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Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 25 Oct 2018, 23:46
by thoreau
Eric the .5b wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:24
So why does Finland exist?
It's so sadly neglected and often ignored. But it's the country where I want to be.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 05:41
by Hugh Akston
Warren wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:39
Aresen wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:32
Hugh Akston wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:26
Because every war is <blink>TOTAL WAR</blink> and every conflict goes to the side with the most guns?
Not every conflict, but having the most guns is a definite advantage.
Only if you're prepared to commit those guns and pay the costs. Hugh's point is that people defending their own homes will commit 100% to the effort, all the guns, all the lives, everything, before accepting defeat. The calculus is different if you're a relatively wealthy aggressor looking to expand your empire. I think one or two chroniclers of history have observed this in practice and made mention of it.
Right. Aggressive military action against an armed opponent has costs in blood and treasure. Those costs are a deterrent factor, and regional strategic alliances increase those costs further, even if they fall below the threshold of global battlefield supremacy. It’s a pretty modest point.

Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 08:34
by JasonL
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.

ETA - the Fins lost the winter war. The Moscow treaty exceeded the Russian demands pre war and represented non trivial fraction of economy. They just didn’t lose everything

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 10:18
by JD
thoreau wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:46
Eric the .5b wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:24
So why does Finland exist?
It's so sadly neglected and often ignored. But it's the country where I want to be.
Somewhat apropos of this, I just learned that there's a website and book called "Finnish Nightmares". It's about things like having to sit next to someone on the bus, having someone sit next to you on the bus but then move away (leaving you wondering what's wrong with you), wanting a free sample of something but actually having to talk to a salesperson to get it, etc.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 10:32
by Kolohe
Most of the ex-Soviet states get along fine with Moscow. The Baltics are the big exception; Georgia and Ukraine are smaller exceptions to the extent that their attitude towards Moscow shift with internal political shifts. (most of the other ex-Soviet states have been constant autocrats, so that hasn't been an issue)

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 11:04
by thoreau
Georgia and Ukraine have also lost territory to Moscow, which is a lesson that other ex-Soviet states will have to consider if they ever want to re-evaluate their relationship with Moscow.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 13:18
by Shem
Hugh Akston wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 05:41
Warren wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:39
Aresen wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:32
Hugh Akston wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:26
Because every war is <blink>TOTAL WAR</blink> and every conflict goes to the side with the most guns?
Not every conflict, but having the most guns is a definite advantage.
Only if you're prepared to commit those guns and pay the costs. Hugh's point is that people defending their own homes will commit 100% to the effort, all the guns, all the lives, everything, before accepting defeat. The calculus is different if you're a relatively wealthy aggressor looking to expand your empire. I think one or two chroniclers of history have observed this in practice and made mention of it.
Right. Aggressive military action against an armed opponent has costs in blood and treasure. Those costs are a deterrent factor, and regional strategic alliances increase those costs further, even if they fall below the threshold of global battlefield supremacy. It’s a pretty modest point.
Until rationality fails, and you get World War 1. Part of the point of exraregional alliances like NATO was to keep the sort of Bismarckian alliances you're talking about from happening again, because when they fail, you get the worst of both worlds; combatants large enough to fight a major war, but small enough that negotiating a peace requires a million tiny moving parts.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 13:25
by Shem
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 08:34
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.
The same reason making an argument about genocide always leads to "well you didn't prevent this genocide either, so I don't have to have a plan to address how I'd prevent them." One failure invalidates multilateral action, whole one success proves neoisolationism.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 17:58
by Eric the .5b
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 08:34
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.
Except, of course, expansionist empires don't successfully do so by engaging in total war at the limits of their military ability. They can be deterred with enough force as to make invasion prohibitive, not impossible. And they can be fought off with lesser militaries than they possess.

As for winning and losing, there's losing and there's losing. The Finns didn't win the Winter War much like the US didn't win the Revolutionary War by any real definition.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 17:59
by Eric the .5b
Shem wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 13:25
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 08:34
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.
The same reason making an argument about genocide always leads to "well you didn't prevent this genocide either"
It's more like, "Since 'Never again', you didn't actually prevent any genocide, ever, so don't tell me we 'have' to engage in interventionism to prevent something interventionism has never actually prevented."

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 18:10
by JasonL
Eric the .5b wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 17:58
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 08:34
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.
Except, of course, expansionist empires don't successfully do so by engaging in total war at the limits of their military ability. They can be deterred with enough force as to make invasion prohibitive, not impossible. And they can be fought off with lesser militaries than they possess.

As for winning and losing, there's losing and there's losing. The Finns didn't win the Winter War much like the US didn't win the Revolutionary War by any real definition.
One primary reason one may not have to engage in total war to the limits of one's military capacity might be "i have 1.2 million soldiers standing behind my request for new lands." It seems odd to act like that doesn't matter. You can go to war with speedbump states, don't have to all the time because people saw what happened last time, so okay.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 19:24
by Eric the .5b
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 18:10
Eric the .5b wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 17:58
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 08:34
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.
Except, of course, expansionist empires don't successfully do so by engaging in total war at the limits of their military ability. They can be deterred with enough force as to make invasion prohibitive, not impossible. And they can be fought off with lesser militaries than they possess.

As for winning and losing, there's losing and there's losing. The Finns didn't win the Winter War much like the US didn't win the Revolutionary War by any real definition.
One primary reason one may not have to engage in total war to the limits of one's military capacity might be "i have 1.2 million soldiers standing behind my request for new lands." It seems odd to act like that doesn't matter.
It seems odder to ignore all the cases where that hasn't determined matters.

But yeah, ruling out all the exceptions and situations where that didn't work out, I'm sure what you're arguing is true.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 23:02
by JasonL
We disagree about which one is the normal case. We also I think disagree about the degree to which speedbump force was the determining factor vs things like weather and logistics of an extended empire trying one occupation too far.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 23:06
by Eric the .5b
We disagree about the importance of the normal case. The "normal case" is for the US to get involved in stupid military conflicts in the name of preventing stupid military conflicts.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 23:13
by Jake
thoreau wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:46
Eric the .5b wrote:
25 Oct 2018, 23:24
So why does Finland exist?
It's so sadly neglected and often ignored. But it's the country where I want to be.
I don't have much to contribute to the man conversation, but I just want you to know, Thoreau, that this reference did not go unnoticed. Finland has it all. :)

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 26 Oct 2018, 23:27
by JasonL
I think I know the answer but I’ll ask - is it a general view that NATO and US global military power including specifically the ability to project power across oceans have not had a deterrence effect on great powers going to war?

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 27 Oct 2018, 00:28
by thoreau
Plenty of wealthy powers have gone to war against lesser powers since WWII. The possession of nukes has kept them from going at each other directly, but has not stopped them from picking on smaller powers or backing proxies.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 27 Oct 2018, 02:31
by Taktix®
I'm all for the United States military walking back their role as the world babysitter/policeman, but not the current, Kremlin-directed roughshod walking back that takes the precise form that is most advantageous to Russia's filling in the resulting power vacuums and exercising Putin's influence of a greater number of previously free people.

As a measure of net liberty, every time a person falls under the control of Vladimir Putin, the world gets less free.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 27 Oct 2018, 03:05
by Eric the .5b
Taktix® wrote:
27 Oct 2018, 02:31
I'm all for the United States military walking back their role as the world babysitter/policeman, but not the current, Kremlin-directed roughshod walking back that takes the precise form that is most advantageous to Russia's filling in the resulting power vacuums and exercising Putin's influence of a greater number of previously free people.

As a measure of net liberty, every time a person falls under the control of Vladimir Putin, the world gets less free.
The UK and France together spend more on their militaries than Russia's military budget. NATO would be just fine without the US. If they want to expand up to Russia's border for fear of Putin, I'm fine with that, so long as we're not involved.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 27 Oct 2018, 10:32
by Aresen
Eric the .5b wrote:
27 Oct 2018, 03:05
Taktix® wrote:
27 Oct 2018, 02:31
I'm all for the United States military walking back their role as the world babysitter/policeman, but not the current, Kremlin-directed roughshod walking back that takes the precise form that is most advantageous to Russia's filling in the resulting power vacuums and exercising Putin's influence of a greater number of previously free people.

As a measure of net liberty, every time a person falls under the control of Vladimir Putin, the world gets less free.
The UK and France together spend more on their militaries than Russia's military budget. NATO would be just fine without the US. If they want to expand up to Russia's border for fear of Putin, I'm fine with that, so long as we're not involved.
Based on current foreign exchange rates, this is true. Adjusting for purchasing power parity, Russia spends quite a bit more.

When we compare by number of people in the armed forces:
Russia: 831,000
France: 203,000
UK: 152,000

Source: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/29- ... world.html

Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 27 Oct 2018, 14:07
by Mo
Eric the .5b wrote:
Shem wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 13:25
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 08:34
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.
The same reason making an argument about genocide always leads to "well you didn't prevent this genocide either"
It's more like, "Since 'Never again', you didn't actually prevent any genocide, ever, so don't tell me we 'have' to engage in interventionism to prevent something interventionism has never actually prevented."
Bosnia. We didn’t prevent the initial instance, but NATO did prevent it from being worse.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 28 Oct 2018, 17:49
by Eric the .5b
Mo wrote:
27 Oct 2018, 14:07
Eric the .5b wrote:
Shem wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 13:25
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 08:34
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.
The same reason making an argument about genocide always leads to "well you didn't prevent this genocide either"
It's more like, "Since 'Never again', you didn't actually prevent any genocide, ever, so don't tell me we 'have' to engage in interventionism to prevent something interventionism has never actually prevented."
Bosnia. We didn’t prevent the initial instance, but NATO did prevent it from being worse.
Where "the initial instance" is "the vast bulk of the slaughter and dislocation of people over a period of years"?

But, OK. Interventionism gets one honorable mention win for all the endless invocations of genocide over the years to justify intervening for every other reason imaginable.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 28 Oct 2018, 17:58
by Eric the .5b
Aresen wrote:
27 Oct 2018, 10:32
Eric the .5b wrote:
27 Oct 2018, 03:05
Taktix® wrote:
27 Oct 2018, 02:31
I'm all for the United States military walking back their role as the world babysitter/policeman, but not the current, Kremlin-directed roughshod walking back that takes the precise form that is most advantageous to Russia's filling in the resulting power vacuums and exercising Putin's influence of a greater number of previously free people.

As a measure of net liberty, every time a person falls under the control of Vladimir Putin, the world gets less free.
The UK and France together spend more on their militaries than Russia's military budget. NATO would be just fine without the US. If they want to expand up to Russia's border for fear of Putin, I'm fine with that, so long as we're not involved.
Based on current foreign exchange rates, this is true. Adjusting for purchasing power parity, Russia spends quite a bit more.

When we compare by number of people in the armed forces:
Russia: 831,000
France: 203,000
UK: 152,000

Source: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/29- ... world.html
How many times did people point out that Iraq had one of the largest armies in the world, right before Desert Storm?

And, again, this is the military Russia can't actually afford.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 28 Oct 2018, 18:08
by Mo
Eric the .5b wrote:
Mo wrote:
27 Oct 2018, 14:07
Eric the .5b wrote:
Shem wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 13:25
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 08:34
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.
The same reason making an argument about genocide always leads to "well you didn't prevent this genocide either"
It's more like, "Since 'Never again', you didn't actually prevent any genocide, ever, so don't tell me we 'have' to engage in interventionism to prevent something interventionism has never actually prevented."
Bosnia. We didn’t prevent the initial instance, but NATO did prevent it from being worse.
Where "the initial instance" is "the vast bulk of the slaughter and dislocation of people over a period of years"?

But, OK. Interventionism gets one honorable mention win for all the endless invocations of genocide over the years to justify intervening for every other reason imaginable.
2 years from the beginning of a conflict is lickety split in international relations time. Also, you’re not going to intervene before someone starts with the atrocities, then you’re just engaging in diplomatic pre-crime.

Re: Occam, Trump, and Russia

Posted: 28 Oct 2018, 23:03
by Eric the .5b
Mo wrote:
28 Oct 2018, 18:08
Eric the .5b wrote:
Mo wrote:
27 Oct 2018, 14:07
Eric the .5b wrote:
Shem wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 13:25
JasonL wrote:
26 Oct 2018, 08:34
Is funny though that expansionist empires became empires by kicking everyone’s ass exactly as you’d expect then you get to an exception and everyone wants to make that the general case.
The same reason making an argument about genocide always leads to "well you didn't prevent this genocide either"
It's more like, "Since 'Never again', you didn't actually prevent any genocide, ever, so don't tell me we 'have' to engage in interventionism to prevent something interventionism has never actually prevented."
Bosnia. We didn’t prevent the initial instance, but NATO did prevent it from being worse.
Where "the initial instance" is "the vast bulk of the slaughter and dislocation of people over a period of years"?

But, OK. Interventionism gets one honorable mention win for all the endless invocations of genocide over the years to justify intervening for every other reason imaginable.
2 years from the beginning of a conflict is lickety split in international relations time. Also, you’re not going to intervene before someone starts with the atrocities, then you’re just engaging in diplomatic pre-crime.
Wait, you're not even talking about Kosovo, you're talking about the safe zones, etc.?

Retracted—not even an honorable mention. And calling two years (really, closer to three) "lickety-split" in international relations is another strong reason why the genocide justification is a complete bait-and-switch. "We have to be able to intervene to stop such atrocities!" means "We will go in after most of the killing is safely done and declare moral victory. When we actually go in at all. But when it's not scads of people being mass-murdered, somehow military action becomes much easier to arrange."