Ipatas leads charge to get women into parliament
Escape from Mariupol: '21 days changed everyone'

If you can’t win the war, kill the innocents….

theater in Mariupol
1,300 people had sought refuge in this theatre in Mariupol, bombed earlier this week. Only 130 have been rescued


ADELAIDE – The ugly war in Ukraine is not proceeding according to Vladimir Putin’s wishes.

The result so far is a strategic failure that seems to be engendering a situation within Russia that is quite unstable.

Dictatorships rest largely upon an ability to enforce control by inspiring fear, and they employ large security apparatuses to do this.

However, if the security apparatus itself becomes infected with fear and a loss of confidence in the ‘Great Leader’, then things can go wrong very suddenly.

Elena and Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu die in a hail of bullets - executed by firing squad against a toilet block (Evenimentul Zilei)
Tyrants' reward. Elena and Nicolae Ceaușescu, dragged to a toilet block, die in a hail of  bullets  (Evenimentul Zilei)

The demise of Romania’s Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu on Christmas Day 1989 – executed against a toilet wall in a hail of bullets - is a grim case in point.

Escalating the Ukraine conflict to the point of using nuclear weapons would, I think, be the point where the Chinese entirely parted company with Putin.

The situation is deeply unsettling for China, leaving Xi Jinping seriously conflicted about how to respond to the Ukraine invasion and the West’s united and robust response.

Hence we observe Xi precariously perched on a diplomatic barbed wire fence.

It is greatly against China’s national interest to become enmeshed in a war that it privately believes reflects an appalling misjudgement by Putin.

As I have written before, China is not the great power that most people imagine it to be.

It lacks the economic and military heft of the USA, and even the underlying social cohesion of the US, despite the deep fissures of that state.

If Beijing decides to give material aid to Russia in support of its war in Ukraine, China is seriously vulnerable to the “implications and consequences” of sanctions imposed upon Russia.

So Biden intimated overnight in a two-hour chat with Xi.

But it is Russia that will face the full fear and fury of NATO and the broader world unless it can reach a compact to stop the destruction of people and territory in Ukraine.

At a bare minimum, Russia will become completely isolated. All of its foreign assets seized as reparations, including those of the oligarchs who have backed Putin and who are already witnessing the confiscation or freezing of their assets.

Without a solution which it needs to be part of, there will be no return to normality for Russia or its people.

Like North Korea, it will be left cowering behind a nuclear shield, bereft of support and greatly loathed and feared by most of the world.

Upon Putin’s inevitable death a new regime will have to find a way to return to some semblance of normality.

I certainly would not want to be in their shoes.

AIf there are any sentient beings left around Putin, they should realise this.

They should also be mightily ill disposed towards the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. They are in enough trouble already.

Perversely, having been fought to an effective stand still on the ground by the Ukrainian forces, Russia is on the threshold of becoming hostage to an angry, vengeful and heavily-armed nation that Putin insists does not exist. This is a fine irony indeed.

And to add to the irony, the NATO that Putin says he has feared so much is re-arming. Germany in particular seems in an instant to have cast off its self-imposed post-World War II shackles that resisted significant remilitarising.

Two weeks ago, as the Russians pounced, I wrote:

“So the overall situation remains febrile and perilous for the Ukraine but not yet hopeless.

“The chosen strategy of using asymmetric warfare tactics has been effective so far and the Russian army has struggled to achieve its objectives owing to the unexpected difficulties I’ve discussed.

“Added to these must also be the possibility, much reported upon but with no hard evidence yet, that there is low morale amongst the Russian Army’s mostly conscripted troops.”

Having executed the asymmetric warfare strategy that I foreshadowed at the war’s outset (why didn’t the Russians?), the Ukrainian army is not only substantially intact but, thanks to huge infusions of weapons, ammunition, intelligence, money and other materials from the Western powers, it is probably stronger now than when the war began.

The shoulder-fired weapons they now have are enabling them to devastate any mass assemblage of Russian armour and their air defences are becoming more potent.

Ukraine is a large country. At 604,000 sq km it’s almost half as big again as Papua New Guinea (460,000 sq km) and twice the combined size of Victoria and Tasmania (300,000 sq km).

So, as the Russians attempt to conquer this country, or large tracts of it, they will understand that behind every tree, hillock or ruined building may hide a Ukrainian soldier with a shoulder-fired tank-killing missile.

And there are well over a million Ukraine regular, reserve, territorial and volunteer troops

putin zelenskyyMass slaughter is guaranteed if the Russians attempt to take Kyiv and most other major cities.

Strategists believe this is why they are standing off while using aerial bombardment, missiles and artillery against mostly civilian targets.

This is a tactic of the weak not the strong.

After three weeks of indecisive war, why would the Ukrainians now feel disposed to compromise with Putin?

They have turned the war into one huge, weeping, haemorrhagic ulcer for Russia and there now seems there is nothing much Putin can do about this.

Russian prestige has suffered incalculable damage through this grotesque performance, and its economy will take years to recover from the damage already wrought by sanctions.

Putin should not bet on these sanctions being withdrawn any time soon. More likely, he is facing new impositions each day.

So, in brief, Putin is in a no win situation.

His hitherto slumbering enemies are alert, alarmed, angry and re-arming.

His country’s economy is in a terrible mess and the worst is still to come.

His military has been revealed as badly led, poorly resourced and tactically incompetent.

His one potentially great ally, China, is offering tepid support at best.

And if he decides to use nuclear, chemical or biological weaponry on helpless civilians, Putin will render the fruit of war exponentially more foul and existentially threatening.

It is said by those claiming elevated knowledge that there is no prospect of a successful military or civil uprising against Putin.

biden & xi
Joe Biden and Xi Jinping spoke for two hours. Did Joe persuade Xinping to back off helping Vlad

It is also alleged that a ‘palace coup’ is unlikely.

I’m not so sure.

The world might get lucky and Putin will be deposed, or develop a sudden and possibly fatal illness or, as happened to Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu on that grey Christmas Day in 1989, experience a fatal dose of lead poisoning.

That I’d like to see. And I’d like to see it soon.



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Lindsay F Bond

While Russia has its weaponry alarmingly rocking downward on Europe, Europe celebrates the launch of its Vega-C rocket upward into the 'void'.

That "Vega-C has enormous importance for Europe's continued access to space. It's needed to fill a big gap in capability now that Russian rockets are no longer available because of the war in Ukraine."


John Rowsthorne

Fox News is now repeating Russian propaganda verbatim to its viewers.

History will not look fondly on the lackeys who lied to the American people as democracy was under attack.

Chris Overland

As an addendum to my article, I note that the Russians reportedly are now firing hypersonic missiles at selected targets.

These missiles can travel at speeds exceeding 10,000 kilometres per hour and there currently is no known defence against them. They are too fast for existing anti-missile systems although it is thought that a new generation of directed energy weapons will eventually be able to intercept them.

These immensely expensive weapons (US$90 - $110 million per unit) are usually reserved for very high value targets such as aircraft carriers or important military establishments.

At the moment, Russia is one of a handful of major powers with an inventory of these weapons so their use represents a significant escalation in the conflict.

This development is a logical but rather desperate response to Russia's inability to significantly diminish the fighting capacity of the Ukraine military and is symptomatic of increasing anxiety amongst the Russian leadership that events are slipping further out of their control.

In an already grossly unequal 'David versus Goliath' struggle the use of such a weapon has to be viewed more as a terror tactic than a major strategic development. It emulates the Nazi's use of V1 and V2 rockets during World War 2.

I have no doubt that this weapon will indeed terrorise many Ukrainians but, equally, it is likely to harden the resolve of their military to strike back hard and often. This was the response to the Nazi 'super weapons'.

So this hideous war goes on with Putin willing to use the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in his arsenal in an effort to snuff out Ukrainian resistance. While harm will no doubt be done I am sceptical about whether the performance of the Ukraine military will be significantly degraded.

Using the proverbial sledge hammer to crack a nut is rarely a useful strategy, in warfare as in life generally.

Paul Oates

I'm sure I echo everyone's frustration that the signs were there all along and no one has learnt from history.

Boris Johnson has now said they should have learned the lesson when Putin invaded and annexed Crimea. The lessons however should have been learned well before that.

This showdown has been coming for years and the signs were there for all to see.

1938 and appeasement over the Sudetenland provided a classic example that Europe and NATO ignored at the peril of those now in Ukraine.

Humankind has not evolved. It has plateaued. Therefore it should be very easy to know what to do when confronted with a bully. You can't negotiate with a bully. Either you stand up to him or you give in and suffer the consequences of defeat.

The measure of a leader is in results they achieve. Politicians all around the world should note this axiomatic fact. Is your nation better off or worse off when you last went to the polls?

In a free and fair election, those who elect inept, untried and/ or corrupt politicians are really just as guilty of causing bad results as those who they elect.

No sense in pointing a finger after the election. It's then far too late.

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