Avdiivka, Ukraine, 30th October (top image); Gaza, 3rd November (bottom image) In war violence is instrumental. It is a means to an end. This allows war a semblance of rationality as we ask how the violence can be employed to achieve the intended objectives. This rationality, however, can soon be clouded by deep emotion, a response to the horror and despair that accompanies persistent violence or else the sacrifices accepted in the name of a great cause.
It may be plausible to say that Israel is not aiming to kill civilians deliberately, but to emphasise this point can come across as somewhat disingenuous when so many are dying. Israel is at best pretty reckless when it comes to Palestinian civilian casualties: for example, the prophylactic grenade chucked into a building in case a Hamas fighter "might" be there. But there's also an issue of responsibility for actions that do aim at killing civilians but where this not "officially" sanctioned by policy. For example, are soldiers who deliberately kill Palestinians reliably disciplined and punished? (no). Are settlers who deliberately attack Palestinian civilians given a nod and a wink to do so? Are they investigated and punished? (no).
Strangely, I’m more optimistic about a two state solution today than I was 5 weeks ago.
In addition to constituting an intelligence failure the attacks on October 7th also represent a monumental political failure on the part of successive Israeli governments going back twenty years.
Israel’s determination for Hamas to be removed coupled with its reluctance to re occupy Gaza will as this piece points out give the international community leverage over the Israelis that arguably hasn’t been there previously.
One thing is for sure if it doesn’t give way to a long term settlement “instability and chaos” will most certainly reign.
Question 1. I would be very careful about the claims that are reported in the Time November 1 cover article. https://time.com/6329188/ukraine-volodymyr-zelensky-interview/?fbclid=IwAR3I6wnW-TCcEUnMdaeraZ4TiN5wfZHtu5O5JB8TskdJVToMTrq-yLNgxKU
Simon Schuster's sources for allegations of doom and gloom within Zelenskyy's circle and that Zelenskyy himself is "delusional" are tainted. For example, one of Schuster's principal "anonymous sources" is Oleksiy Arestovych, the scandal-plagued former Zelenskyy aide who has declared that he will run against Zelenskyy in the next election, whenever it occurs. It would seem that Time, once again, has been played. https://blend.spectator.co.uk/t/j-e-sjttykt-dkpklne-r/?fbclid=IwAR0a7EiwQYmymVHATGykD_473Y8S7blZx4pP9eeMgAhyNu7QCOPUsd8nJzA
Question 2. With regard to estimates of Russian military casualties, a careful comparison of the times that Russia mistakenly reported truthfully on its casualties, when compared with Ukrainian estimates, shows that Ukraine is overestimating by about fifty percent. This means that probable Russian casualties (killed, wounded too seriously to return to battle, and missing) are currently in the 190,000-200,000 range. Ukrainian military casualties are probably around a third of that.
Here is a link to a brief analysis I did in January 2023 comparing various casualty estimates. Needless to say, by that time the Russians had already taken down the articles giving a truthful assessment of their casualties, but by a curious chance, they are still included here. https://shoeone.blogspot.com/2023/01/us-ukrainian-and-general-svr-estimates.html
Prediction markets are now a bit bearish on a ceasefire: Insight is at 17% by December 15th: https://insightprediction.com/m/246543/hamas-and-israeli-ceasefire-by-december-15th, and Manifold is at 31% by the end of the year https://manifold.markets/ParadoxEpoch/will-the-current-israelhamas-confli
On Ukraine, manifold is at 6% for a ceasefire by the end of the year:https://manifold.markets/RealMoneyMarkets/will-russia-ukraine-declare-a-cease
And Insight is at 3-6%: https://insightprediction.com/m/224920/will-the-russia-ukraine-war-end-by-december-31st-2023