Russia did a very strange thing; they withdrew from Kherson city. The strange part is that they had enough troops and soldiers there to keep killing the Ukrainians indefinitely, without suffering significant losses; the Ukrainians basically got a gift they could never have conquered militarily, and not for the lack of trying – they’ve been trying for months, and the result was lots of dead Ukrainians. The strangest part about this is that Kherson is an ideal bridgehead for the Russians for taking Nikolaev and Odessa.
The first-order analysis indicates that the Russians abandoned the plans for using this bridgehead in order to advance towards Odessa and connect with Transnistria.
The second-order analysis asks the question “why”. It is possible that America sold the Russian leadership some bullshit about averting nuclear war by freezing the conflict at the Dnieper river, without any political solution, basically allowing things to cool down. The actual American plan would be to “refurbish” the Ukrainian army which is in very dire straits and would collapse if the Russians were to perform the anticipated winter campaign with the additional 300k troops. The Russian people fear something of the sorts, but are giving their leadership the benefit of the doubt, and if there isn’t a winter offensive, heads will roll, and I mean Putin and his people. This might exactly be the American long-term plan. Another possibility is that the Russians have abandoned the partial plans for Ukraine, which the south belt connecting Kherson with Transnistria through Odessa would be, and that they intend to come into Ukraine hard, pulverize their army, kill their leadership, throw out NATO and send a firm message – anyone fucking with us ever again will end like this. This is what the Russian people want, and if the leadership doesn’t produce this goal, the people will produce new leadership, which might be very bad for everyone, because all the candidates are hot-headed and inexperienced.
I don’t know which one is it, so we basically have a ternary tree, where one branch is armistice, where America and NATO regroup, fix the failing Ukrainian army, and proceed to try to weaken and isolate Russia, where Russia isn’t willing to strike at the core of the problem directly, so by definition their only hope for a victory is America crumbling down due to their own internal issues, or, alternatively, from a war with China over Taiwan. The highest-probability outcome in this war is still nuclear, only with a delay that would give America a better, less chaotic situation, and Russia would have internal political turmoil and wide-spread popular dissatisfaction with the situation preceding the war. This puts Russia in a precarious situation where they enter a certain nuclear conflict weakened and demoralized. They would lose, and they might not even manage to strike at the enemy properly, similar to the 1990s situation. Russia loses, but China performs a full strategic strike at America, because it becomes obvious to them that they are next, and with their main strategic ally lost, the nuclear option is the only alternative to total defeat and eternity of servitude.
The second branch is that the Russians are deciding to be done with Ukraine altogether, and are now giving up on partial solutions, where they would take the south and everything east of Dnieper; no, Ukraine needs to be rinsed of both Nazis and NATO, and the job needs to be done thoroughly, by tearing the filth down, killing all the problematic people there, and rebuilding everything on solid grounds afterwards. Giving up on the Kherson bridgehead means giving up on the concept of having a costly breakthrough in the South, that doesn’t give them a stable outcome in the end, but only increases the front line that is locked in perpetual conflict. This branch means the Russians wait for the ground to freeze and their reinforcements to be ready, and they most likely pulverize everything with aviation and rockets first, and then do a blitz from multiple vectors. As Ukraine falls, NATO goes in from the West, there is a direct conflict, and the Russians decide that the war with the Americans is no longer something they could avoid or limit, and they start taking out American command and control assets in Europe and in space. The Americans retaliate by striking Russian command and control centres with tactical nukes. The Russians perform a full strategic retaliation. What is left of America retaliates at Russian and Chinese cities.
The third branch is something that is usually ignored, because of Putin’s very strong psychological and ethical resistance to being the guy who started the nuclear war with the West. The third branch means to realize that Russia is already in a war with the collective West, and needs to win it. Strike decisively, strike first, strike with the element of surprise, take out all enemy assets, and strike so hard that the enemy never again poses a danger. This branch is something I am listing as an option only because I’m being thorough; it is a single digit probability option.
So, basically, I don’t know what’s going on because at this point everybody is lying and trying to deceive the enemy with everything they have, so I have to basically ignore everything I see and hear, and stick only to what I know. Strangely, it might be the economical factors that push America’s hand – for a while now everything’s been balancing at a knife’s edge, and something will eventually give and we’ll have the entire house of cards crumbling. What I do know is that everything is rotten, and there’s no healthy tissue anywhere in the Western sphere, and it will certainly collapse. I don’t know the exact immediate cause, or the exact conditions of the moment, and I honestly don’t care, because that’s the pastime of fools. I care about the thermodynamics of hurricanes, not which houses will be the first to lose power when it strikes. However, it is very likely that the Americans will have some advance knowledge of the exact circumstances of the collapse, and this will force their hand.