Ukraine: Israel’s Naftali Bennett trying to mediate; logistical shambles; a look at the Javelin; a win-win for Xi Jinping?

(a) Multiple sources, including Der Spiegel (in German) report that Israeli PM Naftali Bennett traveled on the Sabbath to the Kremlin and had a 3-hour meeting with Putin there, then immediately continued to Berlin for a Saturday night meeting with the German chancellor.

Bennett is an Orthodox Jew and hence would not travel on the Sabbath, but in Jewish law, pikuach nefesh [freely: a situation where life is at stake] overrides such prohibitions — that he would invoke this “halachic override” just stresses how seriously he takes the matter.

Israel is one of the few countries that has good relations with both sides of the conflict (having large Russian and Ukrainian immigrant communities).

If you had told me two decades ago that one day Israel would be asked to broker a truce between Russia and Western-aligned opponents, I’d have said “nice military sci-fi plot, but impossible”.

(b) William Tecumseh Sherman is supposed to have said: “Battles are won by infantry, wars are won by logistics.” Wendover Productions, which is primarily focused on aviation and logistics, looks at the shambolic logistical performance of the Russian army in this invasion.

(c) a closer look at the Javelin “fire and forget” antitank missile, which has been devastatingly effective (if expensive and in short supply)

(d) Whichever way this conflict ends, the winner will be Xi Jinping, argues the Daily Telegraph (paywalled original; free cached copy).

I’ve been telling Mrs. Arbel this for days. If Xi brokers a peace deal, he will polish up his tarnished international reputation and enhance his “soft power” abroad.

If Putin continues all the way into international pariahdom, then Russia, with all its natural resources for which China is hungry, will be completely beholden to China — almost “client state-minus”.

(e) a relative sent me an image from a demonstration that I cannot publish on a family-friendly website. The sign, under the heading “Putin is”, depicted a male reproductive organ, with a length indicator saying “3 cm” (1.2 in).


Follow the money: foundation bankrolling “anti-fracking” groups funded by shell company that in turn, if you follow the money… you guessed it. Not “useful idiots” of Putin as much as bought-and-paid-for Strichjunge.

And somewhat surprisingly, for those still thinking that “the oligarchs” put Putin up to war (yes, there are such derpseals, more than I care to feed): Oliver Bullough in The Spectator explains how the “New Russian” oligarchs who got rich on shady privatization sweetheart deals in the 1990s have ceased to be a political force in Russia: Putin cronies appointed to plum positions at state companies now rule the roost. [UPDATE: “Siloviki” (“strongmen”, or “men of force”), as the Russian term goes.]

Elsewhere in The Spectator, the former UK ambassador to Russia predicts Putin(‘s regime) will not survive a failed war in Ukraine. But what if he can spin a debacle into a victory by claiming all the things that went bust were not part of the original plan anyway? (See under: retroactive “moving the goalposts” or “Texas sharpshooter fallacy”.) [UPDATE: Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal sounds a more pessimistic note.]

ADDENDUM 2: Seth Frantzman: Russia looks toward third week of war without goals – analysis.

And while it’s a common propaganda technique, it’s not helpful to invent new misdeeds when there are enough real ones to go around.

ADDENDUM 3: Muggeridge’s Law states that no satire can compete with real life for sheer absurdity. Via Instapundit, this example of the Babylon Bee being unable to outdo the new “woke” US military.

ADDENDUM 4: the Russian word “vranyo” came up several times. Via glossophilia:

[…] in his 1983 book, Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams, published at the waning of the Cold War, … David Shipler, the longtime Moscow correspondent for the New York Times, gave a more nuanced explanation of vranyo. He wrote: A Russian friend explained vranyo this way: ‘You know I’m lying, and I know that you know, and you know that I know that you know, but I go ahead with a straight face, and you nod seriously and take notes.’” — Liesl Schillinger in, Feb 2018

ADDENDUM 5: why oh why, while supposedly throwing the book at Putin, is the Biden bubatron [=puppet show] making common cause with Russia in trying to ram through an Iran deal? Just who is bought and paid for by whom, or who does have kompromat on whom?

One thought on “Ukraine: Israel’s Naftali Bennett trying to mediate; logistical shambles; a look at the Javelin; a win-win for Xi Jinping?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s