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Member since Nov-17-05

My wrap of our Chessgames Challenge: The World vs A Nickel, 2006 against ICCF Grandmaster Arno Nickel is at User: World Team Tribute.


>> Click here to see twinlark's game collections. Full Member

   twinlark has kibitzed 16459 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Sep-15-14 twinlark chessforum
twinlark: I'm off for a few days to the beach with my family. Back next Sunday.
   Sep-12-14 Kenneth Rogoff (replies)
twinlark: As I said, I didn't include you in this group as you do Stupid as a matter of principle.
   Sep-05-14 Carlsen vs Aronian, 2014 (replies)
twinlark: Looks like a theoretical draw.
   Aug-31-14 Magnus Carlsen (replies)
twinlark: <SirRuthless> <Or it could just be his old tricks aren't working any more.> What tricks? He's making errors he doesn't normally make. Everyone has lapses in form. The most remarkable aspect of Carlsen's form is that he hasn't had a serious lapse since 2005. Maybe he was
   Aug-25-14 Chithambaram V R Aravindh
twinlark: Thanks for the info, guys. I've added to his bio to account for his title norms.
   Aug-24-14 Wei Yi
twinlark: He's basically pacing Carlsen at the same age. Interesting factoid: his rating hasn't decreased even momentarily in the official ratings since Jan 2012, over four months before he became an IM.
   Aug-18-14 Samuel Sevian (replies)
twinlark: Sevian has won his 3rd GM norm at the 3rd Washington International. All he needs to win the GM title is to find another few rating points (16 I believe).
   Aug-17-14 Alekhine Nouri (replies)
twinlark: Here are young player with FM titles who are unrated. Awarded the title on the basis of winning continental U8 championship: and
   Aug-17-14 Wesley So (replies)
twinlark: Updated his bio, at last. Sorry about the delay. What's the story so far with changing federations?
   Aug-17-14 Paulo Bersamina (replies)
twinlark: <joeyj> The value of K for U2400s was changed to 20 by FIDE with effect from 1 July 2014. I encountered the exact same problem calculating Anton Smirnov's rating from the Olympiad.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

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Aug-31-14  visayanbraindoctor: <heuristic> Actually I agree with you. See my posts several scrolls up that discusses hydrogen as an energy carrier and storage chemical for fourth generation nuclear reactors. You will also see that I believe that electricity is the cheapest and most convenient energy carrier, and not hydrogen.

Hydrogen has a role as a storage form of energy if we understand that a nuclear reactor operates continuously, while electricity consumption varies during the day and night, and in different areas. By its nature electrical energy cannot be stored. But chemical energy can. If the grid is not consuming electricity much, the extra heat generated from the nuclear plant can be be stored in chemical form, and a possibility is the hydrogen molecule.

IMO the best scenario is 4th generation thorium-using nuclear reactors that can be mass produced in modular units, electrical energy as the energy carrier, and possibly hydrogen as the chemical energy storage form.

Do you have any opinions as to what would be the best energy storage forms?

Sep-03-14  visayanbraindoctor: "DONETSK, September 03. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian troops suffered heavy losses in Ukraine’s embattled southeastern regions in August, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) army headquarters told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday.

Over 3,600 Ukrainian punitive troops were either killed or wounded. The Donetsk fighters destroyed almost 220 tanks and over 480 armoured vehicles, the militia headquarters said.

Donetsk fighters said they had also destroyed almost 190 multiple launch rocket systems, about 750 trucks and 76 ammunition depots."

I do not know how accurate this Russian source is. But if this August mass destruction of Kiev forces is true, the Novorussian military must have highly accurate artillery given that they don't have planes to do the above job. In other news, Kiev has been citing the accuracy of Novorussian artillery as one of the proofs that these artillery systems are being manned by trained Russian soldiers.

This long range mobile artillery warfare has made tanks and other armored vehicles look obsolete.

Poroshenko and other Kiev officials give me the impression that they don't know exactly what to do considering that they seem to be losing the war in Donbass. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: Yes it seems that the Ukrainian military has effectively been gutted by the war, given that they had committed almost all of it to the east and are now in full retreat and/or defensive mode.

The figures for the destruction of the armoured ground vehicles aren't exaggerated in my opinion. The Cassad blog (with other sites) has been posting numerous photos of "trophies" and destroyed armour. These would certainly be Ukrainian regular armour, as it is doubtful the rebels would have the chutzpah to publish photos of their own armour and dead.

The armour, regardless of its age, was thoroughly destroyed in many cases, with nothing more remaining than metallic debris surrounding completely hollowed out shells that were once tanks. So what took the tanks out was both lethally accurate and lethally powerful, literally blowing some of these tanks into pieces.

Does this mean the end of armoured mobile warfare as you speculate? Could well do, but let's wait and see what the military boffins say in the aftermath. What will replace them? Just as armoured vehicles made horse regimens obsolete, this new style of warfare might make armoured vehicles obsolete. My speculation is ground troops, spread out in squads or companies, supported by drones, including probably high speed drones, and satellite tracking. But here my almost complete lack of expertise requires me to stop speculating.

If ground vehicles are obsolete and planes are so easily shot out of the sky, what then? Missile warfare? You raise a good point.

<Poroshenko and other Kiev officials give me the impression that they don't know exactly what to do considering that they seem to be losing the war in Donbass.>

Another round of sanctions. I see France has finally buckled to US pressure and is holding up delivery of the Mistral carrier to Russia. Cameron's suggestion to lock Russia out of SWIFT might gain legs at the NATO conference in Wales. One thing I would bet on is that Obama will remain extremely hawkish, and possibly allow appropriations for more direct intervention into Ukraine to proceed. I can't see the US backing down, even if (or especially because) this would ruin the EU economically.

Sep-04-14  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> I have been reading some of the statements of NATO chief Rasmussen. He seems to be trying to organize a military unit that is designed to strike into Russia.

Even if he (and others) thinks he is morally correct in doing so, such an endeavor borders on the insane, considering that if such a force cannot be stopped by conventional means, Russia will surely atomize it with nukes. I have never even heard of such warmongering pronouncements by NATO leaders in the Cold War. Yet they seem to abound nowadays.

<I see France has finally buckled to US pressure and is holding up delivery of the Mistral carrier to Russia.> Reneging on such a contract is clearly not to France's benefit. Yet Hollande and other EU nations' leaders have been acting against their own national interests in the past few months just to get into the good side of the US. (The sanction counter-sanction game has hurt EU the most, Russia less, and the US not at all. Choose your pick which of the three is most benefited.)

If the deal falls down, Russia even now probably has contingency plans to build her own amphibious assault ships or helicopter carriers (or whatever this kind of ship is called). It seem to be a kind of ship that allows quick deployment of troops onto foreign soil. US and France would have these kind of ships for decades because of their historical status as maritime powers. Russia lags way behind them because it has always been a land empire. However, with its only naval foreign base in Tartus Syria threatened by yet another proxy war, its military must be working out ways on how to land troops there as rapidly as possible.

<Does this mean the end of armoured mobile warfare as you speculate?>

The armor part, maybe; but the mobile part definitely not. From what I can gather the most effective weapon in the Novorussian military is the highly mobile Grad multiple rocket launcher artillery system

Both sides are stating that Grads (and possibly Uragan have been incinerating pro Kiev tank columns. So this is probably not disinformation. The Russian military has always been ahead of the US in this particular genre of weaponry, the rocket artillery, ever since the famed Katyusha destroyed so many of the German armor and fortified positions in WW2.

Now, I believe these mobile rocket artillery systems have been coupled to Russian satellites, radar, electronic intel, GPS, and laser pointers. According to the Wikipedia article

<Maximum firing range 20 km (new rockets 30–45 km>

I don't entirely trust Wikipedia articles, but even if the Novorussian Grads have a range of 10 kilometers only, if a Russian satellite can feed a mobile Grad artillery unit the exact coordinates of a pro-Kiev tank convoy, all that unit has to do is get into a 10 kilometer range and that's the end of that tank convoy.

Sep-04-14  visayanbraindoctor: i found an interesting article in Wikipedia on the Scud. Again caveat: Wikipedia articles may not be entirely accurate.

<The most intensive - and less well-known - use of Scud missiles occurred during the civil war in Afghanistan between 1989 and 1992. As compensation for the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, the USSR agreed to deliver sophisticated weapons to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA), among which were large quantities of Scud-Bs, and possibly some Scud-Cs as well.[5] The first 500 were transferred during the early months of 1989, and soon proved to be a critical strategic asset for the DRA. Every Scud battery was composed of three TELs, three reloading vehicles, a mobile meteorological unit, one tanker and several command and control trucks.[23] During the mujahideen backed by an infantry brigade of the Pakistani Army attack against Jalalabad, between March and June 1989, three firing batteries manned by Afghan crews advised by Soviets fired approximately 438 missiles in defense of the embattled garrison.[24] Soon all the heavily contested areas of Afghanistan, such as the Salang Pass and the city of Kandahar, were under attack by Scud missiles.

Due to its imprecision, the Scud was used as an area bombing weapon, and its effect was psychological as well as physical: the missiles would explode without warning, as they travelled faster than the sound they produced in-flight. At the time, reports indicated that Scud attacks had devastating consequences on the morale of the Afghan rebels, who eventually learned that by applying guerilla tactics, and keeping their forces dispersed and hidden, they could minimize casualties from Scud attacks.[18] The Scud was also used as a punitive weapon, striking areas that were held by the resistance. In March 1991, shortly after the town of Khost was captured, it was hit by a Scud attack. On 20 April 1991, the marketplace of Asadabad was hit by two Scuds, that killed 300 and wounded 500 inhabitants. Though the exact toll is unknown, these attacks resulted in heavy civilian casualties.[25] The explosions destroyed the headquarters of Islamic leader Jamil al-Rahman, and killed a number of his followers.[26]

In all, between October 1988 and February 1992, with 1,700 to 2,000 Scud launches,[18] Afghanistan saw the greatest concentration of ballistic weapons fired since World War II.[27][dead link] After January 1992, the Soviet advisors were withdrawn, reducing the Afghan army's ability to use their ballistic missiles. On April 24, 1992, the mujahideen forces of Ahmad Shah Massoud captured the main Scud stockpile at Afshur. As the communist government collapsed, the few remaining Scuds and their TELs were divided among the rival factions fighting for power. However, the lack of trained personnel prevented a sustained use of such weapons, and, between April 1992 and 1996, only 44 Scuds were fired in Afghanistan.>

There are probably errors in this article, but there is one essential truth that comes out: In the 4 years after the Soviet withdrawal, mobile Scud units manned by left-behind Russian specialists managed to fend of the 'mujaheddin' (1988 to 1992).

According to the same article, Scud D can carry a nearly 1 ton explosive warhead 1000 kilometers with an accuracy of 50 meters. In addition, IMO the Russian military has probably upgraded the newer versions of its Scud type ballistic missiles to be more accurate and more mobile and more lethal. If the Novorussian military gets hold of these weapons, and Russian satellites keep feeding them the coordinates of Kiev armored convoys, they would not even be able to reach the Donbass. I feel pretty sure that Russia would not want to escalate things this way, because such missiles might end up landing outside Novorussian territory and might incur more civilian casualties, which would anger the rest of Ukraine and provide US NATO justification to incorporate central and West Ukraine into NATO. Missile warfare I believe is essentially blind, unless you have spies right in the vicinity where the missiles land, which could kill the spies themselves.

Sep-04-14  visayanbraindoctor: I have deduced from my readings that a Novorussian artillery battalion probably has about 300 to 500 soldiers and several Grads and support units. The soldiers probably all travel fast in highly mobile army trucks and vehicles, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, and maybe a few tanks. Many of them are trained IGLA platoons, just waiting to shoot down any Kiev aircraft detected by Russian satellite and radar which feed them the info. I believe that some of these soldiers function as scouts. When an artillery battalion is nearing a Kiev armored column, these soldiers go ahead to make sure no civilians are around. Obviously the Novorussian military would not like to kill its own civilians. If there is no civilian around, then the Grads, probably fed the exact coordinates by Russian satellite based GPS, obliterate the armored convoy in less time it takes to finish a blitz game. Afterward, the soldiers reenter the zone of destruction and capture the survivors and salvageable equipment.

I can hypothesize that Novorussia and Russia are revolutionizing modern land warfare by apparently making armored divisions obsolete even without the use aircraft. All that is apparently needed is missile artillery and accurate intel. I just can't explain with my limited knowledge how the Novorussian military (even if beefed up with a thousand or two Russian covert operatives) can inflict such destruction on a modern army of no less than a former Soviet Republic. But as you say, we will have to await the verdict of military buffs.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

It's interesting that the US did not provide the same kind of intel to the Ukrainian "regulars", to balance the hit-and-run guerilla strategy of the Novorussians. I suspect that in the future, these kinds of actions will be reciprocal.

That a former Soviet army is defeated so thoroughly is in this case less surprising, as over twenty years of corruption and mismanagement had run the defence industry as weill as existing materiel completely down. The Ukrainian military was basically working with antiquated and run down vehicles, with a badly trained Army commanded by political appointees who had no training or interest or clue in warfighting.

That it lasted as long as it did was due to tanks and other arms transported from Hungary and elsewhere through Odessa. It's worth remembering that at the outbreak of hostilities, the military was completely moribund with one of the oligarchs ponying up with $5 million just to fuel the engines of war. Later the West laid on the military aid all the while complaining that Russia was doing so.

I think you will be very interested in this article titled <Understanding the Astounding Novorussian Victories>:

Sep-05-14  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> He has a rather esoteric conceptual framework filled with multiple assumptions in which he analyzes things. (I guess he is trying to be syncretic.) I confess I would rather use more simple frameworks with fewer assumtions.

Putin, a trained spymaster, would probably translate it as Russia playing the disinformation game perfectly, giving intermittent impressions that Novorussia was losing, but actually gaining step by step. Putin also played the statesman role perfectly. The effect on the international community is to give the impression that the Novorussians are the victims of Kiev's aggression. Quite true, but the MSM propaganda that Russia is invading Ukraine, which projects the notion that it is Kiev that is the victim, had to be counteracted. Putin's way of handling things has also maximized dissent within the rest of Ukraine.

In the battlefield, disinformation designed to feign defeats prods the enemy to attack and overstretch himself. Thus you see the Kiev army attacking on multiple fronts, and targets that have little or only temporary strategic significance. Once the supply and troop lines are stretched, the fast moving Novorussian artillery battalions hit them at will, cutting them into isolated pockets (cauldrons is the word they use).

Notice that all conscripted Ukrainian soldiers are generally allowed to return to Ukraine. Just brilliant. One, these soldiers go back and tell people first hand accounts of how bad the situation is in the front, how Kiev is virtually abandoning them after ordering them to battle in a losing unjust war. This counteracts the triumphalist propaganda of Ukrainian mass media that Kiev is winning, and makes people mistrust the Kiev government. Since the soldiers were treated well, they go back telling people that they are now sympathetic to Novorussia and Russia; that these are not the enemy, as the liars in Kiev purport. Two, Putin is securing the support of most of the women of Ukraine. They asked for their husbands, sons, and brothers back. Putin delivered them back well treated and alive.

The result is that more and more people in Ukraine are beginning to hate the war, and to see the real enemy as the Kiev government, not the Novorussians and Russia. This would translate to uncooperative army units, mass defections and desertions, and as is happening a general collapse of the Kiev conscript army.

On the other hand, the Novorussians and Russians are propagandizing every victory they have over the Nazi oriented units- the newly formed national guard and the volunteer militias (they just announced a victory over the Nazi oriented Azov battalion). I don't think they are as lenient to POWs from these units. There has also been a significant influx of neo-nazi fighters from the Baltics and Sweden, and just plain old mercenaries wanting to make a buck. I suspect they simply execute any foreign fighter that they capture.

This war is also a clash between thought-systems, and the message is clear. We will be merciless to Nazis but merciful to ordinary Ukrainians that were simply forced by the Kiev government to fight us. And in the clash between ethnic groups, the common Slavic origin of both Ukrainians and Russians is emphasized. We are in truth brothers; see we give you back your captured relatives, and we treat them well and free them even though some of them have murdered our people with their shelling. They were misled. Our people that they murdered and yours were the same once, and we are still kin. Let us stop this; do not cooperate with the Kiev government. It's the Nazis amongst you that are the real enemies.

US planners I have noticed usually ignore these things; or may be unaware of them. They usually think in terms of geopolitical offensives to gain fossil fuel and other resources, and to expand the US sphere of influence. The Russian leaders on the other hand seem to be taking the ideological and ethnic conflicts quite seriously and have designed plans that try to solve them. Their plans are more comprehensive and realistic. That's one of the reason why Novorussia and Russia are winning at present.

This and the Russian intel that is allowing the Novorussian rocket artillery Grad battalions to hit first and to hit more accurately, and the specialized Igla units that has neutralized Kiev's arirforce.

Sep-07-14  visayanbraindoctor: Seems there has been a kind of vague peace agreement between Kiev and Novorussia.

How is Poroshenko planning to control the Nazi component of his government? These people are ideologues and will always crave to evict all non-Ukrainians from whatever they think Ukraine ought to be. They are intelligent people; and know that they must be silent and make compromises for now, as they are losing the war, but for how long?

I have read Mein Kampf about 4 years ago. IMO it was not written by a madman. In my view, Hitler simply believed in certain presuppositions, and then built up a thought-system from these presuppositions. His followers are intelligent people who probably until today follow these presuppositions. They will be smart enough to lie low and go to safe survival mode if conditions become adverse for them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

More like a temporary ceasefire. No one has any illusions that this is the path to peace. The "12 point plan" is so vague as to be pointless.

I suspect that it is there to give everyone a breathing space, to get humanitarian assistance into Donbass, for the junta to regroup, for the oligarchs to talk and for Putin and Washington to consider their next moves. There is no doubt that the recent successes by the militia were enabled by weapons supplies, a choice made by Russia as the alternative of losing Donbass and the entire Ukraine to the Western-backed junta was even more unpleasant that dealing with increasingly independent militant groups with wills of their own.

Also, the pause probably also serves to soften Western rhetoric for the moment.

There are too many independent groups that are controlled by neither Kiev nor Moscow, not to mention that the US is quite happy simply to keep the conflict going to maximise confusion and discord on the Russian border. It distracts from the Eurasion Union project as well as the numerous other financial and trade deals Russia has been feverishly brokering to lessen its dependence upon Western financial systems and trade.

The following links provides a potted history of some of the complicated political plots in play in this four cornered conflict. I must say it is a bewildering tapestry to track:

Sep-08-14  visayanbraindoctor: I forgot to answer your question. One of the main characters in the Hyperion series of Simmons is named Colonel Fedhman Cassad. He was destined to defeat the Shrike, and in so doing die and become it, which transformed this enforcer of pain and death from an agent/angel of the machine Ultimate Intelligence into one loyal to the human Ultimate Intelligence. Note how the murderous Shrike in the Hyperion books became a protector in the Endymion books.

Fortunately the Ukraine mess now seems to be deescalating. In spite of all the bluster, most EU nations now clearly do not want an escalation. I think the Russian counter-sanctions brought them down to earth. Humanity avoids another possible nuclear confrontation.

Even a limited nuclear war using tactical nuclear weapons would set an alarmingly dangerous precedent (apart from possibly killing hundreds of thousands if not millions). The nuclear armed nations would now incorporate this concept into all future regional wars.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor: One of the main characters in the Hyperion series of Simmons is named Colonel Fedhman Cassad.>

Of course! How could I forget? He was one of my favourite characters after the Envoy.

<Fortunately the Ukraine mess now seems to be deescalating.>

Maybe, maybe not. There have been continuous ceasefire violations by the Ukrainian forces. The pro-militia blogs are reporting many such violations with sullen resentment, completely lacking the usual optimistic spin that was present even during their most difficult times a month or so again before the "Army surplus store" reopened for business. One lot of 6 militia men that went to the Donetsk airport to negotiate with the Ukrainians holed up there were captured and one was killed.

This ceasefire will explode.

Sep-09-14  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> the Dutch preliminary report on MH17 has come out. Although I am an outsider, I cannot help but feel disgusted at it. Essentially it announces

1. The Malaysian plane flight MH17 was downed by 'high-energy objects from outside the aircraft'. But that tells us exactly nothing new. Everyone knows that already. (As expected MSM builds up on this fact, already evident on the day of the shoot down, by indirectly repeating the claim it's the Novorussians or Russians that shot it down, even if the Dutch investigators themselves claimed nothing of this sort.)

2. The black boxes revealed nothing significant. I tend to think that this is an outright lie. The black boxes would have recorded all the pilots' conversations, and it's unbelievable that there was nothing they said that indicated that something was amiss. At the very least the black boxes would have recorded the pilots' communications with Kiev air traffic controllers and shed light to why it was diverted into the war zone. And also why the plane suddenly swerved just before it rapidly descended. Conscious and presumably talkative pilots would have done this sudden turn in mid air. It's more likely IMO that final recordings from the the black boxes were censored off from the public, if not illegally erased.

3. The final report will come out after a year. That begs the question. why so long? By now analysis of the damage to the engines, fuselage, and cockpit; plus the (uncensored) black boxes recordings should be able to point out the causes of the the crash.

Sep-09-14  visayanbraindoctor: <Of course! How could I forget? He was one of my favourite characters after the Envoy.>

I deeply admire the character of the Envoy. He was accepted by the political powers, lived a life of comfort and wealth, and yet he never forgot his people and culture that gave him life and purpose. He wasn't so much as a traitor to the galactic colonizer government as much as a loyalist to his own true people.

Sep-11-14  visayanbraindoctor: Last year I was worried that a direct US vs Russia confrontation would occur in Syria. US navy ships in the Mediterranean were prepared to fire Tomahawks over the Russian naval base in Tartus and the Russian warships off the Syrian coast. The justification then was alleged sarin gas usage by the Syrian government (despite the facts that pointed to the Islamist proxies themselves as the culprits). The scenario was like an abstract painting about to be splashed with red paint. I think it was the Pentagon itself that discouraged Obama from such an action.

Now events have either accidentally conspired or been purposefully manipulated to effect the same thing. ISIL troops burst out from Turkey (a US ally and NATO member) to attack and take much of northern Iraq. As a result, Al Maliki who might have been inclining toward Russia gets fired. ISIL commits horrible atrocities against non-Sunnis, especially those who are deemed theologically apostate or idolatrous. (I believe that many of the jihadist groups now waging war in Syria and Iraq are the present-day manifestation of either Kharijite theology or Assassin theology, but this is not the place to discuss these.) US bombs ISIL in Iraq. Videos purporting present day decapitations of two Americans are released by ISIL. Americans are outraged. Now Obama makes a speech about bombing ISIL in Syria, without the consent of the Syrian government. The new justification (‘bombing ISIL’) now seems more acceptable to the American public than the sarin gas false flag.

Russian foreign minister Lavrov announces that Russia would deem any such action as illegal. In a rare statement bereft of diplomatic euphemism and mirror talk, Lavrov claims that the US might well use the ISIL presence in Syria as a pretext to bomb Syrian government forces.

It must be remembered that Syria is a long time Russian ally. It seems to have been the only Arab province in the former Ottoman Empire that may have been friendly toward Russia. At present it is the only foreign country outside the former Soviet Union in which Russia has a military base, the only military presence of Russia in the Mediterranean. Without its Syrian naval base, Russia’s important Black Sea Fleet looks bottled up in the Black Sea.

The same reasoning applies to Syria as to Ukraine, although to a lesser extent. If situations are reversed, surely USA would act to protect a long-time reliable ally; and to protect its only foreign military base, located in a very important strategic area. If a country with a US base is attacked, then US would also surely act.

Ergo, if US begins bombing the Syrian Army, Russia will almost certainly place in troops, probably covert, to help out the SAA. After all, like in Crimea, Russian troops are already legally inside Syria. They probably would send in specialized Igla units at the very least (and we saw how devastating these units can be in Donbass against Kiev’s air force). Or help man some of their more advanced SAM systems that they already have sold to Syria (S300 and Pantsirs). In any case, the scenario of a direct confrontation between Russian and US military servicemen again becomes a possibility.

Whether one believes that US directly bombing Syria is morally correct or not, a prudent and mindful leader should be able to see the danger of things escalating to nuclear proportions.

In fact AFAIK such scenarios of direct confrontation between Russian and US military servicemen were avoided by both US and the Soviets during the Cold War. Yet nowadays, the US foreign policy seems to be provoking just these dangerous encounters. AFAIK this has never happened before. It’s puzzling and frightening.

I wonder if it has anything to do ultimately with the shrinking of the world’s oil reserves. Or perhaps US has noticed that the status of the petrodollar is teetering. If both are true, why isn’t the US doing the logical thing- develop full blast alternative energy sources, with the same vigor that they developed the atom bomb in WW2?

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<In fact AFAIK such scenarios of direct confrontation between Russian and US military servicemen were avoided by both US and the Soviets during the Cold War. Yet nowadays, the US foreign policy seems to be provoking just these dangerous encounters. AFAIK this has never happened before. It’s puzzling and frightenin>

I remember the dread I felt during the Cuban Missile Crisis, although I was only ten. The visceral fear that stank from everyone around me was contagious, and I genuinely thought the end of the world was upon us. The sunlight turned black, or seemed to.

Subsequent disclosures about how incredibly close the world came to nuclear conflagration bore out the fear that permeated the world at that time. But for the disobedience (and subsequent disgrace) of a Soviet second office - Vassily Arkhipov - who refused his captain's order to assist with the firing of nuclear missiles, we wouldn't be having this discussion, or even breathing the air we're now breathing.

I get a similar foreboding about current developments in Syria and especially Ukraine. The main difference is that the media is reporting this as something much less and much other (pardon the syntax) than what it is, a final geostrategic push by the US to secure domination of Eurasia.

I think Putin has miscalculated. So far he has been the master strategist, but what he has overlooked is that there is no way now or in the future that the US will possibly back down from its push to dismantle Russia and ultimately China, thereby shoring up its own parlous economic state and eliminating the last of its serious rivals.

An unusually frank and pessimistic press conference was held today by the former commander of the Donetsk militia, Strelkov, and he is warning that a defeat for Novorussia will destroy Russia. This seems alarmist, or a negative call to arms, but the reasoning is quite sound.

Just as the militia was sweeping all before it, the ceasefire was called to the detriment of the Novorussian forces. This has given the Kiev forces time to regroup and organise new strike groups that will punch through militia lines and destroy the resistance, paving the way for a war with Russia. This is happening, according to Strelkov, with the connivance of oligarchs within Novorussia and Russia itself (including some next to Putin), seeking to protect their ill gotten assets from Western sanctions, even if the cost is the integrity of Russia itself.

Marxists have always said that the interests of capitalism always trumps nationalism. Perhaps Russian oligarchs selling out Russia is proof of this.

A defeat in Novorussia, will destroy Putin's popularity with the Russian people, and pave the way for a Russian Maidan that will topple Putin. He could end up buggered to death with a knife like a recent ally of the US.

Perhaps this will clarify Putin's mind. Perhaps even if it does, it will make no difference as he is not actually as powerful as people seem to think.

I think this is a very significant press briefing.

The following clip has the hallmarks of a Russian propaganda piece, but I don't see any serious fallacies in the argument presented so dramatically:

Sep-11-14  visayanbraindoctor: Commander Strelkov in the video indicates that he sees the ceasefire as a betrayal of Novorussia, instigated by oligarchs from all sides, including their 'side'.

In any case, as I have said above, I think Putin's political popularity would plummet in case of the loss of Novorussia. His present high ratings are a direct result of him allowing Crimea to rejoin Russia.

So why back down at this point? IMO people (with whom Strelkov disagrees with) are advising Putin that Russian economy would collapse in case of a full blow sanction regimen imposed by US.

Strelkov says that Kiev forces are now stronger than ever thanks to redeployment, recruitment, and training that the ceasefire has allowed them. If there are significant numbers of ideologues among them, they won't ever stop until they achieve their vision of a Donbass totally cleansed of Russian speakers and fully controlled politically and economically by Kiev. The alternative is that they are defeated militarily or removed from power by the Kiev government itself (which I doubt). This has always been the way with true ideologues; they place their vision above themselves.

On the other hand, Commander Strelkov and the other Novorussian leaders sound like an ideologues themselves.

Not sure where this is going to. I am staying tuned.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<So why back down at this point? IMO people (with whom Strelkov disagrees with) are advising Putin that Russian economy would collapse in case of a full blow sanction regimen imposed by US.>

The problem is the full sanction regime will proceed regardless of what Russia does. The permanent weakening of Russia is the whole point of the US's Ukraine adventure, what it has been working towards for decades. The US will not back down short of a complete Russian surrender starting with the ousting of Putin. An important part of its strategy has been the information war which it is winning effortlessly in the West and in Ukraine. The US has even been trying to dictate Russia's troop and military deployments within Russia's borders...this level of hubris is dangerous.

<On the other hand, Commander Strelkov and the other Novorussian leaders sound like an ideologues themselves.>

They are devout Russian Orthodox Christians, and conservative in their social outlook. The ideology they espouse has to do with the preservation of Russia and its Slavic culture rather than any political ideology per se, although they are vehemently opposed to what they see as Nazis ruling in Kiev. There are some resurgent strands of communism, imperial nostalgia, Slavic nationalism, and Christian warriors marching forth.

Politically on the ground in Donbass, there are obviously some deep divisions within the independence/separatist movements, with the ceasefire clearly indicating there are also divisions within the Russian body politic. Why else would the ceasefire have been called just when the Kievan forces were on the verge of a complete rout?

My guess at this stage is that Russia is a dead country walking.

The looming escalation and confrontation is being fuelled by a compliant and aggressive MSM and will ultimately boil down to a nuclear showdown between Russia and the US, or a backdown by Russia allowing itself to be dismantled both in the interests of oligarchs wishing to preserve their commercial and personal interests, and in the interests of preserving civilisation or even life on Earth.

US strategists seem to seriously think that a nuclear confrontation can be "won". As Richard Bach pointed out many years ago, if Russia explodes its hydrogen bombs <anywhere> including its own territory, the result would still destroy civilisation in the northern hemisphere and ultimately in the southern reaches of the globe as pictured so effectively by Neville Shute in <On The Beach>.

Like you I will stay tuned and watch this space, so to speak.

Objectively speaking, it would be best - under the philosophy that where there is life there is hope - for Russia to surrender and allow itself to be dissolved, if for no other reason than to avoid another World War, probably involving nuclear exchanges. China might cooperate with this scheme if for example it was given control of eastern Siberia, but whether that country's regime would tolerate living under perpetual Western domination is altogether problematic.

Here is a link of the kind of division that is envisaged via the likes of US funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Skip the Ukrainian propaganda and move to the maps below, to look at some of the scenarios envisaged under the Brzezinski "Grand Chessboard" doctrine of balkanising Russia (and quite possibly the rest of the planet):


<…“a decentralization which amounts to the break-up of Russia into three loosely federated states: European Russia, a Siberian Republic and a Far Eastern Republic.”>>

Here are some of the scenarios that Radio Liberty envisages through the Euromaidan website:

Sep-12-14  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark: The US will not back down short of a complete Russian surrender starting with the ousting of Putin.>

It's peculiar but I think the US did back down last year. In Syria at the height of the sarin gas false flag. In addition, there was a very strange incident I read in MSM news of two ballistic missiles being launched from the Mediterranean toward Syria. In summary, Russian military detected it and then these missiles weirdly enough just fell into the sea.

I think the Pentagon itself stopped the invasion of Syria. I read of news that General Dempsey and President Obama held a last minute meeting, after which the strike on Syria was called of. It seems to me that some of America's generals and admirals have a more realistic view of what happens in a nuclear war. It was quite clear that the US State Department wanted to bomb and even invade Syria.

An American war in Syria I believe would benefit the American military. Bigger budget, more high tech toys, more power. So if the high ranking generals themselves did not want to push through, then they must have thought blow-back would erase all the money and power that would be given them. IMO that means they feared a nuclear escalation.

Another peculiar event. After Obama was reelected, there was an immediate and massive purge of the American military, with General Petraeus the most prominent victim. The sex and corruption scandals that were the ostensible cause for their resignations look like the classic set-up providing the public reason for the purge. (Hitler and his inner circle were particularly good in these sex and corruption set-ups, and would use it to purge the Nazi party.) I actually think there was some kind of power struggle within the American military. IMO a civilian President like Obama cannot just fire a dozen important military officers without the support of another faction within the military, or he might risk a coup de etat from the faction being purged.

<The ideology they espouse has to do with the preservation of Russia and its Slavic culture rather than any political ideology per se, although they are vehemently opposed to what they see as Nazis ruling in Kiev. There are some resurgent strands of communism, imperial nostalgia, Slavic nationalism, and Christian warriors marching forth.>

I agree. In particular the Russian Orthodox Church is rebounding and has become a very strong ideological force in Russia. Traditionally, the Patriarchs have always advocated close cooperation or actual unity between Church and State.

Syria AFAIK accepted Russian Orthodox missionaries there way back in the 19th century; quite unusual and unique for an Arab country and culture. Putin's support for the secular Syrian government probably has not only something to do with Russia's naval base there, but also because of pressure by the Russian Orthodox Church. In the Donbass, a Russian Orthodox base, Putin is undoubtedly being influenced in his policies there by the Russian Church. The Church equals votes, something politicians know quite well.

If Putin decides to 'lose' Novorussia, I believe he will lose the support of the Russian Orthodox Church, much of the Russian military, and much of the ordinary Russian population. I don't think he can afford it, even if powerful oligarchs would press him to do it. Putin is walking a high wire.

Regarding the dismantling of Russia, again the Russian orthodox Church and the Russian military would probably oppose it. Many of their leaders would be intelligent ideologues. I doubt if US hawks would be able to get their way easily. For this reason, the dead man walking once cornered can easily turn into a roaring bear.

China, a country run by political ideologues, would know exactly what the US foreign policy makers are trying to do. They are already resisting at present, together with Russia. This BRICS org is clearly an attack on the American fiat petrodollar.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<This BRICS org is clearly an attack on the American fiat petrodollar.>

Absolutely, and one recognised by the USA as something that is a clear and present danger to its hegemony, possibly even its survival as a major power, let alone a superpower.

I suspect that the relentless push by the US and its lackeys in Ukraine is a race against time to neutralise the alternative financial and trading systems being established by BRICS and the other countries in the alternative alphabet soup organisations such as the SCO.

Sep-12-14  visayanbraindoctor: <The problem is the full sanction regime will proceed regardless of what Russia does.>

US has just announced sanctions against Russian banks and oil companies, in spite of Russia's promoting the Ukrainian ceasefire. This according to MSM outlets themselves.

What next? Another round of counter-sanctions? A return to full blown hostilities in Donbass? Since it's damned if you do and damned if you don't, what would hold Russia from resisting more vigorously? Perhaps it would end up with Russia totally cutting off Europe's gas supply for winter. That would send gas prices soaring all over the EU, and possibly plunge Europe into a recession. US would probably be looking on amused from the sideline.

Regarding the strange case of Commander Strelkov, apparently he was removed under intriguing circumstances. His video shows him hinting that he fell afoul of certain Moscow personages or lobby groups. Yet right after his removal from power, the Novorussian military suddenly attacked massively and beat the tar out of the Ukrainian army and interior troops, and the Nazi oriented National Guard and special militias, something which I do not think could have happened without significant Russian help. The entirety of Kiev's forces suddenly and totally just collapsed in face of a well coordinated, well manned, well equipped onslaught. At the very least the Russian military was probably providing accurate intel to Novorussan artillery on where to strike. At the most Russian servicemen under the cover of plausible deniability were actively involved, manning special artillery units units themselves. (In this artillery war, apparently numbers don't count as much as mobility, accuracy, and first strike capability, so I would think that Russia does not have to send in a whole division but only a few specialized artillery battalions.)

Then came the ceasefire. Suddenly Russia says they do not want the Novorussian military to engage in combat. Suddenly the Novorussian military is in trouble. They seem to want to hit back at the offending Kiev units that violate the ceasefire, but apparently they can't do it effectively. Meanwhile Kiev is blatantly using the ceasefire to redeploy, recruit, and rearm its forces for a possible reentry deep into the Donbass.

Upon some thinking here are my thoughts on this:

1. The Novorussian military is more dependent on Russian help than they acknowledge in public.

2. For some reason, Strelkov offended important powers in Moscow. His successors then are given full support by Russia, and they win decisive victories over Kiev forces. Then Moscow in effect tells them, don't overdo it.

3. Why? One, probably it's a way by which Moscow is reminding the ever increasingly independent Novorussian military that Moscow still has a large say on things. Don't get off the leash completely or we will completely abandon you.

4. Two, Russia wants to show the world that it is the good guy. We want a ceasefire. It's US and the collaborators in EU that do not want it.

So the question again is what's next? I still feel that Putin's political career depends on his not losing Novorussia. So if Kiev does try to reinvade, I would expect a surge in Russian aid to the Novorussian military.

It's unsaid by I think that Putin and the Russian military are assuming that if the situation worsens, the Novorussian armed forces are totally defeated and the slaughter of Russian ethnic people begins anew, they can just send in several battalions of the best equipped and trained soldiers and crush the Kiev forces (which they probably can). So for them, what happens to the Novorussian AF if it is defeated, can still be rectified. A necessary evil for the sake of nice propaganda that they are not the bad guys.

Or perhaps, they see the NAF as becoming too independent and actually want it to suffer some defeats. Then they come in to the rescue.

Sep-12-14  visayanbraindoctor: <Absolutely, and one recognised by the USA as something that is a clear and present danger to its hegemony, possibly even its survival as a major power, let alone a superpower.>

The Vietnam war IMO was much more massive for the US than the Iraq and Afghan wars. The US was not up against light infantry armies; they were up against essentially the North Vietnamese Army, a well-trained, well-equipped, ideologically motivated modern armed force. It had secure bases in North Vietnam territory, and was well supplied by China and the Soviet Union. The only way it could be defeated without nukes was for US to invade North Vietnam itself; and to do that would mean tens of thousands of dead American soldiers and most probably a repeat of the Korean War, as China would have undoubtedly unleashed the PLA to push back the Americans. Fighting a modern war for a decade an ocean away entailed enormous costs. I suspect that the US did not go bankrupt in the conventional sense because of the institutionalization of the fiat petrodollar. The pact with Sunni (and even Wahabbi) Arab Gulf states was sealed in oil, the numerous consequences of which we are still experiencing today. Since then the petrodollar has become a key prop to US economy and one of the most important means of indirect control in a neo-colonial world.

It amazes me how little the American public knows about it in spite of the fact it has been around for 40 years.

<I suspect that the relentless push by the US and its lackeys in Ukraine is a race against time to neutralise the alternative financial and trading systems being established by BRICS>

The inverse could be true. Present-day China and Russia are playing to keep things as quiet as possible, until BRICS institutionalizes its own currencies. If outside powers interfered in Ukraine in Czarist or Soviet times, Russia would undoubtedly react much more violently.

Sep-13-14  visayanbraindoctor: <twinlark> I am curious as to how the majority of Hungarians see the present-day Kiev government. Hungary did lose a significant part of her territory and people to Ukraine after WW1. And if the Nazi elements in the Kiev government totally takes over, they would probably want more of Hungary, Moldovia, Poland. In WW2, Nazi groups that have organizational and apostolic continuity with the present-day pro-Kiev Nazi organizations, cleansed Western Ukraine of these three ethnic groups.

Perhaps much of the resistance to Kiev's conscription in Western Ukraine is occurring in the old Hungarian territory of Transcarpathia? Don't really know. If they do revolt, Kiev would be placed in a ridiculous situation in which both its eastern and western peripheries that were artificially added into its political structure are pulling it apart limb to limb.

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<I am curious as to how the majority of Hungarians see the present-day Kiev government.>

A topical question, given what is happening in Hungary. I have very little contact with the Hungarian diaspora, giving up on the Australian contingent some decades ago as they seemed to be eternally anchored in the events of 1956.

<Hungary did lose a significant part of her territory and people to Ukraine after WW1.>

Yes, it lost over 70% of its territory under the Treaty of Trianon, mostly to Romania (Transylvania), and Transcarpathia to Ukraine, one of the most manifestly unfair treaties of modern times. Germany and Austria suffered far less.

<And if the Nazi elements in the Kiev government totally takes over, they would probably want more of Hungary, Moldovia, Poland. In WW2, Nazi groups that have organizational and apostolic continuity with the present-day pro-Kiev Nazi organizations, cleansed Western Ukraine of these three ethnic groups.>

Not sure if the Nazis in Kiev have any particular extra-territorial designs at this time. They are busy trying to suppress the eastern provinces and keeping a lid on unrest, dissatisfaction and even partisans in the other provinces, including possibly every province except possibly the heart of Nazi legacy in the Lvov Oblast.

Kiev did post a battalion on the western border of Transcarpathia near Slovakia, as the natives were definitely getting restive in that region, and is the prime candidate for further unrest should the situation worsen, which it almost certainly will. The US is less concerned about Ukraine per se than in generating chaos and bloodshed on the Russian border.

Territorial designs on neighbouring countries is unlikely for a couple of reasons. Kiev doesn't have a military that could engage in such operations, as the national militaries of its neighbours would annihilate the rusty remnants of the Ukrainian military. In other words, Kiev would have to massively arm itself first, which is unlikely for economic and political reasons.

Also, these neighbouring states are NATO states, and Russia would never attack a NATO country, so any delusions by Kiev would be instantly lethal to the junta.

Finally, I doubt if the population would tolerate it, even given the nazi repression that is being visited upon the dissident elements in the countryside.

<Perhaps much of the resistance to Kiev's conscription in Western Ukraine is occurring in the old Hungarian territory of Transcarpathia?>

That is happening yes, but the resistance to conscription to fight the civil war is widespread. There have been mothers' demonstrations all over the country.

<Don't really know. If they do revolt, Kiev would be placed in a ridiculous situation in which both its eastern and western peripheries that were artificially added into its political structure are pulling it apart limb to limb.>

A ridiculous situation of its own making, I would hazard.

Within Hungary itself, Prime Minister Viktor Orban is a conservative Hungarian nationalist heading up the Fidesz government which won massive majority in 2010. He is very popular and has recently spoken out against the EU, is opposed to the sanctions against Russia as bad for Hungary, and is moderately supportive of Putin.

He has upset the Eurocrats to the extent that the publicity mill has been engaged to paint him as the Hungarian "Chavez".

All of which I find rather bemusing. The rejection of internationalist/globalised ideology of communism was replaced by the acceptance of globalised capitalism. I sense we are moving into an anti-globbalising phase where nationalists and to some extent people simply intent on preserving their language and culture, are rebelling against globalised eurocratic austerity measures and turning back to renewed nationalism. This is possibly why Marie Le Pen's National Front is now a front runner in the next presidential elections in France, and why other nationalist/Fascist groups like Hungarian Jobbik are increasingly popular.

The socialist left has been effectively destroyed, so opposition to corporate capitalism that is strip mining national economies has fallen to nationalists. Clearly this foreshadows enormous complications in European and global politics in the years ahead.

I mentioned earlier that Hungary is somewhat topical. Just today, a blogger calling himself the "American Kulak" posted an article online at the vineyard of the Saker titled <Return of the Magyars: Hungary’s President Calls Out the US as Morally and Financially Bankrupt >, offering a lengthy opinion on some of the stuff I touched on above:

Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: I'm off for a few days to the beach with my family. Back next Sunday.
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