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Day 3, Phase 3
Absorbing Additional Assistance
America’s cheesy approach towards Ukraine was on full display on Tuesday during the public portion threats hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The metaphor is easy enough to grasp: Multiple layers of protection, imagined as cheese slices, block the spread of an unmitigated disaster. No one layer is perfect. Each has holes, and when the holes align, the risk of fubar increases. But several layers combined — independent media, rule of law, democratic elections, etc. — plus lots of violin music, plus education, plus street graffiti, plus culture, plus plenty of ibogaine, plus basic governing competence — significantly reduce the overall risk.
“One of the questions that comes up, frankly, is whether or not Ukraine can absorb additional assistance and how much of it. That’s very hard for us to tell. We have, in fact, more insight on the Russian side than on the Ukrainian side. But that’s something, obviously, for the Defense Department to work through as we go through this,” Avril said.
Avril added that certain questions are asked about whether certain actions could make the situation worse.
“Obviously, we are in a position where we are supporting Ukraine. But we don’t want to end up in World War III,” she said. “We don’t want to be in a situation where actors are using nuclear weapons.”
I don’t want to be too hard on Avril and Scott (the latter reminds me of an active piece of Swiss cheese that should be disposed of), because national-level policy decisions are taken by politicians, not intelligence agencies.
The testimony reminded me of a spherical cow in a vacuum, the butt of a joke making fun of oversimplified assumptions sometimes made by theoretical physicists. “Use a bottle opener,” by contrast, is the nagging accusation against the deductive logic and analytical models cooked up by venture capitalists who enter into “factoring agreements” with Russian banks in Ukraine.
When it comes to intelligence about Ukraine, Avril and Scott should be relying more on inductive reasoning, the system of inference describing the relation between propositions on intelligence, and propositions that extend beyond the intelligence, such as predictions over future intelligence, and general conclusions on all possible intelligence. Rinse, repeat
Remember what we said on Day 11and February 19, 2022.
Looking on the positive side, a legionnaire associated with Detachment Asent me some snaps yesterday of the kids unloading a fresh shipment of smart night thermal optics, binoculars and scopes.
Given the past two months’ debate over arming the Ukrainians, one might think that costly, high-profile weapons would tip the balance in this war. Although they will give the Ukrainians an added edge, Russia’s recent defeats near Ruska Lozova outside Kharkiv demonstrated the centrality of logistics and night vision gear to success and failure on the battlefield. And cunning.
Putin doesn’t eat from hunger. He eats from fear, and fear has large eyes. Day 11. Something Has Gone Terribly Wrong (March 6, 2022)
These are the inevitable snarls from those who daily chant via anecdotal, decontextualized intelligence, from those who glibly claim victory for fights in which they took no part… On the Roasting of Chicken. Stay-behind Sabotage (February 19, 2022)