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DnD Central / Re: What's Going On In Russia?
Last post by ersi -
The Baltic States existed at the pleasure of whoever were the tsar of Russia (or not, when that tsar was Stalin). Without European friends they would not exist at all.
Russia kinda cares if Estonia exists or not. Namely, when Estonia exists, Russia wants it to cease to exist. In contrast, our Western "friends" don't care at all. And your entire line of reasoning is a solid proof of it.

Historically, there was a conference at Yalta. At that conference our Western "friends" gifted away to Stalin far more than Hitler had given. Moreover, Hitler really did not mean to gift away anything. He stabbed Stalin in the back and tried to take all Russia to himself. Whereas our Western "friends" casually stabbed in the back ALL countries between Germany and Russia, giving them away to Stalin, narrowly missing Austria. They gifted all those countries away and sincerely meant it so. This is how little they care about any of those countries, Estonia included. Our Western "friends" do not care whether any of those smaller countries exist, but they love to prop up Russia.

It is good to know facts and have no illusions. It's an illusion to think that Estonia has Western friends. Westerners are who they always were: colonists, just like Russia. They play the game they always played: the colonial game with Russia. Despite their rhetoric, Westerners don't care about the colonised. Their complete cold-heartedness is clear from the fact that Westerners pretend as if the colonial times were in the past and no longer happening, when they clearly continue to colonise even now. They pay more attention to Russia who is a potential competing colonist. Colonists care about each other. They don't care about the colonised. So no, Westerners are not friends.

Over the past decade we have seen how Ukraine is being fed to Russia. All other countries between Germany and Russia can reasonably expect the same fate, if they make the mistake of relying on Germany, France, UK, or USA.[1] The best Estonia can do is to stir up some historical conscience to invite Westerners to stop repeating their past mistakes, but thus far this has only resulted in consistent evidence that Westerners have no conscience and are hell-bent on repeating past mistakes.

Would NATO risk that, and a potential nuclear war, for a small, barely populated piece of land. A gambling tsar might just try.
Being a nuclear coward means that there are no principles and no conscience. The West only has colonial instincts and respects the instincts of other colonial countries, dictators, autocrats and despots. Countries and peoples who never harmed anybody do not matter to our Western "friends".

But that distraction, gaining Estonia, would not be worth it if Russia lost Kaliningrad, a naval base they actually need(ed).
Assuming that Russia gives a damn about what anything is worth is a persistent delusion in the West. In reality, Russia only thinks "it's mine/ours" ("Наша!") and that's it. And in the big picture they think everything is theirs, somewhat like USA thinks. Worth it or not does not enter their mind.

We are beyond that now. An invasion of Estonia would be risky on its own terms. They could, and probably would, try some form of hybrid warfare, but probably only with implausible deniability.
Yet another very sad delusion in the West, as if hybrid warfare by Russia could or would happen at some point, instead of having been constantly battled for the past 20 or so years, if not longer. Russia's plausible deniability is there only for the useful idiots. With our Western "friends" so fast asleep and so hopelessly blind, there really is nothing left to say.
The historical character and geopolitical nature of these countries is colonial. Their primary instincts and behaviour are colonial. One might dispute this for Germany, as Germany was late to the post-exploration era colonialism. The answer to this is that with the permanent conquest of Estonia, Latvia and Prussia in 13th century Germany actually had a good headstart in the colonial games.
DnD Central / Re: I'm bemused: No one here wants to discuss the Gaza-Israel war
Last post by Frenzie -
One might remember he once said the Holocaust wouldn't have happened were it not for Haj Amin al-Husseini talking Hitler into it. That in particular is a rather silly example, but it might serve to illustrate he's never looked for solutions. Or perhaps put another way, you're not a five year old child!  :devil:

Now as written in maintaining the status quo is not necessarily bad, but for a very long time it seems like Netanyahu has cared a lot less about Israel than about himself.

There are good terrorists, those who are useful for our geostrategic interests (call them moderate or freedom fighters) and bad terrorists, those who don't serve our geostrategic interests.
Is a term like "freedom fighter" even used anymore since the Wall fell? I've seen words like "guerrillas" my entire life, "freedom fighter" being some kind of quaint Cold War relic that primarily refers to guerrillas opposing oppressive communist regimes. Perhaps it's simply that the militants tend to instill their own dictatorship after emerging victoriously, but let's not forget that some insurgents never use the language of freedom at all. Some rather explicitly want to install dictatorships and/or theocracies. As such the term "freedom fighter" seems more naive than meaningless per se. A pretty common way to distinguish between "regular" insurgents and terrorists is whether or not they make a point of attacking non-combatants. So,

a. Hamas targeting Israeli soldiers is probably not terrorism, depending a bit on the specifics including e.g. treatment of prisoners.
b. Hamas targeting Israeli citizens is definitely terrorism.

Ergo, Hamas is a terrorist organization, clear as day. It's only when b is absent that things might get a bit muddier. In my experience, b is always present when calling something a terrorist organization.

Hamas is a terrorist organization and their rocket attacks should be unconditionally condemned. But this was also calculated political recklessness and opportunism by Netanyahu. His political end is nigh and apparently, cynically, a battle for Jerusalem during Ramadan is just the thing. Close the gate, close the Al-Aksa mosque without provocation, kick people out of their homes, wait for the Hamas deplorables to take the bait. Mission accomplished, even if presumably slightly more so than expected.

Also keep in mind Hamas has more popular support among Palestinians now because of that wretched wall and because of the increasingly apartheid-based state.

But I should also qualify that there were mass Palestinian protests against Hamas not long prior to their recent atrocities.
DnD Central / Re: What's Going On In Russia?
Last post by jax -
I also take particular issue with the claim that the EU has made the Baltic countries safer. Not too long ago you casually suggested "Russia picks up Estonia, we pick up Königsberg."

Exactly. The Baltic States existed at the pleasure of whoever were the tsar of Russia (or not, when that tsar was Stalin). Without European friends they would not exist at all.

Estonia's total population is 1,321,365. That is the population of a suburb. The area is 45,339 km², that is half the size of a large farm, or the same area as Russia occupied in 2014. In early 2022 they grabbed three more Estonias, and then in the following year Ukraine has taken one Estonia back.

The best hope for Estonia would be Finland's Cold War strategy: arm to the hilt to make an invasion costly, while not aggravating Russia too much, and being useful. However Finland has four times the population of Estonia and almost eight times the land. As long as the tsar was friendly (at least not too belligerent), or couldn't be bothered Estonia should be fine. But he could show displeasure with Estonian policies by e.g. having a really big military exercise really close to the border.

In 2004 Estonia joined NATO and EU. That greatly improved the country's security and economic prospects. However it also gave the two organisations a serious headache. Joining them didn't in itself give Estonia any more weapons or soldiers, the protection was in the articles 5 and 42.7 respectively, promising that the others should consider coming to their aid if attacked.

NATO's strength and EU's reputation depends on fulfilling that promise, and Estonia became the Achilles heel. If Russia did attack, NATO wouldn't be able to stop them. Harass, certainly, NATO has air superiority even that far east. But Russia would get to the coast relatively speedily. NATO would have to make an "Operation Overlord"? Would NATO risk that, and a potential nuclear war, for a small, barely populated piece of land. A gambling tsar might just try.

In that context Estonia as a NATO and EU member might be more sovereign, able to make more decisions displeasing the tsar, but more at risk. Even an imperialistic Russia doesn't really need the Baltic States much, but could be a distraction if Russia was struggling with NATO elsewhere. Ukraine perhaps.

A likely wargaming outcome before the Russian invasion would be a swap: Russia could likely take and hold Estonia and good chunks of Latvia and Lithuania, but lose Kaliningrad.

Now the Estonian position is stronger, and the Russian weaker. Putin or successor might worry less about getting angry glares if they were to "denazify" the Baltic States, their relationship with the West is as bad as it gets, but their position is weakened.

If will be far easier to reinforce Estonia from Finland than from Poland (especially with a Suwalki capture). Russia can't expect air superiority or naval superiority over the Baltic Sea, and Sweden is a good staging point.

I think the tripwire strategy would have been sufficient, given that Russia has far too much other to lose. But you are moving up rank from level 1 to level 2, maybe in time touching 3.

Level 0: Full Finlandisation
Level 1: An invasion would not be cost-effective
Level 2: An invasion would cost the invader more than the defender
Level 3: Outcome of an invasion would be unpredictable
Level 4: An invasion would not be feasible

But that distraction, gaining Estonia, would not be worth it if Russia lost Kaliningrad, a naval base they actually need(ed).

We are beyond that now. An invasion of Estonia would be risky on its own terms. They could, and probably would, try some form of hybrid warfare, but probably only with implausible deniability.
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Picture gazing
Last post by ersi -
The man on the cover of Led Zeppelin IV has been identified.

Sometimes thought to be a painting, the image, it turns out, was a Victorian-era photograph of a man who made thatched roofs for cottages in Wiltshire, a rural county in southwestern England. His name was Lot Long and he was 69 at the time, according to Brian Edwards, a researcher who found the photo.

Mr. Edwards, a visiting research fellow at the University of the West of England, stumbled upon the picture in March while scouring the internet for new releases at auction houses that might be interesting for his research, which includes the area’s well-known landmark Stonehenge.

As he was looking through a Victorian photo album full of landscapes and houses, Mr. Edwards noticed a photo he had seemingly seen before. “There was something familiar about it straight away,” he said in a phone interview. (Mr. Edwards was the proud owner of a “Led Zeppelin IV” LP from the year the album was released, he said, and he listens to it to this day, albeit on a CD.)


As for how that photo ended up on the album cover: Legend has it that Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin’s vocalist, and his bandmate Jimmy Page were in an antique shop in Pangbourne, a village about 50 miles west of London along the River Thames, where they spotted a colorized version of the photograph that will be on view in the Wiltshire Museum.
DnD Central / Re: Tripe about Ukraine
Last post by jax -
In a war of attrition the Ukrainian strategy seems quite effective (backseat driving of course). If the goal is to grind the Russians down, this is a faster way to do it. So is counter-attacks in Russia.

Sure, that strategy would be more efficient if Western weapons could be used for the purpose, but I can see that Western powers, particularly the US, would be squeamish about having their weaponry attacking inside Russia. Western weapons in Ukrainian territory (which of course include Crimea and parts of the Black Sea) is no problem.
DnD Central / Re: The twits on Twitter
Last post by jax -
As we should know, entropy happens. Twitter was on a downward trajectory before the takeover. While some may be able to change the course of a failing endeavour, others (like Musk and X) hasten it.

Forums and social media do not have long life expectancy. Usenet had a useful life span of about 20 years, before it was all Viagra spam and nazi propaganda. Even Facebook, the most extreme example of the network effect ever, has aged rapidly. 15 years ago it was all students, now it is all retirees.

Forums and social media are like ponds. Not only do they need to be replenished with new water to make up for water loss, they need the right amount of circulation not to go stagnant. The browser did that for the Opera forums, and news did that for midlife Twitter. You came to learn what was going on, stayed for the subcultures.

Now Twitter is on a death spiral. Will the same happen to Facebook? Quite possibly, but Meta still has the money to buy the Next Big Thing, as they did in the previous decade, such as Instagram and WhatsApp.