End of the Beginning: The Potential Fall Of Kyiv & The Retreat to Lviv

by Shelt Garner

While I’m not prepared to give up hope on Kyiv just yet, we have to begin to think of worst case scenarios. It definitely looks like Kyiv is going to fall very, very soon and, as such, the only way to keep the fight alive is to fall back to Lviv.

Lviv is strategic for a number of reasons — it’s very close to the Polish (NATO) border, it’s really far west AND it’s the in the part of Ukraine that is both the most western and the easiest to defend (as I understand it.) As such, just because Kyiv falls, doesn’t mean the war is over, it just means it’s entered a new phase.

The end of the beginning and all that.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of WW2 can tell you that wars have a dynamic all their own. It makes a lot of sense to fall back to Lviv and, for the moment, write off the eastern portion of Ukraine while the Ukrainians regroup and reorganize.

Once they lose Kyiv, the point will be to turn Ukraine into Afghanistan 2.0 for the Russians to the point that what happened to the Soviet Union happens to Russia — it collapses.

I think that’s something we really need to start thinking about — now that Putin has proven he’s bonkers enough to try to take Ukraine, there’s a real chance that things will boomerang on him and the next thing you now, we’re talking about a second Russian Revolution / civil war just as the United States is having it’s own civil war in the 2024 – 2025 timeframe.

Only time will tell, of course. Good luck.

A Russo-Ukrainian Winter War Nightmare Scenario

by Shelt Garner

Things do not seem to be going well for Putin in Ukraine. As such, my fear is, since he seems to be kind of bonkers, that he might use either a Russian version of a MOAB or some sort of low-grade nuclear weapon. Something really small, but would get the point across.

The hope would be, of course, to demoralize the Ukrainian populace to the point that they would just give up. But there are lots of reasons to think this won’t happen. First, I don’t know if the Russians even have such weaponry. Second, Putin may be bonkers, but he must know that the exact opposite will happen — dropping any sort of WMD on Ukraine — however small — would likely freak everyone out.

A lot rests on if Putin continues to be a “rational actor” or not. Is he bonkers? Has he lost it? He has several times recently spoken of nuclear weapons for this or that reason and if he really got desperate I suppose it’s possible he might use tactical nukes on Ukraine.

But, again, any use of nuclear weapons — be they low grade or tactical — would so upend the global political order that, well, lulz. We’re very much in the early days of this clusterfuck and a lot of things could go either way, depending on the vagaries of war.

We’re definitely fully locked in to the “Holy shit” point of this war and we’re only in the first few days. The longer this thing drags on, the more likely something really fucked up and unexpected might happen that escalates things significantly.

Anyway, only time will tell. It will be interesting to see how bonkers Putin ultimately turns out to be. If he tries to take all of Ukraine, then we will know that he really has lost his mind.

Why Kharkiv May Have So Many Troops Near It

by Shelt Garner

It seems as though there’s a specific reason why so many Russian troops are building up near Kharkiv. Here’s my hot take — the road to the Dnieper River goes through Kharkiv. So, the Russians plow through that part of Ukraine and then once they reach the river that bisects the middle of Ukraine, they make an assessment as to what happens next.

Here’s how I think things might work out:

March 1st: It’s Put Up Or Shut Up Time With These Five Novels, Again

by Shelt Garner

All systems are go for me to throw myself back into the second draft of the first novel in this five novel series. I’ve had to make a major structural change — I’ve changed the focus of the the first novel — but the heart of the story remains.

The general arc of the series (which is actually 3 + 2) is one woman’s love for another woman’s child. And the center of the series is everyone wanting control over my equivalent of Lisbeth Salander. What makes my series different is I’m laying out to you, the reader, the exact sequence of events that led my version of the Lisbeth Salander trope so bonkers.

At least, that’s the goal.

I want you to care about a character that we first see as an infant and then see, over the course of five novels grow into her own as an adult. I really like the idea that when we get to the last two novels (which were once one big novel) that the audience will totally get the allegory for modern America that I’ve been aiming for from the beginning.

I have a huge amount of work to do. But I’m hoping that all this work I’m doing on the first novel will make the rest of the novels move a lot quicker. I still have a huge amount of reading to do.

But once March 1st rolls around, I hope to really use sheer creative force, if nothing else, to get these five novels done sooner rather than later.

I Was Right, Kinda

by Shelt Garner

Well, I was right about there being something of a Republican civil war because of Ukraine, with the MAGA base following the lead of Trump and the Republican Establishment wanting to support Ukraine.

And, yet, I suspect it’s never going to come up to the point of a “civil war.” I think there will just be a lot of tension between the two groups. Remember, Trump can always take his scrambled marbles — the base — and go home if the Establishment gets too frisky.

So, ultimately, what will happen is Republicans rather than have any civil war will simply ignore that they’re trying to square the circle in the first place. Trump, his toadies and the base will continue to suck Putin’s cock and the Republican Establishment will continue to support Ukraine against Russia. Because everything is dumb, both things will be true and Republicans won’t event acknowledge this existential conflict.

Is The West Prepared To Absorb 5 Million Ukrainian Refugees?

by Shelt Garner

It looks as though Russia may go after not just the east of Ukraine, but all of it. If they did, in fact, do that, then there are estimates that as many as 5 million Ukrainians might flee that country.

Which, of course, raises the question — where the hell would that many people go?

The obvious answer is Canada. That country already has a sizable Ukrainian population and the addition of a few million more for such an underpopulated country would probably help their economy a great deal. Then, there is the US. This is a lot more problematic given how nativist the America First cocksuckers of MAGA and Fox News are these days.

But it’s not impossible to see a pretty massive migration of Ukrainians from Europe to North America. It could be, in fact, the biggest such forced migration since the end of WW2. Though one has to note that a lot of Hungarians fled to the West after the 1956 uprising there was crushed by the Soviets.

One issue that might soften the blow for the typical American is, of course, race. It’s a lot more difficult for the fucking racists of MAGA and Fox News to shoot blood out of their eyes over letting in a few million people if they’re white. A lot of them would not speak English, but that can be fixed soon enough.

Also greasing their entry into America would be a lot of the Ukrainians would be highly educated and highly trained. In fact, if you wanted to paint the rosiest possible picture of what might might happen if a few million Ukrainians fled to the US, one might suggest that they would really help the American economy in more ways than one.

Because they would be considered “white” by fucking racist cocksuckers on the far Right, if they started to take jobs that no one in America wanted to take as they built a new home in America then, well, maybe some of the nationalist pressure for us to become a Russian-style autocracy might ease. A little bit.

We’ll see.

Feb. 20th or Feb. 21st May Be The Start Of The Russo-Ukrainian Winter War

by Shelt Garner

Well, it definitely seems as though H-Hour for a Russo-Ukrainian Winter War is upon us. If it’s going to happen — which I still don’t know for a fact it will — it’s probably going to start between now, Feb 20th and tomorrow, Feb 21. Though there’s a small chance it could be as late as the 22nd.

That was then…

…this is now.

But “tora tora tora” is going to happen either tonight or tomorrow night. I keep hearing weird pings indicating either night. The Biden Administration definitely seems to think it’s going to be tonight. And, yet, a number of top Russian politicians keep saying things which would indicate it’s going to be tomorrow.

And then there’s this:

One More Sleep Until The Russo-Ukrainian Winter War Starts?

by Shelt Garner

Let me be clear — I don’t know anything. You should probably just aggressively ignore my opinion on this matter. But I do have opinions, nonetheless. And it definitely seems as though at least the Biden Administration believes that we have one more sleep until Something Big happens between Ukraine and Russia. Maybe even the biggest war in Europe since WW2. (Though, in all fairness, it’s probably the biggest war since the ’68 crushing of Prague Spring.)

Anyway, it’s at least possible that whatever is going to happen is going to begin just as the Olympics are wrapping up in China tomorrow evening. So, it could be that Sunday, February 20th is D-Day. Or not. I’ve decided that anytime between now and roughly February 22nd would be the “sweetspot” for an attack if it’s going to happen.

Or maybe it’s not going to happen at all.

But it definitely SEEMS as though Something Big and Something Bad is going to happen very, very soon. I still have my doubts that much, if any, of the things we’re all that worried about at the moment will make it through the “vibe shift” that a major land war in Europe would entail.

Only time will tell.

A Big Reset

by Shelt Garner

Every once in a while when it comes to these five novels, I sheepishly realize that something I’ve taken for granted for a very long time — years even — just isn’t working and I have to start from scratch.

Usually the reason why I feel so sheepish about this situation is, well, I don’t have a girlfriend or a wife who might have noticed the problem from the start. But, alas, I’m doing all of this in a complete vacuum, so lulz. Such a creative reset has just happened AGAIN, this time with the first novel in the series.

And it’s a pretty big reset.

It’s so big, in fact, that I may have to throw out a pretty well established and otherwise stable third act. Totally start from scratch. Reimagine the whole thing. But the rest of the novel now has a point. I know what the stakes are and instead of just being a series of events that are mildly interesting, there is some sense of what will happen if the protagonist doesn’t act.

I saw some of Liquorice Pizza recently — I walked out because I didn’t like the vibe, not because it isn’t a great, great movie. Anyway, at least I learned something from what I saw of the movie — you need strong characters if you’re going to have an interesting story. So, that is one of the reasons that prompted this reset of the first novel.

I now have definite stakes and I’m going to come at this creative reset from a character angle. I’m going to figure out my new protagonist first before I do anything else. I may, even, re-read a great how-to book I have about character. I read it every once in a while and I think I need to read it again to really understand how to establish the character from a position of strength.

Hot Take: The Russo-Ukrainian War May Start February 20th

by Shelt Garner

A number of signs all point towards some sort of major military event happening between Russia and Ukraine on or around February 20th. The Olympics are set to end on that date. The Russians are set to rattle their nuclear sabers around then. And, in general, the Russians waiting until around then would allow the to get everything in place to strike.

Because the issue is — for all the Russian declarations about standing down and everyone going back to base, this is not, in fact happening. All the OSINT that I see on Twitter indicates that rather than standing down, the Russians are aggressively positioning their forces closer and closer to the Ukrainian border.

This is the point where I note that I always get things wrong. Always. So, I would take my prediction with a grain of salt. It could be that for various tactical reasons — the weather, Xi’s request for a week global peace after the Olympics, you name it — that it could be as late as February 26th.

Or it may not happen at all.

I can’t predict the future. But as of right now, the night of February 20th US EST seems about right. Though, the counter argument is the Russians would wait until Monday morning EST to get their maximum bang for their buck when it comes to shocking the American audience.