There are a couple of articles that may have come up on your radar and merit some discussion with regards to the war in Ukraine, the response of the west and Russia’s prospects. Heady stuff for some, but I think both are red herrings, i.e., A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question.
The first comes courtesy of The HIll and carries the catchy title, Why the US is becoming more brazen with its Ukraine support? Here are the salient points:
The Biden administration is arming Ukraine with weapons that can do serious damage to Russian forces, and, unlike early in the war, U.S. officials don’t appear worried about Moscow’s reaction.
“Over time, the administration has recognized that they can provide larger, more capable, longer-distance, heavier weapons to the Ukrainians and the Russians have not reacted,” former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor told The Hill.
“The Russians have kind of bluffed and blustered, but they haven’t been provoked. And there was concern [over this] in the administration early on — there still is to some degree — but the fear of provoking the Russians has gone down,” added Taylor, who is now with the U.S. Institute of Peace.
We need an irony alert here. Ambassador Taylor, “who is now with the U.S. Institute of Peace”, is opining on steps the Biden Administration ought to take in order to blow the hell out of the Russians. His keen insight is that Putin is bluffing and won’t react to the United States escalating the lethality of weapons delivered to Ukraine. Anyone out there want to take that bet?
All of the analysis in this article is based on a false premise that is summarized in these paragraphs:
Looking ahead, multiple reports have indicated that the U.S. plans to soon send Excalibur precision-guided artillery munitions — weapons that can travel up to 70 kilometers and would help the Ukrainians target dug-in Russian positions and command posts.
Part of the shift in messaging can be attributed to the fact Kyiv defied international expectations and did not quickly fall when Russia first attacked, according to Nathan Sales, a former State Department official who most recently served as the acting undersecretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights.
At risk of being accused of beating a dead horse, I want to re-emphasize some critical points:
- Russia attacked Ukraine with a small force that was one-third the size of the defending Ukrainian force. Advantage Ukraine and yet, despite the fact that Russia was outnumbered, Russia steadily pushed Ukraine back, taking Mariupol, Kherson and Luhansk.
- At no point did Russia declare any kind of timeline for accomplishing its stated mission of demilitarization and denazification.
- The bulk of the fighting from the Russian side is being handled by the militias from the Donbas. Russia has committed only a small fraction of its troops.
- Despite a massive influx of western military aid, Ukraine has been unable to force the Russians to retreat. Those who want to point to the current Ukrainian offensive as a stunning success are ignoring Ukraine’s massive losses in men and equipment during the past week. Capturing a couple of isolated, unihabited rural villages is not exactly a 21st Century version of Omar Bradley’s Operation Cobra, which was led by General Patton and broke out of hedge row country in Normandy.
In short, Ambassador Taylor and other unnamed U.S. officials (both active and retired) are insisting that the United States is no longer afraid of what Russia might do. Why? Because Russia is on the ropes and struggling to stay in the fight. This is a dangerous delusion.
The other piece meriting comment comes from Paul Craig Roberts writing at the UNZ–The Kremlin’s “Limited Military Operation” in Ukraine Was a Strategic Blunder. I am fascinated by the western pundits who insist they know what the Russian military plan was or is and can confidently insist the Russians have blundered.
You know how worried the Russian Government is about the progress of the operation in Ukraine? Putin and his top Generals spent a week on Russia’s east coast, i.e. the Pacific, conducting a 50,000 man joint force military exercise with China and Vietnam. Nothing says panic and desperation like focusing national resources on carrying out a military exercise. Mr. Roberts chooses to ignore that salient fact.
At least Paul Craig Roberts is sane. He recognizes that western provocations could get out of hand and produce the conditions leading to a nuclear war. I agree with him on that point. But there is an underlying false assumption in Roberts’ analysis–the west is on an equal footing in confronting Russia.
One can reason that the Kremlin made all these mistakes because it did not want to scare more of Europe into NATO by demonstrating its military prowess in a lightening conquest of Ukraine. But it is Russia’s halfway measures that have given Finland and Sweden the confidence to join NATO as they see no threat to themselves from being NATO members. A devastating Russian blow to Ukraine would have caused all of Europe to rethink NATO membership as no European country would want to face the prospect of war with Russia. Instead, what the Kremlin has produced is a British prime minister who is prepared to engage Russia in nuclear war, and a NATO that intends to keep the Ukrainian conflict going.
Let me suggest an alternative explanation for Russia’s slow, methodical approach in Ukraine. Russia is committed to the demilitarization of Ukraine. Russia’s current campaign not only is destroying Ukraine’s army and the tanks, planes, helicopters and vehicles, but it also is forcing the United States and NATO to strip themselves of weapons that will not be quickly replaced in the near term. In other words, without risking a direct confrontation with NATO, Russia also is weakening NATO. And Putin does not have to turn Ukraine into a smoldering, nuclear wasteland with millions of dead Ukrainians. Seems like a reasonable approach to me.
The weakening of NATO also is being accelerated with economic weapons–i.e., cutting off the sale of gas and oil. Without gas and oil, Europe’s war industry is grinding to a halt. I do not know if this is part of the Russian plan for the Special Military Operation or just a happy serendipity that serves Russia’s interests. Regardless, the effect hurts NATO.
I do not pretend to know what plan Russia’s General Staff is following. What I do know is that none of the weapons supplied by the United States and NATO have changed the strategic goal of Russia to demilitarize Ukraine and eliminate a NATO threat on the western border. That means Russia’s ability to continue moving west is not eliminated and Ukraine’s prospects grow more bleak.
Low Voltage says
PCR’s signature accomplishment was pushing Reagan’s “supply-side economics.” In doing so, he did more than quite possibly any American alive in creating the monstrous money supply and insatiable McMansion appetite we now have today. To his credit, he has apologized, but he takes a firm stand on things with little to no comprehension of the eventual consequences.
Bob Jackson says
Whoops. To him, the supply-side was the nation’s productive capacity. If you don’t have a productive economy, you don’t have a nation.
The financialisation of the economy, and the ridiculous expansion of the money-supply and rent-seeking, came with Clinton and beyond. It is the complete opposite of what he did. It has nothing to do with production.
Instead of cashing in, he has braved professional isolation, preferring to speak the truth as he sees it.
Reagan trusted him to help end the Cold War. His whole life has been devoted to anticipating and avoiding bad consequences. He has never apologised for his accomplishments. He has defended them repeatedly. Why not answer his arguments, rather than setting up a straw man?
European countries are rapidly losing the capacity to refine ores into industrially relevant metals (iron, aluminum, copper, zinc, nickel, silver, palladium, platinum, etc.) at feasible cost. This easily predictable consequence of Western-imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation is going to dismember said countries’ war-fighting ability. Military equipment sent to the Ukraine cannot be replaced without immiserating European populations. That takes care of one component; advantage, Russia.
The Russian forces in the Ukraine are not intent on occupying vast swathes of the Ukrainian territory. They will claim lands of the traditional Russian civilization, but are in no hurry to do so. Stage 1 is nearing completion – Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, Kherson. Kharkov, Nikolaev, and Odessa oblasts will be next, but for now, Russian forces are deliberating slowing their territorial advance because the Ukrainian military is throwing their human capital (in the form of soldiers) into the meat grinder. Wave after wave after wave, it won’t stop. Russian forces will continue to operate the grinder, knowing that well-trained soldiers are the hardest military asset to replace (which is also why Russia will gladly cede small amounts of territory during Ukrainian offensives – save the Russian soldier, for the territory can be reconquered later). Once the Ukrainian forces are further weakened, then the next territorial expansion will take place. Non-Russian lands in the Ukraine (e.g., the western oblasts) will be left alone militarily but they will be politically neutralized so as not to present a threat to the Russian Federation.
This SMO, as the Russian Federation calls it, is one of the most impressive military operations in modern history. It is so well strategized it behooves an immense respect for the Russian General Staff. Long term, all the benefits accrue to the Russian Federation.
Marcos aguilera says
The new British prime minister says she is ready for a nuclear confrontation with Russia. well ma’am I can only say you are stupid. Guess what is the first Russian target in Europe to launch their radioactive candies? regarding the demilitarization of ukraine, russia is doing its job slowly and methodically, letting men and equipment get to arms to destroy them, it is possible that the doctrine manuals of employment of ground forces are being rewritten. soon we will know. greeting.
Iirc, per Intel Slava Z, poseidon was developed with London in mind.
Agree, Russia does not need to advance. The Ukainians and the West are throwing everything into a black
hole. This is all part of the destruction of the West, replacement of the $US, defaulting on loans and a low wage economy ready to have another go at industry. Underlying the new system will be a CBDC designed to enforce slavery and state control. You will own nothing and you will be happy. Shades of the working man’s paradise under communism.
Joaquim Rato says
O controle estatal vai levar a China à hegemonia e reergueu a Rússia. O Controle dos oligarcas destruiu o império yankee!
Os trabalhadores na China vivem cada vez melhor, nos EUA vivem cada vez pior!!!
Indeed, and at this moment the Steel production in Europe has already decreased with more than 50%!
So a Lot of Lay Offs and European Steel replaced by US’ Steel. A real successful bargain by the USA with their Sooo naive EU-‘allies’.
See the picture in:
I assume this is Douglas M. commenting, your writing style is as straightforward as your excellent commentaries.
Devin santana says
It is frustrating to read stuff like Mr Roberts post , I read it this morning . I thought how could he possibly know that ! He can’t , the actual events on the ground tell the story , although I would like to be the proverbial fly on the wall when those generals in Russia meet and discuss battle plans . I have learned a lot watching Andre talk about modern warfare and all it entails.
If Finland and Sweden are reassured about joining NATO by Russia’s slow walking the west into penury, well they missed the point. The threat to their sovernity comes not from Russia because they avoid NATO membership but instead from the west if they take the NATO bait.
Oscar de Caracas says
Finland is totally zombified, watch the video of Sanna Marin “party” her prime minister and you will understand.
Sweden is a social chaos, go to Malmo and you will see how horrible it is, as a missionary friend of mine told me, taking away the beautiful postcards of him, it is very violent… and the men are more and more effeminate…
In my opinion PCR is a sensationalist and hardly right with most of his predictions.
Harry Hobbes says
You have hit on the salient issue of the uninformed who have never considered that the contents of an Operations Order (or equivalent plan) determine success (or not). But then, methinks these pundits operate in a game universe where everything boils down to “have the spectator’s expectations been met?”
Because “expectations” can only reside between the ears, the opinions of said pundits can never be incorrect; no matter what occurs.
In addition, I would expect said pundits to vehemently deny the tenets of Sir Basel Liddle Hart’s work, from the perspective that the Russians have been and still are the masters of the indirect approach. To wit, “shoes have been dropping” all over the World, but said pundits cannot see the connections under their noses.
Guy from US says
I am very sympathetic with his point of view, and I think he does have a point, but he seems to miss the wider strategic objectives of Putin/Russia. I think he is precisely trying to avoid a nuclear holocaust, by having waited until Russia has the ability to withstand the sanctions, thus avoiding a direct war with the US. And really, defeating the West (so far at least) without direct confrontation.
I, for one, hope he succeeds. And I pray that we in the US can rebuild, to start anew.
Bill Osborne Jr says
While I have a lot of respect for Paul Craig Roberts I think that he is wrong about the Russian SMO. One of the stated goals was to liberate the Donbass from attacks by the Ukraine military. Russia, with 90% of its military on the sidelines could have done a shock and awe operation but this would have resulted in the deaths of ten of thousands of ethnic Russian citizens.
I agree with Mr. Johnson. Why should the Russians be in a a rush? Irrational hatred of Russia is depleting NATO weapon stocks and sanctions are crippling NATO country’s economies. If NATO starts feeling their oats and wants to get directly involved in the Ukraine then they will get to see what the 90% reserve Russian military capabilities are.
If that happens I would not want to be on a US base in Syria.
I agree and I would add that a short operation would never have revealed the deep hatred of the western elites toward Russia. As a side effect they are revealed to be stupid beyond expectation and this is revealed toward at least halve the population of Western Europe.
Did Russia plan it that way? Might be because the knowledge and understanding of the Western world by Putin and Lavrov is very extensive.
As an accomplishment Armchair General I know the Russian plan.
1. The Empire has no cloths on.
2. Let the Empire strut around over extend and go broke slowly.
3. Re Arm Russia with the best of the best. On budget, on time …do nothing.
4. Wait for China, India and Persia too reach their fighting weight.
5. Ducks in a row.
6. Total War requires an Industrial Economy self sufficient in energy.
7. Wait for the Empire to reach the point of bankruptcy.
8. Organise the lads.
9. Pass the ammunition.
10.Grind the mince, add onions and herbs then slowly turn up the gas on the grill. A Russian BBQ or Cook Out, is best served in a bitterly cold Russian Winter. Which has always been a gift from God, when needed.
Further reading recommended :
A son of the New American Revolution and the Salty Bear. All of their articles requires 3 reading in order to absorb the information. At a intellectual level : which means, without prejudice or bias. With the maturity too accept reality presented by professionals with a life time of experience.
It’s a big ask, but if people are not up to it who cares, the future has already been written.
Gazprom Stock is rated a buy. When the Gold Standard returns buy Russian Gold because Putin does not believe in stealing like a Canadian Prime Minister.
Who do you trust, Black Face or the Cuddly Bear?
You mean “Castro’s Baby”?
Aaron, you hit the nail on the head with your “ducks in a row” comment! That is VVP MO, always has been. Great strategist. That is why he is always winning in whatever he sets out to do. Unfortunately PCR has never comrehended or understood that formidable skill in the President of Russia.
Could you provide a link for the Salty Bear please?
I can’t seem to find one using this phrase only.
Thank you 🙂
Salty Bear is Andrei Martyanov.
graham Pearson says
Would you please supply URL for “Salty Bear”? Thank you.
Stand easy men! Or relax on your sofa’s as the case maybe.
The gentleman in question is a world renowned expert in naval combat, surface and submerged. He describes wars of convenience as “Safari’s and continental war as Slaughter!”
If you cannot handle 20,000 KIA in single a battle it’s best not to get involved in the the first place. That is my understanding of his work.
Anyroad, he’s an old sailor and let’s be honest , they are all a tad vulgar, just saying. His name is Andrei Martyanov.
G. Strebel says
Here is a link to Martyanov’s blog: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/09/
I used to read Paul Craig Roberts for economic stuff, but he’s become bitter and ornery or something. Advocating for harsh measures to show NATO who’s boss is counterproductive, never mind the terrible cost in human death and suffering, does he even care about that?
another steve says
It’s remarkable how it’s not what it seemed.
Russia , the Gas Station Nation with a GDP less than Italy (no offence Italy) has a robust economy.
Sanctions that would cripple the fragile Russian economy. Its not they who are looking fragile.
Game changing weapons that never were game changing and seem to be the last hope of liars
That Mr. Roberts arguments could be seen as elite opinion.
Thanks Larry for explaining that Red Herring is not capitalist propaganda against herrings.
Nice commentary. From the ambassador:
“would help the Ukrainians target dug-in Russian positions and command posts.”
which makes no sense – Russia is advancing – slowly but advancing – by definition its posture is mobile – dug in is for defense against the Ukrainian onslaught? Raises the question: What’s he smoking? And it is easy enough to move Russian Command more than 70 km – 40 miles. Seems like the latest wunder weapon so beloved by Hollywood that have sequentially dudded.
Kimo Loka says
Dude, you’re my hero. But it’s hard to argue PCR’s point that had Russia acted in 2014 it would not have faced a NATO trained and equipped army that had eight years to dig in.
Thomas Turk says
That is why IMO the Russ. MIC/top dogs.. changed Put1, as he failed to defend/move in afer their victories in 2014 in Donbas. Put1 went to Geneva a few years ago for the alleged birth of a daughter. 2 weeks later Put2 came back with a new round face, no more with a prominent chin, diff eyes and ear lobes, a new non-Judo belly, with more hair and the loss of his old German & Judo skills & wife. Old video of Put1 with late Fr. Prez. Chirac, aand any old photos.. show a different guy. Put’s Ghost locals call him.
Kimo Loka says
But it’s hard to argue PCR’s point that had Russia acted in 2014 it would not have faced a NATO trained and equipped army that had eight years to dig in.
Russia was not yet positioned to take on Nato…development of an alternative to SWIFT took time to build. More than just sw…trusted relationships.
And, of course, the wonder weapons.
Rob Rhodes says
As well as all those you have given, another reason for Putin to slow walk the SMO was offered by Napoleon; “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake,” much less a hole bunch!
Thank you Mr. Johnson for your brave insights.
PCR has been ‘advising’ Russia to do more, sooner, to confront the USA forever.
ViruseS of MissUndereEstimation, OverEstimation und UnderEstimation, have lethality potential, which exceeds that of Covid.
plus all the mercs that are dying, around 2,000 polish – over 300 Americans and 300 British – how many of these losses are actually NATO troops special forces I believe the total number of merc loses are around 3,000 now with a number being taken prisoner and awaiting trial in the former Ukrainian area of Donetsk and Kherson and Lugansk, why there- simple Russia does not have the death penalty but Ukraine does and so the mercs will be tried in former Ukraine regions by the very people they came to kill rape and oppress.
“ I think both are red herrings”
Framing of datastreams to consider is a tool in limiting foci/perception used by those who believe they are engaged in “perception management”, and by doing so renders all herrings red.
Perhaps considering the shoal of herrings, their trajectories and velocities will not only illustrate“WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PLAN B IS JUST MORE OF PLAN A?” but illuminate some aspects of why PLAN B IS JUST MORE OF PLAN A, and why the trajectories and velocities of the shoal of herrings in their current context/environment ?
Perhaps including other parallel behaviours of the shoal of herrings, including but not limited to that observed below, may add to perception,of the shoal of herrings’ trajectories and velocities in attempting to sustain their environment by hoping to extend the Ponzi scheme upon which they and their food sources largely rely.
“Framing of datastreams to consider is a tool in limiting foci/perception used by those who believe they are engaged in “perception management”, and by doing so renders all herrings red. “
Other current red herrings attempting to join the shoal are in part to continue the useful half-lives of “We won the cold war” are predicated on the practice above.
Different factions within the “Soviet Union” had opposing notions of how to restructure/”perestroika” the “Soviet Union” from at least when Mr. Zhukov rode a white horse accross Red Square in June 1945, which facilitated, and in the view of some rendered necessary, the “Leningrad Affairs” 1948-1950, further outcomes being composite lateral functions of the agency/facilitites of these opposing factions until today.
That the “Soviet Union” was not viable for various reasons was understood by a growing sum of sum from at least 1949 onwards, this not being dependent upon Mr. Amalrik’s moment of epiphany in 1968 or Mr. Paul Craig Roberts 1971 publication of “Alienation and The Soviet Economy” , which informed part of the playbook for the attempted “colour revolutions” in the former “Soviet Union” post 1992.
Mr. Andropov and his associates like others, understood that the “Soviet Union” was not sustainable for many reasons.
Mr. Andropov and his associates like others, understood some of the advantages of useful foolery as force multiplier and obfuscation, and also that the qualities of the Stavropolsky schmooser which did not extend to much intelligence, that being invested in his wife Raissa Gorbacheva, rendering Mr. Gorbachev and his associates useful vectors who would limit, but not completely avoid, their fooleries.
To a wider audience Mr. Andropov appeared to annoint Mr. Gorbachev as his “protege”, but to a more restricted audience Mr. Andropov and his associates reminded those in other factions that:
Mr. Gorbachev had no significant associates with agency in the party and hence could not build an additional faction to pose a threat – not enough blat.
The cleansing of the brain dead faction represented by Mr. Brezhnev and others was in progress, so a “neutral” figure who could be controlled would be useful to avoid even more precipitation, since war with the “West” was being fought in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
As Mr. Ritter observes Mr. Gorbachev was a vector in changing the world – just not in the ways he expected – by facilitating the illusions of the “West” that they had won the cold war.
Petri Vaatainen says
SitRep from Finland, Europe, 300kms from Russian border. The European media and EU leaders are hell bent on the narrative that Ukraine is absolutely ripping Russia a new one. It’s everywhere, all the media and newspapers talk about is about Russia getting absolutely obliterated and how our lord and savior Zelensky is the most remarkable man in history of mankind.
ANY attempt to bring any reason to the discussion gets you vilified, ridiculed, framed as a Putin’s stooge, a misinformation agent and what have you. Even having a neutral stance towards Russia and/or reason gets you into trouble. Unless you scream your hate towards Putin and Russia from a rooftop you’re one of them and possibly receive your paychecks from Kremlin.
One could have assumed that after the Chinaflu madness, we saw the peak in human madness but sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case. Even pointing out that the insane sanctions are only hurting Europe and the inflation is not because Russians and half-Russians are shooting each other on some eastern prairie gets you cencored, deplatformed and ‘debunked’.
Anyway, thank you Larry for running this awesome blog. I read it every day. Cheers from Finland!
Mark Marksson says
Re NATO membership, you could argue that the Russian approach is the worst of both worlds, emboldening the rulers in places like Sweden and Finland (who have always wanted to find a way to manufacture consent in their nations to allow them to join the cool US sphere leaders’ club at NATO) by slow rolling the Ukraine operation, while still giving them material with which to fearmonger their populations about a “Russian threat”.
Myself I suspect, as you suggest, that the Russians are operating in the Ukraine the way they are for other reasons, and don’t regard NATO membership in those places as a high enough priority relative to those reasons to warrant worrying too much about it for now.
I think Pat Buchanan is one of the smartest and most insightful political commentators I have ever read and even he is in on the “Russia is losing this war” mentality. Very disappointing.
There may yet be another reason for the visibly sluggish progress of the Ukrainian campaign, the sluggishness is a bait.
One cannot guess what’s in Putin’s mind, but if he’s smart he must know that even taking over the whole of Ukraine will do FA to stop the Americans trying to contain and balkanise Russia, something much more convincing is needed to compel the Americans to give up on it, and that ‘more compelling’ can only be a head on confrontation between NATO forces (read the US Armed Forces) and those of the Russian Federation.
Russia doesn’t excel in the traditional tools of killing – the tanks, the artillery, the fighter jets etc. – all this stuff is on par with what the Americans can offer for the fight. Where Russia reigns supreme, outstripping the Americans, is in the missile department, their gear goes hypersonic, isn’t following of fixed trajectories, is able to skim surfaces, that’s what the Americans don’t have yet (hence the $777.7bn defence budget), theirs is mostly the missiles designed in the 70s-80-s, up-dated many times, but not in the same league the Russians possess.
The catching up by the Americans will take 2-3 years, a window for the Russians to inflict enough harm for the Americans to abandon the Wolfowitz doctrine, accept a sharing arrangements of the world’s affairs (the US, China, Russia).
It’s amazing how the Americans have been doing everything possible to avoid confronting the Russians.
When the 15km column of the Russian invading force stopped reaching the outskirts of Kiev, it would have been easy for Zelensky to ask for NATO’s help (just as Assad asked Putin to help in 2015), but it didn’t happen.
Moreover, when the invasion began on Feb 24, the NATO Rapid Response units stationed in the West didn’t move east an inch, stayed put, not even a higher alert, the Poles complained loudly and bitterly about it (nothing in the MSM media, plenty in the Polish press), but the Pentagon would have none of it.
What Putin may be banking on is that the Western plebs will revolt big this Winter because of the energy crisis, the regimes will shake badly, the warmongering will get a boost (viz Truss ‘very ready to deploy nukes’), eventually the NATO Forces will enter Ukraine, face the Russians who will then unleash all they have.
Imagine what would happen then if one of the NATO countries were hit with only a few Russian nuclear missiles, would its government respond in kind having been told that Russia could wipe the country clean of everyone in it within hours, or will wiser minds prevail, the whole bunch of the NATO countries will sue for peace, the Americans will have to sit down with Russia and China (possibly other countries, make a deal of peace suitable for everyone not just the Americans?
Cato the Uncensored says
“Wait and See” costs Russia very little.
If your adversaries, who first threatened to burn your house to the ground, now pour gas over themselves and threaten to self-immolate if you continue to not bend to their will, it is time to break out the popcorn and enjoy the show.
More than half of NATO’s person-power will be bogged down policing the streets of Europe’s and the UK’s cities.
Yes, I could taste a little vomit as I jokingly typed “person-power.”
Brilliant op-ed Larry! Short, sweet and on point!
While the Ukrainian government sees war as trying to grab as much territory as they can before the game is over, Larry is right – the object of war is to defeat your enemy’s army.
The Russian war plan seems not to be so much about territory as it is about annihilating their enemy’s forces.
The Anglosphere should study the absolute master at attack and retreat, attack and retreat, attack and retreat – General Washington, who knew that in order to be able to win the war, that he had to preserve his army at all costs.
And then they should ask themselves how that war turned out.
Curt Nichols says
Meanwhile on the home front mortgage rates are 5.7% and the Fed will raise another 75 basis points shortly. At which point the housing market hits the end of the line on the noose. Draining the strategic petroleum reserve ends, and gas starts the grind upward. At the same time that food prices start to seriously accelerate. Inflation does not go away. That leaves our fearless leaders with a problem. And they will need something to distract us. It will be MOAR war. Or Variant X of the disease of the day. Most people I know have serial Covid exhaustion, so I believe the MOAR war plan will be the choice. I agree with Larry, Russia plays the long and sane game. Our leaders? Do not rule our Nukes, or any NBC false flags.
It’s perhaps best to describe this as the Ukrainian Civil War.
Tom Weiss says
Exactly. The biggest lie of the Western press is that this is a “Ukraine v. Russia” war when it is a civil war with each side only able to fight at this point with external (Russian and Western) help.
Larry Paul Johnson says
I agree with your assessment of Roberts. He is too critical of Putin’s ostensibly less aggressive policies toward Washington, and yet in the end we see that Putin is usually right. Your comments about NATO and its failings due to Putin’s handling of the sanctions is spot on, and unless the EU smartens up and stops listening to Washington, NATO may be subdued in the end without any military action. This is absolutely brilliant and one is tempted to believe that Putin predicted all of this.
Mr. Marx was of the opinion that “philosophers have merely described the world, the problem is to change it.”
“…tempted to believe that Putin predicted all of this”.
So why with help from your partners, predict instead of facilitating?
Mr. Lenin remarked that the “capitalists” will sell you the rope with which to hang them, whilst the present “crop” will give you the ropes for free.
It seems to me that there is very little that the Russians did not plan for carefully, long in advance, and that would include the ‘sanctions war.’ To me it reads like the rope-a-dope tactics used by the Russians around Kherson and Kharkov after they withdrew from their extended positions in those zones. Let the enemy attack, fall back to suck them in, then hammer them when they are out of their developed fortifications. And, never do it hard enough that they stop trying.
In the sanctions war, Russia has been doing the same thing- responding only enough to prevent major losses on their side, letting the self-imposed problems of the enemy’s aggression ripe, and then applying a good, hard, punch in the face.
While I believe the Russians would have liked for the leadership to simply flee or surrender when they made their flowing-water attack on Kiev, I’m sure they were not at all confident that would happen, as the bulk of their forces were always positioned elsewhere. It would be remarkable, given everything we know about Russian preparations for what they see as a very long-term struggle with the west, if they had not calculated the kinds of actions the west has taken in the economic sphere long in advance and prepared a strategy overnight. While blitzkrieg can be an effective approach to ground combat, it really doesn’t work in economic warfare. Things take time to develop, and if you want your blow to fall with the greatest impact, you have to prepare the conditions for a considerable period- shaping the economic battlefield cannot be done overnight. Part of the Russian strategy appears to be to let the west get deeper and deeper into the economic cauldron they have prepared before triggering their counter-offensive. I believe that that counter-offensive is just now entering its earliest phase.
“The Russians have kind of bluffed and blustered, but they haven’t been provoked. And there was concern [over this] in the administration early on — there still is to some degree — but the fear of provoking the Russians has gone down,”
Contrast this with the 7.4 million times the expression unprovoked was linked with Russia’s SMO in the western MSM.
Occasionally something I read really stands out, Putin’s saying we haven’t done anything in earnest is such a thing. It’s almost like they are itching to try out some new weapon they have that works best in cold weather.
Observing Russian Syrian ops definitely prepared me to be patient. They fight with wisdom, not lies. You want fast, watch a hollywood movie. You want real, relax this could take a while.
In the meanwhile how many western people would vote for what is happening economically to us all now? So much for democracy.
Tom E Weiss says
Ukraine as an independent power has already long been defeated and demilitarized.
The war is now between the West and Russia with some Ukrainians fighting for the West and some for Russia. Similar to Korea where the war would not have continued as long as it did without first UN and then Chinese intervention.
Whenever people talk about “A Ukrainian offensive defeated Russian forces” they are showing their ignorance of this basic fact.
John Thurloe says
Roberts makes a valid point. It pertains to the place of things political. A sphere that has its own logic, throw-weight, consequences. While it may well have benefited Russia to slow-walk the Ukie business, leaving it unconcluded has given the west time to maneuver, adapt and marshal resources. If the matter had been smartly wrapped up Russia’s power would be indisputeable and many voices in the west would favour moving on.
It’s not just about the Ukrainian Nazis. It’s the destruction of NATO and collapsing the EU. Which in turn plucks the eagles tail feathers.
This is WW3 on the back burner.
Any US contact and the pot is on the front burner with the heat turned up to max.
The Pentagon understands this. They also understand Retirement, Golden Parachutes and talking BS on CNN and getting bonus money for laying it on thick.
After 40 years of yes Sir, the thought of sleeping on a mattress stuffed with Benjamin’s ie tax free cash, gets the nod from all the old, top, generals.
Thor Odinson says
I value all perspectives and viewpoints on the Russian SMO, including that of Paul Craig Roberts. His opinion is a valid one, that in order to save 10s of Thousands of ethnic Russians in Donbass, Putin’s “slow walk” has greatly increased the threat of nuclear destruction of 10s of Millions. Whether he is right or wrong I don’t know, but I value the perspective.
I believe he *IS* correct in his assessment that the West will NEVER stop, NEVER back down, until they are forced to do so. The Globalist bankers in charge will never accept de-dollarization or the end of dollar hegemony. They will push the world to destruction rather than accept economic defeat. PCR does have the experience and perspective to comment in that domain.
A quick and decisive Russian victory MAY have avoided or delayed that scenario, but it is all guesswork at this point. Let us pray that cooler heads prevail and a cold winter will bring Europe to its senses and break the grip of US/NATO control.
Brian 0. says
After watching the coverage of the SMO for months, seeing predictions from rabid to ridiculous, one thing stands out. The west blames the Russian army for being slow, wrong, inept and all around poor at their job. Silly of me to notice that it isn’t the Russian army fighting all that much in eastern Ukraine. It is the militia forces of Donbass. They are well supported and they are doing a fine job considering they haven’t been at this game as long as either the UK or RF. They were on defense mainly until the SMO began.
But after reading Alisdair Macleod’s piece at Goldmoney today, there is a logic to the operation that becomes very clear. The RF is simply bleeding the west by causing them to print counterfeit money in huge quantity to make more weapons that don’t match up with the RF. All of the west that is involved is bending over to destroy themselves by emulating the US. These weapons aren’t going to go to the 404, but only to restock the exhausted supplies of those that purchase them. But all the west can see that they weapons just don’t cut it when push comes to shove. RF is helping the west to self destruct. They are about to dump the dollar and offer an alternative that is going to be far more attractive to the rest of the world because it can tame future inflation and put all the participants on a solid footing.
Imagine having to choose between funding the military that directs how you live, or getting on with your nations development without blackmail. Tough choice? No, not at all. Even Europe will desperately want to join the BRICS and become friendly.
MICHAEL JENKINS says
Methinks that all the talk in the media about American and NATO “wonder weapons” that will turn the tide against the overpowering Russian military might is a bit reminiscent of the Nazi hopes they pinned on the V-1 and V-2 rockets, giant Tiger tanks, and jet Messerschmitts in the waning days of WW II, which Hitler thought might slow or turn back the onslaught of the Red Army and Eisenhower’s forces attacking in the west, allowing Germany to sue for peace.
“Despite a massive influx of western military aid, Ukraine has been unable to force the Russians to retreat”
Now they have. Although it appears the Russians were quite unprepared, putting lightly armed Donetsk and Luhansk fighters in vulnerable Frontline spots. There is also danger on Kherson as the HIMARS can blow up everything that Russia uses to bring supplies across the river.
Perhaps like New York calling it twice since it’s wonderful?
Perhaps you should remember that patience is a virtue and computers not slot machines?
Ukraine has been able to force the Russians to retreat in the Izium/Kharkiv area, even with Russia being able to use their air force. That’s the main point. Russia appears to have been unprepared for this offensive.
Larry Johnson says
Keep reading the Ukrainian press releases. Reports from Ukrainian hospitals tell a different story.
Are you talking about the Kharkiv/Izium area? Regardless of Ukrainian casualties, Russia is retreating, per pro-Russian sources.
Larry Johnson says
Yeah, Russia is losing. They’ve abandoned the Donbas and Mariupol and are fleeing in panic to Moscow. Ukraine is televising its massive victory. Right?
Some observers have a hypothesis that Russia is trying really hard to feign weakness of its military capabilities to lure NATO into the fight openly, not like they are doing it right now, like that jackal from the Kipling story, hiding in Lvov and “fighting from the behind the Uki’s backs”.
If Russia convinces the NATO-stan “generals” that it is a paper-tiger, cannot even fight with its proxy-army, the Uki neo-Nazis, NATO could announce openly they are sending X, Y, or Z into the fight “to finish off” Russia. And that’s when the real fight will begin.
Why would Russia do such a seemingly insane thing?!
Right before the SMO, Russia issued an ultimatum to NATO. That ultimatum clearly spelled out getting its military shit behind the 1997 line. This means Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, 3Balts, etc. They all have to be neutral, and have no (ZERO) NATO hardware and military force. Cleaning out the neo-Nazis from the Ukraine accomplishes ONLY the immediate threat (de-nazification / de-militarization of the Ukraine) but it does not address the “1997 demands”.
One would say, but how can Russia alone fight 40-50 countries of NATO? I can only guess that Putin, who is a grand chess and judo master has already thought through and calculated 100 moves ahead and has assessed all statistical probabilities and eventualities. It might be there are some agreements with allies to finish off NATO / AUKUS / other neo-Nazi orgs once and for all together with friends and partners (no need to tell you who they are and who is being constantly threatened by the crazies running the West). It might be that the decision about the use of the “limited” tactical nukes has already been made and that war will last for just a few days and stops before the Strategic Threshold is reached (and something tells me no one in Washington will cry too loudly if Poland, Romania, and maybe even the London and half of Berlin will be no more).
But this hypothesis might explain this very strange “war” when Russia spares all Uki’s infrastructure, allows it to have electricity, continue mining natural gas just 19km from the front line and keeps the gas flowing through its pipeline, leaves trains, rail and logistical hubs intact, does not tough bridges, never touches “centers of decision making” (could have decapitated all of these Western whores on Day 1), does not really leverage its air superiority, allows Ukis to continue living a wonderful life in most cities visiting bars, and restaurants, partying in Kiev like nothing’s happening, and allows all these political bozos from NATO, Pentagon, and EU/UK flying back and forth to visit Z-elenski to get their mugs on TeeVee all the time.
I hope we’ll know soon. There some info that NATO is now directly involved (boots on the ground) near Kharkov and near Ugledar…
Larry: Re the Hill’s “… the U.S. plans to soon send Excalibur precision-guided artillery munitions — weapons that can travel up to 70 kilometers …” that ship has already sailed — quite covertly!
“Pentagon sent GPS-guided rounds to Ukraine – media”
“The US Pentagon is spending over $90 million to acquire new M982 Excalibur munitions, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. The department is replacing a stockpile previously sent to Ukraine, according to budget documents cited in the article. …”
Just an FYI.
I saw video of HIMARS in a convoy rolling through Romania recently. It may be that they are understating how much of a lot of weapons they are giving Ukraine.
The USA no longer seems to have any reservations about what weapons it sends to Ukraine. I think the extra long distance rockets for the HIMARS are going to end up there and we will see the Crimean bridge blown up, among other things. Ukraine shelled Donetsk city for 8 years. Now they will be able to shell any city in eastern Ukraine for 8 years.
Jennifer Fishburne says
The more we (US) give to Ukraine, the more our reserves shrink. If we keep poking the bear, eventually he will run out of patience, but by then, we will be very weak and vulnerable, and they will be strong and in shape from all this fighting.
This is a lose/lose/lose proposition for the US on every front, militarily, economically, and strategically.
BRICS is growing stronger by the moment.
Some observers have a hypothesis that Russia is trying really hard to feign weakness of its military capabilities to lure NATO into the fight openly, not like they are doing it right now, like that jackal from the Kipling story, hiding in Lvov and “fighting from behind the Uki’s backs”.
If Russia convinces the NATO-stan “generals” that it is a paper-tiger, that it cannot even fight with its proxy-army, the Uki neo-Nazis, then NATO could announce openly they are sending X, Y, or Z into the fight “to finish off” Russia. And that’s when the real fight will begin.
Why would Russia do such a seemingly insane thing?!
Right before the SMO, Russia issued an ultimatum to NATO. That ultimatum clearly spelled out getting its military infrastructure behind the 1997 line. This means Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, 3Balts, etc. They all have to be neutral, and have no (that is zero!) NATO hardware and military force. Cleaning out the neo-Nazis from the Ukraine addresses ONLY the immediate threat (de-nazification / de-militarization of the Ukraine) but it does not address the “1997 demands”.
One would say, but how can Russia alone fight 40-50 countries of NATO?
I can only guess that Putin, who is a grand master in both geopolitical chess and judo has already thought through and calculated 100 moves ahead and has assessed all statistical probabilities and eventualities.
It might be there are some agreements with allies to finish off NATO / AUKUS / other neo-Nazi orgs once and for all together with friends and partners (no need to tell you who they are and who is being constantly threatened by the crazies running the West). It might be that the decision about the use of the “limited” tactical nukes has already been made and that that type of war will last for just a few days and will stop just before the Strategic Threshold is reached (and something tells me no one in Washington will cry too loudly if Poland, Romania, and maybe even London and half of Berlin will be no more).
But this hypothesis might explain this very strange “war” when Russia spares all Uki’s infrastructure, allows it to have electricity, allows to to continue mining natural gas just 20km from the front line and keeps the gas flowing through its pipelines, leaves trains, rail and logistical hubs intact, does not tough bridges, never touches “centers of the Uki and Lvov/NATO decision making” (could have decapitated all of these Western whores on Day 1), does not really leverage its air superiority, allows Ukis to continue living a wonderful life in all cities visiting bars, and restaurants, partying in Kiev like nothing’s happening, and allows all these political bozos from NATO, Pentagon, and EU/UK flying back and forth to visit Z-elenski to get their mugs on TeeVee all the time.
I hope we’ll know soon. There some info that NATO is now directly involved (boots on the ground) near Kharkov and near Ugledar…
” strange “war”
Not strange – ecological – including but not limted to, encouraging the sustainability of the red herring population.