Pick a side

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, March 17th, 2022 - 351 comments
Categories: climate change, Deep stuff, global warming, grant robertson, International, jacinda ardern, Russia, science, us politics - Tags:

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelinsky has made a direct appeal broadcast to the United States Congress. That will sort out the Putin supporters from the rest.

Next week President Biden will travel to Europe. He will engage European leaders in person, leading up to the NATO conference on March 24th concerning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and any further threat escalation.

We haven’t seen this degree of US-European unity since the 1948-49 Berlin Airlift. It’s that kind of crisis, accelerating very fast.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to establish a new authoritarian-centric world order, beneficial to his regime and to the Chinese Communist Party. Breshnev’s Soviet military intervention in August 1968 to wipe out the reform movement of Alexander Dubcek is not a patch on what Putin’s armies are doing to Ukrainian towns now. Even Breshnev would negotiate properly before invading like this. Putin is worse than any Soviet leader after Stalin.

While everyone else was doing icecapades, Putin and Communist Chinese President Xi Jinping convened a summit aimed at uniting the two nations against what used to be called the Free World. They made it clear their opposition to the existence of NATO let alone any expansion.

With their joint statement touting that the friendship between the two nations “has no limits” and that there are “no forbidden areas of cooperation”, it is safe to say that the partnership will continue amid the Russia invasion. The two nations have new deals in oil imports with agreements worth US$117.5 billion for export from Russia to China.

In Vladimir Putin we see a leader defined by his personal control of industry, media, political order and military – without Biden’s democratic checks of a finely balanced Senate, Congress, Supreme Court, social media or mainstream media. This makes Putin’s autocratic rule very similar to that of Xi Jinping the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.

It is the strength of economic sanctions put in place by the United States that is the largest deterrent to China becoming a fully fledged partner with Russia in this war. But the civic costs will be staggering for all.

This is not a moment for false equivalences between left and right as we all deal with this largest European crisis since World War 2. This is the moment to reflect on why one side is in general better than the other and worth supporting. Doesn’t mean they are always right. Means there is a right and a wrong this time and we need to be a part of that support.

This makes the next eight weeks from now to the May budget some of the longest any government has faced here.

In that time the Labour government will need to simultaneously:

  • forge a believable post-COVID operational society;
  • stop people panicking about inflation and prices;
  • make a meaningful contribution for Ukraine against the swagger of Russian and Chinese autocracies;
  • roll out a full Carbon Zero plan;
  • balance the books;
  • pay for all the promises;
  • assure the financial markets as well as assure us all; and
  • gain traction back in the polls to win a third term.

I can’t think of a New Zealand government who has had to do anything remotely similar since George Forbes in the early 1930s. He lost.

New Zealand’s own resistance to Russia’s global destabilisation was witnessed in Labour’s quick moves to stabilise domestic petrol and diesel prices as well as halving public transport fares. Our Labour government had to balance rising inflation-borne panic and carbon reduction goals simultaneously.

New Zealand may be small, but we are approaching a moment similar to that which Bill Birch from the National Party faced in the 1970s.
It is easy to forget in this era of COVID, that we have weathered some equally massive shocks; the oil crisis that brought in the Think Big energy resilience programme, Britain brutally cutting the cord with our farmers which led to the stronger form of CER with Australia that we have still benefiting us today, the 1984 currency crisis, the 1987 sharemarket crash, the Christchurch earthquakes that led to the acceleration of whole-neighbourhood masterplanning, and more.

Bill Birch, who was central to the government responses to many of those crises, worried that younger generations are facing another great crisis in their lifetime, of climate change.

It’s the biggest challenge facing the globe going forward … we’ve just got to meet the challenge; we have just got to get the sentiment out of it and be rational in determining the effects of climate change and we can do about it and get on and do it.”

The Ukranian war unites climate change stress with a stress on the survival of strong values-based democratic government. It will need National and Labour to unite, and square up to consequences beyond the budget 2022:

New Zealand will need to accelerate energy independence from the rest of the world. Europe is running as fast as possible to remove their reliance on Russian gas. For the US it is accelerating oil and gas pipelines to secure future supplies. We don’t have the time to reinvent Think Big and too few can afford an electric car. We will probably need an agreement with Australia and Singapore that further assures our own supply, while we continue to take decades to wean ourselves off the combustion engine. We will probably need completely free public transport permanently.

New Zealand will need fertiliser and other agrichemical independence. There is a scramble on for that at the moment, but I bet the Chatham Rise mine proposal will be revisited.

New Zealand may need to think about nationalising some of the super-profits coming to dairy farmers to pay for the import crises that are building and the fast adjustments we are having to make.

New Zealand is going to need a new defence alliance with Australia, and probably the United States as well. Having strong and prepared allies in a time of growing war and destruction with autocratic alliances will surely be brought to mind this ANZAC Day. I would expect the United States will not make the same mistake in waiting until the final hour in defending Taiwan as many did with Ukraine.

We are not at the end of this. We are not in the moment to quote Peter Fraser as he helped form the United Nations. We are not in the protest moment of Prime Minister Kirk against the testing of nuclear bombs in our South Pacific. We are at the start of the crisis moment faced by Michael Joseph Savage in 1939 and Bill Birch in 1973 and 1979.

United States President Reagan once said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and be handed on for them to do the same.” I’m almost sorry that came from a Republican, but it’s still true.

One may not envy Prime Minister Ardern or Finance Minister Robertson, but it’s time to pick a side.

351 comments on “Pick a side ”

  1. Adrian Thornton 1

    "Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to establish a new authoritarian-centric world order"…..uh-oh…crazed propaganda coming, and Advantage doesn't disappoint…I was going to take parts out to highlight the outragous hypocrisy in this crazy rant, but I would have basically had to quote the entire thing.

    Just crazed paranoid propaganda spewed out from beginning to end….with no attempt or even the slightest hint of balance. nuance or geo-political and/or historical context.

    Let’s just be honest here, most of you chose your side in 2016 (at the latest), anyway hope you like it….from the outside, you seem to love it…..

    • Incognito 1.1

      Since the first comment under a Post can set the tune, here it goes:

      Adrian doesn’t disappoint and instead of unpacking the OP and providing a counter argument in order to have robust political debate he chooses to have another rant of his own together with his mandatory and idiosyncratic ‘counter-propaganda’ in the form of yet another YT clip – what better way to make a powerful point without taking the time to write your own opinion on a topic in your own words.

      Yes, the topic is hard and some opinions on the topic will be controversial, but that’s what we do here: we take the challenge and engage in mature debate in good faith. Or not, as is the case here.

      Spray and walkaway but don’t engage in actual debate, rant & rage is Adrian’s motto & mojo.

      • Adrian Thornton 1.1.1

        "but don’t engage in actual debate"..I think you will find I engage in plenty of debates on this forum ….however when it comes to what is just a straight out propaganda piece like this drivel….where would you even start unpacking such nonsense.

        • Incognito

          Yes, you do engage in plenty of debates on this forum when you channel your passion and use your skills in such way. The point is that when you don’t want or don’t have the time to engage in constructive robust debate you cannot seem avoiding taking aim at the individuals rather than at their political points (if any). This is not constructive and it tends to get rather nasty quite quickly, which by itself is not conducive to healthy debate. I shouldn’t have to tell you these things, again, but here I am, again.

          I’m not your enemy and I keep giving you enough warnings to continue your many positive contributions that are liked and appreciated by many others here. In any debate, balance is good, nuance is good, but taking shots at others is not.

          If you don’t want to unpack something that you consider nonsense you could just say that in your view it is nonsense and leave it at that. Better to leave all the other personal labels and snide remarks out of it, particularly the ones aimed at the Author of the OP.

          I sincerely HTH.

    • Francesca 1.2

      Good on you Adrian , but these guys have never felt such purity of blood lust coursing through their veins, such thrilling collective hatred, it's united them like never before…and they're not about to give it up.

      I am predicting a Russian chemical attack.Ever since Nuland answered Rubio at the committee hearing and said"We're afraid of the Russians getting their hands on this material"(so these are stocks the Russians wouldn't have themselves?)there have been so many threats and red lines issued and media warnings"The Russians may be planning a chemical attack.That would change everything" that I think a chemical attack/false flag is absolutely on the cards .

      The blue eyed heroes here will be packing their pyjamas and heading for the Ukrainian foreign legion toute suite.Ironic, their fathers and grandfathers fought against the Nazis, there they will be trained by them

      As little as 3 years ago, the Ukraine Parliament included overt neo nazis.It takes longer than 3 years to clean up an ideology like that.


      The revolution of dignity has spawned some pretty ugly fruit.

      War is not the way to combat it though, it'll spread like crazy everywhere, especially as resources dwindle and energy crises bite

      As elsewhere, the failures of neoliberalism have fueled the rise of right-wing extremism and racism. Now, the war with Russia promises to provide thousands of alienated young men from around the world with military training and combat experience, which they can then take home to terrorize their own countries.


      But keep up the good fight Adrian .I appreciate it

      I've picked my side, I'm on the side of a peace settlement that doesn't humiliate Ukraine or Russia, and gives security guarantees to both.Before too many more lives are lost

      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        but these guys have never felt such purity of blood lust coursing through their veins, such thrilling collective hatred, it's united them like never before…and they're not about to give it up.

        So you would be calm and peaceful about Russian troops shelling your home?

        There is one indisputable truth about this war – Putin started it. And until he is stopped he will never end it.

        • Francesca

          If I was in Eastern Ukraine from 2014 on, no I would not be feeling calm and peaceful about the Ukrainian army bombing my home and killing my children because I refused to accept a coup that caused my president(Yanukovich and the Party of Regions was majority supported by Crimea and the eastern provinces) to flee for his life.

          The war did not start in 2022

          • RedLogix

            Putin has repeatedly said 'there is no Ukraine' – and imagined he could restore the old Soviet Union with impunity.

            The fundamental problem for all dictators is that the people around them will not tell them the truth – and eventually they become convinced of their own lies. But lies always incur a debt to the truth – a debt now being repaid with the lives of Ukrainian people.

            • Francesca

              Red for goodness sake.

              Russia's military spending is 6% of NATO, 1/10 of the US.

              Their economy is that of Texas.

              You cannot occupy a country by nukes

              Putin is not stupid, or his advisers , or the bureaucratic muddle of the Duma, or Shoigu, or Lavrov, say what you like about them.

              When Putin said "Whoever does not mourn the passing of the Soviet Union has no heart, whoever wants it back has no brain" was expressing the reality of the situation

              • RedLogix

                You cannot occupy a country by nukes

                Yes but by repeatedly rattling the nuclear sabre these past few weeks he has effectively prevented NATO from acting directly against him. Which means his 6% has trumped the whole of rest of the world.

                What exactly then is to stop him repeating this formula until his troops reach Paris?

                And as for what Putin says – this is the man who told the us for months that all those troops he had parked on the border were not going to invade. His words are worthless, the only thing he can bring of value to the world now is his death.

                • Francesca

                  Simple Red

                  Logistics, supply chains, numbers,.The boots on the ground in Ukraine are unnecessary now because Russia has nukes you say?If all Russia needs to dominate Europe is nukes, why the invasion?

                  I'm not getting your logic

                  Why the did they lose Afghanistan?

                  All your and others crowing about how useless the Russian army is now meaningless?

                  The US has nukes in NATO countries, easily in striking range of Moscow.

                  They have the same power to dominate.

                  • DukeEll

                    I’ve travelled through a lot of iron curtain states. I only recall a few people bemoaning the loss of the Soviet Union. The rest were gobsmacked I cared enough to check out the communism museum as they didn’t think it was worth remembering

                    • RedLogix

                      In that respect the main thing I remember was the usual toast over a vodka or two that went – 'to freedom'.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      "The rest were gobsmacked I cared enough to check out the communism museum as they didn’t think it was worth remembering "
                      Some thing were probably worth remembering though….

                      Anthropologist Explains Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Natos own rules 'prevent them from acting'

                  They are a self defence organisation for its members , Ukraine isnt one

                  Many of natos members are getting involved on their own bat

                  Nato has done its own occupying in Europe and even remains in Kosovo 20 years late , inspite of their 'assembly' declaring independence

                  We in NZ know all about joining defence pacts with US, its all about what the US wants and where. And we were strong armed into sending military related missions , some were out and out occupation duties in places like Afghanistan and Iraq which dont threaten our peace and security

                  • Francesca

                    The only time Nato’s article 5 has been invoked was after 9/11.

                    Their military sorties have been wars of aggression , not defence…on weaker countries natch. Nukes is something else

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      Even if peace comes to Ukraine 'quickly' many in US will lament that it came too quickly as they are itching for a dominance war with Russia

                      Just as the last of a number of Balkan war over the boundaries left by the end of the Ottoman Empire in SE Europe- that between Serbia and Austria morphed into the Great War as it was called back then, many in US want to break up Russia itself.

                      They usually give lots of reasons why Russia activities show it isnt a model country – and it certainly isnt. But hey not every place can or could be Luxembourg.

                      US own military adventures are too numerous to mention and of course making westerners happy in their kaffeklatches over the right sort of country doesnt matter when bombs are raining down from those very western countries

                      a Beirut suburb flattened by Israel because it could

            • Adrian Thornton

              @RedLogix….Can you please link to two or three seperate occasions when Putin has specifically said 'there is no Ukraine'…thanks.

              • SPC


                His repeated references to Ukraine as artificial, and his past claims that “Ukraine is not even a state,” as he said in 2008, suggest he may also be leaving himself the option of declaring all of Ukraine to be a historical invention, serving to justify a wider invasion.


                • Adrian Thornton

                  I assume you are referring to the title of the piece in your first link?…'You Have to Understand, George. Ukraine Is Not Even a Country'…I can't seem to find the origin of that quote..maybe you can?…it seems everyone uses it, but without a link to it's original origin and therefore context it is worthless….

                  The second link I can't open (paywall)..so how about you paste up the bit from it you are referring to, thanks.

                  Redlogix said "Putin has repeatedly said 'there is no Ukraine' …so there must be lots of examples for you to link to….

                  • SPC

                    In bold quotes of Putins speech, the rest from the NY Times.

                    His repeated references to Ukraine as artificial, and his past claims that “Ukraine is not even a state,” as he said in 2008, suggest he may also be leaving himself the option of declaring all of Ukraine to be a historical invention, serving to justify a wider invasion.

                    Since time immemorial, the people living in the southwest of what has historically been Russian land have called themselves Russians and Orthodox Christians.

                    So, I will start with the fact that modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, Communist Russia. This process started practically right after the 1917 revolution, and Lenin and his associates did it in a way that was extremely harsh on Russia — by separating, severing what is historically Russian land.

                    And today the “grateful progeny” has overturned monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. They call it de-communization. You want de-communization? Very well, this suits us just fine. But why stop halfway? We are ready to show what real de-communizations would mean for Ukraine.

                    The virus of nationalist ambitions is still with us, and the mine laid at the initial stage to destroy state immunity to the disease of nationalism was ticking. As I have already said, the mine was the right of secession from the Soviet Union.

                    Mr. Putin simultaneously presents himself as championing Russian nationalism, through blood-and-soil territorial claims, and as fighting the “disease of nationalism,” in this case Ukraine’s long struggle for national autonomy.

                    This contradiction is rooted in his obsession with the breakup of the Soviet Union, to which he dedicates a long section of his speech.

                    It is now that radicals and nationalists, including and primarily those in Ukraine, are taking credit for having gained independence. As we can see, this is absolutely wrong. The disintegration of our united country was brought about by the historic, strategic mistakes on the part of the Bolshevik leaders and the C.P.S.U. leadership, mistakes committed at different times in state-building and in economic and ethnic policies. The collapse of the historical Russia known as the U.S.S.R. is on their conscience.


        • Francesca

          And I like you Red, but on this we disagree

          • mickysavage

            Can I tease this out?

            I don't dispute there may have been Nazis in Ukraine's Parliament at some stage but why does this justify an invasion by a neighbouring country?

            • weston

              Why are you posing such a simplistic question mickey ?.Afaik the russians have three basic demands they want a neutral ukraine with no missiles pointed at them ova the fence they want a guarantee ukraine will never join nato and they want the citizens of the donbass regions to be able to live in peace and safety .Cleaning out any natzis they might find is prob just a bonus for them imo

            • Adrian Thornton

              @mickysavage…Who has said on this site that the well known and much reported Ukrainian Far Right/Nazi problem was a justification for invading the Ukraine?…would you mind linking me to that thread…thanks.

            • Francesca

              Of course its not a good reason

              Who would go to war to fight Nazis?

              But maybe thats not the point Maybe some are pushing back on the idea that Russia is invading Ukraine because it cant afford to have a democracy on its border.Meaning Russians will want one too.And that we are defending a country that only wishes for democracy and freedom .I have no doubt that the ordinary people of Ukraine do want that, but they won't be getting it from Zelensky's govt


              Ukraine is not even a flawed democracy, its an oligarchy., backed up by "volunteer "militia Its own interior minister Avakov has close ties to Azov.He's resigned now , to be replaced by one of his acolytes


              When you imprison the leader of an opposition party, and shut down 3 opposition media , can you call that a democracy.Banning at least 3 communist parties of different stripes?

              Thats not what the invasion is principally about, and don't think for a minute the wests unprecedented support of another nation is anything to do with freedom and democracy

      • Francesca 1.2.2

        Nato would rethink it's involvement if Russia perpetrated a chemical attack

        Hmm, seems to me a no brainer for Zelensky, possibly in Mariupol where foreign students might be expendable


      • Stuart Munro 1.2.3

        their fathers and grandfathers fought against the Nazis, there they will be trained by them

        Not really – the alt-right stuff is not obligatory in Ukraine. It's the invaders who are pursuing some variation of Ilyin's Christian Fascism.

        It's been apparent for some time which side you are on. Let us hope you find more joy in it than Philby did.

    • Ed 1.3

      It feels like a lot like some of the folk on this site aren't aware of the terrible risk and outcome of nuclear war.

      Caitlin Johnstone has written so well on this subject in her article 'The Huge Gap Between How Serious Nuclear War Is And How Seriously It’s Being Taken.'

      One excerpt

      But I think another major part of it is the much more basic fact that if people truly understood how dangerous nuclear war is for everyone on this planet, nobody would consent to the kinds of cold war games that the drivers of empire have been intending to play with these weapons.

      The whole of the article is here. I just wish more people were aware of this.


  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    United States President Reagan once said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and be handed on for them to do the same.”

    Ronny Raygun is your go- to Endquote ?


    • Adrian Thornton 2.1

      Quoting Regan on Freedom is like quoting Jeffrey Dahmer on relationship advice.

      You can’t make this shit up…Advantage (like Red Logic) have gone wrong…..real wrong.

      [Who cares who quoted whom? Instead of attacking the messenger, and in this case the Author of the OP and another commenter who had not made a comment at all yet under this Post, attack the quote and argue why it’s wrong or why it has wrong consequences and in what context, for example. You seem so blinded by your bias that you lash out at anybody who says something that you vehemently object to, without hesitation, without nuance, and without self-control and self-moderation. You kill any chance of having a healthy debate and I’m coming to think that this is exactly your intention here. If you don’t change your ways here then you can leave and take your biased venom directed at others somewhere else. Since you’ve been warned many times before for this kind of behaviour of yours this is your final warning – Incognito]

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        All these years and you still cannot spell my handle correctly.

      • Incognito 2.1.2

        Mod note for you.

      • Adrian Thornton 2.1.3

        @Incognito….I do not think I am wrong in understanding that whom (in this case Ronald Ragan) a writer (in this case Advantage) chooses to quote from, and more importantly (in this case) use it as their final quote to underline their whole argument and/or position is very very important.

        In other words, you do you understand that a quote is inextricably linked to the person who wrote/said it right?

        • Incognito

          Nope, a quote, even when attributed to the correct source of origin and the correct (and full) context, can be separated from the originator because of its intrinsic truth value. Furthermore, citing somebody whom you may find despicable doesn’t make the citing person despicable by default – there’s a very clear separation in space & time between these words and the people that uttered/wrote them, often with very different intentions too. For example, if I quote Stalin it doesn’t turn me into Stalin, I don’t become Stalin or even like Stalin – I may not even like Stalin. If you think so, it is you who’s making/creating the link/connection, which is neither real nor necessary, unless you want to lash out at me for quoting Stalin, in this example. Surely, you’re not saying that we must not quote from certain historical figures, erase them from our history books, and cancel everybody who dares to go against this moral imperative? Surely not??

          Here’s the relevant passage from the OP:

          United States President Reagan once said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and be handed on for them to do the same.” I’m almost sorry that came from a Republican, but it’s still true. [my italics]

          It says it all.

      • Professor Longhair 2.1.4

        Who cares who quoted whom?

        The provenance of a quotation is essential, surely. If a charlatan (to use the kindest possible descriptor for that old terrorist) like Ronald Reagan can be quoted by the likes of "Advantage", then why not find and quote something similarly inspiring by Reagan's old allies and protégés such as Saddam Hussein, Augusto Pinochet, Saloth Sar, Suharto, or P.W. Botha?

        [You’re interfering with moderation, which has a low threshold for banning – Incognito]

    • Incognito 2.2

      Please read the Mod note to Adrian Thornton (https://thestandard.org.nz/pick-a-side/#comment-1875619) and take note, as some of it it applies to you as well – play the ball, not the man.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.2.1

        Ok fair. I know when I saw Reagan there it kinda jolted me. (maybe Adrian too? ). As to my mind Reagan is not far removed from Nixon and Chile on the criminal scale. ( Iran-Contra Nicaragua for one . And I supported the Sandinistas . Situation seemed somewhat Republican Spain)

        Maybe many other Presidents with quotes….. Anyway, allgood

        • mickysavage

          Ad did say this:

          I’m almost sorry that came from a Republican, but it’s still true.

          It is true. Rather than concentrate on who said it you should concentrate on the idea.

          • Blazer

            If it is…'true'…can you define this …'freedom'?

            Our Government is united in its determination to take all necessary measures in support of freedom and in defense of peace in southeast Asia.

          • Adrian Thornton

            What I would like to know is why would anyone use a quote about the meaning of freedom given by a man who was directly responsible for so much death/destruction and the actual destruction of freedom for so many humans right across South America…I mean are you actually serious when you say.."Rather than concentrate on who said it you should concentrate on the idea"….you must understand that the idea is meaningless when it comes from a fucking monster in the form of US president Ronald Reagan….maybe we would be better off if we concentrated on and remembered his victims….btw would you use a quote (even a really good one) on racial harmony if it originated from Himmler?

            Reagan Was Behind “One Of The Most Intensive Campaigns Of Mass Murder In Recent History” https://www.democracynow.org/2004/6/8/journalist_allan_nairn_reagan_was_behind

            Ronald Reagan Made Central America a Killing Field

            Time for a US Apology to El Salvador

            • Incognito

              You seem unable to distinguish and separate the man and the ball. This explains your bad habit of aggressively attacking anybody here who says something you happen to strongly disagree with, especially the ones who do this more than once. You accuse them of all sorts with labels & boxes that you yourself construct in your head, mostly – “Extreme Centre”, FFS angry

              You can see and call yourself “a proud Socialist” (with a capital, no less), but I see you as a menace here on TS, one that often fucks up political debate because of your personal rage against men with blue balls. TS is not the place to start your riot – go find another blog or start your own and call it AA (Adrian Attacks) or something snappy. You’ll be a real Hoot.

              If you cannot play the ball without kicking the man then you’re in the wrong game and I suggest you leave the field before you’re given a red card (your favourite colour?) and sent off.

              • lprent

                Perhaps I should apply Adrian's techniques to Adrian?

                I'm pretty sure that I can get a educational response as I shovel, in a very personal fashion, a pile of derogatory labels on them in a escalatory fashion.

                I have noticed that Adrian has a very thin skin, a almost complete inability to frame an actual argument, never actually answers questions aimed at the inadequete basis of what arguments they manage to cobble together, and a clearly shallow intellect.

                After all I think it would be educational for them

                • Incognito

                  I’d like to get the best out of others and myself (well, most of the time, as I’m very lazy). So, if you think it’s worth your while then by all means have a go – I definitely don’t want to keep Adrian all to myself because I’ve (lower-case) social tendencies too and am very generous or so I’ve been told by someone who loves me dearly (no, it’s not my cat).

                  • lprent

                    Today I'm wearing a cat lovers tee-shirt. It features a wide-eyed black cat holding a large bloody knife and a caption saying "What?"

                    All cat owners will be aware of this trait in our domestic felines as you deal with the latest injury they have ‘accidentally’ inflicted on something.

                    Adrian is starting to draw this trait out in me at present.

                    Other examples here

                    • Blazer

                      Where can I buy one of these?

                      It is my M.I.L's birthday soon…and she has the same…fashion sense as…you.surprise

                    • lprent

                      Try the link in the comment as it is full of NZ and offshore links.

                      I don't buy clothes very often because I couldn't give a shit about what I look like. In fact I only really buy jeans (some company in the US that has hardwearing comfotable ones), shoes (New Balance extra wide), and underwear (shorts with as little elastine as possible). I do operate a veto over my partners choices.

                      I will accept "Programmer needs work, willing to do windows", but not "No, I will not fix your computer" because I prefer not to give te impression that I can at all.

                      The tee-shirt sense of humour is pretty strictly that of my partner and the poor buggers who seem to be compelled to give me presents and don’t want to do the simple staple of bottles of merlot or Tulamore Dew.

          • Ad

            I mentioned multiple times in the post that Republican and National leadership had faced massive crises, as well as the social democratic sides.

            Also mentioned that Labour and National should unite to face the situation we are in – which remarkably they have done several times this term.

            My quotes were deliberately from both sides of the 'fence'.

            Both sides of politics have faced national crises, neither side have monopolies on the answers, and it's likely both will need each other in short order.

            We've just got through a 2-year national crisis with remarkable political unity.

            Crikey we may even find next term that we need something resembling the 'war cabinet' of 1940-45.

            Whether that triggered the predictables was immaterial; the scale and multiplicity of the crises requires coordinated political responses.

          • PsyclingLeft.Always

            Well…..Not sure why, after I had already put my message as I thought I had covered it. But OK. Personally, "In My Opinion" I would never quote search from Reagan,Nixon,Bush…Hitler or Stalin or Indeed Putin, as the fact they once said something "good" or liked dogs…. would NOT whitewash their crimes….

            • Ad

              If inciting massive crimes is the measure of banning who you can quote from, that also cuts out quoting from Marx, Trotsky, Lenin, Engels, Mao, Nehru, Castro, Mandela, Golda Meir, Althusser, Heidegger, Julius Caesar, Elizabeth 1st, most US and British elected leaders other than 1 Whig and 2 Labour PMs, all French PM's prior to Mitterand, Voltaire and bunches of anti-Jewish intellectuals, nearly all of Africa's postcolonial liberators, all the muriwhenua Musket War chiefs, Socrates, the Maccabees, and whole squadloads of 20th-century wannabees.

              It kinda narrows who you can quote from.

              • PsyclingLeft.Always

                Marx incited massive crimes? Anyway, It does come down to a personal choice . I'll leave this.

  3. RedLogix 3

    An excellent post that will annoy the piss out of all the anti-democratic, tyrant loving commenters that infest The Standard these days.

    Here is my pick – neither Russia nor China as we know them now will exist as functional nations by the end of this decade. Both face intractable problems, rapidly declining demographics, crap geographies, an inability to secure access to global trade and sea lanes, and insular, sclerotic leadership elites. Not to mention an array of fiscal and economic challenges that will increasingly limit their ability to respond in a post-global world.

    No-one can predict the precise trajectory of events, but it is impossible to ignore the sequence of perfect storms both nations are sailing into. In particular the entire political elite in Russia is drawn from their Soviet era intelligence services, a tiny inner circle of Putin cronies who have excluded everyone else from the levers of power and the bureaucracies. Once they are gone, either slowly through age or rapidly via a coup against them, there is no succession plan – which is always the fate of strongman polities – to fall into weakness and disorder after his passing.

    But as one of the more chilling Caspian Reports suggested, the fall of a nuclear armed nation into disorder might present an unprecedented challenge the rest of the world simply cannot ignore.

    • roblogic 3.1

      Russia has already fallen in many ways, it’s a lot like Mexico, a veneer of government and civilization in Moscow, but lawlessness and warlord cartels ruling on the ground. After Putin’s demise it will be interesting to see if the extractive oligarchs, sclerotic/ corrupt military, or desperate masses will grasp power. It is surprising how much Russia relies on Western expertise and finished goods, as they have long suffered a brain drain. The sanctions will bite worse and worse the longer they continue.

      China’s demise seems much less likely – but their increasingly hostile and autocratic stance, and the contempt they have shown to Western orgs attempting to deal with them in good faith – means that NZ will be facing a major rethink of that relationship very soon, and it will hurt.


      • pat 3.1.1

        Something of a problem should it come to that, given it wasnt until we developed China as a market that the economic decline from the loss of access to the UK was halted……and there dosnt appear another China on the horizon….two 'economic miracles' in one lifetime may be too much to expect.

      • lprent 3.1.2

        I've long referred to the economic base in Russia as being a kind of kleptocracy. I think that it has a limited lifespan in anything like its current form.

        Their armed forces performance in Ukraine directly reflects their economic issues. It is what happens when you do purchasing contracts on a basis of rewarding supporter robber barons without open processes. Reminds me of the US in the late 19th and early 20th century, or Britain in the early 17th century.

        The military made that way look good for parades, at court, but have a piss-poor performance when tested.

        China on the other hand has a working command economy. It has a debt issue, but that is almost entirely inside the massive local economy. So far they have had a pretty clear trend to letting failed enterprises happen. The exception seems to be with their local governments – many of which look like they require a solid and hard reorganisation at both a financial and personnel level.

        China's big problems lie in demographics with a population age profile that looks like it will hit Japanese levels of economic growth stagnation within the next decade. This is obviously a key question for them, because you can see some very active attempts to build a IP economy and rise up the technology curve. I can't see them having particular issues in the coming decades apart from learning to live with demographic stagnation as Japan has had to do (and us as well).

        No-one knows what their military is actually like these days. To date they haven't been adventurists, preferring instead to use diplomacy rather than stupidity. It still seems to be focused on defence rather than projection.

        I suspect that their military are looking Ukraine with interest because it is displaying quite graphically the advantages of defence in depth under dispersed control. Just as it did in Afghanistan.

    • Subliminal 3.2

      China and Russia will both remain relatively strong. They are, together, a manufacturing and resource powerhouse. Russia has many friends simply because they demonstrate a willingness to engage on behalf of those that are being stomped on by western imperialism. Syria was a game changer along with all the lies told by the west in support of the whitehelmets murder of innocent civilians. The west has always stood for the rich and powerful and has a long history of telling lies. Recall Mike Pompeos frank admissions.

      The west scrapes so much profit of the backs of it's beleaguered workers that their empire is doomed to fall. The only question now is how much of the planet they will try to take with them. The article is correct in one respect however. The west has managed to leverage a bipolar world which will require the Bushian choice of either for or against us. Russia and China or US and for the present at least, Europe.

      New Zealand has made its choice. I like many others here would say its the wrong one

      • roblogic 3.2.1

        "They are, together, a manufacturing and resource powerhouse."

        Russia's economy has been limping along for years. It's GDP is about the same as Australia's, pretty good but not a superpower anymore. 145 million people, but per capita income is terrible. And now it's going to crash back to the bad old Soviet days with shortages and rationing and widespread suffering.

        China's rise is indeed remarkable, but also nowhere near their PR claims. Much of its wealth is illusory, built on Ponzi schemes and money printing. China is dependent on the outside world for oil and food, and it needs rule of law and stability, else its vital supply lines are in danger, and that's an existential threat. Flooding and power cuts and ghost cities are just the beginning.

        China has expressed the desire for a swift resolution to the conflict so it can resume its lucrative resource contracts with both parties.

        WaPo | Opinion | Chinese ambassador: Where we stand on Ukraine

    • SPC 3.3

      Hubris is strong with this one.

      • RedLogix 3.3.1

        Which geopolitical point I made do you think is wrong?

        • SPC

          Here is my pick – neither Russia nor China as we know them now will exist as functional nations by the end of this decade

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Binary folk will feel the need to pick a side. Everyone else will resist the temptation. Since we now live in a multipolar world, it's just a question of whether to get real about that or not. To what extent are autocrats lined up on one side and democrats lined up on the other side? Look around you, can you see those lines??

    However it does seem useful framing to engage the current situation with, so no harm in an essay providing talking points to highlight the potential for any such divide.

    Xi is the man in the hot seat. His instincts will tell him to remain aligned with Putin. Realpolitik will tell him to triangulate instead. We wait to see him jump.

    If he jumps into overt triangulation, the autocrat solidarity framing will evaporate. We will all move on, in relief…

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Political debate can and should sustain nuance and consideration of multiple viewpoints. But war does not.

      • Dennis Frank 4.1.1

        War is indeed binary much of the time but other nations aren't part of that. Since other nations are the vast majority, geopolitics is based on a triad when wars happen. Other nations being the third point of the triangle, from which point they can use leverage to influence the course of the war or help peace to break out.

        • RedLogix

          In this nuclear era there are no 'other nations'. We are all at war, just the impact of it is for the moment extremely uneven.

    • Blade 4.2

      One things for sure, if China moves on Taiwan, they will be supremely confident of outlasting any imposed international sanctions. They would also be confident such sanctions would instead cripple world trade, forcing trading nations back to the negotiation table. Let's hope the Russian experience tempers the dragons fire.

      • Stuart Munro 4.2.1

        I imagine it has already. China has been much more successful than Russia in the late 20th century game of expansion through trade – and its historical experiences with conflict are not encouraging. When it is finally ready to take a bite of a failing superpower, the closest one will probably be Russia.

        • Hanswurst

          I wonder whether China's agreeing to accept Russia's dependence in the face of predictably destabilising sanctions at this point in time doesn't already represent such a bite.

    • Ed 4.3

      The title of the post is almost looking for a fight.


  5. DukeEll 5

    hmmm, let me see. Live in a system where i am largely free to do whatever I please and either support who I want or mouth off at whoever I choose without being directed to or imprisoned for.

    Or a system where I can't do those pretty basic things that we take for granted daily

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      You have never been to Singapore have you ?

      • DukeEll 5.1.1

        Many times. Great place. If you think you can compare Xi's China & HK and PUtin's russia to Singapore for freedom, you're a fucking idiot

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Its not free in the sense NZ is .

          They DO have a Putin style guided democracy

          'In 2018, Singapore was ranked 151st by Reporters Without Borders in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index'

          "The Act requires the chief editor or the proprietor of the newspaper to obtain a permit from the Minister in order to print or publish a newspaper in Singapore.

          Section 10 of the Act gives the Minister the power to appoint the management shareholders of all newspaper companies and to control any transfers of such management shares.[13] It also gives the management shareholders, and by proxy the government, a minimum 66% majority in any votes regarding staffing decisions.


          Clearly you were the useful idiot in the sense of western no nothing tourist

          • DukeEll

            Last time i looked I could travel there visa free, set up a business with minimal red tape and no corruption, could watch the Hong Kong protests on CNN without them being blacked out with no audio. I also don’t recall Singapore having territorial aspirations nor do i recall them trying to propoganda their way out of overseas criticism of their government.

            but yeah, one ranking means they’re as bad as Russia and china. Fucking idiot.

            [If you act like an idiot you will be treated as one.

            You’re clearly not reading the comments to which you’re responding, which makes you the idiot here. Keep up the idiotic insults and I’ll reserve you a spot where you’d feel right at home – Incognito]

            • Incognito

              Mod note for you.

              • DukeEll

                Pointing out some factual rebuttal to a dictatorial apologist relying on one data point makes me an idiot?


                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  More than 1 data point (?)

                  many many more in the link

                  But of course you are only interested in MAKING MONEY there

                  Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act

                  Internment without trial under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act has been used to deal with espionage, terrorism, organised crime, and narcotics.

                  and there is this


                  ' The government continued to use harsh and overly broad laws restricting speech and assembly to prosecute critical speech, or to label it as “fake news,” and order social media platforms to block content.'

                  Yep just like Putins Russia

                  This is so funny if it wasnt serious. An offence to hold a sign with a smiley face.

                  'Even solo protests are treated as assemblies under the Public Order Act. In November, Wham was charged with holding an unlawful assembly for holding up a cardboard sign with only a smiley face on it near a police station. '

                  And for Gay, lesbian and Transgender, just like Putins Russia

                  'The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Singapore are severely restricted. '

                  Once again because they are a US ally and the government focuses on trade and business they ignore the government human rights records which has many comparisons to Putins Russia.

                • Incognito

                  Again, you didn’t read my Mod note. Read it again.

                  You act like an idiot when you call others a “fucking idiot” without properly reading their comments.


                  • DukeEll

                    Oh, I read it. I also have first hand knowledge of what ghost the basement neck beard doesn’t. I also know that taking one data point and extrapolating it to equate one of the best post world war 2 socialist stories that is Singapore to equal china and Russia makes you a fucking idiot

                    • Muttonbird

                      You've been asked to stop the abuse twice but continue regardless.

                      It is you who is the fucking idiot.

                      [I know you love to play Moderator here but as you can see, I have it in hand and dealt with it already. Do you want to hand over your message to DukeEll in person, because you already have one foot in the door and the other one in your mouth – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      Mod note for you.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Doesn't look like you have it in hand, and you haven't dealt with it because he's repeated the abuse for the third time, unsanctioned.

                      You've been harder on me if anything, not that that is a surprise. Moderation here is a mystery to me.


                    • Incognito []

                      That was very close, thanks to SPC. You should really leave moderation to Moderators here and stop telling Moderators how to do their job, which is a bad habit of yours. Nothing mysterious about that if you’ve read the site’s Policy. My patience is zero now, so have a good night.

                    • SPC

                      Check 6.2.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Thanks for the heads-up, SPC.

    • Subliminal 5.2

      There are many people in the world unable to partake of the many everyday things that you take for granted. Just waking up in a warm house on a comfortable bed. Or even having breakfast. Do you even begin to understand what happens that your morning coffee appears and doesnt cost you the 40 or 50 bucks that it should? But of course you must have your freedom! And this is the problem, because its always about the preferences of people like yourself.

      I for one am grateful that the uni-polar moment is over. What an absolutely horrific thing it was! Iraq! Libya! Afghanistan! Syria! Yemen! Enough is enough and some have certainly had enough of your, and people like you, prefernces. Russia and China are not keen to be on that list. I for one, support the resistance. The local extremists have once again been pumped up by the usual NED candidates just as they were nurtured in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Syria. All in support of your petty little daily priviledges.

  6. pat 6

    Its worth remembering that as part of the 'western' world our perspective is somewhat skewed.

    40 nations have failed to condemn Russia at the UN, including China, India, and a sizeable number of African and central asian states….as decent chunk of the worlds population.

  7. Blazer 7

    With trillions and trillions of unpayable debt washing around the world,the future is definitely inflation…that's the only way it can be repaid.

    China and the U.S have the most urgent need.

    The Saudis are signaling that the end of the petro dollar is nigh….and that has been the backbone of U.S hegemony.

    Any perceived threat to it has also been a catalyst for… war.

    The 'pick a side' call reminds me of Bush…'you're either with us…or against us'!

    All those countries jealous of freedom and democracy U.S style ,needed a good lesson.

    People are all the same,regardless of their language,culture and ethnic differences…they all want to live in peace and prosperity enjoying life with family and friends.

    As for a' New World Order'….the present one needs ….a tune up.

    • pat 7.1

      Definitely inflation?….or default and deflation.

      • Blazer 7.1.1

        Deflation when Govts are running deficits increases real debt servicing costs and debt to GDP ratio's .

        Stable employment is the vital factor that needs to be maintained .

        Default in the property sector looks inevitable as price corrections occur.How severe is hard to ascertain?

        The factors at play with property becoming such a large % of GDP has created an almost 'too big to fail' situation but there are signs that it will.

        The next 5 years will indeed be 'very interesting times'.

        • pat

          Deflation (full stop) increases real debt servicing costs irrespective.

          Stable employment cannot be sustained unless the government commits to an employment guarantee AND that employment can maintain productive output.

          The defaults will not be confined to the property sector, indeed the declining discretionary spend in hospitality is looking likely to create the first domino to fall….and how many of those businesses have secured their lines of credit against real estate?….its a Minsky Moment looking for a place to happen.

          • pat

            Looks like my edit has disappeared into the ether….so will add here.

            Stable employment cannot be sustained unless the government commits to an employment guarantee AND that employment can maintain productive output….and NZ dosnt do much in the way of productive output.

          • Ad

            NZ employment levels have done fine here for 2 political terms.

            We need more workers everywhere.

            The only useful guarantee government can generate is to bring in the right skilled people.

            We'll do our utmost to ensure that we keep them.

            • pat

              There was a good reason for my edit (20 billion of them at most recent count)…it has often been noted that we cannot make a living selling houses to each other.

  8. aom 8

    It looks as though even the UK have had a guts-full of the US hegemon. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘looking forward to new life’ after the money that has been owed to Iran has finally been repaid. This goes against the US 'rules'.

    As for all the "democracy good, the others bad – what a load of crap. Norm Kirk sum it up well when he said, “Basically there are four things that matter to people: they have to have somewhere to live, they have to have food to eat, they have to have clothing to wear, and they have to have something to hope for.”

    Democracy sure isn't delivering that to those that need it most anywhere in the world, despite the earnest claims to the contrary.

    • roblogic 8.1

      Actual democracy is the rule of the people, and that means socialism! What we have now is unregulated hyper capitalism, that has turned democracy into a sham ceremony, undermining and hacking democracy in favour of the 1% , and keeping the 99% in wage slavery and penury to unaccountable transnational banks

  9. aj 9

    I think it's quite likely the government will start fraying more noticeably at the edges under the weight of the problems nationally and globally. Covid has such a long way to run yet, lets not forget in China it's hasn't really started yet, and if they cannot stop it – I don't think they will – will it trigger a much more severe global financial fallout.

    As for everything else, in the end everything is about money, not 'freedom'.

    The USA will fight to the death to preserve the dollar’s special status, what then-French Finance Minister Valéry Giscard d’Estaing famously called America’s “exorbitant privilege”

    • Say hello to Russian gold and Chinese petroyuan
    • The Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union and China just agreed to design the mechanism for an independent financial and monetary system that would bypass dollar transactions.


    • Dennis Frank 9.1

      It's a significant strategic move, but I found this bit from your source entertaining:

      This past weekend, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirmed that half of Russia’s gold and foreign reserves have been frozen by unilateral sanctions. It boggles the mind that Russian financial experts have placed a great deal of the nation’s wealth where it can be easily accessed – and even confiscated – by the ‘Empire of Lies’ (copyright Putin).

      At first, it was not exactly clear what Siluanov had meant. How could the Central Bank’s Elvira Nabiulina and her team let half of foreign reserves and even gold be stored in Western banks and/or vaults? Or is this some sneaky diversionist tactic by Siluanov?

      No one is better equipped to answer these questions than the inestimable Michael Hudson, author of the recent revised edition of Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of the American Empire.

      Hudson was quite frank: “When I first heard the word ‘frozen,’ I thought that this meant that Russia was not going to expend its precious gold reserves on supporting the ruble, trying to fight against a Soros-style raid from the west. But now the word ‘frozen’ seems to have meant that Russia had sent it abroad, outside of its control.”

      “It looks like at least as of last June, all Russian gold was kept in Russia itself. At the same time, it would have been natural to have kept securities and bank deposits in the United States and Britain, because that is where most intervention in world foreign exchange markets occurs,” Hudson added.

      Essentially, it’s all still up in the air: “My first reading assumed that Russia must be doing something smart. If it was smart to move gold abroad, perhaps it was doing what other central banks do: ‘lend” it to speculators, for an interest payment or fee. Until Russia tells the world where its gold was put, and why, we can’t fathom it. Was it in the Bank of England – even after England confiscated Venezuela’s gold? Was it in the New York Fed – even after the Fed confiscated Afghanistan’s reserves?”

      So far, there has been no extra clarification either from Siluanov or Nabiulina. Scenarios swirl about a string of deportations to northern Siberia for national treason.

      Hudson adds important elements to the puzzle: “If [the reserves] are frozen, why is Russia paying interest on its foreign debt falling due? It can direct the “freezer’ to pay, to shift the blame for default. It can talk about Chase Manhattan’s freezing of Iran’s bank account from which Iran sought to pay interest on its dollar-denominated debt. It can insist that any payments by NATO countries be settled in advance by physical gold. Or it can land paratroopers on the Bank of England, and recover gold – sort of like Goldfinger at Fort Knox.

      One foresees another action-man movie starring Tom Cruise with his grey hair dyed.

  10. barry 10

    A post full of hyperbole!

    The war in Ukraine needs to be opposed because of the misery being inflicted by a bully. It still doesn't mean that we need to line up with the other bullies of NATO.

    The list of problems facing NZ is real – It is called "Chickens coming home to roost". Successive governments have avoiding fixing the problems and the pressure has been building up. This government is no different.

  11. Francesca 11

    Blazer, I'm an economic ignoramus

    Who are all these debts owed to?

    For instance, here in NZ, where has all the covid money come from?

    • Blazer 11.1

      AFAIK the NZ Govt issues bonds that the Reserve Bank buys or sells on the markets.

      This form of Q.E is often an accounting device involving creation and redemption of bonds, but allocations are made to private banks ,who are supposedly meant to provide more credit to customers to stimulate economic activity.

      It can like the Key Govt did, as has been the convention, borrow offshore as well.

      Debt needs to be repaid and the Reserve Bank handles monetary policy re interest rates and inflation targets and the Govt dictates fiscal policy…taxation,revenues and expenditure.

      Other people can explain it far better than I.

      I regard it as a 'magic show'.

    • pat 11.3

      Are you in Kiwisaver Francesca? If so theres a good chance some if it is owed to you.

      • Francesca 11.3.1

        Well yes I am.I have left some of my savings in there , I've been retired for 5 years

  12. tsmithfield 12

    Thankfully, it looks like Putin may be near ready to do a deal:


    Putin's big problem is that his ground offensive isn't really achieving anything militarily at the moment, and it is costing huge amounts, along with all the sanctions.

    The best he can do is shell civilian areas which plays out terribly on world media, and is ghastly on so many levels. Too much more of this, and even China may have to stop holding its nose as it could be seen as complicit and enabling in what is happening.

    So, he is fast being put into a position where he has to do some sort of deal that he can sell as a "victory'' to his own people.

    Russia is going to come out of this much weaker. Its military has been shown up to be ineffective rather than feared. Many of the organisations that have pulled out probably won't return. And Europe is making longterm decisions about moving away from Russian energy.

    The immediate beneficiary of all this will be China. I think they will end up having a much weaker Russia as a vasal state; a huge energy fuel pump for China. But Russia will have to sell their energy at a bargain because their won't be many other takers.

    But, longer term, I think China will not do well out of this either. The world is starting to see the dangers of having so much reliance on potential future enemies. So, it could be that nations start trying to be more self reliant, or doing business amongst responsible nations rather than potential powder kegs.

    • RedLogix 12.1

      Excellent observations. Indeed it could be somewhat tartly said that if Russia was to win Xi would invade to the south into Taiwan, and if Putin loses he might go north into Siberia.

      But either way Russia is finished – this is their last gasp. The incredible, unexpected Urkainian resistance now means there is no plausible scenario, short of an immediate palace coup, that ends well for them. In the short term their oil and gas income will plunge, and in the medium term these events will only accelerate the global drive toward energy independence from fossil fuels. The only other commodity they really have of value is wheat – and even that trade has become deeply problematic.

      I agree that the immediate impact is that Russia will become a vassal state of China, but in this China itself runs a considerable risk of itself becoming isolated from the world. Sentiment is already tilting against them, and while the impact will be less sudden, the decoupling of the world from a fundamentally fragile and now unreliable Chinese economy will like pick up pace.

      • tsmithfield 12.1.1


        Russia's way of doing war is so old-school.

        It works fine against some of the weaker opponents they have had. But, as we are seeing, motivated opponents with modern weaponary cause them real problems, even if it is at the smaller arms end of the scale.

        Nato would make short work of the Russian military if it ever came to that.

        The only real ace Russia has is the nuclear threat. But that has the problem of mutually assured destruction.

        • aj

          Russia's way of doing war is so old-school.

          And 'Shock and awe' was … what?

          I compare the scenes of devastation in Bagdad and see nothing as extensive as that in Ukraine.

          • tsmithfield

            Encircling cities and laying siege to them is medieval tactics, but with modern weapons.

      • Blazer 12.1.2

        Russia can't lose.

        This is a needless war.

        Ukraine can't win,should have agreed to the terms that they will end up agreeing to….weeks…ago.

        • tsmithfield

          Russia has already lost. Ukraine has already won.

          Do some study on this before you make empty comments. Ukraine is a huge country. Russia doesn't have enough forces there to hold it.

          Even if (that is a big if) that they manage to take Kiev and the larger cities, they will have a powerful ongoing insurgency to deal with for years. It will be like Afghanistan on steriods for them.

          They are already bleeding dry, and are having to call up the likes of Syrian mercenaries and begging China for help, including food for their military.

          So, it is an embarrassing shambles for them. Nothing like a win.



          • Blazer

            You do some study.

            Russia wants to ensure Ukraine does not join NATO and represent a threat on their border.

            They have never said they want to occupy it.

            Is Ukraine even a sovereign nation.?

            We do know in 2020 it was rated 118 out of 180 countries on a corruption scale, and is not a democracy .

            Your american news sources are predictable.

            Wonderful that you can call a Ukraine win and a Russian loss.Laughable.

            • aj

              They have never said they want to occupy it.

              Yes that's the absolute last thing they will want to do. From what I've seen they are doing a minimum of damage. Footage on news have shown a number of small devastated areas but also a background with large areas untouched. It's not razing cities to the ground as some would have it.

              War is another form of diplomacy. It's tragic for Ukraine, Russia, and Europe in general that the Minsk accords didn't succeed but like other posters here I hope that talks to stop fighting continue

              Former top Pentagon advisor Col. Doug Macgregor on Russia-Ukraine war

              The war, for all intents & purposes, has been decided. The entire operation from day one was focused on the destruction of Ukrainian forces. That’s largely complete.”

              Former senior advisor the Secretary of Defense Col. Doug Macgregor joins Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate for a candid, live discussion of the Russia-Ukraine war and his time in the Trump administration when an Afghan withdrawal was sabotaged and conflict with Iran and Syria

              This is a long video, but Macgregor gives his take mostly in the first 20 minutes.


            • tsmithfield


              In the unlikely ''if'' Ukraine was to join NATO, by definition, it couldn't be a threat to Russia as a part of NATO, as NATO is a defense pact not an aggression pact.


              As far as I know NATO has never invaded anyone.

              And you haven’t defined “winning”.

              I say Ukraine is winning because either, they can keep the fight going for longer than Russia can afford to pay for it.

              Or, Russia ends up with a motivated insurgency situation that will bleed them dry over time.

              Killing lots of civilians isn’t “winning”. All it does is make the populace hate them all the more.

              • tsmithfield

                The other thing is that Ukraine is miles ahead in the PR war on the world stage. Zelensky looks like a hero whereas Putin looks like a nasty thug.

              • Stuart Munro

                The more aggressive Russia becomes, the more cheerfully Nato would put it down.

                If Putin resorts to tactical nukes or chemical weapons in Ukraine, Nato may well remove some of their capacity to do so by conventional means.

              • Francesca

                ???What was Libya? a no fly resolution approved by the SC morphed into an all out attack on Gadaffi, souring Russia enormously.Which NATO country had been attacked?

                American and British naval forces fired over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles,[20] while the French Air Force, British Royal Air Force, and Royal Canadian Air Force[21] undertook sorties across Libya and a naval blockade by Coalition forces.[22] French jets launched air strikes against Libyan Army tanks and vehicle

                That country was destroyed , it's gold stolen , and to this day there are slave markets .Great work Nato! Still don't know which European member of Nato was attacked

                • tsmithfield

                  Try again. The UN Security council authorised a no-fly zone and the firing of missiles.

                  Some NATO countries were involved, but it wasn't NATO as in the alliance attacking.


                  Because it had UN Security council approval, this was a legal operation. Quite unlike what Putin is doing at the moment.

                  • SPC

                    The no fly zone authorisation was primarily to prevent the Libyan government using its air force in civilian areas against armed resistance (by preventing its use in the "civil war".

                    It did not authorise use of NATO air power against Libyan government ground forces.

                    The UN point was to prevent either side winning and thus foster talks/diplomacy.

                    If NATO had been responsible, then a no fly zone may have been established in Syria. Again fostering talks/diplomacy.

              • Blazer

                'As far as I know NATO has never invaded anyone.'

                Yes but as you display everyday…your knowledge is very limited.

                Try researching NATO's role in the breakup of Yugoslavia…and educate yourself.

              • Subliminal

                I rather think that bombing Belgrade would be considered someting invasion like. Hmm and Libya?? I spose you would count Iraq and Afghanistan as "peace keeping" . Thats quite a twist for occupation forces. I wonder if Russia could get away with that in Ukraine once the fighting dies down. Its quite mind boggling how determined people are to be willfully blind over Nato agression.

              • DS

                As far as I know NATO has never invaded anyone.

                That'd be news to Serbia.

    • Ad 12.2

      China is still in play if Xi wants continued support from an expanding middle class.

      China only gets rich trading with the West.

      • Subliminal 12.2.1

        But thats become the very obvious point. Its not all about money. This is reinforced by the inability of Russia to gain entry into either Europe or Nato. And not for the want of trying. The realization is that the money and power are reserved to those with certain attributes which are not easily defined. But it is clear to both Russia and China that their aspirations of a strong nation that reserves the fruits of their productive effort for the enjoyment of their own people disquaifies them. It is very clear that China will not be peeled away from Russia. After all, they have their own "Ukraine" to come. Interestingly, this time the US will be arguing that secession is legitimate as opposed to Crimea and LDNR. I really cant see why there is so much belief that China will rescue the US. Russia got rock solid guarantees after the Olympics.

    • aom 12.3

      So what is Russia's new deal that isn't pretty much like the original one. The problem is that Ukraine has had to go through all this pain on the back of empty implied promises from 'the club'.

      All that was required was for Ukraine to act as a buffer, stop attacking Donbass, which seems to have had more civilian fatalities than Ukraine and agreeing with some sort of good neighbourly accommodations. Even now, the 'Empire' is more intent of feeding arms rather than feeding people, no doubt to satisfy the military industrial complex's insatiable demands. The fact that NZ has noisily bent over to take it where it hurts is an affront to peacemakers of all political stripes.

  13. esoteric pineapples 13

    I pick Russia and China. Much more peaceful countries than the United States and New Zealand will be much more screwed economically if can't sell it's products to China. In fact, most of the world including all of South America and even Germany are reliant on selling their products to China. If we go with the US and all its other Western white buddies, we will be in the minority of the world.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      I suggest you stand in downtown Mariupol right now and tell this to people. Let us know how you get on.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1.1

        Where were you when the Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz Afghanistan was bombed over over some time?

        And more recently


        The civilian death toll in Iraq from its long war is uncountable and all because of GW Bush said 'God told him to end the tyranny' and Cheney told him their oil would pay for it

      • Subliminal 13.1.2

        There are many there that will be well pleased when Russia defeats the azov batallion which has made Mariupol its place to stand. You can attempt to water down who and what the azov batallion is but you can not deny that Mariupol is where they are. And the reason? They went there originalky to cleanse the city and take it back from the separatists. They are not known as pleasant people and not averse to all kinds of dirty tricks. So yes, talking to the locals about their experiences would certainly be enlightening.

        • RedLogix

          There are an estimated 50,000-70,000 Neo-Nazis in Russia according to an ABC News report. The group seemed to organize around widespread unemployment and poverty in the early 1990s. Many of the members are young adults who were hit hardest by the economic downturn. The group operates under the official name of the Russian National Unity, a party founded by Alexander Barkashov in 1990. The party symbol is the swastika and some members receive military training in Moscow.

          Given your high anxiety over maybe 2,000 -3,000 Nazis in Ukraine, I'm guessing you're frantically rooting for the invasion and crushing of Russia. Right?

          • Adrian Thornton

            @RedLogix…"Given your high anxiety over maybe 2,000 -3,000 Nazis in Ukraine, I'm guessing you're frantically rooting for the invasion and crushing of Russia. Right?"…Wrong.

            Are the 'Nazi's" in Russia officially integrated into its military and even allowed to retain their Waffen SS styled insignia?…arethe Nazi’s in Russia integrated into its Military hierarchy and Police command ?

            The Presence of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine
            "It was the Azov Battalion, which was incorporated into the National Guard in 2014…..Since the Azov Battalion is fully integrated into the Ukrainian armed forces, it would take targeted efforts by US forces in Ukraine to ensure it does not receive the same weapons and support as other units. Today, in the midst of a war and a huge influx of US military aid, that would seem to be almost impossible."

            ….and RedLogix you might want to keep this in mind when you down play the Far-Right in the Ukraine…"Violent foreign extremists with links to Azov include Brenton Tarrant, who massacred 51 worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch in New Zealand in 2019, and several members of the US Rise Above Movement who were prosecuted for attacking counter-protesters at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Other Azov veterans have returned to Australia, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the UK and other countries, according to the Soufan Center."


            Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem
            “including Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who has close ties to Azov leader Andriy Biletsky, as well as Sergei Korotkykh, an Azov veteran who is now a high-ranking police official”

            Far-Right Group Made Its Home in Ukraine’s Major Western Military Training Hub

            • RedLogix

              I am on record here as regarding both the far-right and far-left as equally vile and reprehensible. You picked the far-left.

              • Adrian Thornton

                I picked my side long ago pal….I have always been and will always be a proud Socialist..

                …..and you picked the Extreme Centre, that most selfish, self centered and vile of all ideologies, the ideology that is burning our own planet down to the ground as we speak.

            • Subliminal

              Thanks Adrian. We could also deflect with whatabout the far right in the uk. But as you correctly point out nobody except the Ukraine military actively arms, trains, and incorporates these thugs into the military with their own very special ideology and insignia. So Red is just running apologist for extremists.

    • tsmithfield 13.2

      This drone footage shows the sort of "peace'' that Russia offers.

      Total annihilation until there is nothing living to fight back.

      If that is what you want, I suggest you move there.

    • roblogic 13.3

      If you care nothing about human rights or democracy, they are great.

      Russia denies that gay people exist, arrests protestors en masse, and attacks peaceful neighbours on the thinnest pretext. Average annual income is $5000 USD – and much worse now the Ruble has collapsed. Life expectancy is low and alcoholism is a leading cause of death. Russia is an open air prison of its people, and Ukraine no longer wants to be enslaved


      China – Tiananmen Square, Tibet, The Long March, Xinjian Uygur concentration camps, betrayal of Hong Kong promises, live organ harvesting, world’s biggest polluter, world’s biggest and most destructive fishing fleet… Dragons are not good.

      • Adrian Thornton 13.3.1

        " Russia is an open air prison of its people"

        " As of May 2021, the United States had the highest prisoner rate, with 639 prisoners per 100,000 of the national population. El Salvador, Turkmenistan, Thailand, and Palau rounded out the top five countries with the highest rate of incarceration"

        "Mass incarceration in the United States is a civil rights issue. Organizations such as the Prison Policy Initiative argue that incarceration dehumanizes poor people and minorities, damages already marginalized communities, and often jails people for small-scale offenses such as marijuana possession in countries where weed is illegal. Additionally, evidence exists that a high incarceration rate does not actually increase public safety—a stance often validated by data on crime rate per country, murder rates, rape statistics, and gun violence per country. Nor, for that matter, does capital punishment, commonly known as the death penalty."


        oh no that's right….Russia bad….must remember Russia bad, how could I forget…Russia bad.

        • roblogic

          America is a flawed democracy. But you can still criticise the government and vote meaningfully there.

          Russia is ruled by a clique of old KGB thugs, and life there is cheap. It is fucked for the foreseeable future. Putin is taking it back to “fortress Russia” and the darkest days of the Soviet Union.

          “The only plus from this story is that those who are nostalgic for the USSR will be able to feel all its delights in their own skin,” he wrote. “And it will not be a relatively herbivorous USSR like Khrushchev-Brezhnev-Gorbachev, but a USSR headed by a crazy dictator.”


          • Adrian Thornton

            "America is a flawed democracy. But you can still criticise the government and vote meaningfully there"…you are joking….aren't you?

            Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy

            "The U.S. government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern universities has concluded"

            The Two-Party Duopoly

            “Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.”
            Harry Truman …….

            Get elected to Congress and get rich: study

            • Blazer

              The U.S Congress would not be fond of that Truman quote Adrian!

              American' exceptionalism' alright…. homelessness is a huge problem too these days-over 40 million on food stamps.

            • roblogic

              Like I said, the USA is flawed. But still a democracy. And still holding to the First Amendment.

              Basic stuff which is unavailable to the victims of Putin's totalitarian gang.


              • Subliminal

                Great. A translation by guy who wants us to see what true fascism looks like. You don't see any problems with this? You do realise that official translations of all Putin speeches are available?

                • roblogic

                  I wonder if they conveniently elide the bits about purging traitors and wiping out dissenters like insects.

                  • Subliminal

                    Gee. I wonder if they were added by a guy who wants to prove the fascist nature of Putin. I mean he even says so! And the beauty is that neither you nor I understand Russian! Youve really gone down the hole if you think Putin said dissenters will be wiped out like insects!

                    • roblogic

                      He says it from 1:54 in the video above.

                      "The Russian people will be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors, and simply spit them out like a midge that accidentally flew into their mouths… spit out on the pavement."

                      Heil Putiner.

                    • joe90

                      Heil Putiner.

                      Define the opposition as less than human. Jews were bacillus, bloodsuckers, vermin, and parasites.Tutsi were cockroaches.

                    • RedLogix

                      It occurred to me that you have gotten lost on the internet – it is after all a very confusing place. However I just found the perfect website for you to hang out at. Bye.


                    • Subliminal

                      I found the official translation on the Kremlin website.

                      But any nation, and even more so the Russian people, will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like an insect in their mouth, spit them onto the pavement. I am convinced that a natural and necessary self-detoxification of society like this would strengthen our country, our solidarity and cohesion and our readiness to respond to any challenge.

                      So Rob, looks like you were right. I've responded to myself because your reply button isnt showing. It is on my phone but that wont let me copy and paste

                    • Subliminal []

                      I would point out that taken in the context of the whole speech, it is easy enough to see that these comments are directed at the wealthy elite who choose to place their loyalties with making money in the west. The main course for the speech is to outline the methods of support for those poorest and most vulnerable to the effects of sanctions. It pointedly states that efforts to reduce poverty will still be a priority even in the face of sanctions.

            • Subliminal

              Unusual whales investigates US politicians wall street activity. They consistently beat all the professional players in the market. I wonder how that is? Of course, the Ukraine war has offered up huge opportunities – but only for those in the know who act before word gets out

  14. Byd0nz 14

    Rap on Ukraine

    The Western Powers are loosing their grip,
    Their Empires are starting to crumble,
    The Political leaders are old and decrepit,
    Even their words are of a bumble and mumble.
    The Military, the Nato Alliance they subscribe to,
    Is eating the tax payers money,
    The have and the have nots divide is expanding,
    Future for the upcoming is grey and unfunny.

    Home ownership is unattainable,
    Rich greedy investors are squeezing the markets,
    The growing legions of the homeless,
    Scramble for cardboard to use as their carpets.
    The system is based on arms sales and wars,
    They need to conquer more of others lands,
    Corporate News spews in a warmongering ways,
    This is the scenario for Geopolitical plans.

    Ukraine is the pawn being used by the West,
    They funded a coup with weapons and money,
    Proding and poking the great Russian Bear,
    Who didn't think this was any near funny.
    The Bear had constantly been warning the UN,
    About the NATO expansion of weapons for war,
    But the deaf ears of the UN did not listen,
    This then for conflict and the heart of the core.

    The West was aghast as Russia invaded Ukraine,
    They didn't really think that they would,
    But now with an over the top sanction response,
    The West now is short of oil gas and food.
    Ukraine abandoned by a Paper -Tiger West,
    All Western Nations complicit in this tradgedy,
    Guilty of allowing themselves to be bullied,
    By a Hegmonic America of a war based strategy.

    Where will it end, how will it end, when will it end,
    This world full of money power and greed,
    The ordinary people planet wide seem peaceful,
    But it's a World without Money the thing that they Need.

  15. grumpy 15

    I have many friends in both Ukraine and Russia and we communicate daily on the current war. Both sides have perfectly rational explanations as to how this all evolved, who is to blame and how it will end.

    My Russian friends naturally blame the US and Nato. The Ukrainians blame Putin.

    Funny thing is that until recently the Ukrainians regarded themselves as Russian. They are ethnic Russian, spoke Russian as their first language and had many family and friends living in Russia. Now one said "we will kill every Russian who comes to Ukraine with a gun – we hate them".

    One friend from Odessa is raising money in Germany to buy equipment for the Home Defence Force – they have plenty of guns but need boots, body armour etc. Even nappies. I have been happy to donate to his fund. Their sons have all joined the armed resistance but the "old" guys have stayed – all are prepared to fight.

    My point is that this is not a matter of black and white. The government they elected was overturned by a US led coup. Their government is totally corrupt. Their wealth has been a happy hunting ground for US politicians and their offspring but they have a huge nationalistic fervour that was unexpected to me.

    I caution against this whole anti – Putin vitriol. Russians see this war as a fight they must have to survive, calling Putin a madman is hugely simplistic.

    • weston 15.1

      Hugely hypocritical too grumpy given the numbers of governments destabilised to be replaced with american approved dictators by a succession of US presidents over the last 70yrs .stating with the shah of iran in the early 50s Multiple times america has fomented coups which divide countries and set the inhabitants against each other .

      Ukraine is just the latest inferno lit by the US that we know about imo .

      • grumpy 15.1.1

        Yes, Iraq, Syria, etc. etc…..but for all their practice they had not been able to develop the precision bombing and bombardment that enables them to destroy a hospital and only kill 3 people!

    • Ed 15.2

      I caution against this whole anti – Putin vitriol. Russians see this war as a fight they must have to survive, calling Putin a madman is hugely simplistic.

      Common sense like this needs to prevail instead of warmongering.

      Jaw, jaw….not war, war.

  16. tsmithfield 16

    "My Russian friends naturally blame the US and Nato."

    If their sole source of "truth" is state-controlled media, and independent sources have been shut out, then what more would you expect.

    • Francesca 16.1

      They do not have a media blackout.They have the internet.Many more of them can speak and read English than we in the west can understand Russian

      They read the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times.

      • tsmithfield 16.1.1

        Sure, there are sources Russians can find if they really want to look for them. But Russia is making it as hard as possible for them to find anything independent or balanced.

        “Russia clamped down harder Friday on news and free speech than at any time in President Vladimir V. Putins 22 years in power, blocking access to Facebook and major foreign news outlets, and enacting a law to punish anyone spreading false information about its Ukraine invasion with up to 15 years in prison.”


        So, Russia is trying to black it out as much as they possibly can. Why would they do that do you think?

        • grumpy

          Of course they are……war these days is as much about propaganda messaging as anything. So, the NYT is upset about Putin cracking down on "false information"? This is the same news organisation railing about the widespread "mis" and "dis" information in their own country.

          They are all the same. The first casualty of war is the truth.

        • Francesca

          pretty much like RT and Sputnik being banished, and finding it very difficult with Google etc to find the Russian point of view on the internet .Those who know their way around can find them, but the insane pile on at present means that anyone who doesn't denounce Russia/Putin is a disgusting human being who should be muted for the sake of public safety.

          Russell Brand , who incidentally absolutely excoriates Russia for invading Ukraine

          points out the dangers of censorship

          If you think you are not being propagandised heavily right now , you are remarkably gullible

          • roblogic

            Brand was OK when he was talking about self development and well being. But after hanging out with Joe Rogan too much, he fell down the rabbit hole of anti-vax, anti-everything in western culture. The dude is good at emotional polemics and FUD. His contribution to politics was telling young people not to vote, the system is rigged, give up.

            He's an idiot with a very high verbal ability but very low on self reflection and critical thinking.

        • Subliminal

          The Russian media clamo down is a tit for tat response. RT and Sputnik have been deplatformed in Europe and the US. The Russian view has been cesored so they have retaliated. I mean, fairs fair

      • grumpy 16.1.2

        All my Russian friends are Engineers, either Electrical or Nuclear. They are very fluent English speakers and get information from a huge range of sources. They are certainly not people who rely on State media – the same cannot be said for this country apparently.

    • Blazer 16.2

      Oh the irony!

      You suck up U.S propaganda like a…sponge…all your links are american slanted.

    • Ed 16.3

      And people in the West are hearing a balanced perspective??

  17. Tiger Mountain 17

    Pick a side? What a pathetic post. I pick humanity and those that support world peace and negotiation over competing imperialist countries and the arms industry.

    The writer clearly endorses US Imperialism, which after Vietnam, Chile, Cambodia, Central America, Libya and Afghanistan, needs to stay in international time out for a lot longer yet rather than starting WWIII with an ill considered Ukrainian no fly zone.

    • Ed 17.1

      I pick humanity and those that support world peace and negotiation over competing imperialist countries and the arms industry.

      Comment of the thread.

      Thanks for the humanitarian response.

      We need this.

      Not McCarthyite Russophobic hysteria if we are to avoid WW3.

  18. Gosman 18

    This is my prediction for the conflict – The Russiand and Ukrainians will sign a peace agreement in two to three weeks maximum.

    The terms of the peace agreement will be that Ukraine will institute some measures which will mean it remains a neutral country and not be able to join a military alliance. However it will be able to have it's own armed forces and receive support for it from whoever it likes. There may be some third nation guarantees of Ukrainian sovereignty as well.

    The Crimea will likely be recognised as part of Russia as it was prior to Khrushchev “gifting” it to Ukraine during the 1950’s..

    The Donbas will likely be demilitarised on both sides and have UN peacekeepers. The region will have at least one independence/autonomy referendum scheduled for a few years in the future to determine what happens.

    As a result of the agreement Russian forces will immediately leave Ukraine and Russia may potentially pay some compensation for damage.

    The reason for the is that the Russian army is taking a hammering at the moment and simply does not have enough troops and equipment and the means to supply them for longer than a few more weeks. This coupled with the upcoming spring Rasputitsa will make it even more of stalemate.

    There is no way Russia can win so Putin will be on the look out of a face saving way to get out. The Ukrainians have been very clever in providing an opportunity to do this by them bad mouthing NATO over the refusal to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

    • Grumpy 18.1

      I suspect you are correct. There is no way Putin can win. However there is now little possibility that Crimea and Donbass can go back to co-existing in Ukraine.

      • aom 18.1.1

        Depends of whether you want to subscribe to a 'democratic western' concept of winning – like demolish all and then starve the survivors to death, Russia probably won't win. However, if Russia achieves the aim of getting a buffer from the most vicious and dishonest empire in history, both Ukraine and Russia are winners. Added to that, if Donbass and Crimea can exercise choice as to where they feel they belong instead of being into being bombed into subservience by NATO, as has already been done, all the better.

        • tsmithfield

          "However, if Russia achieves the aim of getting a buffer from the most vicious and dishonest empire in history, both Ukraine and Russia are winners."

          I really don't understand that. Are you referring to NATO as "vicious and dishonest"?

          As I pointed out earlier, NATO is a defensive alliance. So what has Russia got to fear? NATO will only take direct action if they are attacked. Look at how hard they are trying not to get directly involved at the moment.

          So, if Russia doesn't attack NATO, NATO won't attack them.

          • aom

            "NATO is a defensive alliance" only in your distorted view of the world. Don't you bother to do any reading or research before hitting you keyboard? Silly question, of course you don't.

    • tsmithfield 18.2

      Yes, that is about what I think as well. The Russians can't afford to keep this going, whereas Ukraine can.

      The more footage comes out of innocent citizens being bombed, the more the rest of the world will condemn Russia and be less likely to do business with them in the future.

      In short, Russia can't afford to keep this going much longer, and is not in a strong negotiating position. So, Ukraine should be able to negotiate a favourable deal, but one that allows Putin to save face as well.

      • aom 18.2.1

        Jesus, what have you been drinking?

        • tsmithfield

          "He added that Russian forces are in a 'dangerous position' which is likely to deteriorate in the coming weeks without a major pause in fighting – meaning that it is vital that the Ukrainians continue to battle hard…..

          The strength and responsiveness of Ukrainian defenders, coupled with extremely poor planning, morale and coordination among Russian forces ensured that Russia's initial plan failed.

          That failure has so far cost the Russian Army 5,000 to 8,000 troops killed in action, with probably three to four times that many wounded, captured or missing, along with at least 1,350 vehicles, heavy weapons and aircraft destroyed or captured."

          Meanwhile its army is taking losses in Ukraine which are fundamentally unsustainable if they continue over more than a month or two. In return, it has captured limited amounts of territory in the north, east and south of Ukraine, but has only taken one major city (Kherson) and a few smaller ones such as Melitopol.


          So, according to that article, the Russians may have lost 32000 personnel as killed, injured, or missing. And also huge amounts of equipment.

          How long do you think they can afford to take those sorts of losses, especially given the constraining effects of sanctions that make it difficult for them to afford to keep this going.

          And they just can’t keep throwing more and more into this because it will drastically weaken their military with respect to other priorities.

        • Gosman

          The Russian military has lost the most important element for a side that is attacking – momentum. It no longer has the ability to dictate the pace of the battle and therefore it is going to be ground down. It might be able to do the same to the Ukrainians however they Ukrainians have more man power available in theatre and are currently (from most reputable sources) making the Russians lose more men and equipment than they are.

  19. Puckish Rogue 20

    If Putin fails to take Ukraine (and its looking increasingly likely he won't) would this be Putins Suez equivalent where Russia stops being considered a global super power

    Or just a speed bump?

    • Poission 20.1

      Well around Nato hq in Belgium,there are free handouts at the pharmacies.


    • tsmithfield 20.2

      Yep. Russia is destined to become a vasal state for China.

    • Ed 20.3

      I listened to Professor John Mearsheimer on this. He appears to be an expert on the subject and he says Russia isn't interested in taking Ukraine, as you describe it. They want it to be neutral and not in NATO.

      He is well worth a listen as he has been lecturing on this specific subject for a fair few years now.

      • tsmithfield 20.3.1

        So, why has Putin invaded, and why is he slaughtering innocent civilians, then?

        Ukraine's membership of NATO was not a done deal, and certainly a long way in the future. So no immediate threat.

        What is described as Russia's objectives in your post could also be achieved through diplomacy rather than war.

        • Blazer

          Ukraine were steadfast in their resolve to join NATO…and expected NATO help …big time…got it..wrong.

          • tsmithfield

            But Ukraine was miles away from joining Nato. So, that wasn't an immediate threat that justified invasion. And, NATO is a defensive alliance that doesn't threaten anybody.

            So, you still haven't given a compelling justification for Putin's actions.

        • Grumpy

          My sources say that Stinger and Javelin missiles are what is making the difference.

          That is why Russian tanks don’t want to move and Russian air power is attacking soft targets.

          Russia will lose this and are finished as a superpower.

          US and NATO have vastly superior weaponry.

          • tsmithfield

            Yes, Russia is quite vulnerable to Javelins in particular because of their heavy reliance on armoured vehicles.

      • SPC 20.3.2

        Ed, Putin really wants western recognition of the annexation of Crimea and talks over new eastern borders Ukraine and Russia. A resolution over this ends sanctions on Russia.

        But as part of a rapprochement in relations, here Russian concern over Ukraine joining NATO within wider talks over NATO advance deployment in former Warsaw Pact nations.

        Biden/Blinken determined on a NATO hard-line as a show of their liberal democracy leadership.

        Putin raised his bet (a mistake). Now NATO is unified around forcing Russia into becoming a pariah/vassal of China.

        Let's all hope the President of Ukraine saves use from this folly by doing some sort of deal with Russia.

      • Adrian Thornton 20.3.3

        @Ed, "He is well worth a listen as he has been lecturing on this specific subject for a fair few years now"….do you actually really think most of these people want to to hear reason, nuance…facts from someone who actually knows what the hell they are talking about when it comes to Russia?…believe me, you are talking to the wrong crowd my friend.

  20. adam 21

    Us or them. This TINA shit is how wars start. How about we don't support war, how about we oppose it in all it's forms.

    Putin is a war criminal, but neither do I support sending weapons to Ukraine or any escalation of war.

    As for the decades to get off petrol, you might want to read the latest report on climate change buddy, your talking like it's the 1970's and we have time. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/#SPM

    As for Bill Birch, are you shitting me quoting that guy. Do you know how many people committed suicide because of that prick. How many other had poor quality of life, or had their lives shorten because of his reforms. His reform of ACC was the worst of any the whole neo-liberal shitfuckery – people died because of his hubris.

    • roblogic 21.1

      Just as well the cooler heads in Nato have not been drawn into a hot war then. I think it’s obvious which side is civilised and which one is a psychotic aggressor committing war crimes and blowing up civilians , and issuing nuclear threats

      The King must Die

      • Francesca 21.1.1

        And not only threats, the aggressors have actually unleashed them on civilian populations , murdering 100s of thousands

        Nagasaki and Hiroshima.I don't call that civilised

        • roblogic

          If you're making a list of historical sins you will find plenty of red in Russia's ledger. I am talking about the situation on the ground today in Ukraine.

      • RedLogix 21.1.2

        A good article rob. From that link there were quite a few others.

        Vladimir Putin has spent the last 20 years consolidating power like Ivan the Terrible, terrorizing the Russian people like Stalin, and looting and pillaging like no one in the annals of Muscovy. The sickly son of impoverished parents has made himself the wealthiest individual in the world—if not in all of history. And he acquired his wealth through larceny, on an audacious scale. What does Hans Gruber say in Die Hard? “I am not a common thief; I am an exceptional thief.” Even the tsars didn’t steal as much from their own people as this Chekist twerp.

        You really have to ask why the Russian people have been cursed to be ruled by such a succession of fuckwads for centuries. Elsewhere I've pointed out that Putin, while no angel, has nonetheless probably until now, been the best leader this nation has had in 200 years. Yes it was a very low bar he had to crawl over, but it does explain his enduring popularity. Yet it turns out like all over-educated thugs, money only made him more of what he already was.

        And as with all strongman polities, Putin's regime was always going to end badly. The open question now is how much damage is Russia going to inflict on the wider world as it tumbles off centre stage.

        • roblogic

          The tale of Igor Sechin is disturbing but not surprising. The despair of the Russian people must be palpable. At least under the boot of Communism they had bread and shelter.

          One hopes that someday soon the people who build up society will overcome their predators, who only know how to steal and destroy.

          • RedLogix

            In my limited experience living and working there for a few months, what I can say with confidence is that Russia is a society with an incredibly low levels of trust in the public domain. It shows up in all manner of ways, from their buttoned down, no eye contact behaviour on public transport, through to their housing and architecture, through to fully armed guards at every bank.

            The great German statesman Bismark once said of them 'you cannot trust the Russians, they do not trust themselves'.

            Yet in private they are the exact opposite. Even their Underground system in their larger cities reflects this, grim and grubby on the surface and astonishingly beautiful on the inside. The same with the apartment blocks, Soviet era brutalism on the outside, even in the entrances and lobbies. Then to enter your apartment it is necessary to step through three doors, one from the main lobby to a short corridor, then another into the outer door to your apartment, then finally a third inner door into your apartment. Each one is opened and locked behind you like airlocks on a spacecraft. This procedure is drummed into you as essential.

            Yet when you step inside the private domain it is a completely different world, bright warm, colourful and very welcoming. Despite my limited Russian I felt very much at home – and I came away from this trip with an abiding sense of affinity with these people. To the extent that I almost felt more at ease with them than I do in my native NZ.

            It is this shocking contrast between the two domains – private trust and public distrust – that to my mind lies at the root of so much of Russia's deeply troubled history.

      • Ad 21.1.3

        Nice read there.

      • Subliminal 21.1.4

        Where would we all be if there was no direction given on the appropriate emotional response. In this wee piece of narrative manipulation, otherwise known as propaganda, the facts are secondary because at all points we know how to react because we are told who is good and who is evil just like in any fairy tale. And now this is offered up as seriuos analysis? No wonder the west is dying if this is how our betters view the state of their subjects minds

        • roblogic

          Sometimes fairy tales and allegories provide deeper insight than a list of facts. Human culture is based on the stories we tell. They might not be literally true in every respect, but they tell us something about ourselves. This piece lays out starkly the despotic rule of Putin.

          • Subliminal

            Or it lays out starkly someones deep antipathy towards all things Russian. It starts with a set of axioms that must be accepted before the reader can be initiated. "The queen hated the king". "The king was drunk, violent and cruel". You guessed it. "The king was Russia"

            Rather childish I would have thought unless you were already prone to believing fairy tales?

  21. Francesca 22

    Oh dear, and after the incredible success Russia had in rigging the US elections with just $100,000 worth of facebook ads.

    Surely they could have rigged the Ukrainian elections in 2019?

    So much cheaper than this

  22. aj 23

    I thought it was Cambridge Analytica

    incredible success Russia had in rigging the US elections with just $100,000 worth of facebook ads

  23. SPC 24

    George Kennan and Dean Rusk.

    Not Acheson. Korea. Not Powell. Iraq. Not Clinton Libya. Not Blinken. Ukraine.

    This means looking for a diplomatic solution, asap.

    We have survived a GFC and pandemic via resort to QE (its arrival in China will mean supply/distribution disruption will continue a while longer) but now face the impact of rising inflation on cheap debt money markets. Is this really the time to re-unify NATO via Cold War with Russia, just so Biden can pose himself as leader of the liberal democratic world? He’ll be gone in 2024.

    • SPC 24.1

      PARIS, March 17 (Reuters) – The Ukraine crisis could knock more than a percentage point off global growth this year and add two and a half percentage points to inflation, the OECD estimated on Thursday, calling for targeted government spending hikes in response.

      Well-targeted increases in government spending by OECD countries of the order of 0.5% of GDP could reduce the war's economic impact by around half without significantly adding to inflation, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said.

      With Europe strongly dependent on Russian energy imports, the negative impact of the war to the euro zone economy could be as much as 1.4% while in the United States it would be about 0.9%, the OECD estimated in an analysis of the economic fallout of the war.

      Although Russia and Ukraine make up only 2% global GDP, they have an outsized impact on the energy and commodities markets as major producers of raw materials used in everything from catalytic converters for cars to fertilisers.

      As energy and commodity price spikes put new pressure on already surging inflation, the OECD said that central banks should focus on normalising monetary policy although a slower pace would be warranted in countries where the economic fallout from the war is worst.

      It added that central banks should be prepared to intervene as necessary to keep financial markets functioning if major stress emerges.

      In the face of surging energy and food costs, many governments have made handouts to consumers and businesses, with some also introducing price controls or cutting fees and taxes.

      The OECD said governments should be careful to ensure that such measures are temporary and targeted, and suggested some could consider funding the extra spending by taxing windfall gains.


    • SPC 24.2

      The current fraught situation has nothing at all to do with the rule of international law or the sovereignty of national borders or the spread of democracy; and certainly not even remotely with any kind of threat to the safety and security of the American homeland posed by Russia.

      To the contrary, it all goes back to the fall of 1991 when the old Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history, but the Washington-based military industrial complex refused to go quietly into the good night. Instead, it busied itself with policing the far-flung precincts of the planet as if the Cold War had not even ended, and extending Washington’s hegemony to any and every vacuum left behind by the vanished Soviet Union and its former satellites, allies and vassals.

      Foremost among these misbegotten projects was the perpetuation of NATO and its subsequent extension to most of the former Warsaw Pact nations. At the time the senate approved the treaty admitting the first three new members – Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic – in 1998, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman had the good sense to track down the single wisest voice in America about the matter.

      We are referring, of course, to the legendary George F. Kennan, who had been ambassador to Russia during the Stalinist era and had authored the famous “X” article in Foreign Affairs published in 1947. The latter laid out the subsequent US policy of Soviet “containment” and the was the foundational document for the creation of NATO in 1949.

      Needless to say, the then aging Kennan delivered the (then) youngish NYT columnist an earful – one which literally echoes down through the ages. Kennan virtually predicted today’s insane brink of war with Russia:

      “I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. ”I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.”

      “What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was,” added Mr. Kennan, who was present at the creation of NATO and whose anonymous 1947 article in the journal Foreign Affairs, signed ”X,” defined America’s cold-war containment policy for 40 years. ”I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don’t people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.

      “And Russia’s democracy is as far advanced, if not farther, as any of these countries we’ve just signed up to defend from Russia,” said Mr. Kennan, who joined the State Department in 1926 and was U.S. Ambassador to Moscow in 1952. “It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are – but this is just wrong.”


      [I’ve un-bolded 3 long paragraphs. Using italics is usually more than sufficient to emphasise things if you wish – bold together with italics is a little OTT. The odd bold word or part-sentence is fine too. Bold text is used for moderation here and thus needs to stand out in and from regular comments – Incognito]

      • Subliminal 24.2.1

        Great post that really nails the complete nastiness of US foreign policy. To translate the battle against the Soviet regime into a battle against Russians is indeed nuts. Russia has seen this before from Nazi Germany. Pretending innocence wont wash. It has been deliberate and we know this since all attempts by Russia, including by Putin, to integrate Russia into both Nato and Europe have been rejected. The only sane conclusion that Russia can come to is that it and its people are the enemy and the fight against the Soviet regime was just a pretext for the greater battle against Russia and its people

        • SPC

          Since the Cold War (defeating the centre of communist resistance to capitalism) it's being treated as just another nation with resources not open to ownership by the global market corporate (as per Iran 1950's, Venezeula, Iraq, Libya etc) – regime change.

          • aj

            I'm not pro-Russia. I'm pro-truth. These days, that will get you attacked a lot.

            When the world is awash with mindless propaganda that happens to be pro-Ukraine, debunking anything than the pro-western line can easily make you seem pro-Russian.

            The reality is that I just want the war to end, along with 99% of the world.

      • Incognito 24.2.2

        Mod note for you.

  24. joe90 25

    Another history lecture on behalf of the revanchist thugs running Russia. This time it's Poland that's not a legitimate country; it's filled with Nazi supporters and it’s time to to do a little more denazification.

    We can say that today's Poland is a country named after Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin.

    But Poland does not appreciate this, it considers the territory of Ukraine its colony and is ready, like a hyena, to profit from its "remnants". It's time to carry out the denazification of Poland as an accomplice of the Bandera regime. Especially since she herself is asking for it.


    google translate

  25. pat 26

    Pick a side

    The 1% or the 99%….nationality unimportant.


    "So why has no progress still not been made in this direction? For one simple reason: western wealthy people fear that such transparency will ultimately harm them. This is one of the main contradictions of our time. The confrontation between “democracies” and “autocracies” is overplayed, forgetting that western countries share with Russia and China an unbridled, hyper-capitalist ideology, and a legal, fiscal and political system that is increasingly favourable to large fortunes."

    • Ad 26.1

      Piketty is bang on.

      Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe, in no small part because it has been sucked dry by fewer than a dozen people since the fall of the Soviet Union.

      In near history we will be able to show the invasion as the response of Russian oligarchs to commercial territory lost by Zelinsky's anti-corruption drive putting their interests at risk.

      It is really not that difficult to describe billionaires as criminals no matter where they are. But not all of them use Presidents as subcontractors.

      "…everything is done to distinguish useful and deserving western “entrepreneurs” from harmful and parasitic Russian, Chinese, Indian or African “oligarchs”. But the truth is that they have much in common. In particular, the immense prosperity of multimillionaires on all continents since the 1980s and 90s can be explained to a large extent by the same factors, and in particular by the favours and privileges granted to them."

      Piketty is right that inequality is grotesquely distended now, but no not all billionaires corrode politics the same way across all countries.

      Some of this is covered in "Why Nations Fail" by Acemoglu and Robinson.

  26. tsmithfield 27

    Two questions for those of you on the side of Putin and Russia in this conflict:

    1. Why would nations such as Ukraine and other former members of the old Soviet bloc prefer to align themselves with the west rather than reunite with Russia?
    2. Why are Ukranians willing to fight to the death rather than have to live under Putin?

    Surely if life under Russia was so goddam wonderful I wouldn't be asking either of these questions.

    • Blazer 27.1

      1-some do,some….don't.

      2-the same reason Iraquis,Vietnamese and many other nations do when Uncle Sam arrives-guns blazing.

      Russian people are free to emigrate and…many do.

      • RedLogix 27.1.1

        Indeed one of the overlooked demographic factors in play here is that those fleeing Russia will be their youngest and best educated, from an already desperately diminished generation.

        Literally Russia's last export will be its future.

        • Blazer

          Sounds like Aotearoa/NZ today!laugh

        • tsmithfield

          Yes, I did see a docu on that awhile ago. Don't ask me to link to it; I have seen an awful lot of this sort of stuff lately.

          But the doco was pointing out that the majority of Russians are actually quite poorly educated and the ones that are leaving are the best that they can't really afford to lose.

          • Blazer


            What is the average education level in Russia?

            A large percentage of the Russian population has traditionally attained at least an upper secondary education. The figures remained high in 2011: 94% of 25-64 year-olds hold at least an upper secondary qualification. By contrast, the OECD average is 75%, while the average for G20 countries is 60%.'

  27. roblogic 28

    Scary thought. But we didn't think he would really attack Ukraine, or demolish cities, or throw away his troops lives so callously. A real possibility. Putin is running out of ways to exit from this disaster with any sense of victory. He would rather burn the world than lose this obscene war.


    • tsmithfield 28.1

      That is why I think the best result is for some sort of negotiated settlement that allows Putin to sell the outcome as a "victory" to the Russian people so he can justify the steps he has taken.

      • Muttonbird 28.1.1

        He'll have come out with what he went in for in that case, which was to get Crimea officially, create an independent Donbas buffer, and force Ukraine to stop its NATO ambitions.

        This all under the umbrella of halting US/Western hegemony.

    • tsmithfield 28.2

      Here Putin is losing his shit. He obviously knows things aren't going well.

      • tsmithfield 28.2.1

        And here is an interesting CNN article around Putins latest utterances that is worth a read. Clearly, he knows things aren't going well for him.


      • Blazer 28.2.2

        Bolt's take on any geopolitics is so partisan he should be wearing a red,white and…blue…suit.

        Australia's Hannity.

        • tsmithfield

          You are attacking the person rather than the content of what was said.

          Note, the CNN article I linked to says pretty much the same. Last time I looked, CNN were quite some distance away from being right-leaning.

          So, what is your take on the reports on what Putin has said in those links?

          • Incognito


          • Blazer

            I have watched the this person on a number of occasions and he is always predictable.

            And it is what he SAYS that I disagree with-he starts with Putin has the lost the war!.Been going 3 weeks and I disagree with what he SAYS-comprenez?

            As predictable as you posting links from CNN,Wapo,NY Times and other U.S msm.

            • tsmithfield

              Right… because the Russian controlled media is so much more accurate? (sarc)

              • Blazer

                Wrong…because Russian media is JUST AS BIASED as U.S media….some just think the world is…black and white! sarc

                • tsmithfield

                  Last time I saw, we still haven't had access to independent news sources, Facebook etc cut-off. We haven't had laws put in place threatening 15 years in jail for contradicting the state line.

                  So, Russian media might just be a little bit more biased than Western media, don't you think?

                  After all, you felt free to criticise the media sites I pointed to. Do you think you would feel safe openly criticising Russian state media that way if you were in Russia?

                  • Blazer

                    Have you ever heard of…Julian Assange?sad

                    • Gosman

                      The media in Western nations can still REPORT on Julian Assange. They certainly are not threatened with 15 years in prison for reporting information that he leaked.

                    • tsmithfield

                      You didn't answer the question. Let me give you a concrete example:

                      Would you feel safe walking down a street in Moscow with a sign saying: "State Media tells Putin’s lies”

                      Because I would sure feel safe saying a similar thing about TV1 and our government if I held that view here in NZ.

                    • Blazer



                      'Would you feel safe walking down a street in Moscow with a sign saying: "State Media tells Putin’s lies”

                      Because I would sure feel safe saying a similar thing about TV1 and our government if I held that view here in NZ.'

                      So you now compare NZ with Moscow!

                      O.K I'll play-I would feel as safe doing that as you would walking down a street in Fort Worth Texas with a sign saying….'Trump is a lying,arsehole'!wink

                    • tsmithfield

                      So, it seems, in a backhand way, you are saying you wouldn't feel safe doing that in Moscow.

                      So, if you wouldn't feel safe criticising the media in that way in Russia, and I would feel safe doing that in NZ or pretty much any other Western country I could think of, then I think it is very clear that the media in Russia is incredibly biased. As we saw the other day when one of the media people that dared contradict the state line was quickly arrested.

                      So, any comparison of bias in Western Media compared to Russian media is massive false equivalence.

                      The analogy you give doesn't quite work because Trump isn't a media organisation. I would feel quite safe in Fort Worth Texas walking down the street with a sign saying "Fox News is the government's sock puppet." and probably the sign you suggested btw.

                    • Blazer


                      Your 'conclusions' are in fact 'assumptions'!

                      'So, any comparison of bias in Western Media compared to Russian media is massive false equivalence'

                      Try this-'The Daily Mirror reports that, during a White House meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair last April, President Bush proposed bombing the Qatar-based international headquarters of Arab TV channel al Jazeera. "The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush," The Mirror quotes a source as saying.'

                      Now Bush was the President of the U.S.A the land of the..free..he was unhappy with Al Jazeera's news content…his solution!!

                      You need to accept that media bias exists,and how it is dealt with is not uniform around the world.

                      Bias is bias…how can it be…false equivalence?

                  • tsmithfield

                    I am not saying bias does not exist in Western media organisations. I think we all have our biases unconscious or otherwise.

                    The point is that in Western societies there are plenty of sources that are free to publish contradictory views to counter biases they see in other media. Thus, we can make our own assumptions about the truth of any particular situation by consulting the various media sources available.

                    In Russia, that clearly isn't the case. There is only the state media that is readily available. Sure, people can find other information if they search hard enough. But the Russian government is trying to make that as difficult as possible.

                    Effectively then, state media is the only source of “truth”. So ordinary Russians find it very difficult to find any counter-narrative to that.

                    So, yes, trying to equate media bias in the west to what is going on in Russia is massive false equivalence. If you can't grasp that, then I really can't help you.

                    • Blazer

                      You really should help yourself first.

                      Creating strawman scenarios and relying on assumptions and your personal opinions do not validate your viewpoint in any convincing way.

                      Even here in NZ, the overwhelming % of the population rely on TVNZ & 3 news,ZB radio and their band of merry blue bottlers.and granny herald for their 'unbiased' sources of daily news!

                    • tsmithfield

                      "Creating strawman scenarios and relying on assumptions and your personal opinions do not validate your viewpoint in any convincing way."

                      Sigh…. Are you trying to claim what I said about media restrictions in Russia is incorrect. Because it has had plenty of discussion here, so almost goes without saying I would have thought. But google "Media restrictions in Russia" and see what pops up for you.

                      Even here in NZ, the overwhelming % of the population rely on TVNZ & 3 news,ZB radio and their band of merry blue bottlers.and granny herald for their 'unbiased' sources of daily news!

                      That may be true.

                      But perhaps you could point to a "biased" media article to support your assertion.

                      But the difference is that people here have a free choice if they want to limit the media they digest. But there are huge amounts of sources readily available to them if they want a wider perspective on an issue.

                      Not so in Russia. That is the big difference.

                    • Blazer

                      -Russian people are free to leave …and many do.

                      -As for media bias…Mike Hosking is an unashamed Natz man .

                      You will have no trouble detecting bias,listening to him 1ZB.

                      You are going around in circles.

                      I have already agreed that there is media bias in Russia.

                      You appear obsessive about the degree,compared to the…West.

                    • tsmithfield

                      "-Russian people are free to leave …and many do."

                      But why should people have to leave their country to learn the truth they should be able to get from their own media?

                      "As for media bias…Mike Hosking is an unashamed Natz man"

                      Let me take this slowly for you:

                      Firstly, the fact that a media person such as Hosking can express points of view that contradict a left wing government is proof that our media is free of government influence and control compared to Russia.

                      Secondly, there is no shortage of left wing media personalities to balance those views.

                      Are you starting to understand the difference between media in the west and Russian media?

                    • Blazer

                      Q-'But perhaps you could point to a "biased" media article to support your assertion.'

                      A-Almost everything Mike Hosking who asks the 'hard' questions says.

                      Q-'But why should people have to leave their country to learn the truth they should be able to get from their own media?

                      A-they don't leave the country for that reason.

                      Q-'Are you starting to understand the difference?

                      A-No I'm not.Please name me the left wing commentators on Newstalk 1ZB.

                    • tsmithfield

                      "A-Almost everything Mike Hosking who asks the 'hard' questions says."

                      You obviously didn't see the " " around the word "biased". I was simply asking for a source to back up your assertion, which you haven't given.

                      "A-they don't leave the country for that reason."

                      But it is how they can get access to free media. It shouldn't be like that in Russia.

                      "A-No I'm not.Please name me the left wing commentators on Newstalk 1ZB."

                      John MacDonald on ZB sounds fairly left wing to me. But that isn't the point. There are plenty of media organisations in NZ that do have media with left wing views. If you don't like Hosking on ZB you can listen to someone else on another station.

                      Are you denying that this is the case.

                    • Blazer

                      One last time…

                      'I have already agreed that there is media bias in Russia.

                      You appear obsessive about the degree,compared to the…West.'

            • Adrian Thornton

              @Blazer….Just play the ball today damn you man!….don’t you dare adjust your tactics to reflect what you might have learnt playing ball with them yesterday..you know, yesterday when you got your arse kicked by them…yeah that time, well don’t use that information to help you today…OK?

              Careful there Blazer, according to Incognito what a person says or writes is completely separate from whatever actions (good or bad) they have (or have not) done in the past…in other words you cannot judge or comment on a statement from what you know about that person and their past, but comment only on the content of what they have said specifically today…quite a bizarre turn of events I know ..but now apparently law on The Standard (according to Incognitos discretion I assume) …punishable by expulsion from the tribe I have been told…lol.

              Maybe Incognito might relate to this little quote…or maybe not, who knows? I certainly wouldn’t want to judge or comment on what Incognito might or might not relate to today, and especially not from what I might have learnt about them from their comments yesterday or the day before or anything like that….that just wouldn’t make any sense.

              “If today I stand here as a revolutionary, it is as a revolutionary against the Revolution”

              [You’ve not taken in anything Micky or I said about quoting or addressing an idea or topic. In fact, you twisted my words in such an absurd way that I have to assume you’re projecting your own BS onto others – I’ve long assumed this, but given you the benefit of doubt, until recently. I doubt that you even realise that you’re doing this. You think the ‘enemies’ are others and elsewhere and you demonise them, but in reality they are your inner demons, figments of your own mental constructs, which you love so much that you’re not willing to give them up under any circumstance because they make you who you are – without them you’re nothing.

              The “law on The Standard” is the Policy.

              TS is no “tribe”, it is free forum for anybody who wants to debate things, regardless of their persuasion. You’re excluding yourself by your complete lack of listening and responding appropriately. You’re also incapable of agreeing to disagree, of compromise, of nuance and you will therefore always fight ‘to the death’ because you cannot imagine another way or any other outcome, as that would be utterly inconsistent and incompatible with your binary dogmas.

              Your quote was pathetic and it suited you.

              Educational and instructive efforts are wasted on you, which doesn’t leave many options at our discretion – Incognito]

              • Ad

                Godwin Award of the day.

              • tsmithfield

                Even with a quote from Adolf Hitler, I think we still need to take the approach that is advised by Incognito.

                Just because a person is incredibly bad doesn't mean everything they ever did or said was bad. Truth is truth whoever's mouth it eminates from.

                Exactly the same for anything Putin says as well.

                For instance, if Putin claimed his purpose for going into Ukraine was to "liberate" the Ukranian people from Nazis, we could then judge that claim on the basis of what Putin did (through his army) subsequently.

                For instance, we could assess how the first statement aligned with subsequent actions that involve shelling civilian populations including hospitals and the like.

                That way, we are examining critically the statements rather than drawing conclusions on the basis of who said them.

                • RedLogix

                  Just because a person is incredibly bad doesn't mean everything they ever did or said was bad. Truth is truth whoever's mouth it eminates from.

                  Yes. It is an odd paradox inasmuch that no words coming from Putin's mouth can be ever trusted again – yet in hindsight some will be proven true nonetheless.

                  One of my favourite quotes for example comes from Stalin of all people, 'the death on one man is a tragedy, the death of millions a statistic'. Of course history has condemned Stalin as a monster, and the hordes his of leftwing apologists in the 1920's and 30's as 'useful idiots'.

                  We can only hope that Putin endures the same fate as Stalin, abandoned to die slowly and painfully, his staff too scared to act to save him.

                • Blazer

                  'For instance, if Putin claimed his purpose '

                  And if he didn't ….we can therefore not arrive at any logical connection between his words and …deeds.

                  • tsmithfield

                    The point of that comment wasn't to report any specific statement from Putin. Rather to demonstrate that statements can be judged against actions rather than personalities.

              • lprent

                As I commented earlier

                Perhaps I should apply Adrian’s techniques to Adrian?

                I’m pretty sure that I can get a educational response as I shovel, in a very personal fashion, a pile of derogatory labels on them in a escalatory fashion.

                Look at the sheer incoherence of Adrian’s writing. The incoherence of that second paragraph is stunning. You can almost see the angry drool dripping from their slavering lips. It is like reading a Putin speech – full of some weird world view that cannot be explained, but only possible in a world that doesn’t allow alternate opinions.

                Throughout the entirety of the comment the idiot author of it doesn’t manage to coherently state a single argument about what their opinion actually is. It is clear that they spend all of their time in a simpleton’s reactive mode rather than actually being able to articulate their argument. Probably because they don’t have a coherent idea about what they want – instead preferring to be a critic of others who are willing to do the intellectual heavy lifting.

                Adrian, rather than being a worker in society, clearly prefers a role of being a carping parasite criticising what others discuss.

                Right down to the lazy fool using a quotation without sourcing it.

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Firstly, I have to say I find it highly amusing that this whole thing was supposedly about “playing the ball not the player”…and you immediately go off on a half demented rant aimed directly at me…luckily for all concerned, I don’t give a fuck what you (or Incognito for that matter) think about me…and anyway I have always been League man, so playing the man when needed is what comes naturally to me…as it obviously does you too Iprent.

                  Yes, it is true that I don’t write or spell or know as many big words as many people here on The Standard Iprent, I guess some of that lack of finesse is the result of me leaving school the day I turned 15 to work on Auckland’s building sites…luckily none of that bothers me in the slightest either.

                  However, it is not the way we construct sentences that is what separates us Iprent, no, I will tell you what the difference is between you and myself…I have always been the first person to admit that I am a bit of a dummy and I try to admit when I am wrong…while you on the other hand, really and truly believe you are the always smartest guy in the room… a very unattractive trait indeed…especially coming from a guy who obviously usually isn’t..like yourself.

                  One of the things I have observed while being here on The Standard is that, while I might be a bit of a dummy at times, I have a something that you don’t possess Iprent, and judging by the extreme low resolution understanding that many of your comments on Geopolitics regularly display, can’t be taught….and that is the ability for natural, critical, free thinking.

                  “You can almost see the angry drool dripping from their slavering lips”….man, I fucking love it, I have been giggling about that one all day, cheers pal.

                  • lprent

                    Firstly, I have to say I find it highly amusing that this whole thing was supposedly about “playing the ball not the player

                    You mean like your attack on incognito in the comment that I replied to, you worthless self-lying hypocrite.

                    Or indeed your comment here.

                    As I pointed out and as my comment was planned to highlight, you like to dish out criticism, but have a very thin skin in dealing with criticism directed at you.

                    Just read your comment in response to me doing exactly what you have delivered to others all over this post.

                    Your response consists of an attack on someone else at a personal level. Followed by whining that amounted to just saying that you simply didn’t like my tone, and that I was being unfair. It didn't address any point in my comment about why I was doing it. It didn’t even acknowledge that your recent behaviour has been bloody atrocious and rather than address issues, you have consistently only attacked others for their different opinions to yours.

                    It'd be fine if you argued your point without being a frigging useless critic. But clearly you don't seem to be capable of doing that.

                    ….and that is the ability for natural, critical, free thinking.

                    In other words a critic too lazy to read the responses of others and deal with their criticism of you, too lazy to respond to their arguments with respect, and too lazy to look up material to support your argument or to refute that of others.

                    I couldn't give a damn about the way you write. There are people who have far more problems with that than you – who make clear what their opinions and argument. Trickledown for instance. Hell – half of my comments are only semi-incoherent according to my partner with her obsession with words and grammar.

                    Instead you appear to incapable of dealing with the arguments of others without resorting to personally attacking them or attacking the site that allows them to write reasonably freely here. You don't disagree and argue accordingly. Your "free-thinking" appears to consist only of finding ways to accuse others of heresy without actually arguing with them about their beliefs.

                    In another age, in my opinion, you would have made a good recruit for the inquisition or stasi.

                    Basically you should modify your behaviour to others, be cause clearly you don’t like a similar personal attack behaviour being mirrored back on you. You’d better to this soon, because I’m getting tired of you acting like a know-it-all teen who fails to understand how to respectfully disagree.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      To quote Iprent..” “too lazy “…” whining”..” lazy”..” know-it-all teen”…” good recruit for the inquisition”..” appear to incapable”…” too lazy”…” frigging useless”…” bloody atrocious”…” very thin skin”..” lazy fool”…” carping parasite”…” simpleton”…” sheer incoherence of Adrian’s writing”…” incoherence of that second paragraph is stunning”…” You can almost see the angry drool dripping from their slavering lips”..… “you worthless self-lying hypocrite.”

                      And here I was being accused of playing the man not the ball….go figure.

                    • Incognito []

                      Why don’t you re-read Lprent’s reasoning again here: https://thestandard.org.nz/pick-a-side/#comment-1876091. He’s holding up a mirror to you and you don’t seem to realise it.

              • Incognito

                Mod note for you.

  28. Adrian Thornton 29

    "You can almost see the angry drool dripping from their slavering lips. It is like reading a Putin speech"….that is so great man…I fucking love it…gotta go to work now, but thanks.

  29. Muttonbird 30

    The imagery of Zelensky addressing the US congress wearing military green with some sort of Iron Cross on the breast is quite jarring, imo.

  30. tsmithfield 31

    Russia may be able to sustain its attack in Ukraine for only another 10-14 days according to this article:


    So, that may explain why Russia is getting more interested in negotiating.

    • McFlock 31.1

      lol no shit they're more interested in negotiating.

      If they've had 7,000 dead (well, "if"), there's maybe another 20,000-30,000 wounded or captured.

      That's a significant proportion of their invasion force. So while they might be dragging as many as possible to replenish and increase the ranks, Putin's cost/benefit equation has changed drastically. Now the fall-back goal is to get at least a breather to save face and redeploy. Russia will be wanting a cease fire, while Ukraine will be wanting Russia to fuck off out of all the territories occupied since 2014.

      Any outright victory for Russia is extremely unlikely, and becomes more unlikely as the war drags on..

      • tsmithfield 31.1.1

        Yes, I agree with you. The 7000 dead is considered quite a conservative estimate from what I have read.

        The other problem for the Russians is that the sanctions are going to make it hard for them to replenish their war effort.

        I have mixed feelings about a ceasefire.

        On one hand, I really want the civilians and innocent parties to be able to escape. It is harrowing watching this stuff on TV every night, and must be terrifying to live through.

        On the other hand, a ceasefire does give the Russians a chance to redeploy and solve some of their issues. This could become a long term disadvantage for the Ukrainies.

        My thoughts are the Ukrainies should maximise their advantage at the moment, and not give the Russians a chance to catch breath; to try and run them low on ammunition and supplies.

        It would be great if they were able to over-run some of the Russian artillery positions that are causing so much damage to civilian targets at the moment.

        • McFlock

          Putin has too much invested to turn around and somehow argue all his objectives were gloriously met. A promise of Ukraine to not join NATO won't cut it.

          So far the local cease fires have been violated by Russian forces when the civilians wanted to flee west.

          Rather than having a glorious 4 day victory, Putin could lose his job over this. And this is just the first month.

          • tsmithfield

            From what I understand and have read, regime change is unlikely to come from his inner circle as they are hand-picked by him and unlikely to move against him as they are probably all on the same page.

            However, I am wondering about the military making a move against Putin. Those are the people with the guns and the military power. They must be getting a bit sick of all this, especially since they have lost four generals in the conflict now according to reports I have seen.

            • McFlock

              It's the prisoner's dilemma for toadies of corrupt rulers: first one to break at the right time goes free, break too soon you get shot, break too late and you get shot.

              • tsmithfield

                Yes. That is the big problem. How to initiate that sort of conversation with an associate without knowing whether they would dob you in or not must be very tricky.

                That is why I think the military might be the best chance. Because I don't think they would be so directly under Putin's thumb. And, they can see directly the stupidity of what they have been told to do.

                Others have raised this idea: e.g.


                • roblogic

                  Putin has several layers of military that watch each other for signs of insufficient loyalty; one of his bigwigs has recently been 'relieved of duty'. Probably why he only committed a part of the Russian army to the Ukraine offensive; he needs the rest to watch his back, and keep each other in line. A huge amount of manpower is spent on thought police. A difficult problem.

                  • McFlock

                    Domestic security is a different budget to the military.

                    The basic problem the Russians have is the same as the US had over the last 20 years: a sticker like "2 million people in the armed forces" means basically "a couple hundred thousand full time soldiers, a bunch of cooks and mechanics who can maybe fill in at a pinch, and a million folks who probably couldn't get within a thousand miles of a war zone unless you want to give up territory or cancel an entire structure like strategic nukes or the western fleet and give them all rifles". If you commit all your fulltime soldiers, everywhere else is vulnerable. And once you run out of them, they take years to replace.

                    The US was redeploying entire units from one active combat zone directly to another. The combat tempo abraded the training budget, which was suggested as causing some fatalities.

                    Now imagine a military that's had a couple of decades (if not more) of inadequate training and maintenance trying to invade a nation large in area and population.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Yes. Nothing is easy.

                    Nice win for the Ukrainians here:

                    I wouldn’t want to be in a Russian in an armoured vehicle over there. More like a steel coffin.

                • McFlock

                  Yes. That is the big problem. How to initiate that sort of conversation with an associate without knowing whether they would dob you in or not must be very tricky.


      • Psycho Milt 31.1.2

        "That's a significant proportion of their invasion force."

        Yep it's casualties total that knackers the invasion force, not just the number killed.

        I remember reading something about the Nazis' failure to defeat the USSR that went something like "The Axis invaded the USSR with 2 million men and averaged 150,000 casualties a month. You do the maths on how that's going to work out if you don't win in a matter of months."

        • tsmithfield

          Yeah, my dad, who was ex-military, said that it is considered better to cause injuries to the enemy rather than kill them. Because that then tied up more of the enemy resources in caring for the wounded.

    • Muttonbird 31.2

      This is the wrong way around. A few days ago Zelensky said Russian demands were becoming 'more reasonable'.

      That, and your claim, suggest Russian demands are legitimate, just the extent of them is in question.

      I think everyone is coming around to the idea that the West has indeed been courting Ukraine and Ukraine has been happy to be courted.

      Hopefully everyone in the region comes to an acceptable compromise.

      • tsmithfield 31.2.1

        I am sure that "courting" is far more preferable to the Ukrainies than the Russian way of doing things. For instance, annexing Crimea and the like.

        As per the point I made earlier, it is interesting that ex Soviet bloc countries are very keen to coalesce with the West rather than with Russia, and that Russia has to obtain co-operation through force rather than diplomacy.

    • Adrian Thornton 31.3

      You do know that The Daily Mail along with the rest of western MSM would have you believe that the west is at war with Russia..therefore everything they tell you is now suspect right?

  31. Ad 32

    This is where Biden and Trump stand on Putin.

    (5) The Parties on Putin – YouTube

  32. joe90 33

    Poots won't be happy about China’s bob each way.

    China will never attack Ukraine, but will support it economically and politically, China's ambassador to Ukraine Fan Xianrong said on Tuesday. The ambassador wanted to shake hands with the head of the Lvov regional military administration, Maxim Kozytsky.

    "China and Ukraine are strategic partners, this year marks 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. China is a friendly country for the Ukrainian people. As ambassador, I can responsibly say that China will always be a good force for Ukraine, both economically and politically. We will always respect your state, we will develop relationships based on equality and mutual benefits. We will respect the path chosen by the Ukrainians, because this is the sovereign right of every nation, "said the ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Ukraine, Fan Xianrong, during a meeting at the Lviv Regional Military Administration, Ukrinform reported , citing the administration's press service from Lvov.


    google translate

    • tsmithfield 33.1

      Yes. China is in a tricky position because war is not good for business. And, they probably don't want to be seen as complicit in the wanton killing of civilians that is happening at the moment.

      Their respect for Russia would have dropped quite a few notches I would say, seeing what is going on, and how weak and poorly managed the Russian military are. I think the Chinese would have been a lot more clinical in the same situation.

      • DB Brown 33.1.1

        So much of Russia's effort seems weak and poorly managed. Especially considering the build up time on the border – where they perhaps could have made a decent plan.

        Anyway, China's dollar each way could go a long way toward de-escalation, as surely part of Putin's perceived strength, both to himself and the rest of the world, was this ally.

        But, China might just sucker-punch someone else. I mean, I've seen worse human behaviour, and decisions.

    • Adrian Thornton 34.1

      Anyone who said that Russia would win in 2-3 days was obviously lying for obvious reasons or doesn't know what they are talking about….do you think the Russians didn't know that the country is flooded with the latest US A/T ans A/A weapons?, that the Ukrainian army would be highly motivated and have total Allied support in terms of resupply of arms ans munitions?

      You do know that as bad as the Russian invasion is, it is the 'soft' version of what the Russian military could inflict on the Ukraine if they chose to?

      • tsmithfield 34.1.1

        Of course.

        But really, Russia should have the overwhelming military superiority to win this with a conventional war. And they do have to reengage with the rest of the world after this. They are seriously threatening that already by bombing and shelling civilians.

        How do you think it would look to the rest of the world if they employed there FOABs to level say Kiev and kill a million civilians in the process?


        And Russia has to walk a fine line so far as sanctions go. If Russia employed some of their WMD then they would seriously risk even more crippling sanctions such as having their ports blockaded or the like, or even may draw NATO into the fight if it was perceived as a greater threat to NATO.

        So NATO is showing considerable restraint at the moment and hasn't flexed their full muscles yet either.

        • tsmithfield

          Another thing is that Russia has to think about their strategic relationship with China.

          China is probably already having doubts, and will not want to be tainted by association with a regime that oversteps too far the bounds of acceptable combat methods.

        • Blazer

          Yesterday you said Russia had already lost !

          After 3 weeks of military operations today you are speculating with….'what if's'=hopeless.

          • tsmithfield

            You really have no idea what "winning" or "losing" means, do you?

            If Ukraine is able to continue resisting and Russia is unable to achieve its strategic objectives then Ukraine has won and Russia has lost.

            There is nothing I have seen to dissuade me from that view.

            But, please enlighten me. How would you define “winning” and “losing” in this context.

            For instance, Russia appears unlikely to be able to take Kiev:

            And if Russia continues to waste its own soldiers as they are now, and continues to commit atrocities as they are doing, then it will be a long time before sanctions are lifted.

            So, the way it is heading, Russia comes out of this weak and isolated, whatever they do. They will be much weaker at the end than the start.

            So, that is losing so far as I am concerned.

            • Blazer

              Yes I do know what winning and losing means.

              When the game is over ,you have a winner and a loser…even if extra time is required.

              I realise you have your own definitions and understanding of things.

              You stated how poorly educated Russians are…when they are up there as one of the most educated people in…the world.

              You are entitled to your perceptions,and prejudices,but they do not necessarily reflect…reality.

              • tsmithfield

                So, when is "the game over"? Is it ever "over"? Think the way the Taliban think. From their perspective I suspect they also thought the USA had already lost the war when they went in there.

                You still don't understand winning and losing.

                • Blazer

                  You can regurgitate whatever you like about your opinion on what I think or understand.

                  It is totally irrelevant.

                  Your understanding of geo politics seems to be a very basic framing of what you glean from your favourite news sources and lacks any in depth analysis imo.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Whatever. All you do is snipe without making any sound argument to back up your position.

                    If you think I am wrong, then make a case for that so we can all assess the validity of your position.

                    • Blazer

                      Your viewpoint is mere speculation about what you think may or may not happen in the future.

                      As for sniping …you insist that I don't 'understand' X or Y…the temerity!

                    • tsmithfield

                      "Your viewpoint is mere speculation about what you think may or may not happen in the future."

                      I am happy to engage with you. But you need to make your case. This is so inane. If you think my view is speculation, then make you case for that.

                      State your own position and provide evidence for that.

                      Otherwise you are just wearing out people's eyeballs for nothing.

            • tsmithfield

              Also, European countries are now looking to wean themselves off Russian energy. That is a big long-term "lose" for Russia.

              And which country do you think gets all the economic aid poured in at the end of this, and which one do you think has to endure sanctions possibly for years to come?

              Think about "winning" and "losing" in a much wider context than who has killed the most of the enemy, or who controls the most ground. That all favours Ukraine at the moment, anyway, from what I have seen.

              • Blazer

                Lol….you are just wearing out your own fingers with your armchair military suppositions ,your amateur psychology and your inability to comprehend the scale and the consequences of your simple interpretation of the situation as relayed to you through msm.

                e.g….earlier post of yours…'nice win for the ukrainians ..here'!

                Sound like Henry Blofeld at a…cricket match.frown

  33. joe90 35

    Translation: Giving Ukrainians the ability to defend themselves will destabalise our efforts to terrorise and kill civilians.

    March 17 (Reuters) – Russia's foreign ministry said on Thursday that giving Ukraine air defence systems, as requested by Ukraine's president in the U.S. Congress a day earlier, would be a destabilising factor that would not bring peace to the country.



  34. joe90 36


    In contrast, one great power, China, is a study in patience. Privately, its officials project confidence that time will deliver a post-war settlement that is greatly to China’s advantage. Since the invasion on February 24th, China has rebuffed repeated pleas from foreign governments that it work more actively to persuade Russia—its “rock-solid” friend—to put a swift end to the mayhem. It has gone no further than boilerplate calls for restraint by all parties in the conflict. Western impatience is showing, with foreign ministers from Spain to Singapore calling on China to exert its “enormous influence” on Russia.


    But no matter how the war unfolds, China will treat its relationship with the Kremlin as a means of boosting Chinese power, not Russia’s. America has reportedly shared intelligence with allied governments showing that Russia has asked China for drones, surface-to-air missiles and other military aid. China’s foreign ministry has called the reports “disinformation”. Mr Xi has no desire to share the blame for Mr Putin’s war, “best friend” though he may be. Nor are there signs of China hastening to take advantage of a distracted West by attacking Taiwan, the island democracy of 24m people that China claims as its own. Unlike Mr Putin, who seems happy to stage dramatic challenges to the global order, Mr Xi appears more cautious.

    https://archive.li/2dIoe (economist)

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