Lavrov is correct
NATO's proxy war against Russia. Also, Twitter before the elves left, and Harvard's historical ablution.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused NATO of engaging in a proxy war with Russia. Lavrov is correct, though he failed to note who picked this particular fight. In Putin’s world, the West is supposed to shrink away from conflict, and back far away when threats of nuclear holocaust are dusted off. Except NATO has not done that at all.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said her government will supply Gepard self-propelled armored anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has faced mounting pressure to send heavy weapons such as tanks and other armored vehicles.
So far, the U.S. and other NATO nations have provided “dozens” of 155mm (NATO standard) howitzers, 144,000 rounds of ammunition, tactical drones, “Switchblade” loiter weapons, American-made Javelin and British-made NLAW antitank weapons, and Stinger shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles. But more importantly, NATO provides real-time intelligence and battlefield information.
When Ukraine sunk the Russian navy flagship Moskva last week, many questions remained. How could such a heavily defended ship be sunk so easily by two Ukrainian-built Neptune anti-ship missiles launched from land? Moskva was equipped with the same kind of anti-missile defense as the U.S. uses, the CWIS, NATO-designation Kashtan. It was also equipped with the sophisticated S-300 anti-missile system. From a variety of sources, it appears that Moskva was cruising with its anti-missile radar turned off, to reduce emissions and limit Ukraine’s ability to track it.
But the U.S. launched a P-8 Poseidon aircraft which had no trouble tracking Moskva. U.S. and NATO intelligence confirmed that Moskva was cruising in a predictable track, not varying its route as it should have been. Once we were able to predict the location of the ship, Ukraine launched its missiles with the seeker heads turned off until the last seconds. Moskva had almost no chance to see and intercept the missiles before they struck. One of them penetrated the deck into the ammunition storage, and the ship was so badly damaged and taking on water, it could not be towed to port and sunk at sea, with the captain and hundreds of crew killed.
Make no mistake, the sinking of the Moskva was a NATO operation, even though the missiles and warheads were Ukrainian. The fact that the Russians didn’t see a threat is proof that they weren’t thinking this was a war with NATO. Lavrov has let the world know Russia is now aware of the nature of this conflict.
NATO is actively providing training for Ukrainian troops in NATO weapons systems. It is providing the weapons, ammunition, logistics and intelligence that enables Ukraine to fight this war. The Russians seem to have an unlimited appetite for destruction and hurling bodies, equipment and missiles into the fray. Defeating Russia will not be an easy task, and by no means is victory assured. Russia could still resort to its substantial tactical nuclear stockpile, for instance.
Yet, Russia is finding itself more and more hemmed in by NATO. Finland and Sweden are poised to join the alliance in a fast-tracked process. As Russia became more belligerent following the end of the Cold War, it has always been a NATO goal to contain it. What does this mean?
It means we can look for Russia to widen the war. Right now, NATO can fight with little risk to itself, as long as we keep the war confined to Ukraine. Russia is fighting back economically, cutting off Poland and Bulgaria after those nations refused to pay for gas using Russian rubles. Russia is also expanding its front into neighboring Moldova in the breakaway Transnistria region. These are feelers to see how NATO reacts.
So far, the reaction has been for Germany and other nations to further open the weapons tap flowing into Ukraine. No doubt, this will enrage Putin, and he will target something of more value. Perhaps something in striking range of Kaliningrad, which sits like an heavily-armed camp tucked between Poland and Lithuania. Opening a land corridor along the 40-mile Poland-Lithuania border that separates Kaliningrad from Belarus might be Putin’s next gamble. This would, of course, tremendously escalate the war and test President Biden’s “not one square inch” promise.
Russia can’t grind itself to dust forever in the Donbas, and NATO’s assistance will ensure whatever gains Russia makes are most costly than it can afford. Though time is on Putin’s side, materiel and manpower are not. I’d watch for an escalation, as Russia is now fully aware this is a conflict not just with Ukraine, but with all of NATO.
Twitter before the elves left
Then elvish Twitter decided to kill itself, climb into a coffin and bury itself under the dirt. It turned off most of the API functions. It took over the UI completely. It focused on its mobile platform. It injected ads and monetization into its timeline algorithms. It stopped letting users see a true feed and began actively filtering content based on some kind of preference algorithm. It obfuscated its “trending” methodologies. It went nuts with blue checkmarks and then cut them off completely when too many “undesirables” got them. It went public.
Jack Dorsey tried to focus on both Twitter and Square (now Block), and did neither very well. I mean, he did okay, but Jack Dorsey is no Elon Musk.
Twitter failed to see the value in its tech, and focused instead on building a safe space for people like the far-left political people who populate its campus. It was scared of what people were using the platform to say, and took itself far too seriously, while ignoring the opportunities to expand its technology.
Twitter doesn’t have a particularly large footprint. Its daily active user count through the end of 2021 is about 217 million, according to Statista. Just under 77 million are in the U.S., and around 59 million are in Japan. Compare that to Facebook, which boasts 1.93 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021. Compare it to Netflix, which, ever after its horrible quarter has over 220 million paying subscribers. Twitter is free and can’t even crack a half-billion active users, and is overrun daily by bots that the company expends tremendous resources fighting.
Musk aims to “defeat the bots or die trying.” I expect that Musk sees the tech value in the company, and will try to take things—at least in some way—back to the time of the elves. That annoys and frightens many of the core users who see Twitter as their own safe space. But it’s the best way for a fairly small, compact, but technologically advanced company to leverage itself. While Facebook evolved into Meta, and other companies are focusing on realtime communication, Twitter has turned further inward. It cannot survive long-term with this strategy, and Musk will either fix it or fail, at his own risk. Ballsy move for Elon.
Harvard University is committing intellectual Seppuku. The university has committed $100 million to expose its own historical ties to slavery and other racist, benighted, and unspeakable thoughtcrimes.
My only comment here is that they are falling into the worst possible epistemological moral Chinese finger trap. An axiom of history is that you cannot judge historical events and people by current morality. People understood and decided based on the morality and knowledge of the times they lived in. Harvard is going back and judging itself on a woke “Project 1619” style platform and in doing so, is really accomplishing an ablution, a ritual washing, versus any actual academics.
“Harvard benefited from and in some ways perpetuated practices that were profoundly immoral,” Harvard president Lawrence Bacow wrote in a letter to the university community about the report. “Consequently, I believe we bear a moral responsibility to do what we can to address the persistent corrosive effects of those historical practices on individuals, on Harvard, and on our society.”
Note the use of the word “were.” That word is carrying a lot of weight. Instead of saying, from today’s perspective, many of the practices of the past are considered immoral, he is judging the actions of the past as if they were made today. That’s a mistake, and will ultimately lead to nothing more than condemnation, cancelation, and a bloodletting based on genetic and parental lines. This is the stuff of the Jacobins, where all the nobles and clerics must die lest one of them survive and take retribution.
In short, it’s the beginning of Harvard’s long suicide unless it decides to frame things correctly. I’m not so arrogant as to question Harvard’s scholarship here—it’s undoubtedly impeccable. But they are arrogant in assuming that John Adams and his ilk were irredeemably immoral in thought and practice because such people, living today, wouldn’t “get” our woke hipster culture.
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