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Space debris forces astronauts on space station to take shelter in return ships (space.com)
507 points by tosh 63 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 430 comments



This wasn't just any space debris. This debris was created when Russia blew up one of their own satellites earlier today!

https://www.theverge.com/2021/11/15/22782946/russia-asat-tes...


Why the fuck?

The Russians are fully aware of why these kinds of tests are a really really bad thing to do. I truly don't understand why they'd do this. They care about the long term viability of human space travel as much as the US. Do they really think testing out their satellite missiles is worth the result? It's not like there aren't a million other ways to test it without actually blowing anything up.


Same reckless behavior that caused this terribly sad event?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Airlines_Flight_17


Said reckless behavior is far more common than most people want to admit [0]

Interesting about that article; The, rather obscure, Itavia Flight 870 is the only US mention there, while the much more well known Iran Air Flight 655 [1] isn't mentioned at all.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airliner_shootdown_inc...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655


Plenty of more reckless behavior where this one come from...

Using your own secret service to kill your own population for political gain:

"Russian apartment bombings" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_apartment_bombings

Radioactive attacks in another country:

"Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_of_Alexander_Litvine...

Chemical attacks in a NATO country:

"Poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_of_Sergei_and_Yulia_...

Poisoning political enemies in another country:

"Navalny says he tricked FSB agent into admitting poisoning" https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20201221-navalny-says-...


>"Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko"

Morbidly enough this incident appeared on the UK A-level physics paper one year as part of the module on nuclear physics. I think the task was to explain why alpha radiation is so dangerous if ingested.


I'm not sure I would the poisonings "reckless", they are deliberate, calculated and successful. Of course they could instead make it look like an accident or a drug overdose; or just take the target out by sniper. Instead the Russian government orchestrates obscure methods that make it much more interesting for the international press, as well as making it obvious for everyone that it was the FSB without completely destroying plausible deniability.

That's completely different from "people staffing an air defense system were reckless/undertrained/misinformed and accidentally shot down an airliner".


I’m not sure you know the full story regarding the Skripal poisoning. The target and his daughter actually survived. Two “civilians” were later poisoned after discovering a discarded purfume bottle which contained the novichok. One of those people died. So the targets survived, a British citizen was murdered, and the Russian’s faced little consequences.



>The, rather obscure, Itavia Flight 870

It certainly it is not obscure in Italy. The Ustica disaster is very well known.

On the other hand while it is possible or even likely it was mistakenly downed by a NATO missile, the nation ultimately responsible is still unknown. It might have been US, France or even Italy itself.


You're referring to the "list of airliner shootdown incidents"? It definitely has the Iran Air flight.


My bad, I searched for "United States", that only gave me a hit on the Itavia Flight, but skipped Iran Air because that section uses "US".

Still, kind of difficult to believe the US only had two incidents of that nature.


> Still, kind of difficult to believe the US only had two incidents of that nature.

Why’s that difficult to believe?


>> Still, kind of difficult to believe the US only had two incidents of that nature.

> Why’s that difficult to believe?

Because of stories like this: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/13/us/us-airstrikes-civilian...

> Without warning, an American F-15E attack jet… dropped a 500-pound bomb on the crowd, swallowing it in a shuddering blast. As the smoke cleared, a few people stumbled away in search of cover. Then a jet tracking them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, then another, killing most of the survivors.

> The site of the bombing was bulldozed; the unit that conducted the strike vindicated itself; key evidence was buried; military logs were altered; and investigations were stalled and subverted. Although the Pentagon's independent inspector general managed to launch a probe, "the report containing its findings was stalled and stripped of any mention of the strike."

The last paragraph is some Karimov's Uzbekistan level shit.


What does an air strike in a war zone have to do with US missiles or fighter jets shooting down commercial airliners?

If you’re going to say “we don’t trust them” or something you’d have to then go and find all sorts of unaccounted for airliners that disappeared without cause and just decide to, without evidence, claim the U.S. secretly shot them down and is covering it up. It’s just a big conspiracy goose hunt. Oh and while you’re at it, we can toss in that airliners that crashed were just secret US cover-ups of shooting them down maliciously too because they “scrubbed the logs”.


What war zone has to do with people sitting in a secure facility and drone attacking civilians on the other side of the planet? Then covering that up.

> you’d have to then go and find all sorts of unaccounted for airliners that disappeared without cause

Wrong. Open the list above and see the soviet cases. None of those were unaccounted. They just crashed "of natural causes".


> What war zone has to do with people sitting in a secure facility and drone attacking civilians on the other side of the planet? Then covering that up

I think it's because the people doing what you're describing are doing it to a war zone and not commercial airliners? Are drone pilots shooting down commercial airliners now? I'm confused.

And if you take issue with calling the area a war zone no big deal, let's just call it a defined geographic area. It's beside the point.

> Wrong. Open the list above and see the soviet cases. None of those were unaccounted. They just crashed "of natural causes".

Ok. Can you list some civilian airliners that the US shot down and is covering? I'd love to know more about that. As far as I know the U.S. isn't shooting down airliners and covering it up but hey maybe you have some really good evidence or sources.


If you forgot the parent comment was about "reckless behavior". Bombing weddings, hospitals, whole families who worked for the US (as in the latest case in Afghanistan), and running civilians seems quite reckless to me. I have no info on US downing commercial planes. But given the history of war crimes and lack of accountability I wouldn't be surprised if they did something of that sort.


Sure, and the Dutch have a history of colonizing people and chopping off the hands of Africans so they probably secretly shoot down commercial airliners too. I have no proof but ya know I wouldn’t put it past them.


Can you name another nation that has had such a global, and active, military presence as the US has had, particularly since the establishment of formal air-forces?

We are also talking about a military that does not only have a recent string of burrowing civilian casulties, like in Afghanistan or Syria, but has been doing so in plenty of other conflicts.

So yes, it's a bit difficult to believe that in decades of war the US ever only shot down two wrong planes, most likely that wikipedia list simply ain't anywhere to complete, like most of them.


> We are also talking about a military that does not only have a recent string of burrowing civilian casulties, like in Afghanistan or Syria, but has been doing so in plenty of other conflicts.

> So yes, it's a bit difficult to believe that in decades of war the US ever only shot down two wrong planes, most likely that wikipedia list simply ain't anywhere to complete, like most of them.

I think your starting with what you want to believe is true and then walking back from that to find evidence to fit a narrative. There’s no reason to think that because the U.S. has willingly or unwillingly killed people in, say, an Afghan village that they’d be likely to misidentify commercial aircraft which have technology that positively identifies the aircraft. And in one case I recall with Iran it was a tense situation and you can at least give some amount of plausible deniability to the US military. They did pay out to the victims too IIRC, certainly not something that Russia or others have done.

As you mentioned, the U.S. has a global military presence. That means that encountering commercial aircraft all over the world would be a common occurrence and positive identification of those aircraft comes from U.S. led or contributed technologies and processes for making sure that they aren’t misidentified. So I’m not really sure it’s difficult to believe that the U.S. just doesn’t make many mistakes here, whereas in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria the situation is not comparable, error-prone, and quite complicated.


> And in one case I recall with Iran it was a tense situation

Said tense situation was the result of the USS Vincennes sailing into Iranian territorial waters, while the Iran-Iraq war was waging. It wasn't something that was just randomly forced onto them.

Which has way more parallels to MH17 than most Americans would be comfortable admitting.


Hmmm I wonder if there is more to the story than "USS Vincennes sails into Iranian territorial waters"?

Vincennes had entered Iranian territory after one of its helicopters drew warning fire from Iranian speedboats operating within Iranian territorial limits. [1]

Totally random how the US ship found itself in Iranian waters. Like a complete roll of the dice even!

And before you say something about defending the U.S. or w/e. No. I'm defending honest and civil discussion, and asserting that there is nuance in the world. I don't know if you have the same intentions based on your comments, especially as you leave out seemingly important details to fit a narrative you want to portray.

"Why was the US ship near Iranian waters" -> because it can be.

"Why did the US ship enter Iranian waters if the speedboat shot from Iranian waters" -> Same reason you'd ignore a border if someone was shooting at you from across it and claiming you can't cross the border.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655


Civilian deaths caused by Americans is often due to intentional acceptance of collateral fatalities, not due to incorrectly and negligently misidentifying aircraft.


The case of the last Afghanistan drone strike was not a misidentified aircraft, it was a "misidentified" person.


This is all simply speculation until you find evidence of planes shot down by the US that aren't listed on Wikipedia.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, provide it or quit this speculative bullshit.


> This is all simply speculation until you find evidence of planes shot down by the US that aren't listed on Wikipedia.

Because English Wikipedia is the most conclusive and authoritative collection of such incidents?

> Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, provide it or quit this speculative bullshit.

So we know about two instances, one of them very well established, the other one being a "maybe", yet a third one would suddenly be "extraordinary"? In what context exactly?


While I understand the narrative and expect that to apply to civilian deaths caused by military action in general (indeed not just those caused by the American armed forces), airliners in particular are very well accounted for; all the world militaries’ combined civilian aircraft fatal mistakes are, I think, just a subset of those cases where we didn’t even find the black box.


Careful! Your bias and agenda are showing. Too bad reality contradicts your propaganda.


Curious how the US didn’t deny its involvement in this one.


Looking at the downvotes, lots think its usual in Russia for Citizens to just drive Tanks across the border to visit relatives. BUK Missiles, its just something every Russian farmer keeps in stock for personal defense...


Well, there’s this guy on Youtube that definitely looks like he has a back garden full of warmachines.


FPS Russia? Yeah, he’s an American, not Russian.

He was actually a gun maker with a FFL license, which is how he got all those machine guns. He just got off probation for marijuana charges, and is heavily suspected in the mysterious shooting death of his business partner. He won’t be producing anything any time soon, because with that felony charge he won’t be able to get a FFL again.


Actually the guy that was shot dead was the one with the FFL license, don't think Myers ever had one.


Federal firearms license license? Is that a joke about ATM machines?


LED diodes would like to have a word with you.


Perhaps more people should be aware about “LUN Number” defined by the SCSI spec to be… not a number.


You have to do a good bit more to deal in Class III items than just your FFL.


Class 3 SOT to enter the promised lands of S, MG, SBR, SBS, DD, and AOW.


1995 called and wants their FTP protocol back.


Not even an FFL (which is only needed for pretty crazy guns)- he's not allowed to own any guns at all anymore


An FFL won't help you get an MG, it will help you buy and sell guns. An FFA tax stamp would though.


Actually, FFA is what an individual needs to get a pre-1986 machine gun. It’s how you or I would buy a machine gun if we wanted one. A class III FFL is how you get a post 1986 sample.

Class III FFLs can get ahold of machine guns at MSRP, rather than paying the higher collectible rate for pre-1986 civilian legal examples. It’s also not an easy license to get, for fairly obvious reasons.


There's a biased court working hard to accuse Russia and it already took them 7 years, yet to come to conclusions that they wish to arrive at.

So no.

Meanwhile, Ukraine shooting Russian S7's Tu, USA shooting Iran's airliner and, recently and ironically, Iran shooting down Ukraine's airliner are all accounted for.


So no what?

Are you in all seriousness questioning the fact that a Buk SAM complex which crossed the border days earlier from Russia has shot down MH17? The evidence for this is clearer and presented in more excruciating detail than pretty much any other such crime, at least in the public domain. Phone calls, geolocated videos and photos, witness testimony...

I'm genuinely curious about the mental gymnastics one would need to resort to in order to deny that a Russian Buk shot down MH17.


I think that there was at least one Buk SAM complex coming from Russia at the time in this area, as well as multiple Ukrainian Buk complexes. I do not know who fired the shot which downed the airliner. Neither side has any motivation to do so in a good faith.

I don't think there exists a court whose sentence about this case I would accept, given that everybody has a skin in this game and everyone is very good at lying, but the court which does investigate this case did not come up with any sentence yet.

Are you seriously questioning me about my mental gymnastics in the absense of court ruling? What's with yours? How can you ever come up with something else than "we don't know yet"?


Lol no.

The launch site is geolocated to an area firmly under Russia proxies' control. The Buk's route from the Russian border via Donetsk to Snizhne is traced. There are hours of phone conversations with proxies and their Russian handlers, all discussing the event, then the coverup. We know the names of pretty much everyone important involved. "You don't know who fired the shot" - it's difficult to imagine that you don't know all this after so many years of report after report, phone call after phone call, detail after detail, so I can only conclude that you're not arguing in good faith.


It's not like I start my day by reading all new reports regarding the MH17. I've skimmed a few of these back in 2015, they were inconclusive. Maybe they got much better since then, but I'm not really into this thing. I just honestly didn't read them after that.

Before you suggest that I need to read some specific document which contains all the truths - obviously this is not how you do a personal investigation. I will have to read a lot, and it's not my job.

So I'm really waiting for the last season to air before I start watching this TV series.


Yes, they are aware. Russia wanted to demonstrated that they can blow satellite from the ground - from the military perspective this is important as they can blind to some extent NATO (or Chinese) battle control systems.

This is demonstration of their force, which in reality is not that great, but Russia is a master in the game of pretending that they are immensely powerful. This gives them a lot of political benefits and leverage. This is kind of action as grouping troops on the Ukrainian border or flooding Polish-Belarusian border with migrants, etc.


That their force is “not that great” would maybe be true if we were still in the era where wars are won with infantry and tanks, at least comparing Russia to NATO and mostly due to poor hardware and not a lack of manpower: but this hasn’t been the reality for almost a hundred years. Russia is one of the worlds largest nuclear powers, there will be no all out conventional war with them or any other similarly equipped nation without global nuclear armageddon.


We're still in the era where wars are won with infantry and tanks and planes and other materiel.

You don't hold ground or support your allies with nukes.


You don’t invade anyone with tanks and infantry if they have nukes tho


Air superiority and ground control is irrelevant when major cities of your country is being nuked. A pyrrhic victory is guaranteed which is the entire point of a nuclear arsenal.


Wars are not won with nukes, they are lost with them.


That’s exactly my point, which is why nobody will invade you in the first place even if your arsenal is “inferior”.


Just ask Japan.


We are in an era where observation satellites are critical to military power.

And sending a nuclear bomb for a lost western military satellite would not be an appropriate response.


they wouldn't gain leverage if their force just wasn't that great and it all would be just a bluff. I mean, if someone on HN knows that the US government would know that, too. I think what they demonstrate is unpredictability and trigger happiness. people keep their hands of others if they might go off easily.


>This is demonstration of their force, which in reality is not that great

Ahm, they can still blow us all up with thermonuclear weapons, if they decide that its necessary.

... Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is a war room!

(I mean only general Ripper could have said a phrase like this ;-)


I do wonder if something happened to the satellite necessitating destruction. Everything about this seems so unbelievably reckless that it feels like an emergency protocol being enacted. It's an old satellite but old encryption keys still need to be guarded for the sake of the historical data that might be decrypted with them.

I guess i just don't understand such a sudden move that's literally putting their own citizens lives (let alone all the others) at such risk.


Not necessary. There is no spacecraft currently in operation that is capable of retrieving a satellite and returning it to Earth, and atmospheric drag would've destroyed it eventually anyway.

At best this was negligence while testing a weapon. At worst it was a deliberate provocation.


Are we sure the X-37 doesn't have a robot arm to grab interesting bits of satellites? x)


There was a alleged incident this month where a US spy satellite approached a Chinese satellite and the Chinese satellite did a avoiding maneuver.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3154496/chi...


Given how paranoid the Russians were about the Space Shuttle (they suspected it could take the entire abandoned Salyut V station into its cargo bay, "steal it" and return to the US with it so that enemy scientists could study it), they almost certainly have routines to destroy sensitive payloads and data at a distance.

Also, just changing the orbit so that the perigee is sufficiently low (say, 200 km) will basically ensure complete burnup of the satellite in a matter of weeks. Atmospheric drag is a significant force on the lower orbits and what matters is the perigee, where the remnants of the atmosphere are densest. They will act as a powerful brake.


The US lifted a wrecked Russian submarine from the bottom of the ocean with an incredibly complex covert operation. Just because you are paranoid, it doesn't means they are not after you :).



Yes, it is an amazing story.

See the link else thread about the Glomar Explorer as well.


What are you talking about ? Do you have a wikipedia link ?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glomar_Explorer

But indeed, the US currently has no capacity to grab satellites from the orbit, so they just could have deorbited the satellite, if they wanted it to be destroyed in a safe manner.


And the US had no capacity to grab submarines from the bottom of the ocean. Right up until they did!


This satellite series had operational lifetime of 6 months and this one has been launched back in 1982. It has been dead with no means of external control for ~40 years.


Now it's extra dead with no means of external control.


You could even say it's like a zombie, with the potential of turning more of the currently "living" satellites into more of its own, eq. to more rapidly expanding debris clouds.


Because if the US did have that capacity you or others on here would know about it already.


Exactly. See also "The Jennifer Morgue" for a fictional take on it by cstross.


They weren't paranoid, they were right. The DOD specifically explored single orbit satellite grabs as a shuttle capability. I'm not sure if they ever made it a requirement though.


Scott Manley has a good video on this topic:

https://youtu.be/_q2i0eu35aY


How could the keys be recovered? I don’t understand how this action is the only choice to prevent them being captured?

The most conspiratorial part of my mind thinks the projectile coated the debris in some isotope they have tracking capabilities for to build a “safety” use case for Soyuz


Recovering enemy satellites was one of the design goals imposed on the US Space Shuttle program by the Air Force. The shuttle ended up flying to the Hubble telescope to fix/upgrade it half a dozen times, though obviously they kept it in orbit rather than recovering it.

The DOD probably has a replacement for the shuttle that does the same thing. I seem to remember a DARPA program over a decade ago


DARPA’s spacecraft became the x-37B, which probably has fuck-with-satellites capability via robot arm but a rather paltry 4 ft by 7 ft payload bay (The shuttle had 15 ft by 60 ft !)


What the x-37B lacks in payload volume, it more than makes up for in endurance: why temporarily bring a satellite to earth when you have weeks or months to remotely tamper in orbit?


> but a rather paltry 4 ft by 7 ft payload bay

IIRC there's a scaling limit with modern military/spy satellites on two axes: radar cross section and thermal output both grow with volume and make the satellite easier to target in a real conflict (which is ostensibly what many of them are for). The big ones like the satellite NRO donated to NASA with the 2.4 m diameter mirrors are easy to disable and AFAIK there's not much point recovering them anyway. The ones used for telecom with recoverable military encryption keys tend to be much smaller. For example, the 2nd gen Iridium constellation satellites are 30x40x70 cm.


Does the X-37B have the carrying capacity for the computer to replace the broken down one on Hubble and the humanoid bot surgical arms and hands to make the installation in place on orbit?


No.


The DOD actually wanted to be able to do it in a single orbit. Like a smash and grab in space. Would have been amazing if they pulled it off.


didn't the shuttle also take a satellite back down and then they launched it back into orbit?


> I truly don't understand why they'd do this.

Spoken like a true westerner that doesn't quite grasp Russian brashness, recklessness, carelessness, and disregard for human life.


The US has a military advantage in space. I would expect China, India and now Russia to develop, test and brandish weapons to neutralize this advantage. (I write this as a pro-military American).

If the US doesn’t want space further militarized we could take the symbolic action of dissolving the Space Force and take actual action to forge treaties that slow down the militarization of space.


You talk as if the space force was not late to the party. Space was already militarized before the space force was established. Russia, China, and others already have branches separate from army navy and air responsible for the space domain. China has been blowing shit up in space for over a decade. Other countries don't just ape whatever America does, sometimes America has to actually develop a credible deterrence to threats.


Let the USAF handle space as it was doing before. It doesn’t need to be organized as the “Space Force.” This is saber rattling. Some multilateral diplomacy could help reduce the arms race.


I got the distinct impression that Space Force was mostly a recruiting tool. Previously my assumption would have been pursue NASA if space flight is the passion, now there's very clearly a military branch to consider if that's more my bag. Plus there's more private sector options now as well...


I don’t see space force as saber rattling. They’re not doing anything that the USAF wasn’t already doing, it’s just a more logical separation of missions.


Russia has literally won wars because the opposition underestimated how much Russia was willing to engage in scorched earth tactics.


Russia - as a state - lost to its own part, Chechnya. It couldn't invade Ukraine as planned, splitting off "Malorossiya". 2021 isn't 2008, or even 2014. Nobody's going to fight like it's Great Fatherland War, no matter how many times "can repeat" is repeated.


Chechen terrorists fought for independence. Chechnya is part of Russia, so Russia won that war. They did not plan to invade Ukraine, they planned to provide the conditions for fair voting in Crimea and they did that, which allowed for Crimea to join Russian Federation.


> They did not plan to invade Ukraine, they planned to provide the conditions for fair voting in Crimea and they did that, which allowed for Crimea to join Russian Federation.

What is this brazen propaganda of Russian militarism doing on hn?!


driving voters off the territory you plan to hold a vote on is a well known tactic for centuries at this point, as is getting your voters onto the territory you want annexed with a 'fair vote'.


I was not referencing the invasion of Ukraine however.


Don't even mention Afghanistan.


Afghanistan is a tough nut. US failed there as well.


They're welcome to scorch their own piece of Earth. LEO belongs to the civilized world.

This is nothing but vandalism... an infantile nation acting out without fear of punishment.


Why does the civilized world allow Starlink then? They've proven - that with just 1,500 objects in orbit - can cause 50% of all close encounters in orbit[1]. They plan to have 10X more objects in space soon and will probably account for 90+% of close calls by then, and 100% of collisions.

This is Elon "we're training our alpha product in a production environment, thank you for dying to train the neural net" Musk we're talking about. Do think this darling of the "civilized" West gives a single nanoparticle of care to scorching space when there's shares to be pumped?

---

[1] https://www.space.com/spacex-starlink-satellite-collision-al...


The debris cloud we’re talking about has created literally log units higher number of objects, most of which are too small to be tracked. And none of these objects can maneuver to avoid collisions.

Bringing Spacex into this is just disingenuous. The two are in no way comparable.


Being involved with 50% of close encounters makes sense when they have 50% of the satellites. And when they have 10x more satellites they'll have about 90% of all (currently projected) LEO satellites, so again being involved in about 90% of them will make sense at that point as well.

Kind of a nonsensical argument, if anyone else were putting out as many or more satellites then they'd be involved in a similar proportion of incidents. The part that matters is how SpaceX responds and coordinates with others to prevent collisions. You can't look at the raw numbers to get that.


Starlink satellites have known orbits. A "close encounter" is when two satellites pass within a kilometer of each other. The occurrence of these is highly predictable.

Planes pass within a kilometer of each other all the time, but it isn't an emergency because we have people whose job it is to make sure they don't actually hit each other, even when flying in nearby airspace. Same with satellites.


Yeah, right. "They've proven" for values of "They" equal to "Starlink competitors." The fact is, regulators are satisfied with Starlink's plans for both collision avoidance and end-of-life deorbit. There is always somebody with an axe to grind.

Musk is not motivated to turn LEO into an orbiting junkyard. Of course, to your point, neither are the Russians, yet here we are...


Starlink is really low so atmos drag would take care of it pretty quick, no?


The shot down satellite was also in LEO.


Starlink is 40 miles below iss


Yes. Within just a couple years I believe.


>there's shares to be pumped

Where can you buy Starlink shares?


Spacex already had a staring contest with ESA, or whatever this was about, it does not instill me with confidence: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanocallaghan/2019/09/02/s...


There is no "civilized world". Not anymore. Trumpism settled that.

There's the EU, and the rest of the world is failed states.


Eh, seems a bit dramatic. We had our Trump, the Soviets had their Stalin, China had their Mao, the EU had their Hitler and their Mussolini and their Petain and ...

Especially after the events of the 20th century, there's not much moral high ground left at the international level. Trump certainly sucks, but he's too incompetent to be genuinely dangerous. Strictly bush-league compared to some of the "enlightened" European leaders we've seen.


Are you comparing Trump to Stalin and Mao?

(Also, there was no EU when Hitler, Mussolini, etc. were around, and the EU is not a monolithic bloc with a meaningful identity today either.)


I think credit must be given to hundreds of people and institutions that have limited and restricted more of trump's crazy ideas, often at the cost of their careers.

Who knows what he would do if he was an absolute dictator. Power corrupts and messes with your head.


If you'll (re-)read the post, you'll find that a key point is that Trump is not in their league at all. He would probably be better compared to Berlusconi.

Trump won't be the last of his breed, of course.

(Also, there was no EU when Hitler, Mussolini, etc. were around, and the EU is not a monolithic bloc with a meaningful identity today either.)

Given the relatively short time that's elapsed since the last world war started by Europeans, I think this amounts to a special pleading.


Ah, Berlusconi… Mussolini…

I have this vaguely whimsical conjecture (that fills me of shame, I’m myself Italian) that Italy is a country of “forerunners”. If you look back, many of the behaviors and characters that animated our tormented history have become models for followers in other countries: the Roman Empire, Mussolini, Berlusconi…


Good point there. We tend to forget that Hitler took notes from Mussolini, and not the other way around.


Eh, given what the EU is and isn’t, I think associating the EU with WW2 dictators is akin to associating Mercosur with Juan María Bordaberry.

Continent of Europe, sure, I agree: even within EU member states, Poland and Hungary are currently worrying me.

It’s just that painting the border around the EU feels like the wrong level of distinction for me, given the EU isn’t really a country, it just sometimes has country-like power delegated to it by its members. (And yes, this also applies upthread to the attempt to divide the world into [civilised <=> EU] => [!EU <=> !civilised]).


Trump was decidedly 21st century, and Hitler did not preside over a voluntarily united Europe. He conquered it by force, from a single European country.


In fairness, the EU has some crazies running countries. Like Hungry and Poland are moving towards some pretty authoritarian leadership and Britain was ruled by Boris Johnson (who has been compared to a UK Trump) while they were in the EU (and he heralded them out of the EU.)

All the countries involved are smaller so the absolute impact over people's lives will be smaller. But there are also crazies.

Meanwhile, the French and German authoritarians seem to be getting like 20% of the vote and climbing.


/cries in New Zealander.


The west tried to blow up the van allen belts with a nuke in operation starfish prime. Give it a break.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime

dvt 63 days ago [flagged] | | | [–]

I grew up in the Eastern Bloc, give me a break. It's tiring being patronized by wealthy liberal Americans continually arguing how Russia isn't really that bad.


People in the Eastern Bloc (which I was not only born in, but have lived my entire life so far in) have a justified historic fear of Russia, and a long-time yearning for the prosperity of the West. This is a perspective that makes sense, but it can also bias us against Russia.

For example, few in the Eastern Bloc realize how legitimate Russia's own fears of being surrounded by US-backed enemies and invaded are. To many of us, Russia is the great invader (that is what it has been to our countries, even before WWII), so it seems absurd to imagine them fearing attack.

This is not to say, boo hoo poor misunderstood Russia. They have done and continue to do terrible things to others, and to their own people. But it is also important to remember that they have rational motivations behind those ruthless actions, and sometimes even legitimate concerns leading to them (though the loss of human life they cause is not excusable!).

It's also important to remember that US and European promises rarely amount to much. Just look at the extension of NATO, an organization explicitly considering Russia an enemy, to the East of East Germany, despite assurances from Bush to Grobachev that it would never do so. Look at the history of unilateral US reneging on deals with Iran. Russia doesn't consider the US a trustworthy deal maker, and they respond in kind. That they are willing to sacrifices human lives to do so is despicable, but hardly unique among powerful states.


> Just look at the extension of NATO, an organization explicitly considering Russia an enemy, to the East of East Germany, despite assurances from Bush to Grobachev that it would never do so.

And a very smart thing for countries that joined NATO to push for. Just look at the consequences of not doing that in Ukraine... Or Moldova before. Poor Russia cannot abuse the now NATO countries anymore...

Give it a break trying to paint them into victim, Russia isn't afraid of anything with nukes and it's oversized military.

Even the satellite strike is a warning to other parties to not get involved in its affairs or it CAN seriously hurt everyone without resorting to nukes. It's another type of MAD where everyone loses but Russia being so backwards it doesn't care. (i.e: don't help Ukraine or else)


> Give it a break trying to paint them into victim

Russia is not a victim, absolutely - it's an autocratic regime trying to cling to the last vestiges of their former empire with ultra-violence when it feels threatened, with no respect for human life. It's also not some monstrous, one of a kind villain. Can you imagine what would have happened if, say, China started building military bases in Mexico? Would the US ever allow that to happen? No country with the power to stop such things allows hostile military presence to build up at its border - that's really the be-all, end-all of much of Russia's decisions.

> Russia isn't afraid of anything with nukes and it's oversized military.

Russia's military is hundred of times smaller than NATO's. If NATO ever decides to attack Russia, Russia's military will be easily wiped out. There are US nukes on Russia's borders (in Turkey, arguably in Israel; slightly further away, in UK, France). There are anti-missile shields near to Russia's borders (in Romania).


> Russia's military is hundred of times smaller than NATO's.

Not really, depends what you compare. Perhaps hundred of times smaller budget wise, but capability it's not.

> If NATO ever decides to attack Russia, Russia's military will be easily wiped out.

Russia can easily block their own airspace to foreign fighters. They can also wipe out satellites as shown here. After that it becomes land warfare where they have superior numbers and wouldn't have issues repelling attack.

> There are anti-missile shields near to Russia's borders (in Romania).

Sure, this prevents nuclear strikes hopefully... but would be overwhelmed fast by amount of rockets Russia can throw. Plus Russia has hyper-sonic missiles that hug the ground... and this would be a priority target...


> Perhaps hundred of times smaller budget wise, but capability it's not.

Budget accounts for a lot.

> Russia can easily block their own airspace to foreign fighters.

Citation needed. The combined air-forces of NATO are not "easily block"ed from anywhere.

> After that it becomes land warfare where they have superior numbers and wouldn't have issues repelling attack.

The USA has more active personnel than Russia, and Turkey (a NATO member) is another large military by active personnel. Technology wise, NATO is also far ahead (those budgets again).

> Sure, this prevents nuclear strikes hopefully...

The (unstated) point of the shield is to allow a NATO nuclear first-strike to go through without retaliation. The current shield is probably not enough to ensure Russia's military could be crippled with that first strike, but future versions of the shield may get there.


> The (unstated) point of the shield is to allow a NATO nuclear first-strike to go through without retaliation. The current shield is probably not enough to ensure Russia's military could be crippled with that first strike, but future versions of the shield may get there.

You do realize that if a nuke goes off in the atmosphere anti-missile-tracking becomes impossible? (good luck doing radar, thermal or anything else...)

So anti-missile only works for preventing a very small first strike... (or a mistake or anything of the sort)

Now, I would wager that something like Starlink where each satellite has anti-missile tech could prevent a first strike with ballistic missiles.

Then you have missiles that hug the ground... those are impossible to detect or destroy... Radar needs some ground clearance, their speed also makes it had to detect in time and stop.

As for the rest I'll try and read and fetch citations, but Russian anti-air are effective in downing stealth aircraft and most aircraft. (see Serbia in the 90s...), SR-71 or others which fly too fast might not be stoppable but those can't really cause too much harm.

> The USA has more active personnel than Russia, and Turkey (a NATO member) is another large military by active personnel. Technology wise, NATO is also far ahead (those budgets again).

How do you move those to Russia's border and do logistics? :), also I'm not sure about that... but will take your word for it.

> Budget accounts for a lot.

Sure... but forced draft + cheap weapons have won wars in the past...


> You do realize that if a nuke goes off in the atmosphere anti-missile-tracking becomes impossible? (good luck doing radar, thermal or anything else...)

In this scenario, the NATO nukes would be fired, Russia would detect them, Russia would attempt to reatliate by firing their own missiles, the shield would destroy [some of] this volley of Russian missiles, then the NATO nukes would hit their targets and wipe out Russian ability to send any other retaliatory strikes. There may be a window between the first NATO nuke hitting (when the shield becomes useless) and the complete destruction of Russian reatliatory capabilities that still allows Russian nukes to be fired, but this at least gives some chance of a successful NATO first strike compared to the current version.

> Russian anti-air are effective in downing stealth aircraft and most aircraft.

This doesn't make them impenetrable. Defenses can be overwhelmed, artillery can be deployed to take down anti-air, strike troops can do the same.

> How do you move those to Russia's border and do logistics? :), also I'm not sure about that... but will take your word for it.

The numbers I got from here [0]. Note that I used the active personnel numbers - Russia does have more overall troops if you include reserves. Logistics is a problem, which becomes much simpler if there are already established NATO military bases in Ukraine and maybe even other former Soviet countries. Logistics is also not a trivial problem for Russia to solve - it's not like all of their troops are sitting at the Russia-Ukraine border, and they could also find themselves attacked through multiple borders.

[0] https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/military-...


> the shield would destroy [some of] this volley of Russian missiles

Russia used to have 10K+ rockets, now it's around 3000 but they're MIRVs, so they just split when reaching space and have independent targetting... so 3000 x 10/20 payloads to track and destroy.

The anti-missile shield won't be able to destroy them before they reach space (Russia is big... anti-missile shield can't reach Russian territory...)

Russia can detect preemptive attacks (spies, radars, satellites, ...)

After they're launched, good luck stopping them.

As for the Nuclear Blackout, strategy is like this - launch all of them, some of them would blow in space (just need a few 1M nukes blowing off at the same time to black out tracking for all that follow and added benefit - fry out satellites)

This is ignoring all the submarine launched nukes...

So, I hope you understand the first strike then neutralize is unrealistic...

Even if those are somehow not launched, what happens to:

- short range tactical nukes - army groups can launch independently and who knows where they're deployed

- hypersonic hug-the-ground missiles - can't radar track them since they're flying so low, can't hit them due to speed...

- submarines launching nukes / destroying most major population centers...

- Nuclear winter... even if say everything works and Russia decides not to fight back... the world is stuck with nuclear winter for century or two...

- Other players?, would the rest of the world sit idly by for nuclear winter?

> This doesn't make them impenetrable. Defenses can be overwhelmed, artillery can be deployed to take down anti-air, strike troops can do the same.

Sure... nothing is impenetrable, but 70-80% losses would make it prohibitive to sustain operations...

Nuclear tipped anti-air missiles make overwhelming attacks really stupid... just need one of these to wipe out an attack...

Tactical nukes make overwhelming ground attacks trying to neutralize anti-air stupid...

Taking that out of the equation attackers are limited to small strikes which would take heavy losses... but hopefully limited to conventional only..

> they could also find themselves attacked through multiple borders.

NATO is only on the western border... Russia is big... Look how well invading turned out for Napoleon or Hitler...

Hell... Look at Vietnam and Korea to see what happens when you meet a determined defendant to appreciate how NATO would fumble on offensive...


> if a nuke goes off in the atmosphere anti-missile-tracking becomes impossible

Why?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_blackout

> it moved to the UHF region to help mitigate this effect.[16] Even then, it would be heavily attenuated.[7]

> This means that exoatmospheric explosions are very effective against long-range early-warning radars like PAR or the Soviet Dnestr. A single 1 Mt warhead detonated at 250 km altitude would be about 600 kilometres (400 mi) downrange given typical trajectories, and might be expected to create an ionization disk 300 kilometres (200 mi) across. As seen from the radar, this would be an angle of (300 km/600 km)2 ≈ 0.3 sr, enough to hide any warheads approaching along similar paths. This would allow, for instance, a single warhead from a particular missile field to hide all the following ones from the same field. Although this would not affect the operation of the interceptors directly, being outside the range of even the very long-range Spartan, such operations could seriously upset raid direction and overall battle planning. Moreover, because the explosion takes place outside the range of the interceptors, there is no simple means of stopping it.[8]

There's also a lot of uncertainty meaning it might be much worse, that is describe on same link.


> Can you imagine what would have happened if, say, China started building military bases in Mexico?

There were NATO military bases being build in Ukraine or Moldova?

> No country with the power to stop such things allows hostile military presence to build up at its border - that's really the be-all, end-all of much of Russia's decisions.

This is one of most repeated "justifications" for Russian military aggression, but it makes no sense if you think about for a second. Russia have already had land border with several NATO member states (Estionia, Latvia) for quite some time now, and Pskov and Saint-Petersburg are still unmolested by NATO's hostile legions, as far as I'm aware.

> Russia's military is hundred of times smaller than NATO's. If NATO ever decides to attack Russia, Russia's military will be easily wiped out. There are US nukes on Russia's borders (in Turkey, arguably in Israel; slightly further away, in UK, France). There are anti-missile shields near to Russia's borders (in Romania).

Are you saying anti missile systems in Europe can provide protection from whole Russian missile arsenal? What are you basing this on? Did you consider their capabilities to launch from submarines? All analyses that I read on the subject suggests that nuclear war between NATO and Russia is still MAD.


> Just look at the extension of NATO, an organization explicitly considering Russia an enemy, to the East of East Germany, despite assurances from Bush to Grobachev that it would never do so.

The assurances concerned non-sovereign territories of a totalitarian state. Now that these states are newly sovereign and post-Soviet (and likely still politically hostile to the idea of going back to the way things were), they are free to do whatever they choose to do. It's their right.


No, the assurances were very explicit: NATO will not seek to expand one inch to the East.

While countries are free to associate, there are obvious diplomatic costs to joining a hostile military alliance (and NATO is still explicitly hostile to Russia). The fact that Russia has a single blunt instrument that it chooses to wield in these situations is as much the fault of Russia as it is the fault of people seeking to bring hostile military bases on their borders.

And again, I am fully aware of how noxious Russia is to the countries that it controls, either today or in the past. Russian influence is autocratic, corruption focused, socially conservative, and insists on Russian interests in the region before the interests of the local populace. I am under no illusions about Russia as some benevolent victim, and not trying to make any propaganda about that.

But that doesn't mean we should ascribe their actions to pure malice either, as much propaganda is wont to do; nor that we should feel that much better about being under the influence of their rivals - Empires are never good, and it's always much better to be self-determined, even if at various points various empires have been better or worse in certain regions.


> While countries are free to associate, there are obvious diplomatic costs to joining a hostile military alliance (and NATO is still explicitly hostile to Russia). The fact that Russia has a single blunt instrument that it chooses to wield in these situations is as much the fault of Russia as it is the fault of people seeking to bring hostile military bases on their borders.

You keep repeating that Russian propaganda line and simultaneously claim that your are not trying to "make any propaganda about that". I repeat my question from another message: Were there any NATO bases being build in Ukraine (or Georgia, as another example) at the time of Russian military incursion?

> But that doesn't mean we should ascribe their actions to pure malice either

Who is doing that? Yes, it is obviously nice to have a buffer from "hostile NATO states", but there are multiple other considerations why Russia would like to control its neighbors (economical, political, ideological, etc.).


> Were there any NATO bases being build in Ukraine (or Georgia, as another example) at the time of Russian military incursion?

No. Ukraine had just started talks with NATO about the possibility of joining. Not sure why this is relevant, I was already calling this a pre-emptive move from Russia, not a reactive one.

Georgia is a different case, as they had not been attempting to join NATO as far as I know. Russia is imperialistic, and like every empire, they do not take kindly to supposed vassals tryin to assert their independence for the sake of their people.

> Who is doing that? Yes, it is obviously nice to have a buffer from "hostile NATO states", but there are multiple other considerations why Russia would like to control its neighbors (economical, political, ideological, etc.).

I should have presented a stronger alternative, you are right that 'pure malice' was a straw man. The better point would be that, while Russia's imperialistic, controlling tendencies need to be stopped by the international community (as is true for any other imperialistic tendencies, such as the US or China's), bringing hostile military alliances to Russia's borders is not a stake way of achieving this goal. NATO expansion at Russia's border is too big a peril for Russia to ignore, and is bound to provoke a reaction. Other diplomatic means of protecting Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova etc. are much more likely to cause a stable peace in the region, and assuage tensions.


Please provide an example in recent history where Russia's territory itself was attacked by western forces the way Russia attacked the territory of its neighbors.


In 1994, "the west" will supply Chechen insurgents and help them with press campaigns and supply via proxy.

In 2014, Russia will supply Donbass insurgents and help them with press campaigns and supply via proxy.

Discuss?


> In 1994, "the west" will supply Chechen insurgents and help them with press campaigns and supply via proxy.

sources, this is quite an outlandish claim?

> In 2014, Russia will supply Donbass insurgents and help them with press campaigns and supply via proxy.

Do you mean Russian troops invaded Ukraine but took off their id tags and have full military support? (and diplomatic since everyone knows they're Russian troops and anyone other then Ukraine killing them would provoke war?)


"the west" was on good terms with many islamist groups pre-2001, and they happily provided troops for Chechen side. You can start with https://translate.yandex.ru/translate?url=https%3A%2F%2Fru.w...

With a lot of western media routinely showing Chechen insurgents as good people, Russian army as bad people (and then, showing Donbass insurgents as bad people, Ukrainian army as good people) they had it all fully coming. Wagging your tongue in press is an act of war.


You're not getting off this easy.

This is what you said:

> In 1994, "the west" will supply Chechen insurgents and help them with press campaigns and supply via proxy.

Where's the sources that "the west" supplied the Chechen insurgents and helped them?

And please share an English version of wikipedia, not a yandex translated version of a wikipedia page in Russian that has edits which have not even been verified. (which should have an equivalent in English anyway but I could not find it)

What I would expect is similar to the CIA involvement in Afghanistan when Russia invaded which is widely sourced and documented and a quick google search away. If there was such involvement as you say, it would have sources already. (that being 30 years ago)


We're not in court and I don't owe you whatever you demand, while being content with whatever you provide.

I'm just saying that, based on Russian wikipedia, Russians have moral base to think they're getting worse treatment from other parties than their own treatment of other parties, so they are on the good side of Kantian categorical imperative.

You can't disprove that by just saying "I don't agree", "I don't like your wikipedia" and "My media says otherwise".


I'm not disproving, you made an statement without sources, that doesn't make it true. If you had sources I would have likely learned something new.


You mean Chechnya's attempt to leave the Russian empire it's been unwillingly part of since the 19th century?

The only thing they had in common is that in both wars Russia won. Where were those evil Western forces then? Only in Russian rhetoric to justify its wars.


You mean Donbass's attempt to leave the Ukraine failed state it's been unwillingly part of since 1920s, or maybe one can say 1991 hmm?

Then these people will talk of whatboutism.


So Russian forces were involved (moral base or not) in both your examples, while Western forces in neither.

Here's a more complete list of Russia's attacks on its neighbor's territories. You'll notice they're pretty much all victories in the end:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_Russia#...

Still waiting to see those Western attacks on Russian territories that worry you so much to justify the aforementioned aggressions.


> the Ukraine failed state it's been unwillingly part of since 1920s, or maybe one can say 1991 hmm?

Someone hasn't heard of the Ukraine independence referendum of 1991, I see. And, unlike the Crimean Anschluss referendum, that one was in fact free and fair, with both sides campaigning and no comrades with AK-47s at the polling stations.


Your argument is not water-tight.

Either both Chechnya and Donbass are allowed to use military force to try and become independent, or none of them are.


You seem to presume I am in favour of Chechnya's independence. Not sure why.

Either way, the two situations could hardly be more different: Chechnya (for better or worse) had a completely home-grown, self-financed separatist government that fought independently of any third party, certainly in the first war when it didn't even have support by rag-tag groups of foreign Islamists, who came later.

Donbass was an invasion by Russia in August 2014, preceded by six months of an astroturfed separatist rebellion by its own proxies, not only initiated by a group of Russian citizens led by Strelkov, but also fully financed, armed, and partially manned by Russia. When this astroturfed rebellion was failing and Ukraine was about to take control of its border, Russia invaded with its own regular troops (twice actually, once in August 2014 and then again in January/February 2015).


I don't care what you are in favour of. I'm just saying that the outlook of Chechen insurgency in the western world was very positive, and after that (combined with Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan) they've lost any moral stance to complain about any other insurgencies. As one dude, whom I don't even really like, said: "Who are you to f... lecture me?"

The difference between Chechen and Donbass insurgencies is multi-faceted, but the point stands.


I don't think the point stands because of the differences, though. Ukraine's "insurgency" is not really an insurgency, it's an invasion. You can make an argument that a lot of insurgencies are supported from the outside, but a) you can't say that about Chechnya, and b) the one in Donbass wasn't just supported from the outside, it was initiated, armed, financed, manned from one outside country. So on a kind of insurgency gradient where on one side you have people rising up against central government for grievances real or imagined, and on the other side a pure invasion by another country with a very thin veneer of "insurgency" just to cover things up, Chechnya and Donbass are on the opposite ends, and places like Iraq and Afghanistan somewhere in the shadier middle (e.g. Iran's support for Shia militias in Iraq, Pakistan's support for the Taliban).

Insurgencies happen. Civil wars happen. Although intervention in them is often driven by geopolitical interests, it's hard for countries in the free world to justify doing so without other rationales, e.g. terrorism, genocide, etc. No such problem exists for countries like Russia, run by authoritarian imperialists. They intervene early and often, and also create fake 'insurgencies' to invade without committing.


In Donbass the sentiment for the insurgency was clearly existing, these regions were different culturally and they really wanted to follow Crimea suit and escape from increasingly unstable and nationalist Ukraine.

I agree that means for the insurgency were supplied from Russia, and that these regions would probably not take the bait did they know that the Russia will abandon them hanging in the limbo instead of Crimea scenario.

The justification for Libya was really crappy and for Afghanistan it was nonexistent so the difference is moot anyway. Large countries use force, that's that.


WWII is not that long ago, in the grand scheme of things. And if you expand "Russia" to "The Soviet Union", there are many examples of US and European efforts to destabilize various members/vassals of the USSR (culminating in its dissolution).

There are also various examples of NATO or its member countries attacking Russian allies or friendly states close to its borders, notably in the Middle East, but also in Europe (the Kosovo war).


> expand "Russia" to "The Soviet Union"

You mean expand The Empire to the countries it occupied?! Oh no no no no no. You are not gonna point to Russia's victims and declare their wounds attacks on their aggressor.

And I was asking about actual attacks on the Russian territories, since that is what you pretend they are afraid of and protecting themselves against while happily attacking neighboring non-Russian territories without hesitation.


> WWII is not that long ago, in the grand scheme of things.

Nazi Germany was USSR's ally. It is technically "west", but you are not really answering OP's question in good faith IMO.

> there are many examples of US and European efforts to destabilize various members/vassals of the USSR (culminating in its dissolution)

Ohh please. The "CIA/Soros/NATO agents de-stabilized this country we are occupying (or trying to occupy) so it is _their_ fault we are doing it" is classical Russian propaganda trope. People were fed up with communism and voted to leave. Stop trying to take away their agency!

> There are also various examples of NATO or its member countries attacking Russian allies or friendly states close to its borders, notably in the Middle East, but also in Europe (the Kosovo war).

So answer is no, you can't provide any examples of NATO states attacking Russian territory?


I agree with you. There are certain parts of the US population that really don't understand what autocratic countries are really like or don't care. They seem to think the US is an autocracy or really close to it but have no real understanding. Its mind bending how daft those groups can be.


And plenty of self-hating Slavs/Easterners from former Soviet countries who don't realize that it's not the 1990's anymore as they've never been back.

Hell, my SO left her home country because of a lack of economic opportunity; now we're moving to her home country because of better economic opportunity. Things change.


Dude, people aren't referring to the 90's when they state how terrible the Russian regime was. It's the decades before that.

The 90's started the rebuilding of most countries. The rebuild that was needed after the economic, infrastructural, intellectual and population destruction by the Russians.

Why this needs to be pointed out to some people is just mind boggling.


That's when most left hence the reference. It's also not Soviet times either.


> And plenty of self-hating Slavs/Easterners from former Soviet countries who don't realize that it's not the 1990's anymore as they've never been back.

Ever heard about Ukraine? (or Moldova, or Georgia...)

EDIT: Considering "learning Czech" in your profile, you might be interested in Russian military activity in Czech republic in recent times https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2021/04/26/how...


> Ever heard about Ukraine?

Considering half my family is Ukrainian, yes. I'm aware of many of the things happening in that part of the world, bad and good.


Then I guess either me or you misunderstanding OP's meaning in "I grew up in the Eastern Bloc, give me a break. It's tiring being patronized by wealthy liberal Americans continually arguing how Russia isn't really that bad.". It seems you understood is as "economic conditions in Russia (or Eastern Europe in general) are still very bad" but I think OP meant Russia's behavior on international stage.


I understood it as they grew up in communism or the 90's. Left for greener pastures. Probably haven't returned to see things get better.

I've seen the same attitude a lot with most immigrants from that region of a certain generation.


Yes, things definitely became much better economically in Eastern Europe, but I don't think OP was talking about that.


> it's not the 1990's anymore

Russia has a much more sinister regime now.


You probably mean the ones that joined the EU.

Take Ukraine for example, they are still fully in the "being invaded by Russia" situation.


Man, most Eastern Europe wishes it was the 1990s when it comes to Russian aggression, since it was mostly absent (aside from Moldova in 1992 and the ethnic cleansing of Georgian majority in Abkhazia in 1993, but that's not well known even in Eastern Europe). If ever there was a wrong decade to use in your comment.


Yes, I'm sure they all wish they were still in the largest recessionary/depressionary period in modern history. Things are much better now, objectively.


It's not the 90s any more, but it could be still the 1920s (the Polish-Soviet war), or the 1930s (the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and the subsequent attack on Poland), or the 1940s (the communist regime being installed, with all decisions controlled from Moscow), or the 1970s (Poland being prepared to become a nuclear wasteland in case of a large NATO-Soviet confrontation, presumably against our national interest), or the 1980s (the Polish state of national emergency, imposed thanks to Soviet pressure), or the present day (where Russia and their satellites can threaten to turn off our natural gas taps for political reasons).

In short, at least one country has legitimate reasons to never trust Russia. Since around 2011, Russia has not given a single reliable signal that it's about to change its colours, or that they got rid of the old military attitudes. Instead, they've been provoking as much as they want.

IMO, economics are important, but national survival is also at stake here.


Its worth noting that Starfish Prime happened in 1962. The Malaysia airlines flight, annexation of Crimea, election tampering, et al. happened in the 2010s.


We also filled an orbit with copper needles. But that was over 50 years ago, and we stopped doing it...


Not to forget littering space with needles, some of which are still up there!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_West_Ford


Probably true. But it's more than that list.

Specifically: It's completely against their interests if they still care about space.


I mean they care about it insofar as wanting to be either dominant (or at least be a power to reckon with) or making sure nobody can use it.


Every great power needs to know that their anti-satellite weapon system works. China, India, and the US have also shot down one satellite. Creates lots of space debris that are a pain in the ass, but a least countries aren't doing hundreds of these test like the did with nuclear weapons.


Sure. But if that's your position, you can test targets at lower orbital altitudes where the debris will decay far faster.


And India and the US did just that.


> They care about the long term viability of human space travel as much as the US.

Do they? It does not seem like they do.

> Do they really think testing out their satellite missiles is worth the result? It's not like there aren't a million other ways to test it without actually blowing anything up.

If this was a show of force rather than a test it makes more sense. I don't think anyone said, "Whoops" in Russia after that strike.


> I truly don't understand why they'd do this

For the same reason that the United States did this exact thing in 2008, India in 2019, and China in 2007.


"But the Russian military called the U.S. response “hypocritical,” saying in a statement translated by NBC that “the United States knows for certain that the resulting fragments” from the ASAT test “did not and will not pose a threat to orbital stations, spacecraft and space activities.”"

"Both the U.S. and Russia, as well as India and China, have previously destroyed their own satellites in ASAT tests. The U.S. most recently conducted an ASAT test in 2008, while Russia on Tuesday called out the Air Force’s testing of the X-37 spacecraft as showing the Pentagon “is actively developing” space weapons." [0]

I wonder how much of this is American politics playing the Russia card again. That is, maybe Russia's claim above is false, but tu quoque.

[0] https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/16/russia-us-hypocritical-for-c...


Pure speculation on my part, but in recent weeks there's been a few news stories about how the Pentagon is considering declassifying some sort of currently secret anti satellite weapon. Russia may have wanted to send a message reminding the world they have this capability too.


Ever space nation clearly has that capability already, no need to prove it. Blowing up a sat because somebody else can do makes no sense.


There's been bigger news regarding Belarus pushing migrants into EU and russian troops amassing at Ukraine's border.


Entirely possible. Think Clinton and the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

Hybrid warfare is the 21st century way.


>It's not like there aren't a million other ways to test it without actually blowing anything up.

How do you test a system without ever using it? Every ASAT weapon in operation (from ASM-135 to the Indian one) has been tested on live targets, except for the old Soviet Kontakt which remained unproven yet still was in operation for some time (IIRC).


Couldn't testing be performed on targets that are in a very low orbit with high drag, so 90% of the debris is on that orbit or lower?


It's not like they're sending up a new satellite just to blow up...

From Wikipedia:

> Kosmos 1408 was a Soviet Union ELINT (Electronic and Signals Intelligence) satellite launched into low Earth orbit on 16 September 1982. It replaced Kosmos 1378.

> On 15 November 2021, it was destroyed during an anti-satellite weapons test, resulting in over 1500 pieces of debris that subsequently risked collision with the International Space Station (ISS).

I'd say this is not that much different from something like Operation Crossroads where a bunch of decommissioned (old & captured) warships are blown up to "test what would happen if you nuked a warship"...


The last US and India ASAT tests were all on newly launched satellites.


Of course it could. AFAIK that's what the US has always been doing. Not so much Russia or China. But India tried to minimize debris as well.


Its a capability demonstration - mostly for domestic consumption.

> They care about the long term viability of human space travel as much as the US.

At the leadership level it may be that they only care about it as an area for inter-state competition or selling crewed lift capacity. The latter business is nearly done.



Putin doesn't care about his own people on the station. He is too obsessed with his weapon toys. Same reason recent nuclear accidents happened for his flying wunderwaffe megalomania.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyonoksa_radiation_accident


Given how much the US spends on weapons, I think accusing Putin on being obsessed with toy weapons is kind of rich.


Straw man argument.


I was not making an argument at all.


If anything happened to the Russians on the ISS, then Putin could use that as an excuse for Russia to build its own station.

I wonder what a modern Space Race would look like.


My guess is that Russia will fail in it pretty much off the bat. Putin isn't about progress let alone in something needing such advanced technology as a space race. He is about stealing and feeding his own power manias. Just look at who runs his space program, it speaks for itself. He might dream about space race, but all he can do is spread space junk.


well, if they cant win, they can make sure no one else does.

they just demoed they can make the kessler syndrome


That's more like Putin, yes.


Because of Space Force?


Satellite was exactly over the NOTAM area at precise time.

https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/1460305735317868545


I was just replying to the question why the Russians would do something stupid like this. Then I remembered Space Force, which IMHO is stupid too.

Tbh. I am not sure what you are trying to tell me.


I got it :-) When I posted my comment your comment said only Space Force so I misunderstood it as you mentioning it could have been Space Force doing it. I believe you updated your comment later to add the word Because? :-)

I guess this what is called a virtual space comment collision?


I think it only serves as a reminder they could take out other nations satellites should they choose. Almost like a reminder of M.A.D. and that if we think about attacking them in any way they can say you better be careful or else!


I don't get this take.

Russia has had solid space capabilities for decades and decades. Did any nations have any doubt that Russia had the ability to take out satellites if they wanted to?


Best part is Russia (as the USSR) has already demonstrated anti-satellite capability before. It's not as if we didn't already know they could destroy a satellite.


Except in that test they only got close to a satellite showing the world they could if they wanted. This was different. This sends a message.


...or maybe this time they missed?


Call it a jab. I don’t think we doubted they could we doubted they would. Now we see they are willing and capable.


Its a good move, never threaten...just do it.

“The Don considered a use of threats the most foolish kind of exposure; the unleashing of anger without forethought as the most dangerous indulgence. No one had ever heard the Don utter a naked threat, no one had ever seen him in an uncontrollable rage. It was unthinkable.” ― Mario Puzo, The Godfather


Don is Italian gangster, Putin is Russian gangster.


"Vladimir Putin: 'the godfather of a mafia clan'" https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/91...


Coulda been a decoy, coulda been a message


Because narcissism.


Yeah OP title really buried the lede. It's like "Woman receives puncture wound," instead of "Man shoots woman".

Anyway the Russian sat was at about 487 x 461 km orbit and ISS at about 330 x 435 km. That's a haircut.

Also: in July, Nauka's thrusters fired uncommanded, sending ISS way off attitude.

Is this a pattern? Is it political posturing, organizational competency rot, or just slop?


never attribute to malice what can be blamed on incompetence.


Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.


Chess can look like checkers if the move looks simple; Russia would have had plenty of time to plan this out and respond to the acceleration towards exponential rate that the U.S./SpaceX's trajectory is currently on, as a little wave, a reminder of "hey, we're here too."


That’s a keeper


Reminds me of my favorite quote:

“C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute” - Some guy that is not Talleyrand


Bonjour mon ami! Ceci est attribué à Antoine Boulay de la Meurthe


Mais non...Joseph Fouché, futur Duc d'Otrante, alors ministre de la Police de Napoléon Bonaparte...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Antoine,_Duke_of_Enghien...


Bien merci mon gas, c'est toujours intéressant ici :)


Ah, voilà!


Clarke's Hanlon's Razor?


Yep.


I love it so much; thanks for sharing. There's a point where ignorance just stops being an excuse, and becomes willful.


When incompetence becomes a pattern then is it truly different from malice?


Tautologically, yes, they are different. Also, in terms of game theory, yes. The expected outcomes of cooperative games versus competitive games are very different.


Do explain more then. Malice that hides under the guise of incompetence is definitely something a malicious actor would want.


If a pattern of incompetence is malice then it follows we should be treating people who are physically or mentally disabled, in a hostile manner as if they are malicious adversaries. Depending on the length of time you use you might also need to treat all babies as enemies as well. It takes many years for them to stop displaying the pattern of incompetence. This isn't really that theoretical. There are people who are disabled who are killed or locked up by police. There are also people who abuse their children on account of them not meeting expectations. According to the implications of your logic this would be justice, because they should be treated adversarially, since you've ascribed intent to their failures. In a world in which sustained incompetence is malice, people shouldn't take on hard tasks. Failure is not a lesson; it is an opportunity for judgement to be leveled against the one who failed. This decreases learning, because it reduces risk taking by penalizing it. In a cooperative setting someone failing in a sustained way is extremely valuable. Rather than being an example of someone to be punished their failures are lessons that others can learn from. Things done to help them, help all. It implies different programs. Instead of beating the children for being stupid, you set up schools. Instead of attacking the infirm, you develop technologies to enable them to overcome their physical limitations.


This feels like a motte and bailey.

It proves that not all sustained incompetence is malice.

But you need to prove a stronger claim: That sustained incompetence, by an actor capable of competence, and who would gain from incompetence, is not malice. But this is a case that can only be resolved in specific contexts, not in general. Because of course it's possible all the incompetence was accidental. Likewise it's possible the incompetence is being used as cover. However, it's reasonable to be suspicious in these cases.


It feels like a motte and balley because you're getting confused about what his question was. You seem to think his question was whether a malicious actor can pretend to be incompetent. That wasn't his original question. That was the situation he presented later when asking me for more detail. The existence of that claim doesn't have any bearing on his actual question. It shows an instance in which the union of the two sets isn't the empty set not that the two sets are equal. There exists a disjoint. Therefore they are not equal.

QED.

However, for the purposes of debate lets say we strictly limit our discussion to the cases in which there is malice. We're now in a competitive context in which our upside is going to be minimized. A lot of people don't seem to realize that the prisoner dillema is actually a condemnation of rational behavior, since it traps us in the worst possible world. It's actually smarter in plenty of real world scenarios to intentionally cooperate, sacrificing your own utility, rather than engaging in tit for tat. Flowing out from this mathematical idea are many teachings in religion from the Lord Jesus Christ like being good to those who are evil to you. You can see the underlying principle in our biology too. We aren't strictly rational, we instead have emotions. In particular people who are angry with other people have health consequences. There is a biological punishment to choosing not to cooperate built into us. This shows that evolution has selected for that quality which implies there is a benefit to this. I say all this because not attributing to malice what is better explained by stupidity isn't a completely foolish idea even in the case that they actually were malicious. The world in which they merely pretended to be incompetent is less severe than the nuclear war of tit for tat that wipes out all life on Earth and leaves it an irradiated wasteland.


I don't need to prove a stronger claim. Equality requires showing that all cases are the same. He is the one who asked if they were always the same. In other words, if they were equal. Inequality doesn't require that all cases are shown to be the same. It only requires that there is a single difference. Consider that 110 is different to 111 despite the fact that they both share a common prefix. If you're correct and I must prove that 11 and 11 are not equal to each other in order for these numbers to be different then it must be the case that 1 != 1 for the very concept of differences to exist. If that is true then the entire of mathematics breaks down because the identity function no longer holds.


I like the energy you are trying to give off, but mentally disabled people don't typically have anti-satellite ballistics. Its a shame that most disabled people are considered scary. I worked with autistic children as as school requirement some years back. In many ways, they are not nearly as scary as intelligent people, but there was still cause for concern if they picked up a sharp knife, just from the unpredictability.

Regardless, this case with Russia is like your very technologically advanced friend who is destroying your art project with his reckless movement of his project around the shop. Its not cool, because if you have the ability to build a hyper-ballistic missile, you have the ability to predict the debris scatter.


You're scoping it to Russia, but I feel the conversation expanded in scope to cover additional instances because the conversation now includes 'never attribute' in the parent chain. In the expanded scope the answer is yes they are different. In the limited scope the question trivially goes the other way, because it is defined to go the other way. It could still be that it went that way because of incompetence though, or not, we don't really know. Which makes doing so intellectually dishonest. It is begging the question of whether there was malice. In this case, seeing as there haven't been regular examples of the intentional creation of space debris, it is also skipping past the other condition that was supposed: a history of incompetence. Moreover, in this particular case, there would seem to be some probability of cosmonauts dying after a breach of the space station leads to the loss of life. So it would be more like you're technologically advanced friend killed one of his friends and destroyed an art project in expectation. Which, actually, is the sort of thing that happens more often because of poor weapon handling. We see this kind of thing happen often because of poor trigger safety in terrestrial weapon use which we are more familiar with.


> Instead of beating the children for being stupid, you set up schools. Instead of attacking the infirm, you develop technologies to enable them to overcome their physical limitations.

So what do we do with apparently malicious governments?


I can tell you what we have done historically when governments were malicious by consulting a history book, but I can't tell you what we will do in the future. The halting problem makes it formerly provable that it is impossible for me to tell you what we will do. To borrow a term from Wolfram, the problem is computationally irreducible. You're asking me for prophecy. I won't give you one.

Also, as a minor point: I said the true statement that sustained incompetence is not the same thing as malice. You quoted me giving examples of sustained incompetence being met with judgement. However, you asked me about situations pertaining to apparent malice rather than sustained incompetence. The situations you quoted aren't alike to the situation you asked about.

Even if they were alike they have no bearing on my claim that sustained incompetence is not equal to malice. Equality doesn't exist when there is a union. Equality exists when there is no disjoint.

There is one potentially valid interpretation of your question: instead of what do we do you could mean what ought we to do with apparently malicious governments. I admit I'm not an expert on this topic. You would be better off asking people who have studied political science, especially in the context of warfare wherein malice is more common.


I think the person you're replying to is implying the use of the second amendment as what some would characterize as a 'teachable moment'.


> Tautologically

Did you mean this word? I can't make sense of it in this sentence.


It seems tautological to me because they are asking the question are two different things different. So the definition of the question gives the questions answer. So the question is answered by its logical form alone. I was trying to get across that it was a trivial result. Just think about the definitions. Malice involves intent, but incompetence doesn't. So the sets as defined don't capture the same scenarios. They are different sets.

A lot of times people use language to convince rather than express raw truth. To an extent, I also used the term tautologically in order to express triviality in order to convince. I believed that the result was so trivial and obvious that people should use their slow and precise reasoning to analyze the question rather than their fast and vague reasoning to answer the question. By expressing the triviality of the result, I lower the expected cost of them evaluating the query, and since I'm actually just correct if they evaluate the query they'll find that I'm correct. So having them do that is convincing.

This isn't like, bragging. It's like someone claiming that two plus two is four. It's not this big reaching claim. So a more interesting question is maybe why people don't notice that I'm correct? I find it so fascinating, I'll try to give my answer. What I think is happening with a lot of people in the replies is they're using their fast and vague minds to process things instead of doing what I tried to encourage. But they're hitting on the pattern of rhetorical question leading to argument. Their fast mind doesn't notice the real question was as simple as two plus two or if it does it edits the question for them to something more interested. That is why you see one person hallucinating that I'm talking about second amendment gun rights. The fast and vague processing is basically trapping them in a hallucination of a conversation in which people are arguing with each other about politics. They can't see reality, because they're so used to debating that their mind sees debate even when it shouldn't be there. I can actually produce this hallucination in myself by skimming the conversation, it makes me seem like I'm veering off topic. Really, I'm just short-circuiting to raw logic rather than vague reasoning, but it feels weird. It feels like I'm talking past other people or something, because my replies don't align with what you would expect in the imaginary conversation. But look really closely. I'm not actually the one who is babbling like GPT. Look closely at their reply and notice they are talking about a Russia that is showing sustained incompetence. Then ask yourself how many satellites Russia blew up. Did they show sustained incompetence in the blowing up of satellites? Look closely at how they bring in the second amendment. How does that have any bearing on whether the two sets are the same? How does it relate to the core question? Notice they are asking about how to properly respond to malicious governments: war policy and political policy. Were we discussing policy questions: no, we were evaluating a predicate function: are two sets different.

And they're different.


Why not? I've found this advice to be harmful. Lots of extreme malice happens under the cover of incompetence.


I would argue because incompetence is statistically more likely.


Not from hostile state actors.

We're talking about a country that has spent the past fifteen years rearming, has interfered in elections and referendums, has held nearby countries hostage over energy supplies, has been involved in ransomware and hack attacks, has imprisoned political opposition leaders, is currently massing an army on its borders, and is run by a short insecure and vain man with mafia connections who likes to posture topless in staged PR photos.

It's really quite surreal to dismiss all of that as "incompetence."


Half of that applies just as much to the US, even more half of that applied to it not too long ago.

Which makes all this reheated cold war rhetoric really surreal to most third parties.


Are we talking about the US? They have not murdered a million Arabs in the last 2 decades, so we can say that in their favor.


:Eyes-looking-sideways emoji:


Yet malice is statistically more profitable, and pretending to be incompetent is statistically more easy that taking the blame for malice.


In my experience, you should only apply Hanlon's razor in the first instance, but not thereafter!


Depends on the derivative, I think.


That's what malicious people say.


> Also: in July, Nauka's thrusters fired uncommanded, sending ISS way off attitude.

It's incredibly misleading to describe it vaguely as "in July," when it occurred just a few hours after arrival and its first ever docking at the ISS. Not abruptly from some long stable state.

You're willfully trying to be conspiratorial, go away.


I think you’re just reading it uncharitably. They’re just dating the event so we know there was another space event recently.


Wow, it's exactly like in the "Gravity" film!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_(2013_film)


> During a spacewalk, Mission Control in Houston warns Explorer's crew about a rapidly-expanding cloud of space debris accidentally caused by the Russians having shot down a presumed defunct spy satellite

Life imitating art.


Except it wasn’t accidental :/


A defunct Russian satellite is destroyed in orbit and its debris threatens astronauts upgrading Hubble and the Chinese space station located in a similar orbit.

It’s scary how accurate the plot is to the real-world situation…


Well, in reality all those are in very different orbits, especially the Hubble at 600+ km up. And ISS and the Chinese space stations have very different orbit inclination, mainly due to lauch corridor concerns.


Time to jump between spaceships. Just like that time I accidentally got on the wrong flight so I propped open the emergency exit and did a mid air transfer to the right one. Lost my checked bag though


Oh you're thinking of Air Force One.


Oh yeah! Forgot about that movie thanks


No it's not. That movie has no bearing on reality.


sorry, are there not astronauts who were recently imperiled by a debris cloud caused by the russians shooting down an old satellite?


Currently it actually does.


We're going to Kessler syndrome ourselves over some trivial dispute on the ground "requiring" a satellite to be taken out, then retaliation has to occur by the opposing party to save face. Repeat a few times and now you can't get into orbit.


In a major-war-between-superpowers situation, maybe "nobody can get into orbit" is preferable to one side controlling space unilaterally? Though I suppose things would have to be really bad to deny access to space even on a short-term basis. The more plausible scenario maybe just that most of the commercial satellites get destroyed by and become debris, and nothing can occupy certain orbits for any significant length of time without getting hit eventually. Which means that short-term use of space for military objectives would be the least-impacted use case.


you have a point, ICBMs fly up to 2000km so if there is a ton of debris at 400 km we are good. Well, unless you need to worry also about nuclear cruise missiles, torpedos, short range ballistic missiles, hacking civilian infrastructure and conventional weapons.


I'm not sure if Kessler syndrome would prevent ICBMs - it wouldn't prevent things from getting to space, it would prevent things from getting to space safely. If there's a 50% chance of a destructive impact, manned flights are right out, but firing hundreds of ICBMs would still be reasonably effective.


Completely reckless behavior.

Reminds me of when China did the same thing (and of course endangered everyone). Now that America has human flight capabilities again thanks to SpaceX, I think it's time to sunset space relationships with Russia just like it was done with China.

Maybe collaboration can resume once they make the decision to behave properly again.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Chinese_anti-satellite_mi...


It's unclear that such a sunsetting would decrease the odds of future tests. Probably wise to keep friends close, enemies closer.


> It's unclear that such a sunsetting would decrease the odds of future tests

Honestly, Russia seems to be treating the ISS as a test anyways...

https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2021/07/29/space-station...

https://www.sciencealert.com/russia-knows-what-caused-the-ho...


>Probably wise to keep friends close, enemies closer.

Whoever said that didn't have many enemies.

-Stannis Baratheon


Reminds me of when US shot down USA-193 at 250km


Except in this case USA-193 was already losing altitude quite fast and was expected to re-enter in the following year no matter what.

Now, the satellite Russia shot, Kosmos 1408 [0] had an altitude of 679 km. It will take decades for all the debris to re-enter the atmosphere.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosmos_1408


What is the message Russia sending? We will take down satellites coming over our land (e.g. starlink, competitors, foreign actors), is it trying to muscle relevance in the space program, is it trying to distract away from the problems with NATO vis a vis Belarus/Poland, or are they going to knock out some satellites and run into Ukraine with their large build up along the border.

Or did someone from the military fire a rocket without think about the consequences because the military does that sometimes?


The message is "we're so nuts we don't even care if we have to kill our own cosmonauts just to fuck with you."


Like:

> The madman theory is a political theory commonly associated with US President Richard Nixon's foreign policy. Nixon and his administration tried to make the leaders of hostile Communist Bloc nations think he was irrational and volatile. According to the theory, those leaders would then avoid provoking the United States, fearing an unpredictable American response.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madman_theory


This is probably actually it. The message is we are crazy, dangerous and not to be messed with because you can't predict how we will respond to anything you do. We don't care about consequences the way you do, so stay away from us and our interests.


The cost asymmetry translates into Russia not being able to do much against Starlink in space.


what cost asymmetry? I assume the tactic would be Kessler syndrome: ruin the orbit for everyone


Right thats what I assume as well - though Russia plays unpredictable I don't believe it is as self destructive as it projects its image. They still wheel and deal like a traditional nation but add some dramatic flair.


It's a failed state at this point, a kleptocracy.


That would affect more than just that orbit, it would affect our ability to get into space at all.


And?

"We're willing to ruin humanity's ability to get into space for generations for short term political gain" is definitely the message.


And the worst thing is that Kosmos 1408 was in a 679km x 645km orbit. Expect the debris to stick around for a long time.

https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1460403960284516354


A few weeks ago it was from an older Chinese test. It would be quite disturbing if the ISS was destroyed and then China would offer cooperation with theirs.


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