Colonel Shuvalov on the effect of the Ukrainian cluster munitions

“And again about cluster munitions. It’s hard for me to understand why we need to manipulate statistics if the response we’re getting for showing off results in collossal, real difficulites.

I already wrote about cluster munitions before –

Basically, nothing has changed, but a lot needs to be added. Information, now in full measure, reached the authorities that everything was not as it seemed in the initial reports. It is impossible not to take into account the factor of modern Western cluster munitions – they shamelessly mow down both fighters at the front (not only at the front) and civilian infrastructure in the rear.

Civil infrastructure is a separate topic. Recently, there was an arrival in Tokmak, which terribly slashed trucks and drivers. The Defense Ministry decided not to focus on this, because there was a risk of reciprocal publication of data from the enemy with arguments that the civilian targets were not quite simple and not very civilian. But there were comrades in the camp of military correspondents who unleashed their anger towards the vile NATO members on the heads of readers, and attached videos as proof. This is something the enemy might not have had. And now the enemy can quite boldly show that the goals were legal from a military point of view. And all by our hands…

We had to throw all our efforts into blocking the supply of cluster munitions to Ukraine: to declare that we would not use such munitions, to tear apart the Europeans, who have cluster munitions banned. There was a chance. But they played us, we happily fell for it and declared that we had these clusters munitions, whole landfills of them, not just stockpiles. Yes, we have many. You can search for photos. For the most part, it’s an illiquid asset killed by time, the rest – is morally and technically obsolete. And things are not very good with carriers either.

Now you can’t roll back the situation, and when you are caught being weak, it’s silly to try and scare them. The General Staff already understands this, but they cannot bring the situation even higher, there is no solution. The guys on the front line are taking the beating, and it’s not easy at all. In the context of problems with medicine, wounds from cluster munitions often result in death, and this is a very painful and terrible death. The enemy has learned (yes, imagine, they are also learning!) to cut off the path of reinforcements or withdrawal of forces with artillery, and trenches do not save from cluster munitions. You can’t save yourself with a bandage or a tourniquet, after being hit with cluster munitions you need solid medical care, if you managed to survive. In the trenches, a terrible mess is formed from the living and the dying, who are sometimes completely impossible to help.

In such cases, the enemy methodically waits for those of our forces that rush to help their comrades. I saw all this in Chechnya, when a sniper left a wounded man to pull other guys to him. This happened in single occasions, but with cluster munitions, everything is the same, but scaled tens and hundreds of times. We need counter-battery fire, but it is not there. We need a lot of things, but first of all, need to finally admit the problem exists and start solving it, and not throw around the words like “we’re going to smash you!”.

It is not some colonel in a hospital bed that is yelling about the cluster munitions – the voices of hundreds of guys dying in terrible agony in the trenches and the widows of hundreds killed by them in just these couple of weeks are shouting to you about these problems. And I specifically do not specify whether there are really hundreds, or already thousands – we will not please the enemy with statistics. The army needs a solution. The cluster situation is terrible, and worst of all, we try to silence the problem when we need a solution. And this is already beyond the capabilities of individual generals and commanders. We made threats with words, now let’s get down to business.”

Comment: This rant is by a Russian war blogger who calls himself Colonel Shuvalov. About a week ago, he railed against the Kremlin’s military officials encouraging soldiers to exaggerate their successes and flat make them up to please leadership and the Russian audience. He pointed out the filming of attacks on a single Ukrainian vehicle from multiple angles over multiple days as an example.

Now he’s complaining about the effectiveness of Ukraine’s cluster munitions. Actually the incident that set him off was a HIMARS strike in Tokmak using the airburst GMLRS- alternate warhead with 180,000 tungsten fragments rather than cluster submunitions. These were developed as an alternative to cluster munitions and are damned effective. They were used before, but I don’t think there is a huge stockpile of them. But we still have lots of the old cluster munitions and they’re also very effective.

I’m am surprised that there isn’t a wider use of VT or proximity fuses. We developed them in WWII and used them very effectively against the Germans. They were considered a secret weapon at the time. I’ve used them with both 81mm and four deuce mortars. They required calculating the flight time of the round and setting the fuse so the round would burst at the desired time before impact. Such fuses were always used with illumination rounds. No computers back then, just a firing table. Maybe the supply of those fuses are limited. Too bad. They’d do a number on troops in trenches without overhead cover as well as troops in the open.


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98 Responses to Colonel Shuvalov on the effect of the Ukrainian cluster munitions

  1. Jimmy_w says:

    Radar altimeter fuzes are more expensive than contact fuzes. That could be an issue.

    Russian infantry seem disciplined enough to keep digging. So airbursts are generally not as effective. Adequate overhead cover will stop both cluster and the stupid tungsten warheads. Airbursts (and its cousin tungsten warheads) are designed for troops and materiel in the open, same as cluster weapons, just not as well.

    The key note here is that Russians seem to be critically short of overhead cover materials. It would be interesting to find why. Or maybe Russian/Soviet training prioritize trenches over fighting positions.

    • TTG says:


      The radar altimeter fuses are more expensive than plain point detonation fuses. The standard NATO mortar fuze now has four settings: proximity (air burst), near surface burst, point detonation and delayed detonation. There’s also the CVT (controlled variable time) fuze which is the one I’m more familiar with. We set the burst time manually to the tenth of a second. They were surprisingly accurate.

      The Russian trenches appear to be mostly machine dug with not a lot of solid overhead cover. Some bunkers are hand dug, but you can’t fight from them. It’s very different from our DePuy fighting positions with overhead cover allowing the soldiers to fight from under that cover with interlocking fields of fire and full protection from frontal fire.

  2. Fred says:

    “The U.S. intelligence community assesses that Ukraine’s counteroffensive will fail to reach the key southeastern city of Melitopol, people familiar with the classified forecast told The Washington Post,”

    Will the Ukrainians simply walk across the open ground clearing mines as they go while the air burst artillery barrage goes on? Sounds like a variation of WW1. According to the latest from the WAPO they can’t even penetrate the first line of Russian trenches, regardless of their having poor overhead protection or bunkers.

    • TTG says:


      I also have doubts that Ukraine will complete the reconquest of Melitopol this year. I’m not even sure they’ll take Tokmak, but they are doing something that is not at all expected in this kind of offensive action, the defenders are suffering far more attrition than the attackers. The Ukrainians were wise to switch to this slow, infantry-centric advance and abandon the massive combined arms thrust to achieve decisive results. They are steadily closing the distance to Crimea for their stand off weapons which will make holding Crimea more difficult for the Russians into 2024. The question is whether the West will still be interested without a flashy and photogenic combined arms victory this year.

      Will the Ukrainians clear the minefields and breach the obstacles while the Russian defenders are suppressed by air burst artillery? Of course they will. How else are they supposed to do it? That’s our doctrine and Russian doctrine except we rely on achieving aerial superiority to suppress enemy defenses. I know of no military where this isn’t standard practice.

      Daily Kos, of all sources, offers a pretty astute critique of the WaPo doom piece.

      • Fred says:


        “their stand off weapons”
        You mean NATO’s as their domestic manufactury is about zero.

        “except we rely on achieving aerial superiority to suppress enemy defenses. ”
        Well that might pose a wee bit of a problem.

        • TTG says:


          Mostly NATO’s, except for the Ukrainian drones hitting Moscow and other Russian targets as well as the Kerch bridge and Russian ships.

          That reliance on aerial superiority is something we better rethink ourselves. It’s not a guarantee.

          • wiz says:


            Aerial superiority is being redefined in this conflict.
            The Russians claim that the Lancet 3 (P-53) will be coming with tube launchers and the AI neural network, making the drones able to pick their own targets and function even with no connection to the operator.

            Soon we will have drones coming out of our ears. Swarms of drones hunting people and equipment, hunting other drones, drones traversing buildings, forests, rivers, seas…

      • Mark Logan says:


        I had a serious cringe at the KOS talking about only eight English speaking pilots. All professional pilots have to acquire a working knowledge of English as it’s the international language for air traffic control. I’m sure if they could only summon up eight jet-jocks it wasn’t because of a language issue.

        That’s just a quibble. The main thing I wanted to share is this description of the problems with US F-16 deployment, which starts at about the 35 min mark:

        It makes sense to me, anyway. The financial aspect fits with Biden’s recent encouraging the Euros to send their F-16s right away. Presumably along with the associated infrastructure.

        • TTG says:

          Mark Logan,

          I agree. Considering how many years we’ve been courting Ukraine for NATO membership, I would think a lot of Ukrainian pilots would have attended US military schools by now. Perhaps a lot of them are already dead or just can’t be spared right now such as those flying the Storm Shadow equipped Su-24s.

      • wiz says:


        according to daily Kos article:

        “Ukraine’s inability to move larger formations in concert, aka combined arms maneuvers involving armor, infantry, engineers, aviation (drones), artillery, electronic warfare, and logistics, made a single point of attack nonviable, unfortunately. I warned from early on that Ukraine didn’t have the time to properly train combined arms…”

        Whoever wrote that piece should go to Ukraine and explain to them how the lack of air superiority does not matter. Vast minefields do not matter. If only they could apply the magical “maneuver warfware” all would be well.

        IMO, the daily kos article is as bad as the wapo one.
        They refer to the famous anonymous US intelligence source and then interpret it in accordance to what type of article they want to write. Is the glass half full or half empty.

        Without concrete info on the state of Ukrainian and Russian armies, it is all speculation.

        • cobo says:

          Why does anybody believe NATO has valid, on the ground, war fighting tactics and strategies anymore? Everything has changed, and is changing. As I’ve stated before – Ukrainians will become NATO’s trainers.

          I’ve been following the reports about the 2023 Naval and Marine training programs, considering their new and evolving planning. Missile war is what is not yet being experienced, that is coming, and the way to fight it is as yet … vague.

  3. babelthuap says:

    None of these landmine removal organizations condemned the US. Everyone else however gets their ear pulled.

  4. Jake says:

    By the looks of it, NATO is begging Russia to pull out all the stops. Great fun!

  5. leith says:

    Some of those poor bastards have been torn to pieces. They’ve ended up laying wounded in foreign fields far from their birthplace. Praying for medevacs that never came and either bleeding out or perhaps being chewed on while still alive by feral dogs & hogs or other critters.

    Meanwhile the the neo-Nazi arsewipes who sent them to die are living a good life in Kremlin bunkers. In a just world Putin and associates would suffer the same fate as their Soldiers.

    • walrus says:

      Leith: “Some of those poor bastards have been torn to pieces. They’ve ended up laying wounded in foreign fields far from their birthplace. Praying for medevacs that never came and either bleeding out or perhaps being chewed on while still alive by feral dogs & hogs or other critters.

      Meanwhile the the neo-Nazi arsewipes who sent them to die are living a good life ….”

      For a minute there I thought you were talking about Washington, kagan, nuland, etc. and American soldiers in places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

  6. Barbara Ann says:

    I note this persona seems to have made an appearance on Telegram right around the start of the Ukie counteroffensive (June 16th). Did he have any public presence before this date? He also seems to admit he is not located in Russia (“I’m Russian by nationality, not by position“) so it is natural to wonder where he is in fact positioned.

    In his very first post Shuvalov glorifies the action of Russian partisans trying to “ [Russia] from the power of Vladimir Putin”. His tone is altogether very different from that of Strelkov, who supported the SMO, and who would never have talked about “the voices of hundreds of guys dying in terrible agony”.

    Not to detract from his message on cluster munitions, but what are the odds this ‘Colonel’ holds that rank in the SBU or the 77th Brigade?

  7. Christian J Chuba says:

    “I’m am surprised that there isn’t a wider use of VT or proximity fuses.”

    I agree. An artillery or mortar shell exploding 4 ft above the ground would cost pennies and be just as effective as contact fuses.

    BTW my dad, a ww2 vet was fascinated by the proximity fuse, not trying to make a big deal about it, just mentioning it because it was personal to him. He saw how much worse it was when an artillery shell hit a tree instead of the ground near standing troops.

    I don’t like cluster bombs.

    • English Outsider says:

      I don’t like any of it. I saw enough videos in ’14/’15 so watch few now. When I do I’m always relieved when the soldiers, Russian, Ukrainian, doesn’t matter, get to scramble out of the tank or fighting vehicle after it’s hit.

      Sometimes they don’t. I’m seeing figures of a thousand and more a day now.
      It’s like Germany ’45 . No one knows how to stop it and for many, their jobs or livelihood or their prestige, or merely habit and sometimes fanaticism, impels them to drive it on. We are now watching straight military genocide and that to no purpose.

      There’s heroism enough in the Ukrainian PBI. It is being wantonly abused and that abuse should stop. No proper soldier would sacrifice men like this for nothing.

      • billy roche says:

        The question resolves in the burning bodies of the tank men. “sacrificed for nothing”.
        Is “Ukrainian independence “nothing”?
        Is Russia’s denial of Ukrainian independence “nothing”?
        That is the issue. And that is why I have been saying that events in Ukraine, post August of ’91, have had nothing to do w/Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine may not be independent AND the Russian Empire exist.
        We agreed in March of ’22 that Ukraine would have been wise to concede Crime and the Donbass. But that would have been a temporary respite. Russia wants to rtn to 1914. No sense in denying the truth.

        • English Outsider says:

          Bill – I may be one of the few people here whose sympathies lie more with the South. But that’s subjective and can be argued indefinitely. Separate from that question is the question of whether Lee should have surrendered when he did. Or should he have kept his men fighting to the last. Most think he did the right thing and did not subject his men to pointless struggle. Same here.

          Except that at least Lee knew what he was about. And cared. “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” That was a soldier who knew the price of war and cared about paying it.

          These people don’t. Who’s keeping this war going? Washington? Washington is not in the least interested in the cost in men for their proxy. Never see it mentioned. That’s just a crowd of people infighting and worried more about their sponsors or the next election than casualties. Hell, they’ve never given a damn about American casualties unless it knocks them back in the polls.

          Essentially, the men at the front are at the mercy of the vagaries of American party politics. You’ve surely noticed how, over the last year or so, when some offensive is being discussed or undertaken it’s always mentioned by the journalists in relation to some outside event? The midterms or Vilnius or whatever Washington’s fussed about at the time. This is a war driven by Washington PR imperatives, never by any military reality that a professional would recognise.

          What about Berlin/Brussels? Show me a single German or EU politician, mainstream or fringe, who’s worried about anything other than the economic backlash of the sanctions war. They’ve gone into this absurd venture on the back of American military and financial power; and now it’s blown back in their faces all they’re interested in is getting out from under in the blame game.

          And Wagenknecht or the AfD? I listen to their speeches sometimes. Never hear them saying “Oh, men are dying over there unnecessarily and we ought to do something to stop it”. They’re just making hay while the sun shines – for them – and capitalising on the popular discontent with the blowback. Trash politicians the lot of them, from Scholz down, and nothing to be expected from them.

          Kiev. Officials siphoning off the aid any way they can for as long as they can. And the politicians. All getting ready to do a Ghani when it finally stops. Except we don’t know whether Ghani took the money abroad but we do know this lot already have. And the fanatics, the people we’re supposed to believe no longer exist, who know there’s no afterwards for them and will kill the puppet if he attempts a surrender.

          The Generals? Getting pushed into the much heralded Ukrainian “combined arms” offensive knowing very well that no professional NATO commander would dream of attempting that without the combined arms to go with it. And your journalists, and PR Generals such as Hodges, pretending this is a doable operation.

          Amateur night. A freak show of monumental proportions. This is not soldiering as you learned to know it, just a bunch of losers making out from Washington to Kiev. At vicious cost in lives.


          On Russian imperial pretensions, we’d better hope they have none. Because the time-serving bullshit artists we’re pleased to call soldiers at NATO HQ wouldn’t hold them back a day.

          • TTG says:


            Back in our war for independence, our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in their fight for freedom. Many of them paid the ultimate price in that fight. They didn’t do so because the French wanted them to continue fighting nor did they feel obliged to continue fighting only because the French were arming them. They did it because it was their fight. No one helped the Baltic resistance movement, but they kept fighting and dying to break free of the Kremlin’s tyranny. Countless others have done the same. The Ukrainians keep fighting for the same reasons. For their countrymen, their children and their sacred honor, they must resist the Kremlin. If Washington grows weary of supporting them, the Ukrainians will continue to resist.

            Your attitude that the Ukrainians must stop fighting to stop the dying or simply to assuage your delicate sensibilities is insulting to all those who fought and died in their struggle for freedom. Do you think those who fought and died for a Novorossiya free from the rule of Kyiv were fools for continuing the struggle? Searching for peace in our time in the face of a bloody aggressor is no guarantee of peace and it certainly isn’t a guarantee of freedom.

          • billy roche says:

            Hope springs eternal in the human breast. Hope and a buck will get you a cup of coffee. I guess I have to paint a picture. After Ukraine the Russians will go for Moldova. The issues w/b the same. Language oppression, threatening Russian troops in Transniestra (who s/n be there any way), autonomy, free elections etc. etc. The Baltics w/b pressed similarly and their NATO “creds” stretched by the presence of a Russian divisions across each of their borders. There w/b partisan activity, and more Putinanthropology saying Balts are Finns who are north western Russians and they all should embrace Mother Vlad (he will be dead by then but the imperial movement will be going strong). All that will occupy the “Bear” for another five or ten years while Sweden, Finland, Poland, Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgars, and Romanians organize an eastern Alliance separate from NATO (which will collapse BTW b/c western Europeans will be revealed unwilling to die/pay for defense of their own liberties). BTW NATO d/n force aggression on Russia. The only govn’t which forced eastern Europeans to join NATO is found in Moscow. Other Slavs knew Russia’s true intentions. This is about Empire. That is why I KNEW, when Ukraine said it was a sovereign nation in August of ’91, that this war would some day happen. I said it the day I read that news.

          • Peter Hug says:

            TTG –
            One other thought…the reason the sacrifices the men in the Continental Army were able to result in a positive outcome and American independence, was because the French, at substantial cost to themselves (and to be fair, entirely in their own diplomatic self-interest), supported us with money, weapons, and an expeditionary force, and the fortuitous defeat of the British fleet in the Battle of the Capes.

            We owe the French a substantial debt of gratitude for that, and I suppose you could argue that this is quite similar to what we are currently trying to do in Ukraine.

          • TTG says:

            Peter Hug,

            Your analogy is a good one.

          • billy roche says:

            Speaking of Lee and the southern cause I am a fish out of water living in New York. I believe the south was constitutionally w/i its rights to leave the union. The War of Northern Aggression is aptly named. But Lee knew when to quit. Or did he? Would the north have been willing to fight a decades long war of partisan activity? Would the north be willing to pay to keep divisions of troops b/l the MD Line? No one knows. As to Ukraine I will be surprised to hear Zelinskyy say … “what kind of people do we think we are”. Or, “We must surrender our beaches. We must give up our hills and our towns. And we must forever, give up our independence to the Russian”. E.O liberty is not nothing. There will never ever, be another chance for Ukrainians to be free men.
            This is it.

          • blue peacock says:

            From the first moments of the invasion, when the Ukrainians repelled Russian airborne forces at Hostomel airport, their army have prevented Putin from toppling their government by force. That is a huge achievement when the Russian army is an alleged military superpower.

            EO is spot on that US foreign policy is driven by domestic politics. I would say ALL policy. The reality is that beneath the veneer of the partisan and ideological battles there is a consensus among the power elite to always take care of their business first which is more money flowing their way and more entrenchment of their power.

            The recent covidian authoritarianism should allow anyone awake to note that the Republic has long passed. The majority of Americans today want unlimited state power.

        • JamesT says:

          billy roche,

          Is USA’s denial of Syrian independence “nothing”?

          • billy roche says:

            I’ve written b/f that the American presence in Syria is neither constitutional nor internationally legal. Another time? America has no legal right to be in Syria. It is an invader.

          • JamesT says:

            billy roche

            I very much respect your moral consistency. I will try to work harder to follow your example.

            That said I don’t think Russia wants to take Moldova. Holding onto Transniestra is a cheap way for Russia to be a thorn in NATOs side but taking Moldova would be a completely different kettle of fish. The juice wouldn’t be worth the squeeze.

        • walrus says:

          Billy Roche: “Is Russia’s denial of Ukrainian independence “nothing”?
          That is the issue. ”

          With respect Bill, that is most definitely not the issue.

          “Ukraine and its glorious history” is vapourware. It doesn’t exist. It never existed. It’s like Atlantis, Ruritania and the planet Krypton. It is a made up country that was cobbled together out of the ruins of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires. It’s a fantasy. It’s lines drawn on a map. It’s crumbling stone markers and Ozymandias.

          The late Tony Judt had nothing but contempt for the academics who constructed these fictional histories and rightly so because now poor Ukrainian schmucks are dying for this fantasy – perhaps some of them in the fantasy that their sacrifice proves them “echte Deutsche”.

          The whole history of everything north and East of Europes natural mountain land barriers – the endless plains of the steppe is that the nations on it existed only by force of arms and once that was vanquished, so went the state. That is why the history of the whole area from the Baltic onwards is just a catalogue of invasion, battle, depopulation, repopulation, and so on since prehistoric times.

          Don’t you understand? How is it for example that the Poles can seriously consider annexing parts of Ukraine? Because there is no natural insurmountable barrier to doing so. Why do you think Prussia became a pre eminent state? Because it realised to quote Judt, that it was actually an army with a state attached! The Prussian army was the state!

          Ukraine is lines on a map. It’s not worth fighting and dying for. It has no heart. It is a creation of a few men around a conference table – a bit like Garrison Kielors “mist county” home of lake wobegone, where three surveyors found their new maps didn’t quite match up. A german speaking province and a russian speaking province were crushed together for administrative convenience and labelled “ukraine”.

          And now to fight for its great historic destiny? Get real.

          • TTG says:


            What utter Kremlin claptrap.

            Kyiv, the Kievan Rus and Ukraine existed long before Moscow and Russia. Most of the last century both Russia and Ukraine did not exist as sovereign countries, yet they continued to exist as distinct peoples and cultures. In effect, modern Russia and modern Ukraine were born on the same day. The fact that political borders came and went and migrated continuously is not unique. The same occurred in Western Europe.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            Kremlin thinking on the day the 30 year old Russian embassy in this “administrative convenience” was abandoned was clearly along the lines you describe – that no one would fight for it. In reality the residents of ‘404’ (together with a good number of non residents) have fought and died for these lines on a map in great numbers. This tells me all I need to know about the validity of Ukraine’s claim to nationhood and the heart of the Ukrainian people.

          • billy roche says:

            So there is “nothing” there? Since you mentioned it, my grandmother was from Galicia but spoke only Ukrainian. She worshiped at the local Ukrainian Uniate Church, said she immigrated from Austria-Hungry, but she was a Ukrainian. Strange, these affections. Ukrainians and Poles have a long history, good and bad. But they are not the same. No matter how much Putin Anthropology you read, neither are Ukrainians and Russians. All countries are but “lines on a map”. Absent those lines, should all “tribes” simply give in to the big boys and be one world?? We are not there yet, not nearly.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Barbara Ann,
            Fighting and dying for a fantasy means nothing, objectively speaking. How many Germans fought hard and died for the fantasy of a thousand year Reich?

            How many of the dead of Ukraine would have been worse off under Russian oligarchs than they would be under Ukrainian oligarchs. Walrus is correct about the nature of the borders in that region. It will be humorous, in an ironic way, when, at the end of the conflict, Poland and Lithuania step in and seize Western Ukraine. I suspect you, TTG and others here will be ok with that.

            What of Belarus? I hear the anti-Russia/Pro-Ukraine crowd declaring that it is not a real country.

            Men can be convinced to fight and kill each other, en masse, for the most contrived of reasons. But you know that; which is what makes your obstinance concerning the right and wrong of this conflict even more perplexing.

            Sorry, but you’re just putting lipstick on a pig that is fat on human meat and the lipstick is a color of your choosing as it flaps around in the skies of your personal ideology.

        • Keith Harbaugh says:

          Billy Roche asked;

          Is “Ukrainian independence “nothing”?

          There are people in Ukraine who want to be independent from Russia.
          There are people in Ukraine who like Russia.

          Why should the U.S. take one side or the other in this conflict?

  8. billy roche says:

    Peter Hug; On the anniversary of Yorktown Col. Lang would post the rolls of French soldiers who lost their lives capturing the redoubts assigned to them. Whenever I’d rail about French cheese eating surrender monkeys the list of the French dead would appear in my mind. Several were named Roche. I’d quiet down. You are right. America had Dutch, Spanish, and Oneida help but w/o France there would have been no American victory. I also see our aid to Ukraine in exactly the same light. Ukraine too has some other helpers but w/o American help there will be no sovereign Ukraine. A pity this “repayment” is lost on so many Americans.

  9. English Outsider says:

    TTG – so many ways of looking at the American Revolutionary War you mention. The Loyalists, who are largely airbrushed out of the story now, complicate the picture. So does Washington. He stands out even to us now as an able and “never give up” commander and one does wonder whether, without people of that quality, the rebellion would have come to anything. Or, of course, without the French.

    Irrelevant to the big picture. All the big overseas white settler colonies, largely English in the beginning, were bound to become countries in their own right sooner or later. It happened as it happened, in America in the late eighteenth century, and for me the interest lies mainly in the constitutional debate that those colonists found themselves engaging in when they had achieved their independence. A debate of astonishing quality and depth that still speaks to me and many others. A debate that we in England would do well to look at very much more closely as we ourselves flounder around in the political and ideological dead end that English politics has become.

    And if that tempestuous colonial rebellion still calls to me from history how much more must it resonate with the Americans themselves! It is the founding story of their country. How can they look at seemingly similar struggles elsewhere and not see expressed in those struggles their own passion for liberty and independence? It is the template into which they seek to fit the conflicts in the blood soaked regions of Eastern Europe, and into which they seek to fit the conflict in the most blood soaked region of them all, Ukraine.

    It doesn’t fit, that template. In no way does it fit the real Ukraine. In no way does it fit the history of that region, a history different entirely in kind from that of those American colonists and their descendants.

    In this connection I remember vividly the Colonel fulminating over the American attempts to impose their ideals of Freedom and Democracy in the Middle East. Ideals rooted in American history and in American politics. Well intentioned attempts, for very many of those making them, but disastrous in practice. They have a different history over there in the Middle East, and a different way of doing politics. And therefore those attempts did and do more harm than good. Was that not the Colonel’s central thesis as he battled against the neocons and the blinkered idealists both, who did so much damage in that region?

    So here with the Ukraine. This site’s different because those here do know of that region, many in depth, but for the Americans in general Ukraine could as well be on the far side of the moon. It is a tabula rasa on which they draw an imaginary picture, an imaginary picture that bears so little resemblance to the real picture over there.

    What is that imaginary picture? Ukraine is seen as a country of one people, all finding their own way to Freedom and Democracy. A country attaining independence after centuries of persecution and subjugation. A country part of which is still subject to brutal colonial occupation and more of which will be so subjected should we not assist them. A people in chains in the Donbass, and at great risk of that elsewhere in Ukraine, calls out to America, a people who long since cast off their chains; and how can any American ignore that call?

    So the imaginary picture. An imaginary picture presented to us all, not merely to the American people, by those whose true interest in the Ukraine lies in geopolitical Grand Chessboard strategy and to whom the Ukrainians themselves are no more than inconsequential pawns. But a picture believed, I’d guess, by most of us in America and England. Well, no need to guess. That is the picture universally believed in by most ordinary people in England and America and the evidence that that is so scarcely needs instancing.

    That, by the way, is why our respective countries are going down. Countries where people believe in pictures so out of kilter with reality tend to go down. Particularly when their picture is out of kilter with military reality as well. But that’s an aside. Irrelevant here.

    How to correct that imaginary picture? It needs correcting, and fast, because as long as we continue to hold that imaginary picture in our minds, so long will we look at the slaughter along the Surovikin line as if it’s unavoidable. We ourselves can wait at our leisure to catch up with reality. There’s plenty of time. But for those dying in droves in an impossible war even tomorrow is too late.

    One has to start somewhere. Maybe start with that most deep rooted of misconceptions: that the people of the Donbass are now subjected to a brutal colonial occupation from which we must help free them. Listen to this woman, who also believed that until she went there:-

    Set to 18.48. I’ve not had time to listen to the material before that. The video gets removed from the internet at times so an alternative copy (thanks to “b’s” commenters) is also linked to:-

    Bill – we’re mostly in agreement on all this. Split off the Donbass, possibly more pro-Russian areas, and it’s job done. But I’m afraid it’s gone a lot further than the territorial question now.

  10. billy roche says:

    E.O. I don’t know why you mention that the American colonists were white. That there were tories/loyalist then and Russian loyalist in Ukraine now is unsurprising. Peter Hug, TTG (and I) simply recognized the help France provided America (regardless of France’s ulterior motive) as essential for a successful war against HM forces. I note you still refuse to accept Russia’s intent. It is not “gone a lot further than the territorial question now”. It’s always been a territorial question. Ukraine petitioned the Czar and Arch Duke for independence in 1900. They declared their independence in 1917. The fought bolsheviks for independence in 1922. The refused collectivization in 1930-32, and they declared independence in 1991. Ukrainian/Russian relations from 2014 on are a blip on the screen. This has been about Russian refusal to give up a colony which has declared itself free for over 100 years. This is about Russian Empire. Period.
    I have come to believe that Western Europe has neither the courage nor soul to help any other country. Trying to be a half assed historian here I wonder if this is a “left over” from their feudal past? I don’t know. Anyway, Swedes to Romanians will have to look elsewhere for help and I believe they will align as an eastern defensive bloc. My svc in Europe took me from Finland to Spain. I believe the west today is a dying region. My next vacation w/n be to Western Europe (although I would love to spend a week in Wales – suggestions?). I was not permitted to travel w/i 30M (?) of the East German border so I never visited Eastern Europe. I’d like to go. Hope I wont have to learn Russian.

    • English Outsider says:

      I do follow that Bill. If the Eastern Europeans are worried about Russian land grabbing they’d better ensure a working defensive alliance. One of the (for me) most surprising thing about the last year or so was to find out that the Russians could walk in tomorrow if they chose. That’s straight from the horse’s mouth – General Kujat – and it’s become painfully obvious since that he was dead right.

      Getting on for a billion of the richest people on the planet and we can’t put together a proper defensive alliance. You surprised when I find that pathetic? If the Poles and the rest of them want a Festung Europa to shield them they’d better stop pretending they’ve got one now. They haven’t.

      “Put in the British army. That’ll sort the Russkies out”. I still see such on English blogs. And Ben Wallace faking the martial stuff when he knows perfectly well the true condition of UK forces, German forces, and American. These people are not serious people Bill. They’re loudmouth bullshit artists. Said it was a freak show and so it is.

      On the split in the old Ukraine, I think you’re one of the few people around who knows that it is indeed split. The neo-Nazis hate the guts of the people in the east of the country. They regard them as Untermenschen and want them killed or driven out. When they do manage to get at them they commit atrocities. The feeling is returned.

      Pre 2014 it would have been possible for the old Ukraine to hold together. Because of the population split it would have been far better if it had. It’s not the past few centuries, and the resentment left over from old quarrels, that now makes that impossible. It’s the last eight years. The Donbass, nor the Crimea, will never willingly return to Kiev rule after those eight years. Other parts of the Kharkov-Odessa arc? All sorts of speculation about the Russians taking more of that old Party of Regions area. Possibly Transnistria. We’ll just have to wait and see how much they decide to incorporate.

      On what’s happening now we’re seeing the two combatants, Russia and the US – because the Euros are on the sidelines now – looking to push the post war settlement their way, like two wrestlers circling each other and looking for a grip.

      After the war Washington wants remnant Ukraine to remain their foothold. The arms deliveries we’re hearing about often have unrealistic delivery dates for the present war. They’re for afterwards. And the slow ramping up of Western arms production won’t do much now. It’ll do to supply remnant Ukraine with later. That is the intention.

      Russia want something quite different. They want remnant Ukraine neutralised. They do not want what Sleboda described as a “zone of destabilisation and insecurity” on their borders. And judging from Medvedev’s recent statements, if we can judge from them because Medvedev does tend to lay it on with a trowel, they want the neo-Nazis gone.

      I think the Russians might get their way. They’re going to look a bit stupid if, after all this, those neo-Nazi monuments to perpetrators of the Holocaust remain standing. I think if Putin yielded to the Americans on that point his credibility with the Russian people would vanish. Predictions are always dumb, but I’d venture to predict that after the war those neo-Nazi monuments will be gone.

      How it is. Wish it weren’t. You wish it weren’t. But that’s how this mess will play out. Someone ought to tell the neocons about FAFO. Though they’re finding out about that now anyway.

      A week in Wales? Make it a month at least. It’s a magic country. Keep clear of the cities and big towns and shun the tourist spots like poison. Well, make an exception for Tintern Abbey. That’s special.

      But don’t leave it too late. Like England, Wales is slowly getting spoilt by the planners.

      • billy roche says:

        EO; I see you are back to Nazis, Neo nazis, and the holocaust. Don’t you wonder why Ukrainians don’t trust Russian intentions after enduring Holodomore. Strange that you overlooked that. Pre 2014 Ukraine could have held together but it w/n have been sovereign. It would have followed the “guidance” of the Russian master. Ukrainians will no longer accept being the untermensch of the Russian. In the summer of ’91 Ukrainians said we are free men. That is unacceptable to Russian Imperialists. For the umpteenth time, I knew that very day I read Ukraine declared independence that Russia would make war on her.
        Russia wants more then Ukraine (I refuse to succumb to your characterization of a remnant Ukraine. That strikes me as pure Russian propaganda) neutralized. It wants ITS colony returned entirely, less perhaps, Galicia. You are angling towards the old Austrian Galicia, filled with Germans, Poles, and Ruthenians being subsumed by Poland. What will the Poles do w/t Jews, Czechs, and Slovaks who have lived (and still do) in Halycia? There are Russian speakers in Halycia, shall they be a cause for more Russian aggression. Perhaps war w/Poland. Yes lets really return the clock to Russian empire; Putin wants Russia of 1914. The month of June would be fine. As to Moldova the juice is certainly worth the squeeze if it makes Stones, Lits, and Lats, willing to accept their status of Russian untermensch; again. You will not accept this and instead offer apology for Russian invasion. Why?
        Thanks for your thoughts on Wales. BTW, I asked the same question of a young Irish nurse now living in the states. She also said not to tarry. What you hope to see is fast away.

        • Barbara Ann says:

          Bill Roche

          I spent a little time in Wales myself many years ago, in a part where I was very much in the minority not having Welsh as my first language. If you get a chance take in a tour of one of the old slate mines in Snowdonia (north Wales). The largest are enormous – 16 levels deep I think. Some of the underground caverns are so big you can’t see the roof with a torch. These were Tolkien’s inspiration for the Mines of Moria in the LOTR trilogy and you’ll see why. In the same area I recall an odd kind of picket fence being ubiquitous. It was constructed with long strips of slate joined with fencing wire. Slate was simply more plentiful and easier to work with than timber. Durable too I guess.

        • English Outsider says:

          I assumed as a matter of course you’d take in Ireland. You can’t not. It’s more EU than Ireland now but there are still bits of it left.

          Passing over what looks to be an irreconcilable clash of views on the war, what the hell are you lot over there doing to Trump? Chasing him from pillar to post with lawfare! Never seen anything like it.

          It’s not a good look, Bill. And the Presidency is quite a difficult job. Trump ought to be quietly preparing for his second time round, not having to fiddle around with affidavits and such.

          • billy roche says:

            Re Trump its not hard to understand what the socialists are doing. America is in a battle for individualism vs socialism. The US Constitution respects individualism but Socialism reviles it. To complete Obama’s transformation the legal system must be perverted to political purpose. Stalin did this best in his state trials and Stalin was a hero to socialist (yes they’ll deny it but its true). If they are successful they will rue the day they destroyed the justice system. The FIB, DOIJ, and Domestic Intell Agency will be turned on all Americans and socialists will learn that social…ism forbids individual…ism; even theirs. Consider the French. Just 15 years after the Americans declared independence for each to “pursue their happiness” the French said they wanted “Liberte, Equality, and Fraternite”. Since the first two are exclusive the third can’t happen. How many gov’ts/constitution have the French had since Bastille day? They’ll have a few more.
            Want equality? Give up liberty. That is what you see in America today.

  11. Walrus says:

    TTG it’s not Kremlin claptrap, I’ll have you know it’s very high quality British (oxford Cambridge claptrap. As I have said before, pick a time period and you can ennoble any dirty little knife fight you like. The saddest and most evil part of it is thAt it is a lethal confection dreamed up by people who have no intention of fighting themselves and the
    Stupid and romantic buy it.

    • TTG says:


      Okay, but your high quality British claptrap from a very reputable historian, I might add, sounds just like Kremlin claptrap. I do agree with you that history is rife with dirty little knife fights, but all those dirty little knife fighters are serious and dedicated to those knife fights.

    • Barbara Ann says:


      I’ve no wish to hound you over your comment about there being no there there in Ukraine, but I am genuinely interested in your views on the Westphalian system. I did not have you down as a globalist nor indeed an imperialist, so your solution to deal with the dozens of countries which have been cobbled together out of the ruins of old empires is what exactly – a grand Sykes-Picot to once and for all get the lines on the map in the right places?

      Oddly enough the strongest advocates for a true Westphalian system today are to be found outside of Europe in groupings like the BRICS. Russia and China lead the way (rhetorically at least) in calling for a return to a Westphalian order – i.e. away from the post-Westphalian Anglo-American empire’s ‘[our] rules based order’ and associated R2P doctrine. Under a thin veil of morality these together serve to perpetuate imperial power at the expense of meaningful sovereignty for any country unlucky enough to be labelled ‘outlaw’. Russia finds herself in this position today and as you point out, this is as a result of the actions of a group of extremely cynical individuals who care not one jot for the future of Ukraine.

      Col. Lang was one of those self-confessed romantics and had he been younger would no doubt have been in the trenches with the Ukrainian soldiers. God forbid we ever end up in a world without causes worth fighting and dying for. If we do it will mean the cynics will have won the final battle – against romance itself.

      • billy roche says:

        Yes there will be no place for the “romance” of nationalism. The mighty will rule and the rest will learn to like it. I need no high class Oxford/Cambridge explanations of that.

        • walrus says:

          Yes, Billy, and to answer Barbara Ann, the entire thrust of what I have said since being permitted to write on this website by Col. Lang is that all policy is based on assumptions and if we don’t understand what we are assuming, then we cannot manage the risk of failure – which sets us up for disaster. I think I can observe these assumptions better since I am an outsider – which occasionally resulted in some interesting, if somewhat terse, discussions with Col. Lang.

          So when Billy writes “The mighty will rule and the rest will learn to like it” my immediate thought is “are you speaking as a member of the mighty or the ruled? The same goes for that “America is the indispensable nation” comment, “indispensable” to who? What does it mean? What do the dispensable nations think about that?

          Putin is asking these questions.

          • billy roche says:

            Walrus; you deserve an answer. You ask in what voice I am speaking. I am speaking as a citizen of a nation state and a member of an individual state that I love. I d/n see that as a member of ruler or ruled. I am but one of 9 billion humans on earth. As to America the “indispensable nation” I too question “to whom and for what”. Americans (at least for now) can embrace different ideologies. As I tend to be a Libertarian/Conservative I often think that Americans (the tax paying 50% at least) might be well served to let the rest of the world go by. Leave them to their own troubles. Forget American subsidies to int’l (and unnecessary to Americans) organizations, famine help, disaster help, security help. Let China (the Asian big guy) conquer S. Korea, Taiwan, humble Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. No need for Americans to be concerned w/a re-emergent Russian Empire – really, Europe be damned. You might ask what WOULD the dispensable nations think about that. Damned if I care. Every man for himself. Now I ask you. What would such a world look like?

    • leith says:

      Walrus –

      Cambridge claptrap seems to have been in line with Kremlin claptrap. Oxford has a better history offering. I doubt seriously they have stooped to falsification of history and Marxist dialectic.

      Ukraine has had a rich and vibrant history for a millennia. Back when St Petersburg was a swamp and Moscow was a Finnish fishing shanty on the Moskva river, Kyiv was building cathedrals. Ukrainian rulers compiled the first East Slavic law code and were patrons of literature and learning when Russian rulers were squabbling tribal chieftains. Ukraine back then had foreign relations with Europe. To forge alliance the sisters, daughters and granddaughters of Ukrainian grand princes became queens of Poland, France, Hungary, Norway and Scotland. Likewise their sons married European princesses and noblewomen. Others of their sons ruled city states and principalities in the north in what is now Russia and Belarus. They defeated the raiding nomads on the southern steppes of Ukraine. And they defeated a Byzantine fleet on the Black Sea. That’s the true history of Ukraine, not the lies that originated with historical denegation that comes from Putin.

      Moscow itself finally was turned from a fishing village into a wooden fortress by a Kyivan Prince. Even then it was a minor town coming under the governorship of other citadels. It never became important until the Mongols made it the central clearing house of tribute from other Rus principalities. The Kremlin walls did not become stone until the mid 14th Century.

      • billy roche says:

        Leith; you are clearly wrong. Prof. Putin has explained that Ukraine is but a Administrative Region of Russia and that a Ukrainian people does not exist. The latter is b/c there are so many ethnicities in Ukraine; whereas Russia is a completely homogeneous nation state(??). Adding a few years to your accounting one could note that this mess of ethnicities asked Czar Nicklaus and Emperor Franz Joseph for autonomy in 1900, fought the communist for independence in 1918-1923, suffered Holodomore at Russian hands in 30-32, fought again in 43-44, and declared themselves free (once more after so many years) in 1991. I am awaiting further explanations from Prof. Putin on the nature of Ukraine.

        • English Outsider says:

          Bill – this:-

          ” Prof. Putin has explained that Ukraine is but a Administrative Region of Russia and that a Ukrainian people does not exist. ”

          Minsk 2 would have kept the Donbass inside Ukraine, with the necessary safeguards against the fanatics. It would not have incorporated it into Russia, It would have kept it as a separate and independent country.

          It was also probably the only way of dealing with the population mix problem that plagued the Ukraine before and after 2014. It might also – I don’t know – have kept the EU at bay. And since the EU’s intentions were predatory – there’s no other way to describe the Association Agreement – that might have been no bad thing.

          That, by the way, is not me letting my Brexit prejudices loose. EU membership for the old Soviet countries was an economic disaster and left much of the population of those old Soviet countries scattered around Europe looking for jobs that were no longer available at home. Ukraine was slated for the same treatment and in fact got it when something very close to that Association Agreement finally got pushed through.

          So Minsk 2 was a good deal. It was the best deal going. It is deeply regrettable that it was not implemented.

          Putin and Lavrov worked to get that deal implemented for years. Right up to the end. The guarantors of that deal, Germany and France, did nothing whatsoever to help. Further, they later admitted that the whole deal had been merely a ruse. They had never had any intention of getting the deal implemented that they had undertaken to guarantee.

          The Americans all seem to see this conflict now as a conflict between the neocons and Russia, So it is, now. The Europeans are merely sidekicks.

          But before 2022 they were not. Berlin/Brussels were in charge of a continent that was richer and more prosperous than yours. It’s not the case now but they had in the years before 2022 demonstrated that they were able to pursue their own independent foreign policy. They could have pushed through Minsk 2 whatever the American neocons wanted.

          They did not. Instead they deliberately frustrated it.

          If you want to know why Ukraine is not now a whole and independent country you must not look to Moscow. They were pushing for just that. Nor, pace the American commentators, can you look exclusively to Washington. Ukraine was merely one of the many avenues the neocons were exploring as a way of weakening Russia.

          You must look first and foremost at Berlin/Brussels. From before 2014 they had Ukraine in their sights. Had they not, and had they not continued to wreck Minsk 2 later, this entire disaster could not have happened.

          We may detest the Russians and fear them. We may not. But to pin the blame for this disaster on the only country that was trying to get Minsk 2 done is surely incorrect.

          • Billy Roche says:

            MInsk 1 2 3 or 100 had/has nothing to do w/what is going on in Ukraine. Russia has invaded a former colony which declared independence from Russia. How I KNEW Russia would invade in Ukraine in the summer of ’91 b/f all the post Maiden events that you seize upon must be b/c I am smart and clairvoyant (sadly I’m neither), or b/c I know a little about Eastern European history and particularly Ukraine/Russian history. Russia c/n be an empire if Ukraine is genuinely sovereign. Accept it or not the invasion of Ukraine is to reestablish the Russian Empire.

        • English Outsider says:

          Bill – second paragraph, end, should read “It would have kept Ukraine as a separate and independent country”.

        • walrus says:

          Billy, I think Ukraine is going to be remembered as roadkill unless they wake up.

      • walrus says:

        Leith, you are deliberately misconstruing my statement. I did not say that any state was better than any other state. your historical lecture is irrelevant. What I said was that the whole of eastern Europe has been sliced and diced, chopped up every which way over at least the last 2,200 years that historical justifications are nonsense – made up by academics that should know better.

        To put it another way, you are trying to pick a tiny chunk of aged beef out of an mcdonald’s hamburger and then use that as evidence to tell us that the burger is filet mignon.

        Sorry mate, Eastern Europeans, the lot of ’em, except perhaps a few reindeer herders, are mongrel breed of every conqueror who has prevailed there for thousands. of years. Creating fake pedigrees is stupid.

        • TTG says:


          Do you include Russia among the creators of fake pedigrees? They surely are a “mongrel breed of every conqueror who has prevailed there for thousands of years.” Seems the vast majority of modern countries can claim such a pedigree including most of Europe and the Western hemisphere.

        • leith says:

          Walrus –

          Did I misconstrue this following statement? Which you posted August 20, 2023 at 11:29 pm:

          ‘ “Ukraine and its glorious history” is vapourware. It doesn’t exist. It never existed. It’s like Atlantis, Ruritania and the planet Krypton. It is a made up country that was cobbled together out of the ruins of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires.’

          I don’t believe I misunderstood you. I disagree with it 100%. I assume you meant well and only knew of and posted Ukraine’s recent history and her far past was unknown to you. I’m sure you are not like Putin’s phony historians, the re-writers of history, who know the true history but try to falsify it in order to glorify Moscow’s role. Despite what they say, Ukraine was never a made-up country like Krypton or Atlantis. Ukraine existed. Perhaps not within her current borders. But what nation in the world can ever say they’ve had stable borders for over a thousand years?

          • English Outsider says:

            Leith – no matter its history and no matter the difficult population mix it could have become a unified and successful country, Crimea included. Despite the corruption and the looting it looked to become by far the most successful of the post Soviet states.

            The EU intervention – you Americans don’t understand the significance of that – put that unity and success in question. The later intervention – the Revolution of Dignity – put paid to Crimea. Our refusal to implement Minsk 2 put paid to the Donbass.

            Our refusal to countenance negotiation has probably put paid to any chance it has of remaining an independent country at all.

            Early last year I was deeply worried that our insistence on forcing the war on would lead to our proxies losing lives and territory both. Loss of territory was a foregone conclusion after the 21st February, but none could have guessed the cost in blood would be so great. We show so little regard for our pawns on the Grand Chessboard.

            “Swansong of the neocons” I wrote to Colonel Lang’s site way back. Funeral dirge now, for the Ukrainian PBI.

          • Fred says:


            “Perfideous Albion” has been interfering in that region for far longer than the EU has existed.

          • TTG says:


            You got that right. We have the whole “Great Game” thing and that terrific series, “”Reilly, Ace of Spies,” about Sydney Reilly’s successful career as a British spy working the Russian target.

          • leith says:

            English O –

            Starting in 1991 Ukraine was a unified and successful country. Right up until Russian nationals started illegally immigrating into the Donbas and fomenting insurrection against Kiev.

            Minsk 2 was implemented by Ukraine and by the West. It was Russian backed and mostly Russian manned paramilitaries in the so called Luhansk and Donetsk Peoples’ Republics that undermined the Minsk agreements. Less than four months after Minsk 2 was agreed to LPR and DPR leadership were clamoring to join the Russian Federation, and pro-Russian forces violated the truce more than 4,000 times. Meanwhile more Russians including Russian Army troops crossed into the Donbas as observed by the OSCE. All the while Putin was crying ‘wolf’ on mythical and unsubstantiated Ukrainian violations.

            Meanwhile negotiations were tried multiple times by the West. The most recent one in January 2022. The Kremlin had other plans unfortunately.

  12. walrus says:

    For all of you interested in the history and myths of Europe, I recommend this.

    Page 100 onwards is especially relevant.

    • TTG says:


      Another good analysis by Tony Judt. The full article starts on page 83. It shows the deliberate national myth creation and modification that attempts to erase and “reinterpret” history. Nobody wants to acknowledge their dirty little knife fights as you mentioned yesterday.

      There are a number of illustrative videos of the changing borders of Europe on YouTube. They’re a good way to get a quick idea of the changeability of political boundaries.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Walrus; good point!! America too is no more than vapor ware, Atlantis, or Krypton. So often have her borders, politics, and boy oh boy demographics changed. America is nothing more than a myth presented by the few who have succored uneducated fools to die for that myth over and over. You offer nihilist nonsense. There are things worth dying for.

      • walrus says:

        Billy, consider Americas history; prior to 1776 it was a bunch of colonies, include the spanish and French possessions and remember that Russia owned Alaska.

        Did anyone have a great patriotic history? Well yes, tthe indians did, but we ignored that inconvenient truth and killed most of them. So we kicked the British out. Now was that about our inalienable rights to our historic homelands?

        Does the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution talk about our historic land and traditions? Uh, nope. They talk about what was humanistic, even nihilistic, nonsense at the time, inalienable human rights? Yes. Doing without kings? Definitely. Without a state religion? Of course. In other words, “Nihilistic Nonsense” at that time; imagine, doing without a king! That constitution is vaporware!

        …..So here we are, two hundred and something years down the track and you, Billy, claim that America is different, on the basis of a few hundred years? After one civil war, and now California is making gender optional and Georgia is trying to arrest a President? Meanwhile the red states hate the blue states and……

        I could live with Ukraine arguing civil rights and suchlike (except they have no case), but going on about their made up glorious history sticks in my throat.

        • TTG says:


          Just what in Ukraine’s history do you feel is made up, glorious or inglorious?

        • Barbara Ann says:


          Crikey mate, I’m pretty sure the old moderator of this blog would have had something to say about the Constitution being called nihilistic nonsense and vaporware. A lack of history was a feature for the Framers, not a bug. I know the Republic is going through a rough patch, but nearly 250 years on I think it’s a bit unfair to project nihilist feelings back onto the Founders.

          One great American described history as “more or less bunk” and yet I don’t doubt he was as patriotic as they come. Ideas are what matter and the idea of not wanting to live under a colonial yoke is as popular today in Eastern Europe as it was 250 years ago in the New World colonies. Do you consider patriotism itself nihilist and if not what by what criteria can it be valid?

        • Fred says:


          What’s this we kemosabe? Smallpox and war (not just the intertribal kind that had been waged for thousand(s) of years on the continent) decimated the population. South of the Rio Bravo the Inca, Aztec, Olmec, etc. had other problems in addition to smallpox. Spanish and Portuguese colonial governments were a lot different than what developed in 13 English and a couple French colonial possessions in North America.

        • TTG says:


          I’m still partial to his “We’re all go together when we go.”

        • English Outsider says:

          Effortlessly competent. One of the many errors of my younger days was that I tended to look down on “popular music”. Seeing a lot more in it now, though I can’t emulate that easy skill for the life of me so don’t try. Hacking laboriously through the 48 when no one’s around is more my level.

          More effortless competence. Combined with a rather special voice:-

          Finding that was a result of being shown around the Bluegrass scene by TTG’s commenters recently. Bluegrass? Long way from Earl Scruggs but I like it. One of the children noticed it was a more or less standard chaconne base at times but otherwise dismissed it as old hat. Humph. The sooner the commercial plastic stuff they listen to all the time becomes old hat the better, I tell them.

          You’re butting out of the Ukraine discussion? But this is the only place where the subject can safely be mentioned! Daren’t mention the subject in Germany. All there are on the madman Putin tack. Nor in England for that matter. You get very odd looks if you go against the Guardian/DT line here. So I keep my mouth shut on that – can’t lose all my friends – and earnestly discuss the weather. Always an interesting subject that, in England.

          Perhaps you’ll move on to Trump. The only decent politician in the Western world and now look what they’re doing to him.

          Will he get back in? No idea. Will he clean out the Augean stables if he does? The look in that photo says he’d have a damn good try. I expect they’ll have to shoot him in the end, if lawfare doesn’t work.

          • English Outsider says:

            Bass. But at least I got the links right.

          • blue peacock says:

            “Will he clean out the Augean stables if he does? The look in that photo says he’d have a damn good try.”


            What did he do when he was actually in office? Hired his entire administration from the “Swamp” and ran with his tail tucked when he had the chance to take on the lawlessness of the national security apparatus.

            And became Fauci’s bitch as the chief vax salesman and lockdown Queen.

  13. walrus says:

    Thank you all for your replies. Why does history matter? Because at the heart of this conflict is a fatal logical contradiction on the part of the Ukraine government and its supporters.

    Ukraine asserts it has a right to exist within its borders on the basis of that these borders are historical boundaries of a distinct Ukrainian people. This is nonsense. Any history book indicates patterns of continuously changing jurisdictions and demographic change.

    So OK, let’s forget that arguement and talk about self determination of the population of the area called Ukraine. Well yes, that makes sense, UN charter and all, but then why aren’t the people of Donetsk and Luhansk allowed to exercise their rights of self determination and have their own Republics??

    Oh but that is different! Says Zelensky! When pushed, he reverts to the history argument. As for us, aren’t their parallels with the civil war? How do we justify supporting Ukraine on the basis of our own history? Then of course we crash headlong into an immovable obstacle:The Golden Rule.

    Why is this argument important? Because in the absence of a moral basis, we may be committing a war crime by not doing our utmost to stop the conflict.

    Not only that, we may be doing economic harm to our own economy for no clear benefit to America.

    • TTG says:


      Zelenskiy is insisting on the borders established in 1991 and agreed upon by Russia in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the 2003 border treaty. Back in those days it was still the Donbas politicians who had the upper hand in Kyiv. Their discontent was rooted in no longer being the top dog in Ukraine.

      • walrus says:

        Oh I see now; once upon a time little miss Ukraine, her uncle
        Sam and the NATO kids were having a tea party one day in the meadow when all of a sudden and for absolutely no reason, a big bear ran out of the forest and bit Ukraine on the leg and won’t let go?

        Naughty Bear!

        • LeaNder says:

          Relapsed, walrus?

          i>Their discontent was rooted in no longer being the top dog in Ukraine.

          Pay attention: Might be a genetically ethnic Russian trait, as long as they don’t accept their fate as minor regional player, and regret their country’s earlier states*. Genetic: Therefore present in ethnically Russian Ukrainians too.

          * both as mode of being and political organization.

          • English Outsider says:

            “Their discontent was rooted in no longer being the top dog in Ukraine.”

            LeaNder, on the “discontent”, it might have been more rooted in this:-


            Or this:-


            And that it isn’t merely the Donbass that’s the problem, this list of monuments recently erected in Ukraine shows:-


            Some time we in Europe are going to have to come to terms with what we’ve unleashed in the Ukraine.


            As for the broad picture, Macgregor sets it out better than most. He’s good on the interest groups and lobbyists in Washington – the “MIC” Eisenhower was warning about way back. Macgregor calls them the “Donors”.


            I referred to that recently but I think you might have missed it. It’s had a quarter of a million views since I last looked at it so will maybe get taken down soon. Grab it when you can!

            Where I think he and most American analysts are perhaps weak is on just the topic that should bother us Europeans. European exceptionalism.

            Many of us in Europe really do think of ourselves as Borrell’s “Garden in the Jungle” . The ineffable sense of entitlement that results from that way of looking at the world is truly a wonder to behold. We Brits do that quite well too. Sometimes I wonder why the other seven billion put up with it all, given that they no longer need to.

            That European exceptionalism leads us to assume that it’s always others who make things go wrong. Can’t possibly be us! So discontent in Europe with the results of the Ukrainian disaster is beginning to manifest itself in ways I don’t like. Too much “Ami go home” around.

            That’s going to be the theme in Europe as the blame game gets under way. We should really be looking at what Scholz and UvdL got up to, and of course Johnson, rather than wriggling out of it by offloading all the blame on the Americans.

            Not that the American neocons are little angels. Far from it. But they could not have wrecked the joint without the Europeans putting their shoulder to the wheel too. In truth, I think we see here the usual picture of the Europeans leveraging US military and financial power for their own ends, as they had hoped, rather than being leveraged by it.

            Said that before. Bears repeating. As the disaster unfolds in front of our horrified eyes (I assume you’re as horrified as I am) the Garden in the Jungle’s due for a bit of mea culpa too.

      • Fred says:

        Defending the borders established by Khruschev in 1954 are essential to the US why?

        • TTG says:


          Those borders were agreed upon by Russia in 1994 and again in 2003. Putin signed off on the 2003 agreement. Where the line is drawn doesn’t matter a bit to us. Assisting a friendly nation to defend those borders against a violent invasion, though not necessary, is in our interest. It’s much like Russia aiding Syria defend itself against an ISIS takeover.

  14. walrus says:

    To put that another way; if we are basing our Ukraine policy on a lie, then we are setting ourselves up for cascading policy errors that will cost us plenty.

    To put that yet another way; I must be dumb because the only motivation I can see for our policy is that we hate Russia. We also have a history of abandoning our proxies when they are no longer useful.

  15. walrus says:

    Anyway, I’m out of the discussion of Ukraine from now on.

  16. Keith Harbaugh says:

    People from Ukraine:
    I want to point out two notable people from Ukraine:
    That really strikes a chord in me.
    I spent four years working at AHS, as a member of ASA, working under General Godding.
    I know very well what ASA did.
    So this Ukrainian SOB betrayed America’s secrets to the Soviet Union?
    Tell me again, Roche, how wonderful you think Ukraine is.

    And here is another example:

    Tell me more about how wonderful you think Ukraine is.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      Weisband was an NKVD officer. They were both Soviets born in Odesa, a city Russia claims as its own. They worked for the Kremlin. So you think they are representative of the present day Ukraine?

      I’m fairly confident that there were also Ukrainian born soldiers in the NKVD divisions that deported and killed my family members. They worked for the Kremlin, as well.

      • Keith Harbaugh says:

        You are entirely correct.
        Thanks for highlighting that relevant fact. 🙂

        Sorry to hear about your family’s suffering.
        Have you written about this in the blogs?
        If it isn’t too painful, I think that would give us some useful insight into what went on under occupation.
        I certainly do not have knowledge of that.

        • TTG says:

          Keith Harbaugh,

          My family was fairly well represented in the Lithuanian military in the early days of independence. I have a photo of an uncle as an officer in the lancer regiment and several others in the infantry. From that start they naturally entered the Lithuanian resistance. My grandfather’s two brothers died fighting in the resistance. Various other family members were “disappeared” at the hands of the Soviet occupiers. We know several were sent to Siberia never to be heard from again. My family’s experience is not unique. Tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of families across Eastern Europe suffered similar losses at the hands of Moscow.

          A cousin made his way back to the States after the resistance demobilized with his cut down Mosin-Nagant. I learned to shoot with that rifle behind the barn shooting at a caricature of Stalin. This was years after Stalin died. My father, born in the States, a former Marine, tool and die maker and father of six took part in the active protest at the local Coast Guard recruiting office after the Lithuanian sailor, Simas Kudirka, was turned back over to the Soviets when he tried to defect by jumping ship.

          I wrote a paper on the Lithuanian resistance as part of my SF course and posted it on SST many years ago. It gives an overview of what that resistance to the Kremlin entailed. It’s why I don’t think the Kremlin has a snowball’s chance in hell of prevailing in Ukraine.

          • walrus says:

            I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your family members at the hands of Stalin and his brutal regime.

            I lost extended family in a Riga concentration camp. The double occupation – hitler then Stalin must have been very difficult to bear.

  17. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Well, that is both interesting and enlightening.
    Thank you for posting it.

    Personally, I wish you would post it, or an expanded version of it, at the top level, to make its enlightening information easier to find, and perhaps gain further comments.
    The comments to your earlier 2011 report were interesting, giving a wide variety of comparable situations.
    A very useful discussion.

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