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Old 24th January 2022, 04:11 AM   #1
alfaniner
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World War III

Well, "World War III" is trending on Twitter. OK, so those trends change from second to second. This time it's a little different.

OK, so we didn't start the fire. It was always burnin' since the world's been turnin'. I am a bit surprised that there wasn't already a thread with this title, but I'm a fan of a worst-case scenario.

Russia-Ukraine-US. North Korea firing more missiles. China invasively flying over Taiwan. NATO sending ships and jets to Europe. (More than normal.) Perhaps it's because I just watched Fail-Safe that makes me dwell on it more. One little mistake or computer glitch can set off a domino effect.

I used to see this series "Seconds from Disaster" on cable. It was amazing that so many small elements could coincide to lead inevitably to the disaster being discussed.

It's bad enough that the slow-end-of-the-world may be happening (Covid, climate change). I see much more potential for a flashpoint here.
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Old 24th January 2022, 04:14 AM   #2
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Don't think of it as a disaster for the (extinct?) human race, look upon it as a re-set for Planet Earth...
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Old 24th January 2022, 05:08 AM   #3
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Butterfly effect.
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Old 24th January 2022, 04:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SteveAitch View Post
Don't think of it as a disaster for the (extinct?) human race, look upon it as a re-set for Planet Earth...
Maybe all the other animals invented Covid to get rid of us.

CNN:

"Oh we'll keep trying", said a cow that wished to remain anonymous. "We're definitely on the right track with this, I mean look how many of them want it to spread! This is going to be much easier than we anticipated"

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Old 24th January 2022, 07:12 PM   #5
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I don't think there'll be a World War III. Or if there is, it will look nothing like World Wars I and II. There will certainly be skirmishes and local conflicts, but nothing like the all-out war of the past. For a start, modern military technology makes the ground wars of the past obsolete. The next major conflict, if it comes, will be fought over the horizon, not face to face.
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Old 24th January 2022, 07:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I don't think there'll be a World War III. Or if there is, it will look nothing like World Wars I and II. There will certainly be skirmishes and local conflicts, but nothing like the all-out war of the past. For a start, modern military technology makes the ground wars of the past obsolete. The next major conflict, if it comes, will be fought over the horizon, not face to face.
It almost makes sense, only this calculus skips over one or two world wars making this number four at least.
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Old 24th January 2022, 07:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It almost makes sense, only this calculus skips over one or two world wars making this number four at least.
I think that's a reasonable statement, yes.
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Old 24th January 2022, 07:56 PM   #8
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What I see coming is Cold War II.

And plenty of people died during Cold War I, in places like Vietnam, Korea, Angola, Nicaragua, heck let's throw in Grenada. It's not like it will be peace. I just don't expect an all out shooting war that involves direct confrontation between armed forces of China, Russia, or the US, with the possible exception of a few isolated incidents involving a few planes and a few ships. When it comes right down to it, nuclear holocaust isn't in anyone's best interest, so I don't think anyone will start it.

And having grown up during Cold War I, I can say that.....it really kind of sucked. It wasn't as bad as living through World War II, where even in places like the US, everyone knew people who died, but it still sucked.
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Old 24th January 2022, 08:02 PM   #9
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I think we're already in Cold War II. It's just that most of it is being fought covertly, as it was during Cold War I.
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Old 24th January 2022, 08:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I think we're already in Cold War II. It's just that most of it is being fought covertly, as it was during Cold War I.
Yeah. These things don't exactly have a single starting point, but it sure seems like we are there.

What is very different right now, though, is that all of the "warring" states have tight economic cooperation. That was not true of Oceania and Eurasia NATO and the USSR/Warsaw Pact during Cold War I.
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Old 25th January 2022, 01:25 AM   #11
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Old 25th January 2022, 02:36 AM   #12
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WW III will be with China.
China will eventually go to War, simply because it has a lot of military, a lot of men with nothing to do and it has been so long since they fought and won a war.

The only real question is what side Russia will be be.
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Old 25th January 2022, 03:47 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
WW III will be with China.
China will eventually go to War, simply because it has a lot of military, a lot of men with nothing to do and it has been so long since they fought and won a war.

The only real question is what side Russia will be be.
That would mean they'd actually choose to destroy their own economy and increasingly wealthy lifestyle. I don't think so.

What would a Chinese attack look like? Massive fleets and/or convoys of troops and equipment mounting an invasion would be picked off before they even got close to their target. Nukes would guarantee their own destruction.

If WWIII happens it'll happen by accident.
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Old 25th January 2022, 04:03 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
That would mean they'd actually choose to destroy their own economy and increasingly wealthy lifestyle. I don't think so.

What would a Chinese attack look like? Massive fleets and/or convoys of troops and equipment mounting an invasion would be picked off before they even got close to their target. Nukes would guarantee their own destruction.

If WWIII happens it'll happen by accident.
China is still deeply technocratic, at least in the data gathering sense (acting on it not so much anymore).
That means that they will know, and know before anyone else, when their economy is going to go in reverse.
At that point it will look very seductive for the Elites in the country to start what they think will be a limited war.
And yeah, I think it would involve extending their reach into the Pacific.
And, depending on Russia's allegiance, annexation of parts of that country.
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Old 25th January 2022, 04:14 AM   #15
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The people who are harping the most about "WW3" are the same people who have always been arguing that we should just let the aggressors get away with everything because the consequences are too great to stand up them ever.

"We don't want to die for Danzig", "Better Red than Dead" and so on.
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Old 25th January 2022, 04:19 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
That would mean they'd actually choose to destroy their own economy and increasingly wealthy lifestyle. I don't think so.

What would a Chinese attack look like? Massive fleets and/or convoys of troops and equipment mounting an invasion would be picked off before they even got close to their target. Nukes would guarantee their own destruction.

If WWIII happens it'll happen by accident.
Like WWI and WWII, no one really thought when they went to war that they would be that kind of conflict. They start by poor estimations of the resolve and capacity of the enemy to fight.
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Old 25th January 2022, 05:01 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Like WWI and WWII, no one really thought when they went to war that they would be that kind of conflict. They start by poor estimations of the resolve and capacity of the enemy to fight.
Notable in this context for their lack of spy satellites, nukes and, apart from the V bombs very late in WWII, missiles. 'Resolve and capacity to fight' take on different meanings when an enemy has the capacity to flatten scores of your major cities at the press of a button in the event that conventional war is going badly for a nuked-up nation. And China knows this. They would be risking everything for what possible gain?
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Old 25th January 2022, 06:38 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Notable in this context for their lack of spy satellites, nukes and, apart from the V bombs very late in WWII, missiles. 'Resolve and capacity to fight' take on different meanings when an enemy has the capacity to flatten scores of your major cities at the press of a button in the event that conventional war is going badly for a nuked-up nation. And China knows this. They would be risking everything for what possible gain?
And chemical weapons existed in WWII but were only used by japan in china.

Those certainly change the shape of things, as does the massively increased interconnectedness of the global economy.

One thing I think is different is that people more broadly know and understand that we don't know what such a conflict would look like. While the aggressors in WWI and WWII felt they had pretty good if incorrect ideas about what it would look like.

What would a chinese invasion of Taiwan look like and how involved would america get in it? How involved do the chinese think america will get in it?
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Old 25th January 2022, 07:08 AM   #19
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What are the odds that China instead turns in on itself and has a civil war?
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Old 25th January 2022, 07:44 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by SteveAitch View Post
What are the odds that China instead turns in on itself and has a civil war?
Between what sides ?
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Old 25th January 2022, 07:51 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
Between what sides ?
Various military factions. Say there's mass shortages and widespread civil unrest. Generals try to stop their divisions from deserting en masse by putting them to work taking over parts of the country "for the greater good". Disputes arise about which one of them should be in charge of restoring order and prosperity. Russia and the US both see benefits in aiding/propping up/allying with one or another such faction.
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Old 25th January 2022, 10:14 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Various military factions. Say there's mass shortages and widespread civil unrest. Generals try to stop their divisions from deserting en masse by putting them to work taking over parts of the country "for the greater good". Disputes arise about which one of them should be in charge of restoring order and prosperity. Russia and the US both see benefits in aiding/propping up/allying with one or another such faction.
The conditions you describe do not exist and are unlikely to.

Those conditions have existed for more than a decade in North Korea and there is no threat of civil war. I know, China and North Korea are not perfect analogs. Still, I think it among the least likely possibilities that China descends into civil war during the lifetime of anyone reading this.
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Old 25th January 2022, 10:25 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Various military factions. Say there's mass shortages and widespread civil unrest. Generals try to stop their divisions from deserting en masse by putting them to work taking over parts of the country "for the greater good". Disputes arise about which one of them should be in charge of restoring order and prosperity. Russia and the US both see benefits in aiding/propping up/allying with one or another such faction.
Or possibly a group of disgruntled (for some reason) generals decide they want a bigger share of the pie, try for a military coup resulting in a civil war, millions of deaths, global economic disruption and a 97 page thread on ISF arguing about whether it was REALLY a coup...

Or a deranged American, recently fired by a company now owned by the Chinese jumps on a plane and assassinates Chairman Xi, causing disruption to the Chinese political structure, followed by a military coup (attempt) followed by etc...

I don't know; it's why I asked.


ETA: I suppose the same applies to Russia.
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Old 25th January 2022, 11:06 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by sarge View Post
The conditions you describe do not exist and are unlikely to.

Those conditions have existed for more than a decade in North Korea and there is no threat of civil war. I know, China and North Korea are not perfect analogs. Still, I think it among the least likely possibilities that China descends into civil war during the lifetime of anyone reading this.
I was musing about factions, not about likelihood. But yeah, that is kind of unlikely. I wonder how likely it is that one or another military faction might attempt a coup, over some policy dispute (probably having to do with which party favorites get what size slices of which pies). This leading to a general melee for control of the country.

Also: Ninja'd.
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Old 25th January 2022, 12:36 PM   #25
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Being a big movie fan (of this sort, also), I'm sometimes amazed and a little frightened at how prescient they can be. A couple examples:

Idiocracy
-- such absurdity at the time, but many of those elements came true.
Contagion -- Pretty realistic depiction of the start of a pandemic. Triply so because it's based at my home.
Fail-Safe -- this one I just recently watched, and is the scenario I'm most afraid of. Not cowering in my basement, mind you, but certainly aware of how it could happen. A computer glitch, a missed message, an overeager general or even private, could set off the powderkeg.
Also having read about the Damascus incident and others, a mishap on our part could be misread and light the candle.

Fortunately, I like post-apocalyptic stories as well...
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Old 25th January 2022, 12:48 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
That would mean they'd actually choose to destroy their own economy and increasingly wealthy lifestyle. I don't think so.
I don't think so, either.


But I wish I were confident.

Xi Xinping (sp?) is head of the Inner Party. Unless he thinks that he, personally, and his other powerful cronies, will suffer, why wouldn't he start a war? Sure, the proles will suffer, but who cares?
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Old 25th January 2022, 07:15 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I don't think so, either.


But I wish I were confident.

Xi Xinping (sp?) is head of the Inner Party. Unless he thinks that he, personally, and his other powerful cronies, will suffer, why wouldn't he start a war? Sure, the proles will suffer, but who cares?
The Chinese, as a society, seem to be pretty good at taking a long view of things. Certainly, they are superior to any western country at doing things that they believe (they can be wrong of course) will take decades to bear fruit but will ultimately return a net gain for China. If the current rulers believe that a war is in the long term interests of China, then they will risk war. Even the potential loss of millions of Chinese citizens would not sway them.

If, OTOH, the rulers believe that ‘winning’ a war now would ultimately harm China, then they will not permit war. In this, they differ fundamental from western democracies.
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Old 1st February 2022, 01:32 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I think we're already in Cold War II. It's just that most of it is being fought covertly, as it was during Cold War I.
Yes, but Cold War I was East v West or Capitalism vs Communism. This time the different sides will be myriad and not nearly as static. China and Russia might be convenient allies for now, but thats unlikely to last. The USA is, rightly, being seen as a less and less trustworthy ally. Tensions between Germany and the rest of the EU may increase due to their Russian pipeline. There will be a rise of standards of living in the 3rd world where they will become more competitive. Everyone's going to be looking out for the own interests.

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Old 1st February 2022, 01:33 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by sarge View Post
The Chinese, as a society, seem to be pretty good at taking a long view of things. Certainly, they are superior to any western country at doing things that they believe (they can be wrong of course) will take decades to bear fruit but will ultimately return a net gain for China. If the current rulers believe that a war is in the long term interests of China, then they will risk war. Even the potential loss of millions of Chinese citizens would not sway them.

If, OTOH, the rulers believe that ‘winning’ a war now would ultimately harm China, then they will not permit war. In this, they differ fundamental from western democracies.
Ohh the advantages of not being on a 2 year election cycle.
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Old 1st February 2022, 01:57 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
Russia-Ukraine-US. North Korea firing more missiles. China invasively flying over Taiwan. NATO sending ships and jets to Europe. (More than normal.
You forgot the cascade of coups in Africa.

Originally Posted by SteveAitch View Post
What are the odds that China instead turns in on itself and has a civil war?
Zero.

Only one side has weapons.
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Old 11th February 2022, 04:24 PM   #31
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The background music of the bagpipes crescendoing is getting stronger.
Russian Invasion of Ukraine Imminent

Guess I should watch my copy of Dr. Strangelove that just arrived, before it's too late.
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Old 11th February 2022, 04:42 PM   #32
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Scaremongering bollocks. Someone should find out how many oil futures Biden is sitting on.

Putin is no more starting a war in Ukraine than I am.
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Old 11th February 2022, 08:16 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Scaremongering bollocks. Someone should find out how many oil futures Biden is sitting on.

Putin is no more starting a war in Ukraine than I am.
I disagree (or at least, I don’t agree) with the first, agree with the second. I really don’t believe Russia will invade soon*.


*I am often enough wrong when predicting such things.
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Old 11th February 2022, 08:36 PM   #34
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Just to be clear, I don't actually think Biden is doing it to drive up the price of oil, but that's the major result of it all.

Someone should have told Biden that getting involved in a dick-waving contest with Vlad is pointless and a losing strategy.
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Old 14th February 2022, 12:00 PM   #35
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Are the 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border just there for... ***** and giggles or something? Or is it being claimed that its all DNC propaganda?

Biden may not be handling this crisis perfectly but he's not at the root of it.
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Old 14th February 2022, 12:05 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Are the 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border just there for... ***** and giggles or something? Or is it being claimed that its all DNC propaganda?
No, they're there alright.

Putin;s just playing games.

Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Biden may not be handling this crisis perfectly but he's not at the root of it.
Not the initial problem, but he's definitely a panic-monger. The President of Ukraine isn't half as adamant as Joe that Vlad's planning to invade.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/13/w...-zelensky.html
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Old 14th February 2022, 12:32 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
No, they're there alright.

Putin;s just playing games.



Not the initial problem, but he's definitely a panic-monger. The President of Ukraine isn't half as adamant as Joe that Vlad's planning to invade.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/13/w...-zelensky.html
You know this how exactly?

Your linked article seems to make the case that Zelensky is perhaps delusional.
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Old 14th February 2022, 02:22 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
No, they're there alright.

Putin;s just playing games.



Not the initial problem, but he's definitely a panic-monger. The President of Ukraine isn't half as adamant as Joe that Vlad's planning to invade.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/13/w...-zelensky.html
The threat is real. Biden may be overstating it. If doing so actually reduces the risk of an invasion, then the exaggeration is warranted.

The President of Ukrainian is in a far less informed position than the President of the US and has reason to downplay the threat.
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Old 14th February 2022, 04:51 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
You know this how exactly?
Because Russia has nothing to gain from invading Ukraine, and unlike Biden, Johnson and several other western leaders, Putin isn't a moron.

Originally Posted by sarge View Post
The threat is real.
See above, I don't believe that's true at all.

I'm sure Zelensky has a great deal more insight into how Vlad thinks than Biden. Ukraine has a tiny bit of history with Russia.

Originally Posted by sarge View Post
The President of Ukrainian is in a far less informed position than the President of the US and has reason to downplay the threat.
That's just nonsense.

As I recall, there was a great deal of intelligence certainty that Saddam Hussein had a cache of WMD.

How did that turn out?
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Old 14th February 2022, 08:06 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Just to be clear, I don't actually think Biden is doing it to drive up the price of oil, but that's the major result of it all.

Someone should have told Biden that getting involved in a dick-waving contest with Vlad is pointless and a losing strategy.
I mean, really.

Putin: We are going to take Ukraine. What are you going to do about it?

Biden: Nothing. Half my country thinks they are already Russian, and really they kind of are. I mean, they don't think that, so good luck holding down a bunch of raving nationalists that hate you.

Now that I think about it, I will send you a thank you card when Finland and pretty much the rest of Europe joins NATO. Galvanizing Europe shouldn't be quite that easy, so thanks.

Putin: You are such a dick.

Biden: It's like you are the only person that deep down gets me.
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