Why Libertarians Agree With Putin | Ash Sarkar
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There's a clear split between rightwing commentators, and Putin's war on Ukraine. But between pundits and Putin's war on woke? Not so much!__________________...

The attached video explains that a contributing element to Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine was his perception that, due to the advancement of LGBT rights, the west has grown feebleminded. Since this is purely a matter of speculation that cannot be properly analysed on a material basis, I wanted to ask what is yours opinion on this. Is he making the same mistake that countless leaders have done over the years, including the prime example that was Hitler himself? For sure, there are material reasons why invading Ukraine is something he would want to do, but when it came to the decision alone, it is this fact that supposedly played a major role, i.e. predicting the enemy’s response based on the state of their sexual culture. It also seems to be the reason why so many western rightists seem to be siding with him, since they perceive him as more macho than the imperial core. Are there any texts that attempt to analyze this phenomenon from a materialist viewpoint, and also, how similar is this to actual fascism?

What a fucking joke of an analysis.

This is a war against the Fourth Reich.

Boiling this down to LGBT issues is pathetic at best, at worst it is sinisister Western information warfare.

This is a joke right? Putin going to war because of woke.

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It did seem rather far fetched to me too, but I wasn’t entirely sure, so I had to ask. So then, what is the main cause of Putin opening a war in this specific timeframe, early 2022? What specific opportunity did he see in it?

Because an all out Ukrainian assault on Donbass was imminent, they were massing a huge amount of troops and equipment on the contact line and had already started to massively escalate shelling in the days prior to Russia recognizing the DPR and LPR. They also have documents proving that such an operation had already been approved and scheduled to begin mere days later. Russia beat them to the punch.

If they had allowed the invasion of Donbass to happen it would have been a bloodbath and would have resulted in a mass ethnic cleansing like what happened 1995 in Croatia with NATO help where as a result of just such an operation 500,000 Serbs were pushed out of Krajna.

This is the imminent reason why it had to happen before the end of February. The broader reason for why such an intervention was necessary regardless of the Donbass situation is because if they waited any longer NATO would have become impossible to dislodge from Ukraine.

Arguably Russia should have acted in 2014, and they did to a degree, they annexed Crimea to keep the Sevastopol port from falling into NATO hands. But they were not yet prepared for the all out economic war that the west has now unleashed on them, so they could not undertake any larger scale intervention yet.

Russia spent the past had 8 years making themselves more or less sanctions-proof and getting close to China. And the US has also declined quite a bit since then.

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Anywhere I can read more about this? The news are moving very fast now, so it’s difficult to search for stuff like that.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/ and https://thesaker.is/ post regular updates and news, in particular the latter’s “Sitrep” articles are quite good (the site as a whole is a bit sus but on this conflict their takes are spot on). There are various telegram channels that do extremely frequent live updates (i don’t follow them but i believe Intel Slava Z are often the first primary source on any given military news), and i’m not sure if ASBMilitary still posts about this conflict but in the initial weeks they used to be quite good before they were banned off Twitter. Also definitely follow Pepe Escobar (also kicked off Twitter now but you can find him on VK) and read all his articles on The Cradle too. On Youtube you have Brian Berletic: https://youtube.com/c/TheNewAtlas/ and Richard Medhurst: https://youtube.com/c/RichardMedhurst/ And finally there is The Duran, who though they are coming at this from a very different ideological direction than we are usually have reliably solid analysis and are up to date with the news: https://odysee.com/@AlexanderMercouris:a (i’m posting the Odysee link here though they are also on Youtube because i expect more and more Youtube will crack down on dissenting voices in the future).

No real opportunity. Just countering NATO expansion. Maybe wanting to save Donbas.

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So, you are of the opinion that Putin does in fact not factor western gendersex attitudes in matters of war, despite being seemingly full about it as of recent? (Such has his recent remarks about J. K. Rowling, which most people found very strange, coming from him.)

If you think this war of civilization of Russia vs the Fourth Reich is about LGBT issues, you are out of your goddamned mind.

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I have explained in the original post that I do not think that this is the case, that there are material reasons for this war, as with anything else. I have merely wondered whether “LGBT issues” were a contributing factor.

You have to remember that Ukraine makes Russia look like the LGBTPride Parade in contrast.

Read Sun Tzu. Then reassess your line of questioning and you’ll understand why so many people are mocking this line of questioning.

There is absolutely no way that the military leadership council of any nation is factoring aspects of gender and sexuality into their assessments of enemy capabilities and outcome scenario planning.

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So just to be clear, Putin does not think that the west is “weak”, he did not see an opportunity with Ukraine because of that, and when he displays such attitudes publicly, he is merely pandering to domestic bigots. Is that right? And also, speaking of Sun Tzu, is that something that played a role? It is an ancient book, most famous for telling how to defeat your opponent without fighting, i.e. through propaganda. Did Putin read Sun Tzu and did it influence his decision making? Or, what exactly are you saying?

Your style of questioning reveals a level of certainty in your preconceived notions that has no place in the learning process. I hope I’m not wasting my time by responding to your arrogant line of questioning.

No one has ever won a war because their opponents domestic culture wasn’t masculine or macho enough. Machismo of your opponent’s civilian administration does not factor in to calculation of whether or not you’re going to win a war. The idea that Putin has held on to power this long but is fully capable of miscalculating his opponent’s violent force because they allow people who are transsexual into the military is a level of delusion that requires you to ignore literally a thousand years of material analysis of military strategy and planning.

If Putin saw the West as weak, then it was because of his access to and his trust in military intelligence about Western capabilities, numbers, current positioning, geopolitical force balances, and consequences of actions. The idea that Putin saw the West as “morally weak” or “not masculine enough” or whatever you seem to be implying is delusion.

when he displays such attitudes publicly, he is merely pandering to domestic bigots

Possibly. There’s lots of reason for people involved in conflicts to make statements. None of them are simply because they believe them to be true. Public announcements are first and foremost planned because of their impact, not because of their accuracy. Inaccurate statements, for sure, have impact, especially when the people receiving the message can perceive the messages as inaccurate, but that impact is calculated into the communications planning.

For example, the British did not spread misinformation about carrots being healthy for your eyes because it was accurate, nor because they believed it, nor because they assumed scientists wouldn’t notice. The said carrots made your eyes better because it was a way to fill in an intelligence gap in the enemy who might not have known that they had developed radar and the off chance that the enemy would need to allocate time and effort to run their own experiments, wasting their time. At no point did the British military believe that carrots made your eyes better nor was their ever a material advantage gained by carrots, but they still said it.

speaking of Sun Tzu, is that something that played a role?

The Art of War remains relevant in every competitive scenario today, from military to business to sports.

It is an ancient book

Irrelevant

most famous for telling how to defeat your opponent without fighting, i.e. through propaganda

Famous for? Who cares what it’s “famous” for? Have you read it? It’s a material analysis of warfare about the conditions that lead to defeat or victory. If you haven’t read it, you won’t fully understand its importance to this conversation and you won’t believe me when I tell you that it’s important. Suffice to say, Art of War as a material analysis of warfare lays out what causes victory and defeat and it never ever mentions the (real or perceived) masculinity, sexual propriety, or moral character of the culture fielding the opposing force.

Did Putin read Sun Tzu

Absolutely no doubt in my mind that he’s read it. As did every single one of his generals.

and did it influence his decision making?

Absolutely no doubt in my mind that the material analysis of warfare is a significant influence on the decisions of every commander and general in the world.

And if you don’t understand that, it’s easy to think that someone like Putin would assess the outcome of a war based on his personal feelings about the moral character of specific cultural aspect of their opponent’s domestic policy. But that’s an incorrect assessment of how war works.

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Very well, thank you for explaining it. That said, we do see that the progress of Russian troops is beginning to stagnate. It seems that Putin or his generals miscalculated. Why do you think it is, that the war didn’t go for them as expected?

See, the reason for all these questions is, that aside from this place, my other major source for info about the war is the many liberal, usually apolitical subreddits, that I’m subscribed to on Reddit. That’s how they get me, they act apolitical, but then the mods pin some atrocity that I simply must take a look at. And, well… there were many stories covered by them that the communists around here and on Reddit haven’t really talked about that much, such as for example the material impact of the war on the ground, coverage of the civilian victims, i.e. things that illicit the greatest emotional response in liberals. (They also debunked some stories that I’ve seen around here, such as the claim that the dead bodies in Bucha were moving. Apparently they weren’t after all.)

And the times that this topic came up in my family’s circles, the discussion always circled back to this topic, and I didn’t really have anything to say, so I simply agreed to pretty much every single talking point they were having, because obviously, the loss of innocent life is terrible no matter what, and I also didn’t want to resort to whataboutisms regarding America’s wars, as that doesn’t seem very appropriate. (If anything, it looks dismissive or ignorant.)

Lastly, I originally mentioned Hitler, as he was exactly one of those types that believed in superstitious war strategies. He provided the general plans, and his generals fleshed them out to the best of their abilities. At least that’s how I’ve heard it be told. For example, his decision to invade the USSR apparently came to him after a solitary deliberation in the Alps. I.e., he picked the time of the invasion based on a nonsense reason. I initially thought that maybe Putin could have also been motivated by some superstition to greenlight such an operation, all else being left to his skilled generals as far as logistics go (so pretty much every single important decision, aside from the initial idea for the invasion itself).

I suppose that in the end, it doesn’t really matter what Putin thinks, right? The reason could have been anything and it wouldn’t change the fact that Putin decided to invade Ukraine in late February of 2022, superstitious or not. So I guess I really am arguing about nonsense. But he obviously is a conservative bigot, no denying that, so it’s understandable where the video that I shared was coming from.

we do see that the progress of Russian troops is beginning to stagnate

This is a characterization, not a fact. What is the fact upon which you are characterizing the current situation as “progress beginning to stagnate”. How accurate do you think that characterization is based on the facts you have? How accurate do you think the facts you have are? How complete of a picture do you believe you have?

It seems that Putin or his generals miscalculated. Why do you think it is, that the war didn’t go for them as expected?

Without repeating myself too much, you’ve got a lot of characterizations here. Worse, you’re asking leading questions. We have yet to establish that the war isn’t going as expected from the perspective of Putin and his generals. I don’t know what the war plan was. I don’t know what the primary and secondary objectives were. I don’t know which objectives have failed and which have been accomplished. I don’t know the standard of victory for the plan.

Do you?

It’s easy to list the reasons for strategic miscalculations. Most of them are in The Art of War or can be derived from it. The root cause of nearly all strategic miscalculations is lack of accurate and complete intelligence. If you know the entire board state, you can determine from the board state whether there’s a clear victor or not. If there’s no clear victor from the current board state, then the board requires a change. Determining all possible changes is impossible, but changes fall into 2 categories: changes using known capabilities and changes using unknown capabilities. This gets us into the famous 2x2 “Known Knowns” x “Unknown Unknowns”. For all possible known capabilities, there are unknown properties of those capabilities (like quantity, readiness, and suitability). Generating intelligence on these is something everyone is trying to do and everyone knows everyone is trying to do. Then, there are unknown capabilities (mostly top secret technologies). Identifying the potential space of unknown capabilities is difficult, generating intelligence for unknown capabilities is even harder.

So, if the Russian war department miscalculated, why did they miscalculate? Lack of accurate and complete intelligence, including their own readiness and including hidden alliances amongst their opponents.

And let me be very clear, the war is not being waged in isolation. Sanctions are an obvious move that exists outside of war, but are still part of the conflict, and therefore still subject to the material analysis of Sun Tzu as well as the consequences of that analysis, including intelligence, counter-intelligence, and propaganda. So the various machinations we’ve seen around the sanctions, the currency disputes, the trade agreements, etc, all of these are part of the conflict’s calculation and leaders throughout the entire apparatus of state are involved in assessments, intelligence gathering, scenario planning, propagandizing, and disinformation distribution.

in the end, it doesn’t really matter what Putin thinks, right?

His opinions and values don’t matter. But when someone like Putin, or Biden, or Bush, or Blair, or Macron, or Merkel, or Schulz, or Johnson, or any other leader of a significant military, it is a useful exercise to use those decisions to help one’s self imagine the material conditions that they believe hold true as a way of gathering evidence about the world. If one knows about strategic planning and execution, and one knows about propaganda, and one knows about intelligence gathering, one can take a decision by one of these leaders and use it to try to reverse engineer what the real situation is. It’s hard to do, and not necessarily accurate, but it’s a great way of learning about the world. For example, there were tons of reports of how Russia’s military assets were aged, broken down, not suitable for traversing even the territory surrounding. Why did this news come out? Was it pure propaganda from the West? I don’t think so, I think it was accurate. But was it because Russia’s military is actually that bad? Or is Russia aware that it’s been successful at masking its forces both in quantity and in readiness from the intelligence apparatus of its opponents, and therefore it made the deliberate choice to send its worst assets into the theater knowing that they would be enough to achieve their objectives because NATO wouldn’t respond and Ukraine wouldn’t be able to prevent Russia from achieving its objectives even with the worst of Russia’s military being deployed? Was the timing of the war based on the fact that if Russia waited until the US had established a greater position that Russia would be forced to deploy more of its assets, thereby granting an intelligence advantage to the US that it desperately wants to keep? Did it work, i.e. did Russia achieve it’s primary objectives without undermining its intelligence advantage? Is the assessment even accurate, i.e. does Russia even have such an intelligence advantage to protect? Does Russia believe it has this advantage but actually doesn’t (this is a fun question and the answer remains to be seen)?

But he obviously is a conservative bigot, no denying that, so it’s understandable where the video that I shared was coming from.

You’re using conservative in the American way, to mean bigot, or at least socially conservative. It’s really important that you understand that the video you posted is actually showing the conservative bigots in the US and the UK, it’s not talking about Putin actually incorporating his bigotry into his strategy. The last 90 seconds of that video basically show how this war is between two fascists (US/EU vs Russia).

Lastly, I originally mentioned Hitler, as he was exactly one of those types that believed in superstitious war strategies

Hitler didn’t last very long for a reason.

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I was going off of the supposed news that Putin was dismayed by how slowly the war is going, as well as the reports that the Russian army is lacking in equipment. Personally, I think that a lack of intelligence did play a role too. As for the sanctions, this seems to be implying that they indeed were effective at stalling Russia’s advance. Would you say that this is the case? I know it’s a big lib talking point, that sanctions work, so I am hesitant to draw conclusions.

And yes, it is rather interesting to speculate just how much could Russia be hiding. Then again, for me, such speculations always seemed bordering with hidden tech fantasies and conspiracy theories, so I prefer relying on confirmed info. It could be that the news that Putin is unhappy with the development of the war is itself propaganda, meant to convince us that the Russian war machine is running out of juice, but the opposite would imply that Ukraine is not important enough for Russia to be worth investing much into war resources, so it’s difficult to say. Put simply, is it a blunder, or a strategic loss? I don’t know, and I hope I can learn more about this somewhere.

And yes, I meant that Putin seems like a conservative bigot from the american point of view, so it’s understandable why some might say these things and draw these Hitler comparisons.

I was going off of the supposed news that Putin was dismayed by how slowly the war is going

Where would these reports have come from. We don’t have journalists out there. And the journalists that do have access are considered biased and unreliable sources, right? So where would this “fact” have come from?

as well as the reports that the Russian army is lacking in equipment.

Where would these reports have come from? Journalists don’t have this level of access to information. Take something simpler, like one city. Journalists in that city get calls about a fire in a building, so they report that a fire has been reported. Then, multiple fires get reported. Journalists can report the fact there are a bunch of fires raging. But what journalists can’t do is determine if it’s a rash of arson. They can opine that it might be, but they can’t actually figure it out. They certainly can’t say what kind of equipment the arson was using, who the arson was, whether they were working alone or together. If they could do that, they’d be the police. So how do journalists report on this stuff? They get their information directly from the police.

So how do war journalists get their information. For the most part, they get it directly from US military and political sources. If you think Putin is waging an information campaign, why wouldn’t the US also be doing the same?

Personally, I think that a lack of intelligence did play a role too.

You still haven’t confirmed that your conjecture is even accurate, it’s far too early to be talking about contributing factors. Intelligence gaps play a role in all conflicts. The US also has gaps in its intelligence, but you seem to think its winning. What specific intelligence gaps do you think Russia had that led to the result you think might be happening. How would lack of intelligence contribute to the Russian army lacking in equipment?

As for the sanctions, this seems to be implying that they indeed were effective at stalling Russia’s advance

How would sanctions stall a military advance?

Would you say that this is the case? I know it’s a big lib talking point, that sanctions work, so I am hesitant to draw conclusions.

Sanctions literally never achieve the stated goal but they always achieve the same thing: collective punishment of civilians. The entire point of economic sanctions is to make the civilian population so desperate that they will support a coup. That’s it. Why do you think there’s still sanctions on Cuba? Because maybe this year will be the year the sanctions have an impact on the … checking my notes … literacy and health improvements Cuba has achieved over the last 60 years?

Sanctions are effectively neoliberal war crimes.

And yes, it is rather interesting to speculate just how much could Russia be hiding

Wait, if that’s what you got from my word vomit, I apologize. I was not trying to speculate how much Russia could be hiding. I’m trying to figure out what the state of the board is and what each side knows that I don’t know. What Russia and the Us are hiding from each other is part of that, yes, but only part of it. The more interesting speculation is to figure out what Russia knew about US/EU plans in the region, what Russia new about US/NATO combat readiness, and what Russia knew about the sanctions game. For example, in the sanctions game, the world is undergoing a major food crisis right now, but a massive amount (40%?) of crop fertilizer used in the US is produced by Russia. So Russia knew that if the US imposed sanctions it could easily go for tit-for-tat on some things, making the sanctions game very costly for the US. The fact that Russia invaded shows that a) Russia knew the US wouldn’t land troops and b) Russia knew the US couldn’t impose crippling sanctions. Trying to figure out what evidence Russia had is an interesting exercise. Equally interesting, if Russia is indeed failing to meet their objectives, what is causing it, what are their options to counter it, did they see it coming and decide that the cost of countering was higher than the cost of losing, or did they fail to see it coming, and if they failed to see it coming, what was it?

Then again, for me, such speculations always seemed bordering with hidden tech fantasies and conspiracy theories, so I prefer relying on confirmed info

If you want to stay with confirmed info, avoid Western war reporting. If we learned anything from the Iraq wars its that the entire news media system in the US and most of the EU is completely compromised and reports whatever the war departments tell it to report. I’m not saying you should think about hidden tech fantasies, I’m saying future tech is constantly being researched and developed and it factors into strategic analysis, not that you personally should try to figure out what magical future tech is driving particular events in a conflict. As for conspiracy theories, you seem to be using that phrase to basically cover anything clandestine, which, when it comes to war, is pretty much everything. The CIA and the KGB honed the craft of clandestine operations to its heights, and this is a war between a US proxy and Russia led by a KGB agent. There is so much happening that is clandestine that if you don’t assume there’s “conspiracies” happening then you’re ignoring effectively all confirmed info from the last 70 years.

There’s no criminal conspiracy with evil villains though. There’s war, there’s economics, there’s politics, there’s propaganda, and all of these things are part of a single system. When the war department wants the news to report propaganda, there’s no conspiracy, the war department’s propaganda department publishes a press packet and distributes it to the press outlets that have proven themselves loyal. If a press outlet starts to question the official line, the war department stops sending them press packets, so that outlet loses out on timely “information”, which means loss of profits for them. So, the incentive is there, in plain sight, for news outlets to just report whatever the military says is happening. It’s not like CNN is flying spy planes over the battle field to determine where and when Russian troop movements are advancing or retreating. The news outlets rely on sources, and those sources are the same sources that produce propaganda for the war effort.

It could be that the news that Putin is unhappy with the development of the war is itself propaganda, meant to convince us that the Russian war machine is running out of juice

It is highly likely that news that Putin is unhappy with the development of the war is entirely propaganda. What its meant to convince us of is anyone’s guess. The important thing is that it’s meant to prevent us from revolting against our own government and one of the ways to do that is to appeal to people’s nationalism.

but the opposite would imply that Ukraine is not important enough for Russia to be worth investing much into war resources

Which is also true. Russia had decades to invade Ukraine if that was a strategic goal. It never was. In fact, the US knew and reported on, and recently Bernie Sanders stood on the floor of Congress and reiterated that the US knew, that Ukraine’s neutrality was of critical importance to Russia’s strategic security, that Ukraine joining NATO was the “brightest of red lines” for Russia. Russia has no interest in occupying Ukraine. Investing too many resources in full invasion and occupation would weaken Russia, not strengthen. And it would weaken it in two ways: 1) it reduce its readiness for any other conflict and 2) it would reveal more of its capabilities and capacities to the US.

Put simply, is it a blunder, or a strategic loss?

Is it a loss at all? If the objective was to prevent Ukraine joining NATO and to signal to every other neutral state in Russia’s buffer zone that they should not even consider joining NATO, then it seems like potentially mission accomplished.

And yes, I meant that Putin seems like a conservative bigot from the american point of view, so it’s understandable why some might say these things and draw these Hitler comparisons.

Joe Biden literally wrote the crime bill that imprisoned massive amounts of black Americans. He wrote the crackhouse bill. He was a huge proponent of invading Iraq. He said that we have to support Israel despite their genocide of the Palestinians because “if Israel didn’t exist the US would have to create an Israel in order to secure its interests”. No one in the media is comparing Biden to any “evil war mongerer”. Comparisons to Hitler are propaganda. They serve a purpose.

Good luck on your journey. Media criticism seems like an area that would help you a lot. Reading The Art of War would probably help, too.

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Well obviously they are. Is it therefore itself a rightist idea to suggest that this played a role in his decision making, i. e. something that only rightists alone would believe? Because obviously there are historical examples of various leaders nonetheless succumbing to such line of thinking.

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