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Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 644

by shutdown -p now (#47780935) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

If you think majority of Russians living in Ukraine will consider themselves Russian and be happy to be invaded

Er, what even made you believe that I was making an argument along those lines? What I wrote is pretty much the opposite... the separatists were getting crushed precisely because of what you say - that not even most Russian and russophone Ukrainian population in the areas they claim supports it. Russia actually had step up and send in its own troops, and not just weapons and advisors as they did before, to reverse the tide.

The problem is that fighting spirit and dedication are not enough; you still need artillery and tanks and planes to win a war, and people who know how to strategically apply all this. That's where Ukraine is lagging far behind, especially after the significant build-up that Russia had since 2008. And Russian troops are not exactly lacking in motivation, either - they've been fed propaganda about fascists burning people alive and crucifying children, on one hand, and about the "Russian World" on the other hand, and are itching for a fight.

So, regardless of where the sympathies of the majority of Ukrainians lie, if Putin does give the order, Ukraine will fall with no outside help. And I don't know whether it'll get that help. A few months ago I thought that it would be a given, but then we saw basically nothing done over the annexation of Crimea, and very little done over all the affronts since then... and even today Western newspapers are still mulling over maybe more sanctions (?!!).

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 644

by shutdown -p now (#47779921) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

It would actually be easier than Georgia, I suspect. The big problem that Ukraine has is that, like most other ex-Soviet states, it let its military deteriorate in the 90s to the point of utter inefficiency (did you see the photos a govt guy just posted of what their BTR reserves look like, in response to a Facebook question as to why volunteers aren't getting vehicles?), but unlike them, it didn't get a wake-up call until now, like Russia itself got in Chechnya, or Georgia got in Ossetia and Abkhazia. So now they have to recover and learn very quickly. There's a lot of enthusiasm on the troop level, but logistics is in shambles, their officers seem to have a poor grasp of tactics (like e.g. ordering an artillery unit to stay in one place while firing... needless to say, they get fucked by counter-battery fire, and the reason why we know about this story is because there were survivors), and their generals don't understand that grand plans they make bear little in common with reality. This, again, is a lot like Russia was during the first conflict in Chechnya, but that was an easier opponent, and consequences of defeat were not as far reaching.

What's going for Ukraine is that their population reserves are bigger, and they retained a larger arsenal as part of the Soviet legacy. Also, the fact that a significant part of Soviet military industry was in Ukraine, so they have experience manufacturing the things they need.

Either way, I think that the only reason why they can still fight effectively, even with large casualties, is because Russian involvement is still undercover. It became noticeably less so over the last week, what with armored columns openly crossing the border (but still with removed flags) etc, and notice how the situation that was so dire for the rebels suddenly became so dire for the Ukrainian troops. If Russia were to go all in, openly, throwing all units that it already converged at the border, I don't think Ukraine stands a chance without outside help.

How long can Russia occupy Ukraine, now, is a different question. That area has a long history of guerrilla warfare against occupiers of all kinds, including Soviets back in WW2 days. And there's a strong resolve to resist among the populace today. An occupying force might win in the field, but find itself facing bullets from every window in the cities at night.

Comment: Re:Still no Unicode? (Score 1) 96

by shutdown -p now (#47779665) Attached to: PHP 5.6.0 Released

iconv lets you convert things, but what are you going to convert it to? UTF-8? Sure, and how many libraries (including core PHP ones) are UTF-8 aware? Most won't use mbstring, they'll just treat strings as arrays of bytes, and you're really lucky if they don't assume byte = char anywhere.

Treating strings as 8-bit clean works well in some cases, but fails pathetically in so many others. Yet that is the game that PHP is trying to play.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 644

by shutdown -p now (#47779365) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

But they wouldn't be killing Russian soldiers, that's the point. They'd be killing the "militia of the Donetsk People's Republic" etc. For Russia to start fanning up the public opinion, they would first need to admit that their regular soldiers are in Ukraine in the first place, and they seem to be very averse to that. Just look at how they immediately disowned their own captured soldiers (a disgusting thing, by the way, regardless of one's position in the conflict).

Comment: Re:Her work (Score 2) 992

Her complaint is rather that the brutal depictions of violence against woman in video games always seem to have clear sexual subcontext, while violence against men does not.

Which I think is a valid point, but then isn't this also the case in real life? So she's complaining that the games accurately reflect how things are (in many cases that she's referring to, in fact, to draw attention to that problem even)?

Comment: Re:History of Ukrain (Score 1) 644

by shutdown -p now (#47778717) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

1954 Crimea was given as a "Gift" to Ukraine by Russia/USSR and Nikita Khrushchev (an ethnic Ukrainian) as a symbolic gesture commemorating the 300th anniversary of Crimea becoming part of the Russian empire.

It was actually an exchange of territories. While USSR got Crimea, RSFSR got a bunch of land from across its southern border with the former, too.

Comment: Re:The Russian bear only understands force (Score 1) 644

by shutdown -p now (#47778657) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

After WWII, the US should have had Patton march east and take care of uncle Stalin.

Luckily, US leaders after WW2 were not idiots, and understood that this was a war they had no guarantee of winning - and that regardless of the outcome, whatever was still left of Europe would burn to the ground in the process.

No doubt Russia's military build-up in the last decade takes this scenario out of the realm of possibility,

The Russia military build-up is still miles behind what the USSR has been.

I expect to be modded down, as many here won't understand a sentiment generated by having survived the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe. No, things haven't changed. The bear's beastly character is immutable, a fundamental aspect of it that can't be tamed or cured by diplomacy, education, or civilization.

It's convenient when racists openly identify themselves as such.

Comment: Re:beware the source (Score 1) 644

by shutdown -p now (#47778617) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Well, the setback that it suffered is in a region (Novoazovsk and Mariupol) that was previously completely outside of the war zone, with a very fair distance. So either the rebels have come up with technology to teleport several dozen tanks across enemy lines, or they came from the Russian border (which is very close to that area).

In addition, the rebels have been consistently losing ground to Ukrainian forces for the last two months, which can be seen even in their own propaganda (just look at the maps they publish). And now all of a sudden they mount a massive counter-attack, with heavy use of artillery and tanks, taking back large swaths of territory, and striking new ground (again, this is all from rebels' own propaganda!). Do you think they just broke out their stimpacks, or is it that they've got assistance that they previously didn't have?

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 644

by shutdown -p now (#47778471) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Looking back at history, there has never been a shooting war between the Soviet Union and the US. Never. The Cold War? It was always fought between proxies of the great powers. We would sell arms to pro-US or anti-Soviet interests (like in 1980's Afghanistan), or we would directly confront pro-Soviet interests (like in Vietnam). We came close to a shooting war with the Soviets more than once (the Bay of Pigs in Cuba). But such a war never happened, because those in power knew that such a war would inevitably decay into a thermonuclear war that would likely end western civilization with the press of a button.

Both in Korea and in Vietnam, there were plenty of Soviet advisors in the communist forces, and in some cases they were troops actively engaged in fighting - in particular, fighter pilots were often Soviets. So yes, US and Soviet troops did actually shoot directly at each other as part of Cold War.

Where you are right is that it hasn't been official, largely because, when one side had an officially declared presence, the other always denied the same. In Korea and Vietnam, US had the official presence, and Soviets unofficial one. In Afghanistan, the other way around.

Now if you look at Ukraine today, Russia is officially not invading it. All those armored columns of tanks? Rebels captured them, duh. Russian paratroopers taken prisoner? They were "patrolling the border and got lost". And so on. So if US troops were physically present and fighting in Ukraine, they would be fighting Russians in practice, but officially it would be just like Vietnam.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 644

by shutdown -p now (#47778437) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Yes we urged them to disband their forces. But even if Ukraine had kept full military strength. They'd still be in the same position, if not worse anyway.

The important part is that you urged them to get rid of the nukes that they had, providing some security guarantees in exchange for that. And those guarantees are apparently all reneged on now.

If Ukraine remains standing at the end of this, they will restart their nuclear program for sure - there's already wide popular support for this measure. And why shouldn't they, given where they ended up?

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold