It’s always interesting peering into the Tankie alternate reality, so let’s check in this Saturday morning. For those of you who don’t know, the Tankies oppose American imperialism (so far so good), but think only America can be imperialist. It looks like this:
I’ve previously covered the Tankies here and here, and they are named after the leftists who defended the Soviet Union even after it used tanks to crush uprisings in Budapest and Prague. In modern times, it ends up looking like this:
These days, they’re certainly upset about Nancy Pelosi.
Merely showng up, in a civilian aircraft, while dozens of Chinese ships buzzed around, missiles flew over Taiwan, and entire sea and airspace around the island closed for “military exercises”—well, it’s the U.S. that is “escalating.” Now, if you’re wondering, “well, at least this Tankie must care about the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong?” Ha ha no
No one is defending Britain’s colonial past, the West has a putrid history in that regard. But remember, the Tankie doesn’t oppose all colonialism, just the Western kind. So it’s quite interesting that it was China that prevented Britain from transitioning Hong Kong to a full democracy.
In the 1960s and ’70s, when Britain considered introducing direct elections, Communist China squashed the idea, warning Britain to “preserve the colonial status of Hong Kong.” Direct elections were later allowed, but only for a limited number of seats in the local legislature in 1991, with the countdown ticking to Hong Kong’s return to China. The last British governor, Chris Patten, expanded the number of directly elected council seats, but an infuriated China considered that a breach of the handover agreement and immediately replaced that legislature with an appointed one after resuming sovereignty.
If you’re all-in on China being somehow the perfect society, you’ve gotta be able to brush off that pesky Uyghurs issue.
You can find a great deal of information on China’s dealing with Uyghurs, but here are primes from the Council of Foreign Relations and the BBC. It’s genocide.
But hey, the Tankies know who the real evils are:
If you’re wondering why Pelosi is “evil” for meeting with Dalai Lama, she goes on to call him a “slave owner and terrorist.” You know, because he advocates for an independent Tibet, and has murdered, let me do some math … carry the one … zero people in his dastardly quest for self-determination.
Tankies are very anti-semitic, duh.
They are also very anti-LGBT for some reason.
Imagine a bunch of things that never happened, and then imagine a bunch of other things that aren’t real, and then SHUT UP about some unrelated thing! Yeah, god knows what her thought process must look like.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate voted to admit Finland and Sweden into NATO. That made the Tankies sad.
Putin’s pal Glenn Greenwald had conniptions.
Honestly no clue what he’s talking about. In the 1998 expansion bringing Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republican into NATO, liberal stalwart Dems. Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Carl Levin, Barb Mikulski, and Patty Murray all voted yes. (Interestingly, nine Republicans and 10 Democrats voted no, but they were mostly the party’s conservative wing, like Kent Conrad, Byron Dorgan, and Dale Bumpers. Paul Wellstone and Ron Wyden also voted no, so … it was complicated. But it certainly wasn’t some mainstream liberal positions.
Anyway, this about sums it up:
Remember when Ukraine needed NATO-standard artillery because it was running out of Soviet-caliber ammo? There’s still plenty of that old stuff showing up in videos.
No new updates to report from the ground in Ukraine. I’m sure the situation on the ground is anything but quiet, but the zoomed out version shows no movement.
Remember we don’t know what a “BTG” is in actual strength.
While the size of these BTGs is undefined, we can get a general idea of their concentrations. Out of 120 total in country, there are an estimated 22 around Kherson, 27 between the east bank of the Dnipro river and Melitopol, and 17 south of zaporizhzhia and southern Donbas. That is, about half of Russia’s forces are in the south. Only 17-20 remain around Izyum, which once hosted around 35-40 BTGs. Interesting that Defmon only estimates 13-15 BTGs around Donetsk city, since that is the one location where Russia is currently pushing hard.
We’ve discussed Tokmak before—it’s the town where the single rail line from eastern Ukraine runs to Kherson. If Ukraine wants to fully cut off the forces now concentrating around Kherson and Melitopol, they have to either take Tokmak, or establish “fire control” over the rail and roads through town—that is, keep them under constant barrage to prevent supplies from running through. Then Ukraine can cut two key bridges from Crimea, and that entire mass of Russians would suddenly require air resupply—and that will never be enough to feed the Russian artillery beast.
Talked to my son Ari today, he’s currently in advanced infantry training at Ft. Benning, GA. The last several weeks they’ve been doing live-fire small squad tactics, and last week they learned how to fire anti-tank rockets (not missiles, like Javelin, which is a separate school).
What was interesting was that instructors are already starting to talk about lessons learned in Ukraine, such as how fighting a near-pear force, platoon-sized elements (30-50 soldiers) are too easy to spot, so squads (6-10 soldiers) are a more effective element for such fights, particularly armed with anti-tank and anti-missile weapons.
I sincerely doubt the training has changed as a result of the war, that takes time to analyze, study, craft new doctrine, and implement. As in years. But I found it interesting that they’re using Ukraine as a way to emphasize the importance of the training they’re receiving, and given that their focus has been on squad-level maneuvers (both forest and urban settings), how relevant that training is despite the end of the War on Terror’s anti-insurgency focus.