening, when I could sing and play along to check, but I think there's a musical reason why you can't get it out of your head:

The refrain uses *the* bog-standard Axis progression, but gives it a fun, uplifting twist that makes the song infectious and the dancing adorkable:

The Axis progression has two usual forms, major Axis: I, V, vi, IV; and minor Axis: vi, IV, I, V — really, it's a chord loop that doesn't always have (or need to have) an obvious beginning, creating that Escherlike effect of music ascending and descending at the same time. It's not even clear — and doesn't have to be — whether Wig Wam's "Do you wanna taste it?" is in D minor or F major.

The set up to the refrain slams an A major chord (suggesting the key of D minor), and then continues the E of the A major chord over into the first chord of the refrain, D minor (vi). This means you crash into the refrain with a suspension (E against a D minor chord), which resolves to a beautifully clear IV (Bb major), that in turn leads to I (F). Decorating the vi (D minor) with the leading tone to F, E, makes the arrival at I (F) feel more eventful and open — uplifted. The nifty part is the chord after F, C (V) also contains E, setting up the same suspension when the loop repeats. The suspension adds some electricity to the refrain's otherwise-familiar chord loop, and it probably helps that the opening credits repeat the refrain twice.

At least, that's what I hear, and what fits when I play and sing along. I'm not used to music with much distortion, so I could be mistaking heavy distortion for an added note — though, if I am, that may mean the distortion changes the waveform similar to how adding the extra note would.

If you like the opening credits, you might also like Axis of Awesome's 4-chord sketch or subsequent music video:



and you might love/hate Pachelbel's canon enough to love the Pachelbel rant:


(warning, some bad language)

12tone's channel is good for pop music theory, including the Axis progression:


If you know a hymn whose lyrics you love, but whose tune you hate, I might could rework it with a tune incorporating progression used in the refrain — though minus the eagle and adorkable dance moves.

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IDK why you say it wouldn’t appeal to any of us… I’m really enjoying peacemaker.

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An important thing to keep in mind is that Putin is an excellent tactician but a lousy strategist. That's why he often tries to substitute tactics for strategy, and his tactical victories don't get him what he really wants.

Until 2014, it was easy for Putin to meddle in Ukrainian politics because Ukrainian public opinion was divided about evenly between pro-Western and pro-Russian. Putin often took advantage of this fact to keep Ukraine off balance and unstable. But, with his 2014 invasions, he peeled off the most pro-Russian parts of Ukraine - Crimea and the Donbas. More important, people's opinions shifted in a westward direction: formerly pro-Russian people became ambivalent, and ambivalent people became anti-Russian. Thus, Putin entirely lost his leverage within Ukrainian politics.

If Putin invades Ukraine on a large scale, attempting a military occupation of the whole country, I think NATO should launch a preemptive counter-invasion of western Ukraine. The eight western oblasts of Ukraine were NEVER under Russian domination before Stalin conquered them during WW2. They had been under Poland-Lithuania and Austria-Hungary for centuries before that. They are culturally Western and anti-Russian. Supporting a democratic Ukrainian rump state and promptly admitting it to NATO would deal Putin the worst defeat imaginable.

An alternative strategy would be to create a NATO-supported underground resistance in western Ukraine. It would be supported by the whole populace of the region and could make holding the region more trouble for Putin that it's worth.

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if all the democratic energy from the fall of the Soviet Union has burned out (and fell out of many windows) and all that is left is are the soviets w/out communism. I’d like to see a new Russian containment doctrine. Kiev is a long way from Berlin but it’s not as far away as we think.

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I'm not entirely surprised to hear Falwell Sr took militantly reactionary stands to "prove" a conservatism in faith he didn't personally feel:

"At the time, Jerry Sr. was on track to be another louche Falwell. 'He would drink and party with his friends,'... Jerry [Jr] told me. Falwell was a member of a teenage posse in Lynchburg called the Wall Gang and routinely got into fights with rival crews. Every Sunday morning, Falwell’s mother listened to radio preacher Charles Fuller on The Old Fashioned Revival Hour, hoping her sons would hear the calling. Not long after Carey died, God answered her prayers: Jerry Sr. agreed to attend church...

"Still, Jerry learned there were fleshly motivations driving his dad’s faith journey. On Falwell’s first visit to Park Avenue Baptist in 1949, he fell for the church’s piano player, a devout auburn-haired girl named Macel Pate. Falwell joined the congregation so he could date her, even though Macel was engaged to a man studying at Baptist Bible College in St. Louis. Falwell devised a plan to sabotage the competition. He enrolled at Baptist Bible College and arranged to be roommates with Macel’s fiancé. Falwell told the fiancé he could mail his love letters to Macel. Instead, Falwell threw the letters in the trash. Macel broke off the engagement. Months later, Falwell and Macel were going out. 'My mom’s mother was terrified when my mom was dating a Falwell,' Jerry said.

"Looking back, Jerry said his dad adopted militant stands against drinking and homosexuality to prove to his wife that he would be a conservative Christian... Jerry said his dad also knew that there was a lucrative market for such beliefs. 'He became a different person to build a church and a school,' Jerry said."

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If the US is truly unwilling to actively defend Ukraine in the event of an invasion then we’ve lost. Not just this fight against Russia but against China in Asia, as JVL alluded to. Taiwan is toast. It’s a full signal to the rest of the world that we either can’t or just won’t maintain the global system we and “the West” enjoy, and that second-tier non-peer states can basically do whatever they want.

Settling for just a different kind of sanctions regime instead killing Russian regulars in large numbers on Ukrainian soil is what decline looks like. I hate to put it like that but that’s obviously what it takes, and a world where we shrug off the mantle of hegemon (aka the world we’re living in right now) scares the absolute shit out of me.

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Attrition. That is why Russia "lost" Afghanistan. That is why the US "lost" Vietnam. That is, at its most fundamental, why Great Britain lost the American colonies. Make holding what has been taken so expensive, in body bags, in sabotage, in external sanctions, in loss of income from unsold gas and oil that, maybe not tomorrow or next week or next year, but sooner than later, that the oligarchs behind Putin pull his plug.

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I don’t think Putin has to do much more than slice off another piece of eastern Ukraine. He’s already succeeding at driving a German stake through the heart of NATO, and hobbling NATO is his main goal. That’ll give him more prestige amongst his people than trying to swallow “Little Russia.”

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Putin cares about money. Seize all Russian assets in NATO countries and then arrest/deport all Russian nationals to cut off remittances

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We aren't going to do anything. Left-wing Democrats are pacifists and MAGA World is pro-Russian so this is one of the few issues we have cross-party consensus on. If we were going to actually do something we ought to consider deploying a strong air interceptor capability to Poland (assuming they'd agree) and declaring a no-fly-zone over Ukraine. Ideally this would be a NATO operation but realistically it would only be the US, UK and a few Eastern European countries. This would give Putin some pause that he'd have to risk either invading without air support or taking on the USAF. But as I said there is no political chance of this, so we will impose some meaningless economic sanctions that the Putin regime will easily circumvent with the active assistance of the Chinese and the passive support of the Germans. And the Biden Administration will just make some empty gestures out of the habit of acting like we're still the Leaders of the West but really we're spectators by our own choice. (Spoiler alert: if and when the PRC invades Taiwan we'll do exactly the same thing.)

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Crimea was a test to see reaction. This is test two. I think that what Putin wants to see is how cohesive NATO actually is and how far they might go publicly regarding a Non -NATO neighbor. Ukraine is far from a democratic nation but far better than it was prior to being unbound by Gorbachev. Now Putin wants to see NATO get in a fight with itself. Putin thinks NATO is essentially the USA and that exposing unwillingness to support Ukraine can be the beginning step to pushing the USA out of Europe. If he's incorrect, then the result will be permanent troop locations on all of the borders in Eastern Erupe which NATO influences.

That's my opinion.

Pete VanderLaan


New Hampshire

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WRT Ukraine:

We went to war (in all but name) when Iraq invaded Kuwait--the stated principle being that (in the modern era) nation states should not resolve their issues by force, particularly by invading and occupying other states. (oh, and oil, don't forget the oil--not that we would let something like that override principle, amiright)?

Ukraine is an independent nation-state. It is in our strategic interest in both the near and long term to be behind the idea that the invasion of sovereign nations to resolve issues is wrong...

EXCEPT, we did the same damn thing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hmmmm.

So how is what Putin is doing any different? If you are going to act against it, you have to be able to be clear about that and you have to basically be honest about that.

You also needed to be building support for such action (and not undercutting your allies) back several years ago... except we kind of know what side Donald seemed to be on at the time.

More importantly (because I believe that Asia is more strategically important and China is a greater threat) we need to be building support for the defense of Taiwan NOW.

Becoming dependent upon Russian energy was always a mistake... but short-sightedness, thy name is human.

I have the sense that standing against this now would be costly... BUT probably not as costly as letting it slide (even with sanctions, etc). But in order to do it, you need the WILL to do it. Can the will for it be built?

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