Thanks to commentator Keith Harbaugh for tonight’s inspiration. I have had a busy day and am getting to the writing task late. Here is his comment that sparks my commentary:
Keith Harbaugh says
TTG, over at turcopolier.com, kindly posted a response to this column:
I have no ability to adjudicate between these two POVs. Perhaps they are both accurate. I merely post this here to, perhaps, promote understanding of alternative versions of what the situation really is.
As to my POV, it basically is identical to what John Mearsheimer has consistently been stating:
For those new to this blog and unfamiliar with TTG, TTG is a retired US Army Special Forces officer of Lithuanian heritage. He no longer thinks rationally about war. His hatred of all things Russian cloud his judgment. He asserts that I am drinking Moscow’s kool-aid because I point out the obvious–Russia is winning and will defeat Ukraine completely and decisively.
TTG insists that the arrival of HIMARS and M777s are game changers and, wait for it, the Ukrainians will mount the ultimate offensive and push the Russians back to Moscow. Normally, I would not want to waste time to engage such nonsense but in this case I think it is warranted.
Let us start with my wrong prediction in early March than Russia would make quick work of the Ukrainians. At that time I did not fully appreciate two critical facts–1, Ukraines army had built and occupied extensive layered trench/bunker fortifications; 2, Ukraine had a three to one advantage in numbers of troops over the Russian/Donbass forces.
Russia’s response to these two facts has been a methodical destruction of the command centers for each layer of the trench network using artillery, missiles and aerial bombardment. This is a slow process designed to limit casualties on the Russian side and maximize casualties on the Ukrainian.
The fact that Ukraine had a three to one advantage and were embedded in defensive positions should have led to the defeat of the Russians. One of the traditional military doctrines is that an army fighting a foe who is on the defense must have at least a three to one advantage if they have any hope of prevailing in the fight. Well guess what–Russia has turned that doctrine on its head. We now have a case study (on-going) of the first time that an inferior force (in terms of numbers) is steadily defeating an entrenched, fortified enemy with three times the numbers.
There is not one area in Ukraine where the Ukraine army has pushed the Russians out of territory they have occupied and held it against Russian counter attacks. Not one. The Russian feint towards Kiev in early March does not count. Western propaganda insists this was a tremendous Ukrainian victory. But Russia used that operation to fix Ukrainian forces around Kiev so that the Russian, Donetsk and Luhansk forces could mass for the offensive to retake the Donbas. And that is exactly what the Special Military Operation has been doing over the last five months.
The only “offense” we are seeing from Ukraine is the shelling of civilians in the Donbas. This does highlight one shortcoming of the Russian SMO–the lack of effective, comprehensive counter battery fire. It is worth noting that the areas being targeted by Ukraine are in the Western part of the Donbas occupied by Russia and its allied Republics (i.e., Donetsk and Luhansk). Killing a few civilians in cities in the Donbas with indiscriminate shelling–while horrific for the families who loose loved ones–does not win the war for Ukraine. In fact, it reinforces its image as a lawless violator of human rights. Still, it is up to Russia to put in place the necessary intelligence platforms required to quickly identify the source of the fires and destroy them.
Ukrainian artillery and HIMMARS will not stop Russia’s allied offensive and force a retreat. Neither will it force a stalemate. Russia has defacto air supremacy and has intact tank battalions and a plethora of artillery and missiles that it continues to rain down on Ukrainian forces.
Note the silence in terms of psychological operations from the Ukrainian military. You are not seeing videos of Ukrainians rushing to enlist to fight off the Russian invaders. You are not seeing videos of Ukrainian commanders of units that have deserted countering the claims of the men who say they were abandoned and being used as cannon fodder. You are not seeing videos nor reports of Ukrainian air craft providing close air support for Ukrainian units. You are not seeing videos or Ukrainian tank units shellacking Russians and sending them scampering for safety. Ask yourself, “Why?”
This is not Kremlin Kool Aid. These are objective facts. The most important one–a numerically inferior force is systematically and methodically retaking territory once occupied by Ukrianian forces and pushing those forces towards the Dnieper River. Cities and communities that Ukraine vowed would never fall have fallen and Russia is restoring order in those places.
Speaking of predictions, I want to remind you of the bold analysis of TTG’s mentor, Pat Lang:
“The Russian military may only be able to sustain the fight in Ukraine for another 14 days, the Daily Mail is reporting.
The newspaper, attributing the information of U.K. defense sources, said that after two weeks the Russian forces may struggle to hold the ground they captured in Ukraine.
Comment: There is something in the air that tells me this estimate is correct. The Russian Army is like a brick wall rotten at the base. When it starts to fall it will fall apart quickly. pl
That has aged well. It highlights the fundamental problem with the so-called analysis from TTG and Lang–they believe the propaganda spewed by the UK rather than using their brains and experience. A sad epitaph for those two men.
BTW, CHECK OUT THE LATEST POSTS FROM ANDREI MARTYANOV. HE’S ON FIRE.
Eric Newhill says
Sigh. Yes. A sad epitaph.
I can only say that both the old col lang and TTG are consciously running an IO against russia , on par with the current USG propaganda narrative. Why ? i dunno , no professional military or vet would take sources from known UK tabloids and call it trustworthy source , or from kiev propagands source directly.
from my POV :
– col lang sold his blog to USG operative and TTG is the ID used to post propaganda in lang’s blog. it is possible and likely there are more person behind TTG ID. The whole ex DIA ex Green beret stichk was exactly for this kind of IO , they want ppl to assume any analysis coming from them are trustworthy and objective. Sadly more and more ppl were blocked or insulted / bullied by “the usual suspects” commenters who blindly praise the col and ttg..
– the banning of LJ and PA from the site was calculated move before they started their IO to support USG narrartive. They know both LJ and PA are uncontrolled bunch of independent thinkers and in a display of obvious cowardice they preemptively ban these 2.
– The “analysis” and their sources like british MOD , UK tabloids , ISW , kiev independent are all similar to the IO ran on other social media platform. it synch with every single narrative peddling everywhere.
col lang if he got any honor left , should cut ties with SST and let it become someone else’s platform for propaganda. For an old person he should prepare his going out of this world by staying honorable and not smearing his own reputation by this embarassing display of incoherence and shamelessness.
as for TTG , he got paid running IO there , no matter how stupid he is he still get paid
Pito from Mescalito says
I’ve thought similar thoughts. My conclusion is that they are either purely evil or that by playing this game they hope to flip in the future and that by virtue of their ultra fascist credentials their flip will inspire similar warmongering dangerous retards to do likewise.
this comment by col lang reminded me of the same comment that Hitler made..
Comment: There is something in the air that tells me this estimate is correct. The Russian Army is like a brick wall rotten at the base. When it starts to fall it will fall apart quickly. pl
WILLIAM MCGRATH says
It seems that Adolf Hitler’s analysis of the fighting and staying power of Russia was a bit off. Ha to blow his brains out at the arrival of Russian troops.
Elinsky might be luckier and be able to seeks asylum in a friendly fascist state such as the United States or Israel.
Michael Murry says
Many years ago, before he banned me for making a joke about “military intelligence” Pat Lang used to post some of my vitriolic verse in his Sic Semper Tyrannis blog’s Poetry section. For some reason he found the following composition a trifle uncomfortable due to its implied aspersions cast upon the professional military caste once again crusading throughout the Middle East. I can’t recall whether he eventually published it or not, but anyway:
Truly excellent! Bravo.
Excellent. How many Americans know what “subjunctive mood” is? Raise your hands. CHINA and RUSSIA hold all of the cards. US Military Corporation is done. Hurray. Hey Jon, Boston ain’t nor ever will be PUNK; rather Ivy League Shite hand in hand with Military Academy ClusterFucks FINANCING NAZIS TO FIGHT FOR THEM: IZO TROPE!
Kaz Dziamka says
My hand is raised.
Don’t know why the topic of this grammatical mood came up, but I agree that very few Americans actually know what this verb form really is and how it is used. (Just as they don’t really know what an “absolute phrase” is, even though it is used in the 2nd Amendment, and is critical for the proper understanding of the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. I once published an article about this problem, both in English and in Polish.)
Curiously enough, although the subjunctive mood has gradually been abandoned, it still continues to be used in American English, although it has practically died out in British English. (Except in certain formulaic expressions like “Long live the Queen,” “Suffice it to say,” and so on.
But in American English, the subjunctive mood is quite alive in its “mandative” use. So, apparently, Americans are more like to say: “I suggest that she go back to school”, whereas the British are likely to avoid the subjunctive verb form by using the modal verb “should”: “I suggest that she should go back to school.” Maybe. (Haven’t been to England in several decades now.) Actually linguistic usage varies enormously. And it also keeps changing.
Where can one find you now, Michael? Nothing on the Net, google returns ‘Murray’ only as a poet.
You are very gifted, you should publish more often, anywhere, on blogs and elsewhere, get noticed more, forget the Lang mesomorph.
Michael Murry says
Thank you for the kindly comments, Baron. If interested, you can find my DIY website (always a work in progress) at: “https://themisfortuneteller.com/index.html” and mail at “email@example.com”. Sorry, but I don’t have a blog set up for the site since I have to do all the HTML coding myself (too cheap to hire a real programmer) and haven’t figured out how to do that yet. You can find all my verse compositions to date (not yet completely organized) under the “poetic license” menu tab. I appreciate all comments and suggestions relating to poetic technique and sources of inspiration.
Thank you very much, Michael, have already visited, not read it all yet though, will continue visiting, an impressive moustache.
Would you allow me to copy and paste this poem to my FB account, with accreditation? Thanks
Michael Murry says
Certainly, Lindley. Go ahead. A Vietnam veteran’s exercise in creative verse compositions as a form of DIY psychotherapy. “Poetry makes nothing happen,” W. H. Auden said. But it can occasionally help channel anger and frustration into something perhaps a bit more constructive than just the usual prose bitching.
On Auden, Michael:
Next month, a complete edition of his poems will be published, edited by Edward Mendelson, it will include a new poem so far unpublished ‘Though The Beliefs…’, written around September 1939 (in pencil) it is a response to the dark clouds gathering in Europe and over the world.
The man was top on coming up with lines that have longevity (say) ‘we must love one another or die’, later amended by him to ‘we must love one another and die’.
Here’s a narrative that backs Mr. Johnson’s take on how much help some of the West’s supplied military gear is for the Ukrainian forces (see the link below), in a posting on the MoA site (excellent site also) someone comments on the fragility of the M777:
“According to Shashank Joshi, editor of the Economist, artillery provided by NATO countries is difficult to use in the Ukrainian battlefield, due to its high maintenance requirements. This is different from artillery of Soviet origin, which is easy to use and requires little maintenance; it resembles the difference between the M16 and AK-47 assault rifles.
The M777 howitzer is considered an “ultra-light” cannon, that is, it weighs only about 4.2 tons compared to its predecessor, the M198 (7,154 kg). And the lighter it is, the more complex and expensive the components are, requiring strict maintenance and proper use.
One of the mechanical parts, with the most complex structure of the M777 cannon, is the anti-repulsion system, the push-up mechanism of the cannon recoil reduction mechanism. This is a very complex gas-hydraulic system, consisting of a hydraulic damper, which reduces recoil, and a pusher, which returns the barrel to its original firing position.
The rate of fire must be very fast, in order to avoid detection and counterattack by the Russians, this is causing continuous hydraulic oil leakage at the joints of the high-pressure pipes, as well as the condition of oil and gas in the reverse-repulsion unit. The howitzer rise gets “overheated”, when the M777 has to fire beyond the allowed features. Even experienced American units often let their artillery fail, for such technical reasons.
Another important factor affecting the accuracy of the M777 cannon is that the barrel gets “curved” for reasons of movement. Since the M777 is pulled by a tow hook, attached to the top of the barrel; with the howitzer weight is 4 tons, so when it has to constantly move on rough terrain, it affects the accuracy of the barrel.
When the barrel is affected by external forces, it will lead to bending (even if it is very small), this technical factor will greatly affect the accuracy of the shell when fired. In other words, under “fire and run” conditions, the accuracy of the advertised weapons, such as the M777, turns out to be low.”
This video is to amuse you, it’s issued by the Ukrainians yesterday, it purports to show the volunteers from the Czech Republic enrolled in the Ukrainian Army ‘punishing the invaders’, you can switch the sound off, nothing much gets said anyway except for the one in charge issuing commands where to move, to help someone, stuff like that and then swearing, something that all soldiers do a lot and often, even though the heading says these volunteers are punishing the ‘occupiers’ one has the feeling watching it that it’s the volunteers that are the scared party, running away trying to escape the advancing Russians, doing little of ‘punishing’, not even shooting at the Russians:
Interesting everyone seems to think Russia’s progress in the SMO is slow. What did the US achieve in its 20 year occupation of Afghanistan?
I have concluded the longer this conflict in Ukraine continues, the worse off the US and its NATO Tabaqui’s will fare, and the sooner the world will rid itself of the grotesque and ghoulish “Leper Knight upon its mangy steed”, borrowing from the poem above.
On the Kiev ‘offensive’:
It wasn’t a 40 miles traffic jam of tanks, it was only about 15 miles long, and it wasn’t just tanks, but a mix of military vehicles standing there for over two weeks without getting attacked either on land or from the air.
Why? Because there were no military units in or around Kiev powerful enough to hit it. The column was a bait to lure some of the Ukrainian forces from the Donbas area, the bulk of the Ukrainian troops and hardware were located there, they were planning to attack the two Republics at the start of March, the bait didn’t work for the Russians, their forces withdrew.
Here’s an eyewitness account of what military assets were in Kiev when the Russians partly surrounded the city:
“Captain Myronenko joined the territorial defence three years ago and periodically attended training, as well as a month of training to qualify as a company officer. Myronenko was the deputy head of the battalion. The Battle for Obolon in 2022 was his first military experience.
He tells us about the battle in Kyiv in one breath. “I said so much, thankfully I managed to recall it all, because I had already started to forget,” Myronenko summed up his story. “Everyone told me to record my memories, but there was never any time.”
“Everything was happening pretty fast. On the morning of 24 February, our battalion [of the 112th brigade of territorial defence] gathered during the first three hours. There were no more than thirty people. On the morning of 25 February, there were almost a hundred people. And the same day, by noon, the first Russian incursion had begun.
For us, this operation was a surprise. We learned about it from the battalion of the National Guard who came from Novi Petrivtsi where the Russians had already been crushed, and they joined us too. Kiev on February 24 2022 (Note: the Russians troops at Petrivitsi were not crushed, they stopped moving forward).
An incredible number of people came. On the afternoon of February 25, 700 people came to enroll, the crowd was huge, and it took me 20 minutes of aggressive persuasion for people to disperse. The fact that we, battalion officers knew each other and understood who was responsible for what helped us to quickly get down to work. And this is what allowed some units to grow tenfold. It is best when there are such groups of 10-15-20 people with an organisational core, as was also the case in other battalions.
Some units lacked equipment. We delivered yellow-blue flags at collection points of items to help the military in Kyiv. It was enough to just hang out a flag so that Kyivans started donating food and everything the military needs…. “
You can read more here (it’s a staunchly anti-Russian site, but it’s in English, often it prints stuff that’s highly informative):
This ain’t a boxing match for you to bet on; but you still can if you want:
It is high time for Americans to wake up to the shear stupidity of their so called “leaders”; or is that too high of a learning curve for Number One? Time to get cozy with TWO: a number which implies “OTHERS” besides you and your egocentric self. David or Goliath?
Nancy Pelosi and living in a Dickens’ fiction called Great Expectations about a relentless old hag who never got over it! and Americans as prisoners to the decrepit old farts propped up by the Clinton Foundation…
MECHANICS OF FALLING EMPIRE:
This is the way the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) ends, over and over again: not with a bang, but a whimper.
Two Hellfire R9-X missiles launched from a MQ9 Reaper drone on the balcony of a house in Kabul. The target was Ayman Al-Zawahiri with a $25 million bounty on his head. The once invisible leader of ‘historic’ Al-Qaeda since 2011, is finally terminated.
All of us who spent years of our lives, especially throughout the 2000s, writing about and tracking Al-Zawahiri know how US ‘intel’ played every trick in the book – and outside the book – to find him. Well, he never exposed himself on the balcony of a house, much less in Kabul.
Another disposable asset
Why now? Simple. Not useful anymore – and way past his expiration date. His fate was sealed as a tawdry foreign policy ‘victory’ – the remixed Obama ‘Osama bin Laden moment’ that won’t even register across most of the Global South. After all, a perception reigns that George W. Bush’s GWOT has long metastasized into the “rules-based,” actually “economic sanctions-based” international order.
Cue to 48 hours later, when hundreds of thousands across the west were glued to the screen of flighradar24.com (until the website was hacked), tracking “SPAR19” – the US Air Force jet carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – as it slowly crossed Kalimantan from east to west, the Celebes Sea, went northward parallel to the eastern Philippines, and then made a sharp swing westwards towards Taiwan, in a spectacular waste of jet fuel to evade the South China Sea.
No “Pearl Harbor moment”
Now compare it with hundreds of millions of Chinese who are not on Twitter but on Weibo, and a leadership in Beijing that is impervious to western-manufactured pre-war, post-modern hysteria.
Anyone who understands Chinese culture knew there would never be a “missile on a Kabul balcony” moment over Taiwanese airspace. There would never be a replay of the perennial neocon wet dream: a “Pearl Harbor moment.” That’s simply not the Chinese way.
The day after, as the narcissist Speaker, so proud of accomplishing her stunt, was awarded the Order of Auspicious Clouds for her promotion of bilateral US-Taiwan relations, the Chinese Foreign Minister issued a sobering comment: the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland is a historical inevitability.
That’s how you focus, strategically, in the long game.
What happens next had already been telegraphed, somewhat hidden in a Global Times report. Here are the two key points:
Point 1: “China will see it as a provocative action permitted by the Biden administration rather than a personal decision made by Pelosi.”
That’s exactly what President Xi Jinping had personally told the teleprompt-reading White House tenant during a tense phone call last week. And that concerns the ultimate red line.
Xi is now reaching the exact same conclusion reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year: the United States is “non-agreement capable,” and there’s no point in expecting it to respect diplomacy and/or rule of law in international relations.
Point 2 concerns the consequences, reflecting a consensus among top Chinese analysts that mirrors the consensus at the Politburo: “The Russia-Ukraine crisis has just let the world see the consequence of pushing a major power into a corner… China will steadily speed up its process of reunification and declare the end of US domination of the world order.”
Chess, not checkers
The Sinophobic matrix predictably dismissed Xi’s reaction to the fact on the ground – and in the skies – in Taiwan, complete with rhetoric exposing the “provocation by American reactionaries” and the “uncivilized campaign of the imperialists.”
This may be seen as Xi playing Chairman Mao. He may have a point, but the rhetoric is pro forma. The crucial fact is that Xi was personally humiliated by Washington and so was the Communist Party of China (CPC), a major loss of face – something that in Chinese culture is unforgivable. And all that compounded with a US tactical victory.
So the response will be inevitable, and it will be classic Sun Tzu: calculated, precise, tough, long-term and strategic – not tactical. That takes time because Beijing is not ready yet in an array of mostly technological domains. Putin had to wait years for Russia to act decisively. China’s time will come.
For now, what’s clear is that as much as with Russia-US relations last February, the Rubicon has been crossed in the US-China sphere.
The price of collateral damage
The Central Bank of Afghanistan bagged a paltry $40 million in cash as ‘humanitarian aid’ soon after that missile on a balcony in Kabul.
So that was the price of the Al-Zawahiri operation, intermediated by the currently US-aligned Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). So cheap.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone carrying the two Hellfire R9X that killed Al-Zawahiri had to fly over Pakistani airspace – taking off from a US base in the Persian Gulf, traversing the Arabian Sea, and flying over Balochistan to enter Afghanistan from the south. The Americans may have also got human intelligence as a bonus.
A 2003 deal, according to which Islamabad facilitates air corridors for US military flights, may have expired with the American withdrawal debacle last August, but could always be revived.
No one should expect a deep dive investigation on what exactly the ISI – historically very close to the Taliban – gave to Washington on a silver platter.
Cue to an intriguing phone call last week between the all-powerful Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, and US deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. Bajwa was lobbying for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release a crucial loan at the soonest, otherwise Pakistan will default on its foreign debt.
Were deposed former Prime Minister Imran Khan still in power, he would never have allowed that phone call.
The plot thickens, as Al-Zawahiri’s Kabul digs in a posh neighborhood is owned by a close advisor to Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the “terrorist” (US-defined) Haqqani network and currently Taliban Interior Minister. The Haqqani network, needless to add, was always very cozy with the ISI.
And then, three months ago, we had the head of ISI, Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum, meeting with Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Washington – allegedly to get their former, joint, covert, counter-terrorism machinery back on track.
Once again, the only question revolves around the terms of the “offer you can’t refuse” – and that may be connected to IMF relief. Under these circumstances, Al-Zawahiri was just paltry collateral damage.
Sun Tzu deploys his six blades
Following Speaker Pelosi’s caper in Taiwan, collateral damage is bound to multiply like the blades of a R9-X missile.
The first stage is the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) already having engaged in live fire drills, with massive shelling in the direction of the Taiwan Strait out of Fujian province.
The first sanctions are on too, against two Taiwanese funds. Export of sable to Taiwan is forbidden; sable is an essential commodity for the electronics industry – so that will ratchet up the pain dial in high-tech sectors of the global economy.
Chinese CATL, the world’s largest fuel cell and lithium-ion battery maker, is indefinitely postponing the building of a massive $5 billion, 10,000-employee factory that would manufacture batteries for electric vehicles across North America, supplying Tesla and Ford among others.
So the Sun Tzu maneuvering ahead will essentially concentrate on a progressive economic blockade of Taiwan, the imposition of a partial no-fly zone, severe restrictions of maritime traffic, cyber warfare, and the Big Prize: inflicting pain on the US economy.
The War on Eurasia
For Beijing, playing the long game means the acceleration of the process involving an array of nations across Eurasia and beyond, trading in commodities and manufactured products in their own currencies. They will be progressively testing a new system that will see the advent of a BRICS+/SCO/Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) basket of currencies, and in the near future, a new reserve currency.
The Speaker’s escapade was concomitant to the definitive burial of the “war on terror” cycle and its metastasis into the “war on Eurasia” era.
It may have unwittingly provided the last missing cog to turbo-charge the complex machinery of the Russia-China strategic partnership. That’s all there is to know about the ‘strategic’ capability of the US political ruling class. And this time no missile on a balcony will be able to erase the new era.
M. Strenk says
Is the continued shelling of Donetsk by the Ukrainians an indication of a lack of effective counter battery fire or further evidence of the Russians’ hesitancy to injure or kill civilians given that much of Ukraine’s remaining artillery would seem to be in close proximity to residential areas and civilian infrastructure? The Russians have seemed to have done a highly effective job on any artillery out in the open.
Asking East Europeans about Russia is like asking Israelis about Arabs.
No wonder we are always fighting and losing, our enemies are always portrayed as somehow both evil and incompetent by their neighbors:
“According to Polish and Ukrainian government officials, Russians enjoy killing small children as a hobby and will surrender when faced with Western wonder weapons.”
I posted this comment several days ago under the handle DEVENS SHARECROPPER at SST/Turcopolier.
I received several comment and then…and then it was ‘disappeared’:
I make NO comments on various websites. The past few months has seen SST completely derail. I am prompted to comment since this experience has ‘opened my eyes’ in an important perspective.
For this opportunity to express I chose the handle DEVENS SHARECROPPER.
I served in the late 1960s at Devens as ASA. For the uninitiated that’s Army Security Agency. I had foregone a commission and chose to enlist in the E ranks to serve as my father had in the Army Air Corp and the Recon for Normandy and beyond.
There was ‘back channel’ doings that directed me to my assignment and MOS–Electronic Warfare its official title (er, I repeat–1960s). USA forces were experiencing severe equipment and personnel losses in Nam and our (ASA) particular assignment had been to collect data on Soviet technology that was responsible for the severe losses (especially aircraft–fixed wing and rotary).
All of this was, of course, TOP SECRET with CRYPTO included. There was nothing I or my unit did that was known by us to be of great significance. BUT in training and group sessions with others with similar clearances MUCH WAS LEARNED. Two of the ‘talked about’ items during my time at Devens were the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” and the USS LIBERTY. (Another had been the USS PUEBLO.)
My MOS was under the heading of SIGNAL INTELLIGENCE/SIGINT.
I developed a number of contacts among Army intel folks and kept up with many as we expanded our knowledge about the Soviet Union and, later, Russia and the CIS. I maintained and expanded my knowledge and depth of knowledge to the extent that I considered moving to the Ukraine to spend a year there and alternating back to the states. I visited Ukraine and stayed in Kyiv and Luhansk two different times as I put together ‘facts on the ground’.
I came to have a pretty deep understanding about Ukraine and Russia. I had been dismayed during the Yeltsin period and my visit there was about three years after Putin became President.
Excuse this elongated intro for what will likely be a single post.
BUT, the ‘big thing’ that has ‘been revealed to me’ at this SST site is the answer to the problem of WHY WE WIN NO WARS.
I stated above that I was ENLISTED. However, one of the factors that led me to follow SST was Colonel Lang and his position that was counter to the NEOCON war, war, more war. I related to the colonel since we each had attended Senior Military Colleges in Virginia–he in Lexington and I in Blacksburg.
The Colonel and The Twisted one had been at odds with one another UNTIL RUSSIA/UKRAINE.
I understood the Twisted position because it fit the ‘personality’ that had been exhibited. But the Colonel?
OK; here it comes–WHY WE CANNOT WIN WARS since WWII.
The reason: C2
That’s from the old C4ISR. COMMAND, CONTROL, COMMUNICATIONS, COMPUTATIONS, INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE, RECONNAISSANCE.
When I was at Devens and we talked about the INTEL going to ‘the brass’ in Nam, we could not figure out how and why the decisions that were made were made.
The answer that has come to me from the SST experience is EXCEPTIONALISM. Yep, ‘the brass’ of COMMAND and CONTROL think the “competition” is INFERIOR and INCOMPETENT.
I knew from my DIRECT experience with SOVIET intelligence we gathered that SOVIETS were superior to us back in the 1960s. As I said above I continued over these DECADES learning all I could about the Russian Federation in all categories.
A part of my ‘Russia evaluation’ was my civilian experience employed with a Wall Street Primary Dealer and knowledge of some of the principals of Long Term Capital Management and its Russian bond holdings.
That’s too many words; but, sometimes, if not regularly, the “method” to establish ‘exceptionalism’ is to assume ‘the other’ is INFERIOR. Surprise!! The Colonel should have enough experience NOT be holding the Russians to be INFERIOR. Why the grudge?
The slow, grinding Russian advance may be a form of voluntary ethnic cleansing. This encourages most ethnic Ukrainians to flee to the west of the nation or Europe, leaving the ethnic Russians to welcome the invaders. Had the Russians broke through and cut off large sections, these unwanted new citizens would be trapped and remain.
Richard Ong says
Larry, I cannot express how much I appreciate your work. On another issue, if you have the time? Do you think our leaders are insane enough to do a transit of the Taiwan Straits in the next few weeks? And if so, are the Chinese going to react? Or will they just bluster again? I know the Chinese would prefer more time, but at some point I cannot imagine Xi’s government will survive internally as the humiliations add up.
Wolf, China is definitely not ready, especially their Navy. They made a big mistake with concealed threats that backfired on them big time. I think they should let the US Navy sail through it’s not like they (US Navy) haven’t done it before. They also need to take a leaf from Russia’s experience and bide their time.
Eric Newhill says
Pat Lang has never really been an honest source, himself, IMO; at least not on all topics. Just one example, sometime ago, someone on his blog brought up the Phoenix program (Vietnam) and how it included assassinations of civilian South Vietnamese community leaders who were suspected of sympathizing with the communist cause. The commenter thought this to be behavior unbecoming of Americans. Lang excoriated the commenter for believing fairytales and asserted that the US, indeed, would never be involved in conduct that violated the rules of war, etc.. Total BS, of course, but BS asserted with unwavering authority and certainty. Yet here he is, today, happily opining that US SF trained partisans are assassinating civilian UKR community leaders who are deemed sympathetic to Russia – and proudly commenting that’s what US SF was created to do. Lang is usually just more skilled at appearing objective than TTG. He has always carefully blended fact with fiction, objectivity with bias to deliver the convincing message that he wants to deliver. For various reasons, his cover slipped when it came to the Russian SMO. To some extent all sources do that and that’s why no single source should ever be considered the final word.
Eric Newhill says
Also, I will ask how SF thinks they can win hearts and minds of locals when they are behind the murders of the Mayors of towns with ethnic Russians?
This is mindless barbarity that ignores karma. Stupid.
If one starts with the presumption that the US intel system had to know the capacity of the Russia military production and the ability of Russia to sustain high levels. (If not, then all those responsible should be re-assigned to washing toilets in the Arctic). In such case, the entire US plan for Ukraine required the economic war to succeed and then a hope that this would lead to political paralysis.*
Once the economic war failed, obvious after just a few days as the west had zero follow up having launched its full monty as a first economic strike, the entire war should have been re-assessed instead of shifting into La La unicorn land.
*IMO, even if the economic war had succeeded, the ruble had become rubble, there was domestic turmoil, and a leadership change, it is much more likely that the new president would be far more hardline, and the military production would have continued.
Richard Ong says
That’s using the old noggin!