Let me state upfront that I like and respect Scott Ritter. If you define a friend as someone you communicate with regularly then Scott is not a friend. He is an acquaintance. I have reached out to him recently but he has not responded. Could be he did not get my email.
I present this background because I take issue with the substance of his latest interview with Sputnick. As a sideline, it is worth noting that Scott’s critique of the Russian military strategy is not silenced by Sputnick. They published it. Please show me one American media outlet that would allow a critique of the Biden policy? There is not one.
Scott is insisting that Biden’s decision to supply Ukraine with $40 billion dollars is a “game changer.” Here is what he wrote in response to questions from Sputnik:
Sputnik: On 21 May, Biden signed a $40 billion military aid package to Ukraine. Could the provision of new weapons become a game-changer for Kiev?
Scott Ritter: It’s not could, it is a game changer. That doesn’t mean that Ukraine wins the game. But Russia started the special military operation with a limited number of troops and with clearly stated objectives that were designed to be achieved with this limited number of troops.
Today, Russia still has the same number of troops and the same objectives. But instead of going up against the Ukrainian military as it existed at the start of the conflict, it’s now going up against a Ukrainian military that is supported by a weapons package that by itself nearly matches the defence budget for Russia in all of one year. I think the defence budget for Russia in 2021 was around $43 billion.
This package that was just provided nearly matches that and when you add it to what has already been provided during the first five months of 2022, that’s $53 billion. That’s nearly $10 billion more than Russia spends on the totality of its military in one year. That changes the game. Again, the $40 billion package is not all weapons. A lot of it is humanitarian support and then some other financial support. But it’s still… The amount of money it’s provided through in terms of weapons, it’s a lot.The United States and NATO are also providing real time intelligence support to the Ukrainians. That’s a game changer. And NATO’s countries have now provided Ukraine with strategic depth going back through Poland and Germany, where bases are being used to train Ukrainian forces on the new weapons that are being provided.
I think Scott is wrong. Let me explain.
Money may make the world go around but it does not magically produce trained, enthusiastic troops willing and capable of using such weapons. During my time at the U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism, I was the Deputy Director for the Anti-Terrorism Assistance Training Program (ATAP). We discovered that no matter how much money the United States wanted to supply to a specific country to combat terrorism we reached a saturation point. We learned that you reach a point where there are no more people to train or the recipients of the training could not absorb the support.
Ukraine’s problem right now is not a lack of equipment. The had combat aircraft, helicopters, tanks, artillery and drones. Russia destroyed a significant amount of that materiel and killed the soldiers and pilots who were trained to operate those systems. Training replacements–competent replacements–can not be accomplished in a one or two day seminar. Training a pilot or an artillery crew, for example, requires weeks and, in some circumstances, months of instruction before the trainees are ready to go to battle.
As I noted in my previous post, the U.S. decision to send M-155 howitzers to Ukraine is another meaningless gesture. These guns can only get into position by being towed by a vehicle. Once the howitzer is set up and starts firing it is immediately vulnerable to counter battery fire. The best method to counteract counter battery fire is to move the artillery piece to a new location immediately after it fires. You can not do this with the M-155.
I have yet to see a list of the equipment this $40 billion is supposed to buy for Ukraine, but it does not appear that the United States is sending its best first generation weapons. Up to this point we have not seen a single instance of the Ukrainian military mounting a counter attack with air and land assets against Russian forces and winning the day. When the Azov battalion was surrounded at Azovstal, we did not see the Ukrainians attempt an operation akin to Field Marshal Erich von Manstein’s failed attempt to rescue Field Marshal von Paulus at Stalingrad. The answer is simple–the Ukrainians either did not have such a force with the capability to save the Azov thugs or it feared that Russia’s air power and artillery would wipe out or inflict unacceptable casualties on a rescue force. Hence, Azov surrendered unconditionally.
Scott Ritter sees the training of Ukrainian troops in Poland and Germany as a critical variable that could really hurt the Russians. Training reinforcements on new technology might be a potential game changer if the situation on the ground in Ukraine was static. It is not. Russia is grinding down the entrenched Ukrainian forces in the Donbass . Russia is shooting down any Ukrainian planes that dare to take off. Russia is destroying artillery and tank emplacements with counter battery fire. Russia is shooting down drones with regularity. Even if those new trainees graduate and are deployed to the eastern maelstrom, their ability to function as a competent combat unit is limited by Ukraine’s existing and growing deficiencies.
Scott also asserts that intelligence sharing gives the Ukrainians an edge. When you provide intelligence on Russian troop movements, locations or plans, there is an assumption that the recipients of that intelligence will be able to do something to hurt the Russians. How did that work out in Mariupol? How about fending off the Russian missile attack in Desna. In my view, sharing intelligence with Ukraine is an effort in futility. Am empty gesture that will not change anything on the ground.
My new friend, Gonzalo Lira, certainly understands my argument:
The worsening economic situation in the United States and Europe is another key factor that will undermine the policy of reckless spending on useless weapons in the Ukraine. At a minimum the economic troubles will spur domestic opposition to spending billions overseas, especially if babies start dying from lack of formula.
One final observation–Russia is not going to be a passive actor, sitting on its haunches waiting to see how this American plan works out. Russia has its own plan and will continue to pursue it energetically because Russia truly believes this is an existential threat.
I am happy to post Scott’s rebuttal if he has one to my critique. Scott and I agree on one point–well meaning people can have reasonable discussions about substantive disagreements without hating each other.
The $40 billion “aid” to Ukraine will go to the US MIC, while it replaces the useless/obsolete/defective/overpriced weaponry sent to the Ukraine forces with more modern materiel for the US forces. The “aid” weapons are being destroying by Russia thus hiding the evidence, eg M777 howitzers had no targeting packages, UK NLAWs had expired batteries, old Stingers. So, who’ll pay? US taxpayers and Zelensky gets the bill.
The UK has realized that its materiel is useless without a lot of training. NLAWs are abandoned, unused, useless; its Ajax fighting vehicle is useless.
Ukraine isn’t so much a war as a a money laundry: US/UK tax money in, shared via MIC to execs and shareholders, old equipment out to “Save Ukraine” where it will be stolen and on-sold via the black market. Another mess.
Don’t forget all those Lichtenstein bank accounts waiting to be funded.
The main flaw I see with Ritter’s argument is the $$- $$ comparison. The amount of money spent is no guarantee of proportional performance, that is $40bln on one side not necessarily equal the performance of $40bln on the other side. That is overly simplistic and ignores many more important variables.
How many billions went into Viet Nam or Afghanistan for that matter?
Also all that assumes that the $40bln will even get to the field intact, Given the history of Ukraine as well as other Pentagon 3-Ring circus acts, it is a sure bet that most won’t get anywhere near the front. Ukraine raised pilferage to an art form.
Eric Newhill says
I agree with you, Larry. Maybe Ritter is playing a little at trying to be an influencer. He’s doing his small part for Russia. If there’s a small chance that the US/UKR could prevail, he wants to eliminate that small chance by having Russia ramp up and bring the full potential of their military capability to bear on UKR. It’s like a little kick in the ass to get a move on.
Just a thought. Also, I am not disparaging Ritter by saying he’s doing his part for Russia. I mean the US is not at war with Russia and Russia has not attacked, nor declared war on, the US. UKR is not a US territory. So it is not treason, etc.
Not impossible. It is to everyone’s benefit to end this conflict sooner rather than later, not the least of said benefit going to Ukraine.
It makes no sense to Ukraine to send its young (and old) men to be slaughtered for no purpose.
The longer this goes on the more will families will be within husbands, fathers and sons, the more infrastructure will be destroyed.
It makes no sense to prolong this.
Maybe that is Ritter’s motivation, however Russia seems to be doing a fine job without all the outside advice, it is NATO and Ukraine that needs to real wake-up call here.
Sam McGowan says
Time will tell, but I know this much – just because Congress passes a bill for such and such an amount does not mean that amount will actually be used for the stated purpose. What most Americans don’t understand is that when Congress passes a foreign aid bill, that money doesn’t actually go to that country but rather it is used to fund purchases or loans made in the United States. When it comes to military purchases, it is used to purchase equipment and supplies and is actually spent in the United States. Now when it comes to Ukraine, I don’t see much of the promised equipment ever appearing on the battlefield. Ukraine is almost completely landlocked now that Russia controls the Black Sea. Their only avenue of supply has to come through Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic States – unless the US starts sending Air Mobility Command transports into Ukrainian airfields. (They may already be doing it clandestinely,) That my friends, is an act of war in itself and Russia would be perfectly within its rights to send any C-17 or C-5 into the ground.
What pisses me off are the idiots in Congress who voted for the bill. Only 57 Republicans opposed it. (I am happy to see that my Congressman, who is a retired US Army major, is one of them.) Eleven Republicans in the Senate opposed it.
As for Scott Ritter, I don’t know. Bear in mind that he is dumb enough that he pulled his pecker out and showed it to a cop posing as a 15-year-old girl. That’s not very smart and sort of brings his judgement into question. Before that, he tried to arrange a meeting with another “teenage girl” who was actually a cop. That’s not really very bright.
Your last paragraph comes right out of the »character assassination« smear-tech-box. I would strongly advise against that. Ritter argues! His departing points are the stated Russian war goals: Donbass security, de-militarization and de-nazification of Ukraine. He is clear about the first one: almost done. But the remaining two are in doubt as long as the weapons keep coming. What to do? Ramp up the efforts, he says, or change your war aims. Of course, if it turns out that Ukraine surrenders unconditionlly, that problem is resolved. However: What about Finland? And Moldova then? In addition: Do not forget the Russian security demands put forward in writing in last December! What about all that? That is all, Ritter reminds us of — quite legitimate, I believe, even necessary.
I agree. Scott’s arguments are not entirely out of place.
For instance the fact that he says troops being trained in Poland and Germany are a threat to SMO objectives is from my understanding hardly a problem. As I have said elsewhere 8 years of NATO training of the ucr armed forces seem to have be not effective given what is going on the ground. Imagine what could do a few men trained for what, a week, a month, 2 months ? ….. bah.
However, on the “political” front, if (IF) sweden and finland indeed join NATO, then that is w/o a doubt an important defeat for Russia, regardless of how Russian authorities are trying to play it down. We all agree that one of the main declared objectives of the SMO was to put a stop to NATO east expansion, using ucr as the stopping point. What the consequences might be, who knows. Hard to imagine though that it could be a “game changer”.
May be SR is just concerned as he, like many, hoped for a quicker resolution, hence less destruction and death.
The point to me is and remains: Russia is not merely fighting an existential threat for itself but really for humanity at large. This is what the fight is really all about. Spread the word !
jean l says
I strongly concur with your advice about smearing Ritter.
Overall, I am much convinced by Larry Johnson’s arguments than Ritter’s. As Skorpion puts it, I think the weaker point made by Ritter is the story of the 40 billions dollars that is almost on the par with the entire Russian military budget. Even if the equipment worthy of these 40 billions arrives to the frontline — and it’s a big IF — 40 billions dollars for US things is not at all the same than 40 billions dollars for Russian things. We can compare for instance the price of a modern US fighter jet with the price of its Russian counterpart (which is likely better by the way), or a US movie with a Russian movie of the same standing. Then, you find that to get the same quality of the same thing, you have to multiply the bill with at least a factor 10.
Politically set up 100% first time, second same motivation, different administration, and genuine entrapment utilized…always remember history is proscribed by those in power…😐
Bill in Japan says
I really appreciated your calm, rational and polite rebuttal of Scot Ritter’s revised POV on the Ukraine SMO. What we who are really trying to understand how the war is going, and how it will change our world do not need is to become is another cancel culture.
I like reading Gonzalo Lira and I think he provides good information. But, in my opinion, his video in the Saker, More Gonzalo Lira: No More Lies, No More BS and a previous one regarding Scot Ritter were ad hominem attacks. As in, reference to previous life problems and insinuations of money and social motivations for his sudden change of POV. This is not useful at all.
This war is being fought on many levels political, economic, militarily etc., and evolving very rapidly. If a commentator cannot change their POV as their information input changes without getting canceled by their audience it’s really bad.
If you simplify Ritter’s new argument, it is that Russia will realize its goals for territory, but it will not be able to achieve its political and military goals for the new rump state of Ukraine as long as the US keeps financing the Ukraine. This = Russia is going to have to live with a heavily armed, rabidly hostile, de facto NATO country on its border if, it doesn’t change its strategy. To me, this is a pretty reasonable argument.
Larry Johnson says
Scott and you are making the assumption that the $40 billion voted for “Ukraine” is actually going to Ukraine. Given the corrupt nature of Congress I suspect the bulk of it is designated for the US Defense industry.
As I said in the first comment. Ukraine will never see the money, only the (overpriced) junk it bought. That’s what US AID is, a tax laundry.
I think both you and Scott are dancing around the big picture which is the western international banking system. All wars are bankers wars and this one is the most important war for the western international bankers in 500 years.
To the western international banks this war is an existential threat. They have had a unipolar monopoly on banking for the last 500 years. With Russia, and China and India quietly backing Russia, and trading in their own currencies, we are on the verge of a multipolar banking system.
I am afraid like Scott is. But my fear is that the western banks will throw money, men and material at the problem as long as they can. If it takes mercenaries, they will find them. How these banks will go about doing it, I don’t know. But banks own all the western governments.
I may not know much about military matters, but I have studied the influence of banks on government for a long time. This is outside normal economic theory which is taught in schools supported by banks. Economists are not even the right people to talk to.
Larry Johnson says
I think you embrace a false assumption–i.e., that actual quantities of cash via electronic transfer will somehow make its way into Ukrainian accounts. This has more to do with the money that insiders like the Bidens, Romneys and Kerrys have squeezed out of Ukraine.
Yep. I heard 6Billion of that 40Billion is actual military aid.
no one criricize ritter for his opinion , but you for whatever reason think he should be allowed to pass without criticism even if he is posting assumption based analysis with zero real analysis based on real world data. And you again repeat ritter’s conclusion verbatim as if it is a fact.
the crowd here are not some dumb sheeple who dont use brains , we do know ritter’s stupid opinion are not based on real factual data except the abstract number of $40B aid. It is very obvious to many of us that ritter have no real world experience in analysis when he foolishly conclude russia in trouble without going into deepdive analysis on what modern weapon system will be included in the 40b , the training pipeline of operators and maintenance people needed to maintain such weapon system , the logistics of deploying such weapon systems without air cover and under russian air supremacy.
Ritter also like a kid saying M777 a real game changer , he is not a gunner / arty man , he lack knowledge of artilery system of russia as comparison. Is he still in the blind fan boy mode “anything made by US is the best”. Hilarious analysis just like WW2 nazi fanboys who keep bleating about 88mm flak , Kingtiger , Panther , Me262 all wunderwaffe nonsense
no one here attack ritter personally , we are all attacking his shoddy analysis
I think that Ritter went too far. Moreover, we don’t actually know for what the money is earmarked – but I agree little of it is reaching the Ukrainians – and much of that is kickbacks and graft . More importantly, we don’t know how much they will allocate next year (or the rest of this year).
Scott’s greatest omissions are the food and economic collapses that are in progress. The Ukrainians, the whole world, is facing food shortages. All the nastiest revolutions happened because of food shortages. Americans vote with their pocketbooks. Unfortunately, the GOP is leading the cries for war, so when they win in November, there will be no cries for peace.
As for Europe, their economic and food collapses are imminent.
These economic and food issues outweigh the marginal help that more weapons and more graft from the US.
Moreover, Russia still has the oil and resources sanction’s cards to play.
The banks could care less if people starve. The banks own the politicians and they can just buy new ones.
i laughed at scott’s ritter wife’s comments defending ritter.
sorry , gonzalo do not owe ritter anything .. to have the gall of thinking ritter have any contribution to GL’ s release is just embarassingly self centered. And ‘she’ proceed to accuse GL of being ‘turned’ by SBU
it goes beyond pale and disgust
I agree she should not have said what she did about Lyra’s motives any more than Lyra should not have said what he did about Scott’s motives. But the point she made convincingly I think is that Lyra misrepresented what Scott said about Lyra’s capture. Lyra had Scott’s written words to read from and he intentionally cherry picked them to give the distinct impression Scott said something he did not say.
Lyra is helpful when he lets us know what is going on in Ukraine. He claims to have some knowledge of finance but I don’t think he has shed much light on the financial situation in Ukraine. We all know Ukraine has got to be bankrupt. I don’t think he has added much to what we generally know.
Jacob Dreizin from Dreizin Report said Ritter was already washed out / Out of the loop and now with ukraine situation he want to be relevant again for i guess $$$
money is great motivator , ritter gain cred for opposing MsM narrative with his posts , but when he jumped the shark and made disgustingly low quality analysis (and got called out by everyone) of course theres questions on why he did this.
At best he unintentionally delusional with his analysis , thinking the audience wont protest
At worst he is executing a 180 because with the media slowly turning to realization that ukraine propaganda lies are real , he bet on invitation by MSM to say his piece (for $$$) later
I am extremely pleased that Larry attacked Ritter’s points, like a real analyst does. When one attacks the person, that means they have no logical or factual arguments, they are out of ammo.
Character assassinations? I was repulsed by both Dreizin’s and Lira’s. And now you have regurgitated them.
now now , what made you retch when it come to drezin and GL ?
I agree. Lyra’s comments were not smart or intelligent. And neither were Dreizen’s.
Larry Johnson says
Gonzalo makes no pretense of being a military analyst. But he does have a good nose for sniffing out bullshit. Dreizen is just a young, inexperience in the world of blogging, guy. His errors I attribute to youthful indiscretion.
His military experience was not the problem I had. For some reason Scott’s wife commented and her comments were along the lines of what I remembered. Here they are:
As Scott Ritter’s wife, I listened to this clip with interest. Several points: 1. a modicum of gratitude from you to people like Scott and others who raised an alarm about your disappearance is in order. The whole purpose of Scott’s article was to raise awareness of your disappearance. 2. Scott did not say that you were kidnapped, tortured and murdered. He said “when reports emerged that you were kidnapped, tortured and murdered….”. You conveniently omitted Scott’s reference to these reports. Scott further clarified in the same article “I have no direct evidence that Gonzalo has been killed, I was clear I was referring to reports emerging about his demise. But Gonzo said any disappearance of more than 12 hours should be treated as if something bad had happened to him. It’s been five days”. 3. As someone who once feared for his life at the prospect of being detained by the SBU during war time, you seem awfully jovial and nonchalant about your experience. As a former Soviet citizen, I know that security services do not arrest and release people suspected of treason during war time without some strings attached. After listening to your rant, I have a pretty good idea what those strings are. 4. With all due respect, Scott’s words stand on their own and they don’t need to be dressed up by the likes of you. In the article you quoted, Scott never once mentioned a Russian Vietnam or new Afghanistan. Those are your words, not his. 5. You assessment about Scott courting the mainstream media is fiction. I hope the SBU gives you a pat on your back for your efforts for attacking Scott. Your followers may not comprehend the true objectives behind your rant, but I do.
I would not have speculated about why Lyra changed his tune. Nobody knows. But I do think that Lyra misrepresented what Scott said about Lyra’s arrest.
Larry Johnson says
I hope this opens a conversation between Scott and Gonzalo. This kerfuffle may be the result of a failure to communicate (famous quip from Cool Hand Luke i believe.)
Dreizen non-chalantly accused matraynov as being a bloviator (opiniated person who dont know what he is talking about)
that bring red flags on my radar , if he didnt know matraynov’s past history and read his books , why he put matraynov down like that ? i never saw matraynov posting nonsense in his site. After all comparing dreizin’s knowledge and experience with matraynov showed clearly which one is the opiniated-person-with-lack-of-knowledge
in my mind , i put Dreizen and G.Lira in the Grey Box of beware-these-persons-opinion , and i put Ritter on Red Box of avoid-these-person’s-opinion. Ritter’s red box are still better than that lithuanian ‘green beret’ from SST called TTG ..
Larry Johnson says
That is bad conduct by Dreizen. Andrei gave him notice and brought attention to his blog. Shame on Dreizen. He has now burned a bridge with me.
Cynical Rex says
I’ve come to your blog by way of Andrei Martyanov (and learned of him from his interview on TheDuran). If Ritter’s warning that the US could help Ukraine rebuild its offensive capability is hollow, especially due to Russia’s uncontested air power and long range missile strikes, what will become the endgame for the US in this war? If as other posters have described, Ukraine is a money laundering operation for the US, how does the US save face when the reality of Russia’s control of eastern Ukraine sets in? It seems to me that the US would gladly keep supplying weapons to Ukrainians willing to fight, but unless NATO is willing to threaten Russia advances into Western Ukraine with airstrikes (or gods forbid) a nuclear reprisal, the US will have to try a face-saving peace deal with Russia to avoid escalation.
My understanding of the Ukraine war is that it’s a desperate attempt by the declining US empire to isolate Europe from Russia, to provoke Russia into invading so that NATO becomes united, and to slow or stop the challenge to its world hegemony by a rising Russia/China alliance that would have included China’s Belt and Road Initiative extending into Europe.
i think you got the broad picture correct , the dying US empire want to stop china-russia alliance and their first move is to break up russia-europe cooperation (energy wise). turned out the plan dont go well in reality , as both the Empire and it’s european vassals already weakened economically and the EU have no military prowess at all except token forces with no depth.
It is one thing to start a war against china-russia in the position of strength , it is another to start this conflict with weakened position. They want to do this when hillary won but they got trump for 4 years + COViD which destroy their own economy.
Now something tell me the vicious US Empire time is over , the writing is on the wall but no one in US govt saw it , this is the change of the seat of empire , as it moves to the East and the Kingdoms of the East will rule the world
I was curious, so I did a bit of looking. Here’s the bill breakdown https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/Additional%20Ukraine%20Suplemental%20Appropriations%20Act%20Summary.pdf
It breaks down like this – i’ve grouped it by country likely benefiting. There’s usd17b in there for actual weapons for ukraine, before you get to the various ways that number will be reduced in effect. 11bn are drawdown from existing stocks, likely more old busted/useless stuff.
No comment in the brief on how that 11bn drawdown is priced, whether they add up to 11bn in original purchase cost, inflation adjusted cost, replacement cost, or replacement cost + kickbacks, etc.
600m defense production
550m us munitions stocks
900m for refugees
54m CDC for refugees
350m State Dept refugees
190m kyiv embassy ops
10m kyiv embassy tech
110m kyiv embassy security
100m state dept nonproliferation
67m DOJ for seizing ru assets
52m dept of treasury seizing ru assets
20m bill emerson humanitarian trust
17m USAID ops
eu + elsewhere
4350m international disaster assistance
4000m foreign military financing program – incl ua
3900m euro command ops incl patriot battery
150m global ag and food for price increases
6000m ua security assistance initiative = weapons + training
11000m drawdown authority for sending us weaps to ua
8766m economic support in ua
500m to ua via eu for economy & energy
400m law enforcement
2m support ua nuclear agency
weapons ~17bn, at least 2/3 from existing stocks
i read this and i saw no indication of superior western military weapons given to the ukrops (if there’s any). This is why scott ritter’s analysis is bunk , he only saw the $40b and go gaga on the amount , which is total nonsense as money dont win wars (witness 20+ years of afghanistan failure , or the failure to prop up south vietnamese govt)
there should be clear lesson-learned there , but scott might be sleeping during history class.
Thanks for this clear analysis. I think you are right. Kit only gets you so far and Ukraine seems to be running out of men who want to be cannon fodder. What we are not seeing (for example) is the various Ukrainian elites who at the start of this made videos with weapons in their plush apartments now making videos of themselves on the front line enduring Russian artillery bombardments. Maybe they just cannot recharge their phone batteries.
The astronomical $ amounts being talked about are clearly intended to enable the US to rearm and a lot of the expenditure will end up in the military industrial complex. Ukraine increasingly resembles South Vietnam in my mind and I am interested in how exactly the collapse of this whole deck of cards will be spun.
There is a longer term issue where Scott may have a point. If the US really does want to ratchet this up into a long term conflict with Russia , keep finding new client states to goad her with (Poland?) and ramp up military spending to do so, then I could see a scenario that is no win for Russia. It is also a no win scenario for the western world though and the likelihood of western populations being prepared to endure real hardship to fight Russia is questionable at best. Up to now, it has been akin to supporting a football team. The latest “thing”. France, Italy and Germany already seem to be trying to move back from the brink although the Churchill wannabes Boris Johnson and Liz Truss continue merrily down the primrose path with Biden.
The big questions for me are how does this end and how does the US (specifically Biden and the Neo Cons) find the off ramp that they will have to use at some point? Russia will just keep going because, as you say, this is an existential threat. They will match each escalation and the idea of regime change back to a Yeltsin type leader is just sheer Alice in Wonderland territory. If anything, Putin is arguably more likely to be succeeded in time by a harder line leader.
ritter’s analysis / conclusion only logical if NATO decided to send another actor like the poles into ukraine thus complicating Russia’s SMO objectives , after the pole expedition forces get blasted by russian missiles we will see if NATO want to ramp up the conflict. Even polish military are fools to enter ukraine to face russia , with no air cover no nothing to protect them any NATO ground unit will still be decimated by russia. The strength of NATO was on the air power , take that out and the whole house of card crumbles
and ritter conveniently forgot the incredible economic problem both in US and EU , the core reason why the west will either lost the will to continue or double down all for nothing and go straight in ukraine , thats when Russia will mobilize and It is very possible a few detonation of TAC NUKE (for demonstration purposes not on troops) will be enacted to show the glimpse of escalation dominance by russia.
let face if , i doubt Nations in NATO willing to exchange their cozy lives for a military draft amid crashing economies.. the yellow jacket protest will be like kindergarten party compared to the upcoming civil demonstration protesting draft.
The foot soldiers for NATO future wars will be the baltics and polish citizens , their leaders already sold their nation and people to the altar of US empire.
First reports of 3 brigades of Polish soldier “volunteers” have gone to the Avdiivka front with APCs and obsolete tank guns… unless their APCs are strikers… no more info. 2 sources, neither verified yet…
Either way the demilitarization and denazification of NATO (sic) is ongoing.
The western banks are behind this. This war is an existential war for them. They could care less who starves. They are in the business of foreclosure and repossession. Human suffering means nothing to them.
Michael Murry says
I agree with Larry’s analysis, in support of which Andrei Martyanov has just made a small down payment on debunking both Scott Ritter and Pepe Escobar to the extent that these gentlemen suppose that a mauled, amputated, and depopulated “Ukraine” will have both the capability and willingness to resurrect itself for yet another mauling by the Russian Federation and its combined armed forces:
This Is Seriously Fuc… I Mean Funny
In that case, Ukraine completely destroyed, there remain: Finland and Moldova plus Russia‘s security demands to Nato (Dec 21). What about those?
I see Larry’s point and it is likely the correct one.
However$40bn is going to make a dent and a difference to this war even if 89% is stolen. It may not change win to lose but it will inflict pain going to:
– recruit mercenaries and special forces on independent contracts
– polish army paid
– Ukrainian army paid
– Ukrainian politicians bribed to keep up war
Some of this will tell. It will drain Russia more. There is trouble with border build up in Belarus of Ukie troops and in Transnistria and in Georgia.
Alot of fires can be lit with 40bn.
Syria theatre escalating.
It’s not a zero sum game. There will be an impact that inceases over time. It’s significance level unknown and likely limited.
Either way. This war is now funded for a couple of years. Weather it lasts that long or not.
Biden saying us military will be sent in over Taiwan.
Picking fights everywhere. To what end.
Does Biden administration really think they can control this? Violence like anger is unpredictable. Once unleashed you can’t always control how things go.
US letting a lot of dogs off leashes in dangerous parks. Dogs are going to be unleashed back. Bitten, mauled or taken down. One of the three will happen
i dont see the points you made will make ritter’s conclusion more palatable. as one cannot dress up a monkey to look pretty. your lame and scatter shot analysis made it worse by not understanding what LJ and many other people said about ritter’s amateurish conclusion.
You may not be able to dress up a monkey, but you sure can add makeup. Look at Chelsea KKKlinton, or Debby Wasserman Schultz.
Ok, lipstick on a pig doesn’t do much, but I can’t even imagine what they look like without makeup.
Thanks, you just ruined my lunch with that imagery!
My point, simply put dear, is that without doubt the money will make a difference. Though not necessarily a significant one.
“Picking fights everywhere. To what end?”
I follow Edward Dowd on Twitter. He used to work on Wall Street and seems to know what he is talking about. Basically the price of everything in the USA is going through the roof (refers to this index … https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/crb)
while interest rates are rising so people can’t afford to borrow to keep up. He reckons there are going to be massive shortages of everything, and that the monkey pox has been invented to allow the US and western govt’s to lock down again, while everyone starves. The war in Ukraine serves the same purpose, in that it provides the USG with a scapegoat.
Don’t bother with the full show unless you want to listen to him discussing this with Steve Bannon, but it’s here if you want. Steve Bannon of course blames the Chinese for stealing American jobs, but that’s to be expected and ignored.
Alot of the West is on a mortgage time bomb. To control inflation you raise interest rates. Raise interest rates without real income going up and people living paycheck to paycheck risk default on mortgages.
Biden admin fully controls inflation. They are using it to move wealth and change behaviour.
So many cards can fall. Mortgage defaults stress financial institutions. Obama did a fine job of putting small local banks out of business. Won’t be surprised to see a huge big bank bailout in the next few years.
The recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries is a violation of international law.
A mercenary is:
Any person who:
(a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
(b) Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar rank and functions in the armed forces of that party;
(c) Is neither a national of a party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a party to the conflict;
(d) Is not a member of the armed forces of a party to the conflict; and
(e) Has not been sent by a State which is not a party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.
Article 1. 2. extends that definition to include a person who:
(a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad for the purpose of participating in a concerted act of violence aimed at:
(i) Overthrowing a Government or otherwise undermining the constitutional order of a State; or
(ii) Undermining the territorial integrity of a State;
(b) Is motivated to take part therein essentially by the desire for significant private gain and is prompted by the promise or payment of material compensation;
(c) Is neither a national nor a resident of the State against which such an act is directed;
(d) Has not been sent by a State on official duty; and
(e) Is not a member of the armed forces of the State on whose territory the act is undertaken.
But the language is full of loopholes, and you have seen some of them; incorporating mercenaries into the state armed forces, privatizing paramilitary forces, and so on.
“The Mercenaries Convention does not ban, per se, the employment of foreigners individually or in special units of national armed forces, such as the French Foreign Legion, or Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas. It also has no direct impact on the activities of so-called “private military and security companies” (hereinafter “PMSC”) which have been extensively used by major military powers in recent armed conflicts, occupations and other war-like operations. These private commercial concerns supply logistical and administrative support to the armed forces and carry out certain security tasks – sometimes with poor human right results. It is asserted by those who use them, however, that they do not take a direct part in hostilities – a prerequisite of mercenary status. The dividing line between the activities of PMSC and mercenarism in practice may not always be so clear cut. ”
That said, it would be difficult to argue the forces who surrendered at Azovstal took no direct part in hostilities – ditto if your body is recovered from the battlefield. No, the problem seems to be that there is no will to prosecute, since those who raise objections are usually on the list of America’s Enemies. Still, Ukraine would not be able to be so brazen as to openly recruit mercenaries with US money.
But that’s not very likely; as others have forecast, very little of that money will actually reach Ukraine, and most of what does will go to pay ‘salaries’ of Ukrainian politicians and senior military figures. Most of it is just a transfer of money from tax revenues directly to US weapons manufacturers. And it will go to purchase more Javelins – although they have done bupkes to change the course of the war – and other such wartoys. They could probably afford a few F-35’s, but Ukraine hasn’t got any pilots who could fly one and there is no eagerness to put the flying coke machine up against the Russian Air Force. See? No use providing them with complex stuff that draftees can’t figure out how to use in a half-hour or less, and there remains the problem of how to get weapons shipments from Poland or Odessa to the front lines – so far, that hasn’t been terribly successful. But American MIC contractors don’t care. They just take the money and supply the equipment. What happens to it after that is the customer’s problem.
While I think the underlying assumptions of your criticism of Ritter’s statements are correct: that the US weapons have operational hurdles that limit their use, that the notional dollar amount is largely hiding inefficiencies and corruption. I think its also fair to say that these are ultimately (healthy) assumptions.
If you were in the present-day Stavka you may carry those prejudices about the Western system and its military capabilities, and in my opinion you wouldn’t be wrong. But you would be making an unforgivable mistake to plan around the inadequacy and corruption of your enemy. As a matter of fact it would be the reciprocal of Western “strategists” saying the Russian’s don’t know what they’re doing because they didn’t take Kiev, or because they aren’t “shock and awing” their way across Ukraine.
Ritter makes a factual statement when he says that the military resources Ukraine has in mid-May 2023 are notionally greater than those it had at the end of March 2023, despite the destruction wrought on it by the Russian military. I agree with you that these notional resources won’t yield real world returns in the way its western donors expect, and it seems that so does Ritter, you quote him saying, “That doesn’t mean that Ukraine wins the game.” But again, if you were a Russian planner in this war, you couldn’t just dismiss this Western support as useless.
It seems that a large part of the criticism of Ritter is semantical, and focused around the phrase “game changer.” The assumption being that this phrase indicates Ukraine has better prospects for victory. Instead, I would interpret this phrase as indicating that Russia must now change the nature and magnitude of its commitment. Of course Russia sees this as an existential threat, and our interpretation of its commitment by counting missile strikes in western Ukraine is equivalent to reading tea leaves. You’re absolutely right in noting the Russian’s are not “passive actors” , and I don’t imagine the Russian consideration is that they’ll simply destroy American weapon shipments until the US leadership comes to its senses. If that were so, they’ll waiting on sanity for a long time.
It is mind boggling how you tried to play with words to make ritter’s bad analysis palatable. RItter do not have full access on any factual data either from Ukrop nor Russian MOD , he just made pretty poor assumption based on dollar value (which do not translate into military might) and go straight second guessing the russian MOD which have FULL awareness of everything in the strategic and tactical sense.
When someone made analysis based on his bias and assumptions , one can easily disccard the analysis as GIGO (garbage in garbage out)
i feel the people who try to justify ritter’s shoddy analysis also the same people who believe russian have run out of missile, russian have ran out of food/ammo/fuel , russian convoy ambushed and bombed constantly , russian troops KIA reaching 25000 , Ukraine counter offensive ready to be launched due to the 40B injection..
when your mind are damaged by MSM propaganda of course you are reaching for anytrhing to support your delusional mindset , and ritter conveniently provide the kool aid for you to maintain the illusion that ukraine can hold russia given enough $$$
Your analysis totally omits the banks who are ultimately behind this. This is existential for them. That is the problem with military minds sometimes, they don’t really understand that banks are behind all wars.
Larry Johnson says
Banks “behind” what? You need to elaborate.
What prevents the banks from loaning NATO $500 billion at 1%, first payment not to be made for seven years. Nothing. I have no idea what the banks will do. But I know what they can do if it is existential. I have no idea how they have financed the countries of NATO, I just know they can and have. Because they finance everything.
If you want to talk about nefarious banking history of the US you can go all the way back to the colonies. Ben Franklin said the revolution was not caused by taxation, it was caused by the British taking away the colonies’ money called colonial scrip. The British parliament outlawed it. In six months’ time the colonists were bankrupt. They were forced to use British money of which they had none.
All throughout American history there has been a battle between the international banking system and the American government. It has been a battle of who gets to issue the currency: the government or the banks. Government money was coins. Banks are not allowed to mint coins under the Constitution, nor are states. Banks want banknotes as currency.
We had four assassinations of our presidents and all four advocated for some kind of coin as money or its paper equivalent called a bill of credit. And Andrew Jackson, who was not successfully assassinated, also took on the banks. In fact his slogan was I killed the bank.
The government lost the battle with the banks when the federal reserve took over. Even Kennedy tried his hand at bills of credit and he got assassinated.
Of course every assassination had a lone gunman and always the banks had cover. But five times?
These are vicious people who will stop at nothing. Because banks control the currency of every country, they end up forcing every county to tax its population and they force every country into huge debt.
When a government issues coin money, (or their paper equivalent called a bills of credit in the Constitution), it does not have to tax the people to issue it and it doesn’t go into debt. How do you think our government financed itself before the income tax? Most of the money was coin money. Colonial scrip was a bill of credit, the paper equivalent of coins. And only one time did we use a bill of credit in significant amounts in our history: Lincoln’s greenbacks, which he called notes, but which the Supreme Court really said were bills of credit, which interestingly the court said was part of Congress’ war powers to issue them instead of coins.
Today, our coin money is far less than 1% of our money supply. There are no bills of credit in circulation. The rest are bank notes. And banks decide how much of it to print. And they don’t want to lose that ability. What Russia and China and India are doing now is printing their own money outside this western banking system.
Michael Murry says
An elaboration on the subject of banker-driven imperial wars, from Michael Parenti, Against Empire (1995):
More than a century has passed and still the U.S. “flag” follows wherever the stockholders and currency speculators dictate. Nothing new here at all.
Forgive me Buntalanlucu, I certainly didn’t expect such a vitriolic response and I don’t think I merited your specific criticism. But it may be that I wasn’t clear with my words. I’ll try to be more precise.
Neither me, our host Mr.Johnson, or the subject of the criticism, Mr. Ritter, doubt the Russian’s ABILITY TO destroy Western arm shipments for an interminable amount of time. But I think the question presents itself with respect to the present commitment of Russia in Ukraine, as measured by metrics such as manpower and geographic penetration. If the Russians maintain their current template do they then run the risk of HAVING to destroy Western arm shipments for an interminable amount of time?
Of course no one here is privy to the Russian plans; and we can all respect the professionalism and preparation of the Russian military and assume that they will change their posture as needed. But until they do, those are simply our assumptions.
Again I think the confusion between the conflicting positions is somewhat superficial. I said I thought it was semantical. I will add that perhaps there is a confusion between the predictive analysis being excellently done by Mr. Johnson and others, and the descriptive analysis which Ritter put forth. The former has made great use of incisive characterization of Western and Russian capabilities and applied them to give us an understanding of how the conflict may play out. The latter is taking the visible, albeit hazy from our vantage point thousands of kilometers away, data to present a valid (if imperfect) risk analysis.
no need to apologize , we all guest in LJ’s forum.
i was taken aback with ritter’s incredibly shoddy analysis backed by non existent data / factual info except stuff he pulled out from his ***..
we can all extrapolate what ritter’s intention by his 180 but i re-read ritter’s analysis again and it still smell as bad as before.
bear in mind anyone will be treated the same , not just ritter. if an analyst / blogger do a 180 without solid factual data , he will be as bad as ritter.
just like Col Pat Lang and his site Sic Semper Tyranis , for years he acted like anti neocon/warmonger and when ukraine heated up he turned into neocon pet and bootlicker , letting his blog to be used as IO site with embarassingly BAD analyss using sources from british tabloids and ISW
i see so many ppl here came from SST and also share the disgust of Col Pat Lang’s 180 , even more so for those like LJ who knew pat lang for years
Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps Intelligence Officer with experience in the disarming of weapons of mass destruction gained during Operation Desert Storm, and was a UN Weapons Inspector for 7 years. I think we can give him a little credit for experience. He doesn’t have to be right about everything, and I don’t think Larry is implying anything of the kind. In most people’s assessment the injection of $40 Billion into an economy whose 2021 GDP was only a bit more than 3 times that figure would be a game-changer, and he’s probably not wrong to use that terminology. But as we’ve debated, very little of that figure is going into Ukraine as funding, and nearly all of what does will be snapped up in salaries for Ukrainian government figures. As Larry suggests, feeding the Ukrainians intelligence information is not going to be of much avail if they don’t have the weapons capability to act upon it. There is no use in purchasing complicated weapons systems because the Ukrainians don’t know how to use them. Anything bulky, like a tank or infantry vehicle, is going to make a mighty attractive target transiting Ukraine to the war zone, which is in the southeast and a long way from any realistic delivery point. That leaves man-portable systems and small arms. Ukraine has plenty of both, and it’s still losing.
Larry Johnson says
Yes. Scott is a very bright, capable Marine. Can’t ignore his experience. I disagree with his analysis on this issue.
Just my 0.02 cents worth:
Any govt’s of fools can throw trillions of dollars in weaponry and training at a problem but IF there’s no trainable personnel available???…C’mon already, Quo Vadis???
Churchill called Poland the “jackals of Europe “. The Ukrainians are not the only ones fighting. 2500 poles reportedly entered Ukraine this last week.
82nd Airborne there in numbers. Biden said they will go in. Will they. Blinken stupid they might.
Russian navy likely to face more attacks in Black Sea, weakest point. Special forces heading there in droves. Spoke to a Brit in special forces, he just got a divorce, money in Ukraine is good, wants the challenge, has ptsd, needs a war, lots like him. Lots of nazis headed there too but not a fighting threat.
They will get the bodies to fight, no way can they let this war end too quick. Evil minds are at work.
My point is that if the bankers feel totally threatened and are willing to spend several hundred billion, that buys a lot of mercenaries.
The big banks win whoever else wins.
They will be making a killing on commodity futures and oil trades etc. They don’t make money by lending it any more, they make it by event driven betting and trades.
Whichever sides wins is only relevant to them for betting purposes.
$40bn invested in war – bankers bet war goes on longer – so commodities higher, precious metals higher, they just move the money and wait.
This is how the now make money off war. They know it’s coming, get experts to advise on length and severity and place huge bets abs trades. Money is made from market volatility.
There is no doubt the western banks are going to make a lot of money off this war. But, I think it will cost them their monopoly on unipolar banking. I think they know that could happen and are doing everything in their power to make sure it does not happen, and if it has happened to do everything they can to make a multipolar banking world a brief situation and return it back into a unipolar banking world again ASAP.
Isn’t it true, however, that only a small portion of the $40 billion goes to actual weapons ?
Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I read Scott Ritter is a convicted ex-con, spending 7 years in jail for soliciting and going to meet what he thought was a 15 year old girl which turned out to be a female police officer. That was his SECOND time, I read in the same article.
Why do you lend credibility to such a man?
The second I noticed how hard and widespread his “interviews” were, it bothered me… then I realized why he was working so hard for the machine. He has nothing left of his reputation or ability to work except maybe the deep state.
The alternate/independent news (if there are any for realz) should VET their sources better imo, and not just jump on the next great thing (think monkeypox bs).
Larry Johnson says
Scott was not jailed.
Martin shah says
I fully appreciate and agree with Larry’s point on “saturation point”. Russian & allied forces are also learning every day on the battlefield, and applying the lessons learnt. I think the West is throwing money at the problem, typical of what politicians tend to do without necessarily worrying about ROI. For one, the Pentagon admitted it cannot keep track of where or who the weapons go to. Money can buy weapons but cannot buy the morale of Ukrainian troops (canon fodder) who face life & death situation in the frontlines helplessly bombarded by Russian relentless & brutal firepower. I think the winning game changer is the entry of large numbers of highly motivated & battle tested troops vis a vis specialists trained to operate & maintain those sponsored weaponry, which Ukraine appears less & less likely to have with every day that passes by. I think the Ukranian general staff is keeping their best troops at the rear to prepare for an eventual retreat around Kyiv in the aftermath of a Donbass defeat.
“Money can’t buy me love” nor anything when it comes to this war! Throwing money at all things is the American government solution to all of our problems. Between the years 2013 and 2018, nearly $300 billion in U.S. taxpayer money flowed as “aid” to countries outside the United States (Forbes, Aug 4, 2021.) This is the official amount paid to other countries to illicit obedience to US foreign policy. I think an equal amount is paid under the table, take for instance Finland and Sweden sudden interest in joining NATO. Sorry Mr. Ritter, throwing $53 billion dollars at Ukraine will only enrich the elites and their associates. Russia spends a fraction of what we spend on our military, so why do they have better weapons and better military? Money by itself is not the answer: Since Nixon started the war on cancer, trillions of dollars were spent on cancer, yet cancer (it alternates with heart disease) is still the number one killer in our country. Did spending 14.4 billion dollars on the 2020 elections give us better politicians? Since 2014, US and NATO been providing equipment and training to prop up the Ukrainian military and the Russians with their allied forces are taking their time grinding through them slowly (on purpose) but surely! Hindsight criticism is easy, but for the Ukrainian, they are experiencing hell on earth and no amount of money will save them!
I doubt it was American tax payers’ money, and is not now. It was and still is borrowed money which will never be paid back — borrowed from other states, foremost China, but also … Russia, theses states’ dollar reserves. Had the American taxpayer been milked for that, they surely would have rebelled by now. I guess … wouldn‘t they?
I think the American taxpayer is on the hook for that and the American government borrowed this money from the federal reserve; i.e the private banks. And no, the American taxpayers are saying very little other than you should have spent the money for things in he US rather than for Ukraine.
We know who the Nazis are. We know who are funding them. Nazis are cowards; what do you call somebody who PAYS Nazis to do their fighting; is there a name for such scum? We know who is fighting for the right reason: Because a bully came to town with money and weapons and said being Russian or speaking Russian now means you are sub human. As was done NOT JUST to the JEWS (to excuse them from being human and potential NAZIS for the rest of life on earth), but to Poles, Ukranians and any other non self proclaimed UBER MENCSHEN.
You live a covert life, fucking up honest people’s lives with cowardly acts of violence that you are toooo cowardly to take the blame for. Your cowardly ways allow you to blame someone who is innocent so you can send them to Guantanamo and continue too practice your cowardly ways with torturing innocent people. You create a whole country based on a philosophy that you learned about watching World At War. And you work and support that country and the philosophy it is based upon: Cowardly Ways. Your children are addicts, or worse lack total identity to the point of denying their biological identity given at birth. The errors of your ways lead you to the delusion that you are “exceptional”, a model of what the rest of the world should be. Now not everyone is a coward; some know how to fight, and be just as sophisticated in the technology of the fight, or not; ’cause in the end it is just about having had ENOUGH of the jive and putting the wind sack on the line to defend from your insanity, which is something your cowardly ways would never allow you to do.
Every thing is yours and you can just frack the fuck out of it and destroy everything, ’cause diplomacy ain’t necessary, even when it reveals the hollow reality of your economy and specifically twisted egocentric nihilism of your”education” to the point where you hold humanity in the palm of one hand and your newly concocted virus straight out of your bio-warfare laboratory in the other. Texas A&M Pompeo”we lie we cheat we steal…” we have NO ETHICS AT ALL AND YET PRETEND TO BE THE MOST ETHICAL…Lloyd Austin Russian lives don’t matter no more MARTIN LUTHER KING and will the real MALCOLM please stand up (Nance be playin’ White! fightin’ for the Confederacy!) Non mais ca suffit…all the way to Georgy Walker choking on his IRAQ!
Now, the best thing about real life imagery of real war is that it speaks for itself. don’t need no commentary. just someone with bullocks to get out there to the public. you see the hype get shot down real fast, like a thousand wannabe nazis now prisoners and quite embarrassed about sporting those tattoos…
I like the analysis here and how quickly it took apart Scott’s scenario. There are reasons Russia is using a small force as it learns what modern warfare is now like at this tech level: it has room for expansion if the terribly ill-trained and small NATO armies join. Even the US Army is ill-trained to the modern battlefield– it has been abused in basically hostile area garrison duty for the last 15 years– not modern warfare against a peer competitor. As I recall the Army did not field its last developed artillery system- too expensive for garrison duty. Now as one sees that artillery is king well…
Scott’s point is that Russia is now fighting not just Ukraine, but NATO. This is a different “game” (early game – Russia versus Ukraine w/Nato Equipment and training but no strategic depth) to current game (NATO+ukraine with strategic depth that can be removed by Mr Khindal) which per Andrei M., Russia will win against NATO’s dilapidated military status. This new game and was obvious based on the Nato/West-Russia economic warfare and clearly was contingency planned by Moscow (the financial war tide is strong favor Russia).
It is very hard to imagine that a replacement army can be trained up in less than a decade (it took 8 years for the current one being destroyed) to replace the losses in Donbass which would not suffer the same fate, particularly if equipped with NATO equipment which were developed for cost plus profit and assume improbable logistics and supplies, much of which cannot be replaced or repaired at manufactured at the rate they are lost in Ukraine. The 3 months of Javelins destruction in Ukraine, will require years to replace – NOT sustainable in a conflict. This is reminiscent of the US smart bomb, Russia smart plane piece by Larry – the US tends to run out of smart bombs in its small wars with third rate militaries, and then takes a decade to replace. NOT sustainable. The Russian approach is sustainable in a peer to peer conflict.
Also, there is a big question as to who are they going to recruit – after the performance of the UAF in 2014, NATO decided to cast their net wider to include the European far right for the crack troops and recruiting now is much more difficult (including mercenaries – we have all seen the videos of them running home) to go into a meat grinder.
Not that Russia needs it in a military sense, but in an economic sense, Russia has Chinese strategic depth, and (Sen Cruz – noted that the US would come after China soon) and if needed military strategic depth.
So far Chinese banks are refusing Russia access to a union pay. China not as brave as people think nor as selfless. They will only help Russia at the least cost to themselves or for gain.
Have you read this Scott Ritter article? https://www.unz.com/article/us-military-expert-russia-to-score-major-victories-in-donbass-must-adapt-to-new-nato-game/
Please consider posting a comment under that Ritter article.
Your perception is stronger than Ritter’s.
What is the objective of the $40bn.
The objective of the $40bn is not to WIN a war and push Russia back to Its borders with bowed knee and hand out saying “mi lord”.
The aim is to PROLONG the war. To create chaos and instability, make peace and normal life and political and economic relations impossible.
To this end the $40bn will probably succeed. It will prolong the war. It will create chaos. It will force Russia to engage for longer and spend more. It will increase NATO understanding of Russian capacity. It will break EU Russian relations further and allow US time to create the weary world that then gives later what it withheld earlier.
This is a psyops masterclass from the US and UK.
They never thought or intended to beat Russia.
Just to play with it.
Will the bear be able to crush the plotters. Not entirely I fear.
I disagree with Mr Ritter, I do not think this first $40 Billion will be a game changer.
It in no way will address Russian security issues and concerns and thus will have zero effect on Russian aims and outcome in this conflict.
With the midterms fast approaching, very little of these funds will make it across the pond in any useful kinetic form to make any difference.
I reckon since Friday the EU has paid Russia about $1 Billion for gas alone.
Scott Ritter’s estimate on the value of the US $40b or a re-constituted West Ukraine force may be over-stated yet IMHO he does correctly point out that the post-Donbass RF operations will need a substantial revision
Results of the SMO to date are pointing to a probable need to eliminate Ukraine forces from west of Kiev to the Polish border and to partition the country.
A drive to capture Odessa city/port would be of strategic value to make a landlocked country of whatever remains of Ukraine and to also take control of the Black Sea.
The US/Nato leadership is inferior to the RF leadership but US/UK/Nato are cunning.
Their leaders could try a diversion to try and counter such an RF move into Odessa with a naval confrontation between US/Nato warships and the RF Black Sea fleet.
Such an action would also attempt to force Erdogan’s hand in controlling access to the Black Sea by US/Nato warhips.
US/Nato attempts to counter an RF SMO into Odessa could lead to un-intended consequences.
I’m not a big fan of Winston Churchill yet his listed quote should IMHO be mandatory reading for US/Nato politicians.
“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.
The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”
Larry, thanks for a professional discussion forum.
A naval confrontation in the Black Sea would be more provocative than sending NATO aircraft to have dogfights with Russian aircraft.
D.E. Murray says
Let’s do a Big Picture here.
Where do you see Russian strengths/weaknesses from the SMO? Where are the Russians ahead of us? Behind? The same?
I do see an apparent Russian insufficient effectiveness of AFU weapons transport interdiction, while acknowledging all the points currently being hit. Scott sees the $400 Billion proposed influx as being a game changer and posits some tactical and / or strategic adjustments for Russia. I would disagree on such necessity, but would focus on enhanced interdiction..
I hold that the current seven Russian SMO objectives, and approach being taken (defeat in detail – 2nd phase) is correct and need not nor should not be changed. I suggest the key is to enhance / expand use of interdiction technology and broaden current rules interdiction matrix. Modifying current interdiction decision matrix would be seen as an escalation, but justified as military necessity, and of which US/NATO would have to swallow. As for any and all future expansion of Ukraine forces, it’s not numbers, but quality that counts. By upscaling the interdiction technology being used and modifying interdiction decision matrix to extend its reach, this free influx of Western arms will cease to be a factor. Just my opinion
Larry Johnson says
I think that is a legitimate observation. I thought Russia would be more effective in shutting down the movement east. One reason is that Ukraine is disguising military movement with civilian/commercial vehicles, such as FEDEX or UPS. Russian caution in taking civilian casualties also may play a dampening role.
Dear Mr. Johnson,
Scott Ritter is an interesting commentator, and I agree with a lot of what he says. But after listening to his adjusted opinion that the political nature of the Ukraine war has changed because of the $40 billion in new aid, and foreign training of UAF personnel. And the opposing opinions and reasons for them. I’m inclined to agree with the opposing opinions.
The $40 billion in new aid and training is just a continuation of what’s been going on for years. The combined covert and overt aid to Ukraine, including weapons, before the war is in the billions of dollars. And the volume of training before the war is roughly comparable to what is now occurring. It’s just more of the same. What has changed is the depleted condition of the Ukraine military and economy to be able to use the aid.
Securing or bypassing Odessa for now to reach Transitia, strengthening the Transitia DMZ, and extending it north in a pincher action to meet a southern thrust from western Belarus to establish a joint Russian Belarus DMZ across western Ukraine to close the border to the EU. In conjunction with a no fly zone to keep NATO air support out of Ukraine. Could help end the Ukraine war. And set the stage for a political restructuring in Kiev.
Is this a feasible military option, and if it is, what would it cost, what would the troop and equipment requirements be, and how long would it take to implement?
Ander P says
I appreciate your work and analysis Larry!
Larry Johnson says
I value your support. Thanks.
Gabe Swan says
Look Ritter didn’t say this “aid” would win NATOs/US/UK proxy war. He just said it would prolong it, and that it would force Russia to change/ expand objectives. Previously he speculated that it was seriously disadvantageous for Russia to occupy Ukraine and that there was no real interest in the West of Ukraine for Russia except in so far as securing the demilitarization, denazifcation and surrender. Now Russia maybe forced to bring a more permanent presence there because of the aid and help deep behind the borders of Ukraine. And I think this is the danger, and point, of the aid, to keep Russia at war in Ukraine for as long as possible… Bog them down.
I registered to this site just to comment on this piece. I read this blog regularly but have never registered before. Firstly, I want to thank Mr. Johnson for this piece because I wanted to see someone who I respect respond to Scott Ritter’s recent analysis on both sputnik and on a couple of recent podcasts. I respect Scott Ritter & have appreciated his commentary on this conflict very much. His famous twitter thread on maneuver warfare that went viral was invaluable in countering the early mainstream narrative of Russia’s strategy & tactics. Because I respect him and his experience, and his deep hatred of fascism and his strong support for Russia in this conflict, I took his recent analysis seriously and found it concerning. He clearly says that Russia will win in the Donbass. He predicted that Russia would be victorious from the start. But recently he’s become concerned about 2 things: the fact that Russia is *not* interdicting as many weapons as he believes is necessary and the training going on in Germany & Poland to build up an army for a prolonged war after Russia takes the east. He recognizes that Russia’s been destroying much of western weaponry but he feels too much is still getting through. He believes that Russia needs to re-think its “softer” approach in order to face what he believes is the reconstituting of Ukr armed forces. I think your piece ably counters his analysis. Your work on this blog is invaluable.
However, I do want to state that I think it’s reprehensible to ascribe onto Scott Ritter any cheap motives such as Gonzalo Lira has and as others in your replies have. These are evidence-free smears & seem to arise just because Ritter dares to provide an analysis (from a pro-Russia point of view) that they disagree with. I’m glad that you do not join in this nonsense. I follow Lira on twitter and watch his videos and appreciate his commentary very much. But he totally misrepresented Ritter’s post regarding his detention by the SBU (which I think Ritter’s wife responded to very well). I don’t know why people do this: someone who’s on your side provides an analysis you don’t like and suddenly they’re just grifters trying to get accepted by mainstream media. If Scott Ritter wants that, why is he writing for sputnik and RT? Lira actually thinks that someone who wants to get mainstream media respectability will continue to write for sputnik & RT, which are considered pariah outlets in the west?
I have to say also that I think Ritter’s wife’s comments about Lira’s still-unexplained detention are valid. While I’ve suspended judgment, a part of me is a bit suspicious about that period in which he was taken by the SBU (known for its brutal treatment of anyone even suspected of being pro-Russia) and suddenly reappears perfectly fine and healthy, still able to say what he wants to say freely, and still living in Ukraine. Ritter’s wife’s suspicions may or may not be true but I think it’s fair to have them.
Finally, yes–it’s telling that sputnik published Ritter’s piece. Both RT & sputnik publish self-critical or self-questioning pieces while you don’t see similar commentary in mainstream US or UK or Canadian news sites. One RT piece by Ritter struck me in particular. It’s an update about the conflict generally and in it he mentions the losses & difficulties that Russia faced in the first week or two of the war. (No, he does not lend credence at all to the nonsense Ukraine estimates of dead Russian soldiers). He recalls the moment early in the war when news came out of the firing of a large number of staff in Russia’s operational headquarters. He concludes that the initial strategy at the start of the war was influenced by Ukrainian or pro-Ukraine operatives whose analyses & estimates wrongly predicted less resistance from the Ukr armed forces. I’ve not seen this observation anywhere else and felt it to be a good explanation as to the problems of that early phase.
Apologies for the length of this post. Thank you again for this invaluable blog.
I did not manage to read all the comments, but there is a very TECHNICAL point Scott keeps on making that a lot of people seem to miss. He defines winning a war as achieving a political objective X (one or more objective). And then argues that if Russia’s objectives were X1, X2 and X3; then this 40 billion is going to change the game for Russia in achieving X1, X2 and X3. Hence it is a game changer. He never says that Russia will never be able to achieve X1, X2 and X3. It’s as simple as that.
Maybe it is the lawyer in me, because lawyers always debate the definition of words. And I am inclined to think that Larry and Scott have a definition problem more than a substance problem.
Scott used the term game changer and it appears that is the term everyone is complaining about.
My first thought as a lawyer was Scott did not say the funding of this money was “outcome determinitive.” That is the term that lawyers use because it is very specific about winning or losing.
Webster says game changer is defined as: a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way.
So game changer clearly does not mean “outcome determinitve.”
I guess whether something is significant or not just depends on one’s point of view.
Larry Johnson says
A point worth discussing. Thanks.
I tend to agree with both, Larry and Scott. I believe, Larry is right when stating that Ukraine won´t be able to transform the amount of money and military resources into successes on the battlefield. To highlight Scott´s point we have to put the whole conflict into wider perspective: The West or at least those in charge of Western recon know perfectly well, that Russia couldn´t be defeated by military means. But if you remember recent history, you might recall the downfall of the Soviet Union! It went down and imploded not by military losses, not by economic losses, but by betrayal from the inside! The Russian Federation of 2022 could easily be subjected to similar fate, because a part of the Russian elites who came to power and influence during the 90s, the Euro-Atlantic branch, driven by fear of losing its wealth by possible social transformations ,is constantly striving to fulfill the ultimate desire of the West to transform the Federation into 10 or more small souvenir states. It is no coincidence that the present flag of the Federation resembles the flag of the Wlassow-collaborateurs during the Nazi-occupation of the SU, and those elements, who hate their own country and want it destroyed and handed over to NATO are not a small minority and they are in charge of vital elements of economy (Nabulina, head of the Russian Bank, Siluanov, Minister of Finance, etc.). Î´m pretty convinced that the Western handlers of these potential traitors, disguised as patriots, have exactly that in mind when sending money and weaponry to Ukraine. I reckon, their plan will be to buy time for Ukraine by sacrificing entire batallions each day and by delaying the Russian Armed Forces´ advance as long as possible. At the end of the day there might be a negotiated cease-fire, a Minsk 3.0, to freeze the conflict and to give Ukraine the time to rebuild its military for a new round of hostilities. If it was not for the Russian people, who unconditionally back up Putin and the SMO, because they´re pretty much aware of the grave danger, the motherland is in – the betrayal would have already been accomplished. The so-called “peace talks” in Turkey were the attempt of the fifth column to stop the advance of the military and rescue the Nazi-government in Kiev. Russia´s only chance to avoid suffering a similar fate as the SU, is the cleansing of its society and government from these treasonous elements and the utter achievment of all the objectives of the SMO: Denazification and demilitarisation of the ENTIRE Ukraine. If they stop before these objectives are fully completed, Russia will be lost in the long run. If they succeed, they´ll be able to reshape the entire world to a better place. All lend-lease programs will fail, when the Russian Armed Forces are able to do their job – if they´ll be stopped and talked into a cease-fire, Russia will be bled out by this constant warfare for years to come. Let´s hope, the Russian people with its patriotic mindset will continue to support Putin and the Armed Forces in defending the motherland, that they will able to neutralize all traitors in their midst, and that they will not stop, before the job is done! Za pobedu – for victory!