Non-predictive Intelligence Floppery
Russia has lost the war, and the map above is misleading. The same goes for dozens of forecasts and studies published by Institute for the Study of War and Critical Threats over the six months leading up to the invasion. Both 501© think tanks are the brainchildren of Fred, who probably means well, but doesn’t have a clue.
Looking on the positive side, had it not been for Fred’s page at the American Enterprise Institute, I wouldn’t have reminisced about Michael Solo, a Russian emigre and friend of the family who taught military history at West Point before Fred arrived there. It was Fred’s chit chat with Jordan Peterson, titled “Ukraine Update,” that led me to take a closer look at AEI’s/ISW’s reports and maps.
Beltway bullshit about off-ramps for Russia abounds. I usually pay more attention to what Russians are saying.
Experts in the West who are trying to figure out why Fred’s assessments have been consistently flawed should put on thinking caps. Unfortunately, many do not even speak or understand Russian or Ukrainian. I recommend that those who do listen to Leonid, who spent more than two hours yesterday explaining what AEI/ISW were paid to figure out and didn’t.
In a nutshell, Putin is and remains an irrational actor who is less well-grounded in reality than most world leaders. “Bounded rationality” is irrelevant for explaining the Russian leader’s decisions or actions. Rinse, repeat.
And this just in from London-based practicing philosopher Vladimir Pastukhov. A quick translation.
It's time for the hungry. The "Great Terror" in the strictly scientific and historical sense of the word has yet to be experienced. We’ve only seen the flowers, so far. The berries will ripen by autumn.
The essence of what happened in the USSR in 1930s was not the suppression of the old elites (this was done mainly during the first wave of terror in 1918-1922), but the sanitation of the new elites generated by the revolution. That is, it was the classic scheme described by the brothers Strugatsky, when the blacks replace the greys [the color symbolizing self-satisfied mediocrity].
When we look at what’s transpiring today, one can argue that it is very likely that the main victim of the new "Great Terror" will not be whites (white ribbons), that is, the unfinished liberals - everything is almost over with them - but namely the grays, the people who are still swimming on the surface and swear by all Putin's saints that they support the war and in general everything-everything-everything. If this “special situation” in the country persists for a few more months, almost the entire Putin political class will go under the knife. It will be completed reformatted.
The reorganization will affect the economic elite, except for a small “inner circle,” which basically does not include ghosts from the 90s. All the technocrats, creative managers and other dandies will be washed out of the political elite. I will be very surprised to see the names of Sobyanin, Siluanov, Shuvalov, Gref, and even Mishustin and Shoigu, in the composition of Putin’s future "politburo" in a year and a half. All of them will be replaced by hungry provincials with brains turned inside out, ready to believe that Banderovites actually exist, and not pretend to believe this. Of course, there will be a couple of “Mikoyans” with increased adaptability, but they will sit quietly like mice.
One hundred years ago, Stalinist elites realized the threat when it was too late. Several attempts at a party coup were brutally suppressed. After that, the rest went to the slaughter house without resisting. So far, I do not see on the surface any reason why it will be different now. Unless the knowledge of how it ended once will stimulate someone to turn on their brains.