Russian missiles strike NATO member Poland killing two…

flying rocket during daytime

It seems it was not a deliberate strike, but still it will be very interesting to see what happens next. BREAKING: A senior U.S. intelligence official says Russian missiles crossed into NATO member Poland, killing two people. A Polish government spokesman did not immediately confirm the information, but said leaders were meeting on "crisis situation." https://t.co/W1hhjwa6ez — The Associated Press (@AP) November 15, 2022 Brian O'NeillI help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running …

Read more…

Intercepted calls from Russian soldiers in Ukraine…

The New York Times has created an interactive story from intercepted calls from Russian soldiers in Ukraine. It makes for an inciteful if harrowing read and listen. Exclusive: The New York Times obtained intercepted calls made by Russian soldiers in Ukraine, including damning accounts of the execution of civilians. Hear the audio. https://t.co/CtMjVhLLZl pic.twitter.com/yjN0EGSQiu — The New York Times (@nytimes) September 28, 2022 The soldiers admit to killing civilians as well as looting. They also tell of massive casualties in …

Read more…

Putin announces ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russia and threatens nuclear retaliation…

First the pandemic, then the cost-living crisis, and now we have nuclear annihilation to look forward to. From Reuters: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called up 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine and said Moscow would respond with the might of all its vast arsenal if the West pursued what he called its “nuclear blackmail” over the conflict there. It was Russia’s first such mobilisation since World War Two and signified a major escalation of the war, now in …

Read more…

Revisiting Nuclear Power : Part 1 : how it works

It can have escaped few of us that the effects of the war in Ukraine and the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the ongoing issue of climate change, have led to renewed interest in the possibilities offered by nuclear power and how it can help to solve the problems governments around the world are facing. This is leading to a re-evaluation of the case for nuclear, and, hopefully, objective consideration of its strengths and weaknesses. I believe that it …

Read more…

Empires are most often born on the battlefield, but they die in the bookstore…

St. Basil's Cathedral. This was taken during my first night in Moscow. Decided to take a stroll down the Red Square to see all the sights.

A good article by Ivan Krastev over in the FT. He discusses how Russia’s actions in Ukraine have not only fatally damaged Russia not just economically but also culturally. From the article: Rumour has it that, asked who are Vladimir Putin’s most trusted advisers, one of his inner circle replied drily: “Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great and Peter the Great.” Last week, Russia’s president openly compared himself to Peter, and the invasion of Ukraine with the tsar’s expansionist wars …

Read more…

Irish Neutrality and military alliances…

nato, flag, compass rose

The Irish Times recently published my letter on Neutrality and military alliances. In this post, I reprint the letter as well as expand on the topic. A chara, – It has often been noted that generals tend to fight the battles of today with the weapons and strategies of the last war. Russia may be finding this out to its cost in Ukraine. Critics of Ireland’s policy of neutrality and relative lack of military capability tend to call for us to …

Read more…

Putin says that Russia is fighting for the motherland in Ukraine…

It is the 9th of May, the traditional Victory Day in Russia. Unfortunately for Putin, he has still not gotten his victory over Ukraine. The invasion which he assumed would take two or three days is now dragging on for over three months. Ukraine played an important role in WW2, a fact not lost on Zelensky. ⚡️Zelensky in his WWII victory day speech: 'We won then. We will win now.' “We will never forget what our ancestors did in World …

Read more…

Ukraine claims to have sunk the flagship Russian warship Moskva…

Close up shot of a battleship cannon

Quite a stunning achievement from the Ukrainians if true. This is quite a good thread on the subject: Some thoughts on the apparent sinking of the Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva: if confirmed, it's likely to go down in history as one of the most audaciously successful attacks in modern naval history. /1 pic.twitter.com/hWlLdbNMxP — ChrisO (@ChrisO_wiki) April 14, 2022 The Russians are denying the attack claiming the ship was injured by onboard missiles catching fire. I suspect the Ukrainian …

Read more…

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: International Relations Theory…

soldiers, war, gun

In trying to understand the grave, current political times the world finds itself in regards to the totally amoral Russian invasion of Ukraine, I often think back to what I had learnt in my International Relations classes as part of my Politics degree that I studied many years ago. One theory of international relations that I have always referred to for my understanding of global politics is the theory of realism. Put simply, realism assumes that states behave like humans …

Read more…

“Every time you think, ’No, he wouldn’t, would he?’ Well, yes, he would…”

putin, politics, kremlin

Fiona Hill is an expert on Russia and a biographer of Putin. Her interview with Politico is a good background to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. Some quotes: Putin is usually more cynical and calculated than he came across in his most recent speeches. There’s evident visceral emotion in things that he said in the past few weeks justifying the war in Ukraine. The pretext is completely flimsy and almost nonsensical for anybody who’s not in the echo chamber …

Read more…

Especially in a crisis, we must hold space for non political witnesses from every side of the room

avenue, trees, path

“Since 1945, Western Europe has enjoyed a holiday from history. That has bred and unearned sense of moral superiority vis-a-vis unluckier people.” – Simon Kuper, Financial Times 26/27 February, 2022 It should be obvious by now the world is not as comfortable, cosy or as unambiguously predictable as many of us have come to think of it. Even those of us who grew up with conflict in the 70s/80s/90s. Kuper writes with directness and uncommon appreciation of where we find …

Read more…

Russia invades Ukraine…

kiev, ukraine, church

Not content with already being the biggest country in the World, Russia has invaded its neighbour Ukraine. The whole thing is a real failure of diplomacy. Bringing NATO onto the very borders of Russia was always going to provoke a response. But as an independent country, Ukraine has its rights also. The whole thing is profoundly depressing. Thousands of civilian casualties, refugees, a humanitarian crisis. Not to mention how it could escalate. You can follow the whole thing live on …

Read more…

Apocalypse Now? The Ukraine crisis and should we be worried?

kiev, ukraine, city

On 22nd October 1962 President John F Kennedy took to live television to warn the American public that Soviet nuclear missiles had been discovered on Cuba, a mere ninety miles from the Florida coast. The American military, including the Strategic Air Command with its B-52 bombers armed with nuclear weapons, was put on full alert. For the next six days, the world held its breath as the Americans affected ostentatious preparations for an invasion of Cuba and the US Navy …

Read more…

Ukraine Crisis: the folly of false historical analogies

The ceasefire in Ukraine seems to be sort of holding. No one, however, seems terribly optimistic that peace is going to come. Certainly there is no sign of the displaced refugees returning home. The conflict has repeatedly been portrayed as a binary good vs. bad situation analogous to the most simplistic of cowboy films by the West with the only dissent tending to be from the usual suspects (such as John Pilger here – that said good to see the …

Read more…

Ukrainian crisis: it hasn’t gone away

The conflict in Gaza seems to have largely pushed that in Ukraine off international consciousness. The Guardian, however, reports that the Ukrainian government have been making steady gains against the pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. The west has become somewhat quieter about the downing of the Malaysian airliner MH 17 over the last couple of weeks and the Americans seem to have accepted that it was a mistake. The internet is still awash with conspiracy theories about …

Read more…

The downing of MH 17 shifts spotlight back to Ukraine

The downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine has been one of the major events of last week. Most of the fingers of blame have been pointed at the pro-Russian separatists who have previously shot down Ukrainian military aircraft with sophisticated Russian surface to air missiles (though both sides have access to such weaponry). The photographs are quite harrowing – personally I find the ones of toys and books etc. to keep children happy during the flight the most …

Read more…

Ukraine: impotent activism and the limits of US power

Tomorrow will bring the referendum on Crimea leaving Ukraine and joining Russia. Most people are aware of the sequence of events: the Ukrainian president turning down a deal with the EU in favour of one with Russia; mass protests in Kiev leading to the fall of the government; the new government being unacceptable in Crimea and then the entry of the Russian army. This sequence of events can be argued over at great length with arguments for and against each …

Read more…

Russian special forces caught red handed on camera

Russia continues to deny that it has armed forces in Crimea, but it was only a matter of time before someone slipped up. Not only do the mysterious “self-defence forces” use Russian guns, uniforms and vehicles (complete with Russian military number plates) but at least one of them has forgotten to take all the identifying labels off his army uniform (Russian language original), leading to a social media profile naming his special forces unit. Of course Putin doesn’t expect us …

Read more…

Sean Quinn Declared Bankrupt in Ireland

Having succeeded in having Sean Quinn’s bankruptcy status in the UK annulled, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBCR), formerly Anglo Irish Bank, today applied to have Mr Quinn declared bankrupt in Dublin High Court.  Mr Quinn did not oppose the application. On Friday evening there was another attack on Mr Quinn’s former business headquarters.  That occurred just days after the UK bankruptcy annulment and one day after it was reported that Quinn Wind Energy Ltd had also been placed into administration. And the Irish …

Read more…