Some of you may already be familiar with the following articles. If not, I want to encourage you to read all three. Big Serge does his usual masterful job of integrating military history with current events. I do not fully agree with his analysis in this article. He is so focused on the tactical details of the battles in Ukraine that he fails to recognize the evolution of Russia’s tactics in the current offensive. Specifically, Big Serge is fixated on the Battalion Tactical Group aka BTG and overlooks an important shift in tactics.
Where is the big Russian offensive? This is, at the moment, the million dollar question that inevitably intrudes on any discussion of the war’s current course. It is probably not surprising (to those of us that are familiar with human nature, at least) that this question becomes a Rorschach test in which everybody sees their own prior assumptions about the Russian military.
The answers to this question do indeed vary widely. On one extreme, there are those who believe that hundreds of thousands of Russian troops are prepared to launch an enormous “big arrow” offensive at any moment. We see this both from commentators like retired US Colonel Douglas MacGregor and from some Ukrainian sources who are likely trying to foment a sense of urgency to extract more aid from the west. On the other extreme, we have those who claim that the Russian military is so depleted that there will be no offensive at any point whatsoever. There are also some in the
Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propagandawestern intelligentsia, like the Nuland Institute for the Study of War or Michael Koffman, who argue that the offensive has already begun but is so lame and weak that nobody noticed. . . .
The synthesis of all these points is that Russia is currently driving the attrition of the Ukrainian army and denying Ukraine any chance at regaining operational initiative, while at the same time pursuing important shaping objectives. I believe this is occurring against the backdrop of moderate, but not catastrophic organizational disorder and restructuring in the Russian armed forces, which are delaying its readiness to launch a large scale offensive. In other words, the current pace of Russian operations supports the overall attrition of Ukrainian manpower and implies that there is no need to rush an ambitious operation until organizational issues have been sorted out.
Simplicius provides a fascinating counter point to Big Serge with detailed explanation, based on documentary evidence, why the BTG is no longer the primary military entity the Russians are deploying on the Ukrainian battlefield. He writes:
So—what is the big doctrinal shift? It’s the complete replacement of the infamous ‘BTG’ or Battalion Tactical Group as a core structural component of the Russian armed forces with a new, even smaller and more focused unit termed the ‘Assault Unit’ or ‘Assault Detachment’. . . .
The vast majority of Western ‘experts’, completely misunderstand the purpose and origins of the “BTG”, owing to this delusional aggrandizement and mythicization. I’m going to demystify how and why the BTG was formed very succinctly for the laymen amongst us:
In very simple terms, the Russian BTG’s were really formed due to a chronic shortage of troops that could potentially constitute most brigades. Now, this isn’t a problem solely inherent to the Russian forces. Truth is, most militaries in the world can’t really fill all their brigades completely to their absolute ‘on paper’ 100% composition. Even in Ukraine today, both sides commonly operate brigades that are 40-60% constituted. . . .
The Russian BTG was used in the opening of the SMO because it was a self-sufficient maneuvering force capable of solving their own limited objectives at a time when the resistance of the AFU was not yet great. But, as I mentioned before, the tenor of the conflict has drastically shifted. With the defense-first and stalemate/attritional-minded current focus of the AFU, there is not much room and opportunity for ‘maneuver’ war presently, which is why not only have I myself written at length about the hypothetical ‘death of maneuver war’, but as have other more prominent outlets.
The op-ed by Andrew J Bacevich is a loud reveille sounded to rouse the political class in Washington to the looming danger their Manichean national security theology represents to the survival of America:
Even so, for most Americans, World War II remained the authoritative source of relevant memory, with the Cold War a sequel of sorts. Just as U.S. leadership in World War II had defeated the Third Reich and imperial Japan, so, too, would Washington turn back the Soviet threat and ensure the survival of freedom. As the two events merged in the country’s collective imagination, they yielded a canonical lesson: U.S. global leadership backed by superior military power had become a categorical imperative.
In fact, the hard-won victory of 1945 would turn out to be neither validation nor harbinger. It proved instead to be a source of illusions. In the 1960s, the costly and divisive war in Vietnam seemed to demolish those illusions; the collapse of communism at the end of the 1980s momentarily revived them. The post-9/11 misadventures Washington undertook in pursuing its global “war on terror” once again exposed the claims of U.S. military supremacy as specious.
Bacevich’s piece is long but worth your time. Be aware, Bacevich embraces the American prejudice towards Russia and wrongly dismisses the Russian military as a collection of ill-trained, poorly equipped Slavs. While his assessment of Russia is out of touch with reality, he nails the feckless, reckless and dangerous national security policy that United States is doggedly pursuing.
Here are the links to each of these articles.
Big Serge — Russo-Ukrainian War: Schrodinger’s Offensive
Simplicius — The BTG Is Dead, Long Live The BTG!
Andrew J Bacevich — The Reckoning That Wasn’t: Why America Remains Trapped by False Dreams of Hegemony
The War Party trying to sanction China
Check your ETFs – betcha you have at least a modest percentage of your capital invested in Greater China stocks.
Bacevich is often good. But this piece was badly in need of editing. Terribly meandering and re-treading what most FA readers already know. He doesnt really get to a coherent point. And it’s impossible for him to grasp just how badly over-extended Amerixa REALLY is if he cant also properly grasp Russia’s military prowess and just how well Russia has executed the SMO. Because theyre two sides of the same coin.
Bacevich’s FA essay POV resembles Arte Moeini’s piece last week in Unherd, absolutely shredded here in this ESSENTIAL critique by Schryver:
Schyver’s article on imperial American exceptionalism is very good and very complete. Another article published Feb 4 is more also very good.
As for the BTG, Simplicius’s explanations are not all simple. But the title says all” “Long live the BTG”. Certainly, the US army is worried. As you can see here:
As Simplicus says, the Russians opted for the BTG, out of necessity and given the kind of conflicts they were encountering, where they needed smaller, faster-responding, more flexible units. As Simplicius points out the Russians have most often been outnumbered. And this mobility and flexibility provides an advantage. The UAF is organized in NATO type brigades, which are bigger, clumsier, and less responsive.
As I write in my article, The Tao of Vladimir Putin, Putin is influenced by the martial arts, especially combat sambo, judo, and others, which emphasize speed, mobility, and adaptability.
If you watch Bruce Lee fighting Chuck Norris, you will notice that Lee does not try to compete with Norris’s karate, which emphasizes linear force. Norris is bigger. So Lee maneuvers, wearing Norris down with hi-lo kicks. He keeps his distance, conserves energy
This is what the Russians are doing in the Ukraine. The BTG allows them to move fast when they need to, as they did early on in the SMO. Also to retreat fast for better position as they did in Kharkov or in their departure from Kherson City.
They are wearing down the Ukrainians as surely as Lee did Norris (although it was choreographed fight, LOL).
Norris attacks with strong punches and kicks. And he has a strong defense. But the sheer strength of his movements is what wears him down.
The Ukrainians have numbers. But inferior artillery. Incoming Russian shells are likely fast kicks. The Ukrainians hunker down to defend. But the end should not be in doubt.
There will be no Big Arrow Offensive. The war does not end with a bang but with a whimper, as Eliot says.
In the meantime, the Russians have been continuing to adapt. In anthropology, the Dunbar Number is the maximum number of human relationships possible at one time. The effective maximum is 150, extending to a theoretical 400. This number applies in military organizations
While a BTG has 600 to 800 personnel,. It has about 150 to 200 infantry, with other units.
Obviously, separate BTGs coordinate with others. It is flexible, task -based organization that allows for rapid upscaling or downscaling.
NATO has no real equivalent, emphasizing larger numbers and complex organization, with a huge military bureaucracy. The US Army now has more 4 star generals than the Army and the AirForce did, combined, during WWII.
Biswapriya Purkayastha says
Simplicius76 is (or are, I think it’s extremely likely that it’s more than one person) the single best military analyst out there on the Internet. The discussion on how the Russian army now gives junior officers autonomy to the extent of empowerment to can in artillery strikes was an eye opener. That article is one to be bookmarked for reference.
I agree. It may well be multiple people, or at least inputs from multiple people probably feed into the articles. The depth of insight is astonishing.
The comments on the empowerment of junior Russian officers were very interesting and make sense. If you are fighting a real war then decisions have to be devolved.
The west though since the 1950s has been used only to fighting pseudo colonial imperial wars where a handful of soldiers fight and an army of generals “supervise”. In such a world you automatically centralise decisions. The generals, staffs and multiple, sprawling head quarters have to do something to justify their existence.
I replied to this point in a comment at his site that during my RVN tour there was never a requirement that an officer had to call artillery strikes. In many situations this would be done by enlisted recon team leaders or in companies without a forward observer officer.
Totally agree that this site has the best useful military analysis. Perhaps the most interesting section was about drone swarm technology (the videos were amazing) as a central part of future conflict. And also pointing out that China is way ahead in the relevant AI technology and the US no longer has native talent in this technology space.
Not that I know, or have any real insight, but might Simplicius76 be… AI driven?
Not trying to throw shade, just speculating.
Simplicius is ONE guy, been following his bitchute channel, where he reuploads UA-footage from telegram since almost the beginning…
Lmao… All hail the miracles of AI
Absolutely. A major Western talking point since the beginning of the SMO has simply been to repeat our own warmed-over Cold War-era propaganda about the Soviet military (which I’m not convinced was true even then). You know: the supposed over-centralization of command and control, with senior commanders hogging the decision-making, a lack of small-unit leader autonomy and consequent (purported) ‘command push’ rather than ‘recon pull’ tactical and even operational flexibility.
It was the sort of thing defense-oriented think-tankers wrote about in mass media op-eds. So I think it was meant to help keep up public morale about our ‘80s military buildup.
I do NOT recall our instructors at Quantico sneering at the Red Army or suggesting they were hapless ill-trained slavish cannon-fodder. Nor in fact do I recall such talking points being stressed in our professional journals.
In any case, 40 years later, it seemed clear to me, from the very beginning of the SMO, that that was no longer the case, if it ever was.
How does an over centralized ‘slave army,’ with no small-unit tactical autonomy, seize a patch of territory the size of Britain, from a country the size of France, in just a week, using a much smaller force than the defenders?
And send a spacecraft to the ISS to retrieve everyone.
You don’t double down on failure, you relieve it of command.
An accurate assessment of events on the battlefield presume looking at the correct battlefield.
The real war is much larger than what is happening in Eastern Ukraine. It is between the US (and the vestiges of European imperialism) versus Russia, China, India, Iran and other countries who refuse to remain under the yoke of US led Western hegemony.
This larger war is also a war of attrition at the moment and two key theatres are economic and political . Russia is arguably winning both with dollar hegemony under threat and Western economies facing a crisis.
Russia is also winning politically and psychologically because the invincibility and bullying of the US and EU is increasingly looking ridiculous with 85% of the world resisting pressure to join anti-Russia sanctions. I also believe there is much pent up rage in “Zone B” against the arrogance and centuries of excess of Empire.
IMO, one can lose sight of the big picture by focusing too much on the military operational details. Instead of asking how much territory Russia has taken in one year, one should ask in what ways are the US, EU, and NATO weakened since Feb 2022 vs Russia, China, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey, South Africa, etc.
Indeed! The West seems intent on suicide. First it builds up the manufacturing prowess with China, then it picks a fight. It throws open its boarders to mass immigration from disparate cultures reducing social capital and breaking down social cohesion. Then it casts aside logic and reason to embrace woke ideology to try to rectify the backlash. It goes abroad seeking monsters to slay instead of repairing it crumbling infrastructure and cities. It is so sad. It did have to be this way. Americas new elites are truely a feckless and vindictive bunch. Their persecution syndrome have served them poorly and the World has suffered for it.
I don’t support illegal immigration but i dont think immigrants are the reason for breakdown of social cohesion.
Woke agenda, creating an economic system for benefit of 1%, the abortion stand off etc these are the key reason for destruction of social cohesion. None of the above has anything to do with immigrants.
…creating an economic system for benefit of 1%… Masr
Which would include illegal immigration… which creates and maintains a threat labor pool that depresses wages, primarily in the lower skilled/wage paying jobs. In other words, it disproportionately affects lower income wage earners. And, for the skilled and educated, there’s H1b visas.
Then look at the mass of Russians Of all ages packing into the stadium in Moscow all united and cheering for their solders and Putin.
Jack Gordon says
There is, though, an intersection between the two fronts, the local battlefield and the international scene. The Ukrainian war has allowed Russia to (1) exhaust Western arms and ammunition supplies as the rest of the world looks on, and (2) to demonstrate to those not blinded by ideology just how dangerous it is to align oneself with the USA, that this is a sure road to complete destruction, as Kiev is slowly learning.
Yes indeed, Jack. Without the SMO / proxy war we would not have accelerated the economic slide of the West and global realignments. It serves a classical Clausewitzian purpose – war as politics continued via other means.
The SMO needs to be conducted at the correct intensity as well – too much force and it can backfire via escalation or loss of support among the 85%; too little force and the US and NATO may have time to recover, regroup and adjust strategy, and re-subjugate the 85%.
I am no military expert and can only trust, along with the 85% of the world fed up with the theft and carnage of Empire that the Russians are getting it right and, God willing, will prevail.
If I’m not mistaken, Russia is at full strategic alert. USG recently upgraded its SLBM’s accuracy and openly discusses and wargames decapitating first strikes — the possibility of winning a nuclear war against Russia.
This, and over 100,000 NATO troops on or near Ukraine’s western and southern borders (not to mention a reported 10:1 casualty ratio being inflicted upon UAF forces), might explain Russia’s go slow approach and caution in committing its forces to big arrow moves.
In terms of optics, as far as the USG/NATO are concerned, any large offensive the Russians successfully mount would threaten their credibility such that they would be compelled to respond.
John Heston says
Lou Brooks says
Well, my view is the BTG is secondary (in a sense) because the thermobaric bombs will lead the path, wiping out the thousands of Ukies in Ukraine and Transnistria in a weeks time. After that, the Russian Army will move in and clean up. This of course means that Russia will kill thousands at a time, due to soldier density in certain areas which in turn, will just pretty much demoralise the Ukies and the West.
I suspect that at this point in the war, the Ukies that voted for Zelensky to end the war are to damn put out and pissed off that they will welcome the Russians and most of them probably will not care if the land is Russian or Ukrainian. With close to half a million dead and wounded, 10 million gone and not likely to return, the remainder just want the war over.
One large consideration is growing season is soon to be there. If the war carries on too long there could be a great loss of grain product due to delayed planting. That is not good for anyone.
Наталья Волкова says
“Just as U.S. leadership in World War II had defeated the Third Reich”
Let me laugh on behalf of the Red Army and the people of the Russian nation
Taras 77 says
Agree 100%!! Bacevich very much a disappointment with some of his standard western BS dogma.
I believe Larry does note that comments from Bacevich should be taken with a very jaundiced eye.
Louis Hissink says
Makes me wonder why the M1Abrams was powered by a jet engine. Too much deteriorating JetA1 in stock that needed a rapid solution?
As some Chermane engineers might have thought, Leopards 1A are correctly complicated, Ja?
just saying says
Gas turbine provides lots of horsepower in a small and lightweight package. T-80 and Stridsvagn 103 also use one. I guess it sounded like a good idea at first, but it turned out that what’s good for helicopters is not that good for tanks.
Having served on the M-60A3 then on the M-1, I prefer the jet engine. Quicker, quieter, and able to heat MREs on the back grill.
Only thing is, it’s a pig on fuel.
just saying says
As far as heating food and tea making goes, Challenger 2 has superior hardware.
Curt Nichols says
It is much to our hosts credit that he shares these authors. Many people are so self-centered that they will not acknowledge other folk’s good works. Good on you Larry!
As I have mentioned before, I am a money guy. War runs on money and dumb young men to die for you. Two things the US is running out of. Military enlistment continues to lag. A topic of conversation at the Veterans Hospital I go to (Ernest Childers in Tulsa) is veterans talking about how they tell people to stay the fuck out of the military. This is a marked change since 9/11.
And money. The Federal reserve will probably raise 50 basis points in March shortly. The US is now financing 32 trillion at 5% instead of 0%. While Boomers retire and their children utilize their weed cards at their gig jobs. I know we just print the shit. But there is a limit somewhere. Consumer spending is still high because the last of the stimmy money is draining out. And of course, Americans don’t change spending they just put it on their credit card. But those are getting maxed out. The economy is and will slow. When it gets bad enough, Powell cuts rates and starts buying shit on QE again. Which spikes inflation again. Which makes government financing even more expensive. And restarts inflation.
They want a war with China to take our minds off little things like we cannot afford fucking groceries. And with the oblivious and stoned American populace, they might be right.
But where do they get the bodies to die for them? I do not see the current generation storming Omaha Beach. And the one thing that would wake these fuckers up is starting the draft again.
Sorry, I am running long again. I have a Mexican associate I was in business with for years. I also shot IDPA (competitive pistol) with him for over a decade. I called him today because I heard Tesla was opening a factory in Monterrey where he lives. He was laughing about it. He has two sets of mordida (bribes) he pays. One to the government Customs people at the border. And one to the cartels. Who do random truck stops south of the border to make sure they are getting paid adequately for imports. Elon Musk is getting ready to have a rude fucking awakening.
> But where do they get the bodies to die for them? I do not see the current generation storming Omaha Beach. And the one thing that would wake these fuckers up is starting the draft again.
Simple, they brainwash them.
Their plan to flood this country with immigrants and change electoral politics backfired – they can see through the demonrat lies just as well as anyone else.
When that didn’t work, they switched their plans up and created their own ethnic group: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaBjE592J_w, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRkVEtOy3ls
But they won’t be used to fight a war with China – IMO that will remain a naval affair. They’ll be used against us.
Larry, in addition to your own work, you do great job highlighting other writers who also work to break through the noxious fog of propaganda.
I know there are others like Andrei Martyanov (smoothiex12) who do the same thing.
Have you guys considered creating a more organized network? With individual autonomy, of course. Maybe something like a web portal that lists you guys’ bios, has indexes, and links to your individual sites. Basically a one stop portal to news/analysis base on reality. A force multiplier, so to speak of you guys talents as you go against the propaganda behemoth.
Anyway, just musing…
Biswapriya Purkayastha says
Martyanov thinks he is the oracle who nobody can care contradict and will only share space with echo chamber members who say exactly the same thing he does.
Johnson is different from Martyanov in that he can tolerate being disagreed with.
Smoothie is simply technical (mathy) and LJ (with vast experiences) is not – thats the difference i think. grateful for both …
Given enough time here this indian troll will spout his usual nonsense ‘putin is weak’ ‘russia should attack in 2014’ .. after getting exposed in MOA, SAKER and SMOOTHIE he come here to peddle his nonsense again.
This is a troll
Jack Gordon says
That’s productive musing you’re doing. I’ve cobbled together something like it on my own. First thing in the morning, it’s over to Larry’s site for instruction while breakfasting. Shortly after, it’s Alex Christoforou’s video from Athens or Cypress. Then, on to Brian Berletic’s site two or three days of the week. By that time, Alexander Mercouris has usually posted his daily video and often Alex Christoforou has put up a second report. Finally, before bed, it’s time for Andrei Martyanov or some cuts from Redacted and/or Devushka.
I’ve no time or patience for any mendacious MSM bullshit, not even for the less toxic smelling stuff on Fox (fact is, I don’t have a TV set), but I think I’m better informed than at any previous time in my long life!
The other day there was news that a battalion of Ukrainian prisoners of war who had expressed a desire to fight on the side of Russia was being formed in the DPR.
This news was received from telegram channels, therefore it requires confirmation.
On the other hand, Russia launched a broad program of social support for the population in the liberated territories included in the Russian Federation (for new citizens of Russia).
Both news, if you think about it, can be seen as an indirect answer to the question: why Russia is moving slowly and not in a hurry with the offensive.
Everyone who again expects a massive attack of the “big arrow” is likely to miscalculate.
Jason Hughston says
This post by Aurelein is also worth a read. https://open.substack.com/pub/aurelien2022/p/you-and-whose-army?r=1t9mx&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post
You may have already explored this, but have you considered Substack?
I can’t speak to the experience for writers, but from a reader perspective it is easy to contribute funds via credit card.
The Simplicius articles, as noted above, are really excellent.
Comments on why it might be taking Russia time to integrate the mobilised soldiers whilst the army reorganises back to a traditional divisional structure seem very relevant.
A good thing about these articles is that they put things into context. As does Big Serge, whose articles are also uniformly excellent too.
For example, western analysts have a habit of jumping on such organisation problems to make the propaganda point that the Russians are totally incompetent and so forth.
Of course, they forget the challenges of the past that we have had in the west. My recollection is that it took months before Desert Storm for the allied army to be fully ready for combat. In 1914 Britain mobilised a large volunteer army but arguably it was only fully trained for modern war by late 1917 and only operated at its peak during the 1918 Hundred Days. Tactics also continuously evolved too – virtually every infantry soldier of 1914 was a rifleman but by 1918 this had changed considerably.
Apparently, Sarah Ashton (Male identifying as female), was captured by Wagner… lol
Biswapriya Purkayastha says
Do we have a link?
I would love to see this!
Curt Nichols says
I don’t believe so. “It” was supposedly injured and is getting surgery in Germany. From “its” most recent Twitter posts. Including a very sad one where it had not had its hormone shots for two weeks.
just saying says
Maybe “getting captured by Wagner” is LGBT term for not getting hormone shots for two weeks (i.e. becoming a man, growing a beard, or something like that). 🙂
Brian from the news atlas also did an interesting vid about the BTG and how it works : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT05L091MJs
Ever useful to have several point of view 🙂
Speaking about point of view , I’m looking for a “who’s who” to help people knows who is filming and who is filmed in 404. Like the units emblems or armbands seen on the vids , the uniforms , the markings on the vehicles and so on. Information exist but it’s all shattered and a real pain in the ass to exploit. It won’t help much with the place and time part of the thing , but it may help somehow. 🙂
Whatever learned people say, at the moment, the world is on the brink of a nuclear war, and Russia and Ukraine fight over towns like Ugledar or Bakhmut for months.
If this was a puzzle, I would give up and play something else.
Why is the USA not afraid of the 6000 nuclear war heads of Russia? Can anyone explain please?
Full Steam Ahead says
Why is the USA not afraid of the 6000 nuclear war heads of Russia? Can anyone explain please?
Because they have 10,000 talking war heads of their own in media, government and think tanks?
Russia, you are OUTMATCHED! You have no heavy warmongering heads!
Russia is playing the long game. The US always loses interests and goes off to find some other place to wreck. This will happen precipitously once public sentiment begins to shift. This is why the government goons and the media tell their whopper lies.
Unfortunately for Ukraine it will mean the death and disfigurement of many fine young men. It will also mean the devastation of the country and the economy. The US and Europe are about to enter a serious recession and there will be little interest in supply funds to rebuild Ukraine. Perhaps other regions in Ukraine will vote to join Russia to get resources to rebuild.
The US under the misguided leadership of Joe the Grifter will see its stature in the world sink to a new low. Dedollarization and debt deflation will keep her licking her wounds for years to come. Leftist agitation and multicultural schisms will continue the social breakdown and the fracturing of the nation. Hopefully China will treat us better than we treated the fractured USSR.
Look, there is longer-term reason why such countries like Mexico, nigeria, Brazil, and not least Saudi arabia DO NOT adhere and avoid US policies of sanctions against Russia: that means they will be lured, pushed and bribe-threatened-or blackmailed tomorrow to do the SAME against China… and China is the reason and the core support of their export money…
Better resist now as much as possible, just to speed up multipolarity tomorrow.
Susan Welsh says
Can anyone suggest a large, paper map of Ukraine, suitable for tracking developments in the war? Has to have smaller towns like Bakhmut/Artyomovsk, and the names of rivers, but not so much clutter (small roads, etc.) that you can’t find anything. Amazon is not helpful — what they have is pretty laminated maps to hang on your wall.
Please try this:
Susan Welsh says
Thank you. I’m familiar with those maps, but I really need something made out of paper, to spread out on the floor and see how one geographical section relates to another. Military Summary Channel does not make it easy to get an overview. Surely something like this must exist!
I wonder why it’s so hard for some to grasp that Russia does not approach this “war” from the same philosophical basis as the West.
Western assumptions that the Russkies are brutish sub-humans who will follow the same doctrinal approaches to slaughter as their western counterparts are just wrong.
The Russians have stated that they intend to inflict as little harm to Ukraine (and their own) as they possibly can whilst pursuing their objectives. To me, that means a “Major Offensive” is unlikely. They do not want to raze Ukraine into a wasteland of dead relatives, ergo, they will not pursue a strategy likely to result in that outcome.
Why is that so hard to grasp?
Hubris. “We” are the best and greatest so it only makes sense that everybody else would emulate “the best” and do things the way we would do them.
It would be laughable if so many weren’t getting killed needlessly. We have echo chamber politics and military, they take a broader, systematic view of just about everything. We are severely constrained by our paradigms and can’t see anything else.
“We are severely constrained by our paradigms and can’t see anything else.”
No enmazed in imagined closed systems through relying on closed methodologies not limited to paradigms and hence anything else is not perceived and cannot be “seen” except momentarily, whilst others can perceive and see, known to some as copy books and to some others as custom and practice/precedent, which de facto does not exist despite de jure attempts/fiats, since lateral change is a constant and “fighting the last war” is no longer an option despite attempts at linear extrapolation and subsequent “doubling down”.
Part of it is a very manipulated version of the eastern front in WWII, which was created primarily by Wehrmacht memoirs and the like. 1941 through late 1943 the red army did throw people at the problem of the German advance. But from Stalingrad on the red army whipped on the Germans tactically and strategically. The force numbers favored the Soviets but not by amounts that would allow “human wave” tactics to overwhelm German lines.
On the myths of Soviet/Russian incompetence and reliance on human waves and numerical superiority rather than operational/tactical skill and quality:
Glantz, David M.; House, Jonathan M.. When Titans Clashed (Modern War Studies) (p. 362). University Press of Kansas. Kindle Edition.
“This, of course, leads to the third reason that German commanders cited to explain their defeat: the idea that the Wehrmacht was simply overwhelmed by hordes of robotic opponents. Such an image appealed to both the German veterans and their postwar American allies, who hoped, like the Germans, to use superior training, tactics, and motivation to overcome a larger foe. Again, however, this is only a half-truth. Germany knew from the moment it attacked in 1941 that it was outnumbered two to one, but numerical ratios at first appeared unimportant given the German tactical and operational advantages. The enormous losses that the surprised Red Army absorbed only confirmed the Germans’ belief in their own racial and tactical superiority.
As the war dragged on, the Red Army became increasingly proficient in planning and executing its own complex form of mechanized warfare, while the level of training among German troops declined quickly in the face of heavy casualties. Those German officers who had made their names in the glory days of 1941–1942 often failed to recognize this shift in the relative training and ability of the opposing armies. Indeed, their contempt for their supposedly primitive foe only made them more vulnerable to the maskirovka efforts of 1944, such as the Soviet deception efforts at Korsun’-Shevchenkovskii and prior to Operation Bagration. More than one of the “hordes” that defeated Germany were populated by phantoms.
The Red Army painfully developed effective leaders, organizations, weapons, and tactics, in the process returning to its prewar concepts of warfare. Recognizing this, Stalin began to accord trust and freedom to his subordinates at precisely the same time, and for many of the same reasons, that Hitler tightened control. A shared experience of many midlevel Soviet commanders was being summoned to the Kremlin not for punishment but rather to give their candid assessments to their leader, who was seeking to understand and improve the army; none ever reported retribution for voicing their opinions.
Red Army commanders continued to make costly mistakes as late as the Battle of Berlin, but this represented the inevitable waste of warfare rather than any tactical incompetence. The officer corps became steadily more competent and trusted from 1942 onward. Political officers confined themselves to matters of morale and propaganda, and Stalin gradually widened the circle of those he trusted.
These subordinates had developed their own procedures for conducting mechanized warfare on a massive scale. By 1944, the typical Soviet offensive was preceded by careful planning and deception measures designed to concentrate forces at the designated breakthrough point. The attack would begin with a wave of reconnaissance battalions that infiltrated the German forward defenses and seized key positions, thereby dislocating the rest of the German defense and rendering it untenable. This infiltration was accompanied or followed by massive, carefully orchestrated air and artillery preparations. When the whirlwinds of artillery fire shifted from the front lines toward the German rear areas, infantry supported by heavy armor and engineers conducted the conventional assault to eliminate remaining centers of German resistance. Until the final attack along the Oder River, the German defenses were usually so thin that this three-stage process of reconnaissance, fire preparation, and combined-arms assault was sufficient to create a penetration. As quickly as possible, therefore, senior Soviet commanders committed their mobile forces through the resulting gaps. Although the tank armies and separate mobile corps were large formations commanded by experienced general officers, much of their tactical success depended on the work of the young captains and majors who commanded the leading forward detachments. These highly mobile, combined-arms groups of 800 to 2,000 soldiers avoided pitched battles whenever possible, bypassing German defenders to establish large encirclements and seize bridgeheads over the next water obstacle, bridgeheads that then became the starting points for the next offensive operation. Follow-on rifle forces, supported by the increasingly powerful Red Air Force, then reduced the German encirclements as the mobile forces continued their exploitation. Throughout these offensives, centrally directed Rear Services performed prodigious feats of improvisation to keep the spearheads supplied even 400 kilometers behind enemy lines. Just as in the German offensives of 1941–1942, the later Soviet attacks often came to a halt due to logistical overextension rather than enemy action.”
Note: This sounds like the famous/notorious BTG’s are less innovation than a revival of a tried and tested tactical formation: “much of their tactical success depended on the work of the young captains and majors who commanded the leading forward detachments. These highly mobile, combined-arms groups of 800 to 2,000 soldiers avoided pitched battles whenever possible, bypassing German defenders to establish large encirclements and seize bridgeheads”
Please inform yourself regarding the Wolfowitz Doctrine. It has been the driving force behind foreign policy and brainwashing since Clinton left office and has placed us right here right now. Look at who crafted it and helped shape the Republican Party. It needs to be brought into the light and destroyed.
” ‘Assault Unit’ or ‘Assault Detachment’. . . .”
‘Sturmeinheit’ or ‘Sturmabteilung’. I seem to hear the faint sound of a bell ringing. Somebody help me out, please.
Gavin Longmuir says
One factor about the lack of a Russian “Big Arrow” assault which does not seem to get much attention is that General Winter went AWOL this year — too mild. General rule in much of that part of the world is that moving heavy equipment has to be done in winter (ground frozen hard) or summer (ground dried out). The ground is too muddy in spring and fall.
Another factor is that Russia is fighting with the Ukraine, but the real enemy is NATO/US. All Russian actions have to give a lot of weight to possible reactions from that real enemy. “Big Arrows” could be perceived as directly threatening by certain NATO countries. (Where will the Russian advance stop?)
Lots of us would like to see Biden’s proxy war soon be over and settled with a reasonable negotiated treaty — but the slow grind we are seeing instead may be the best approach.
comrade simba says
Bacevich is just another organ grinder – music box cranks out American silliness but the monkey wears an Evil Putin sandwich board.
Never forget people write shit for the money. With Foreign Affairs magazine cutting the check you’re singing for the supper they have on the menu.
Big Serge jumps up and down on the pulpit of the First Assembly of War Porn with Simplicus trying to siphon off some of that org’s collection plate. I’m glad Larry rises above the machinations of the hoi poloi *wink*.
Alas, no one seems to be calling for Suits and Badges… going after the real pricks and the goons who defend them.
I would also add this author,his experience in political circles gives some added insight into the clueless flailing of the elite and the mindset underpinnings NATOs decision making process
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
William Schryver: The Ontological Incoherence of American Imperial Exceptionalism
Bacevich makes some welcome points given the level of self delusion in our foreign policy establishment. But he assumes the Russian military had goals it never had at the beginning of the war and doesn’t seem to comprehend how its force structure and goals have been forced to change since then.
I don’t understand how supposed experts can both know NATO has gone all out to aid Ukraine for eight years, especially the last year, and then claim Russia is dysfunctional militarily for not rolling over Ukraine in three days with what was an economy of force operation using only its peacetime army.
I’m not saying Russia is going to try to roll over NATO or that Putin wants to reconstitute the USSR, claims made by western media from the beginning of the war. I think both are ridiculous. But if Putin wanted to, he’s more capable now than he was in February 2022. Hysterical western rhetoric has turned this into an existential issue for Russia. The level of self-own from the boomerang sanctions, Nordstream attack, the neverending talk about toppling Putin and weakening Russia, and the war itself weakening NATO is vastly underappreciated.
Russian will continue to increase its capabilities thanks to Petraeus and his ideological fellow travelers planting the idea the West might intervene overtly at any time and constantly signaling infinite escalation. Russian production is up dramatically and it’s increasing its numbers. Petraeus, Biden, Sullivan, Graham, Nuland, Clinton, the NATO fembot warmongers (Baerbock, Marin, Kallas)… with friends like these…
Julio Ruata says
Larry, your comments about US Colonel Douglas MacGregor shocked me because he is always with Judge Napolitano show as nonbiased person. Thanks for open my eyes.
Black Cloud says
Bacevich continues to trumpet the fallacy that the US defeated the Third Reich in WWII.
The US didn’t invade Europe until the Soviets had repelled the German invasion – 1,000 miles deep into the Soviet Union – and were on the verge of entering Eastern Europe.
At this point – mid-1944 – Germany was effectively defeated, having lost some 5 million soldiers with another 4.5 million captured. For comparison, Germany had < 400,000 dead in the Western Theater, barely 8% of the losses they had in the Soviet Union.
Mark j says
Could the USA finance a conventional war? No bid on the 10 yr T’s…
Blackstone shows a bond default:
Where is the USA military teeth? Nuclear arms, EMT….. cyber war fare…and given time.. the CIA attempting to over throw non complying govts.
The problem for the CIA trying to over turn Russia management….is the nuclear arms have the “dead man switch”.
We all die if the CIA does that.
Where are the diplomats?
Vallhalla Rising says
With regard to BigSerge’s question: “Where is the big Russian offensive?” I have posted several times that Russia may not be planning an offensive nor do they need to. Every single NATO planner has been anticipating for months a big (Russian regular army) winter offensive…why in the name of Zeus’ butthole would you execute a plan that your enemy has been anticipating and developing contingencies to counter? I am not boasting that I am correct believe me–in fact my assessment could prove to be wrong. Russia is bleeding NATOstan to death–smart move–if the plan is working don’t change it.
Simplicius76 whoever he or they is/are is just brilliant military analysis–I want to party with him or they 🙂
Bacevich…well like others I pretty much disagree with the bulk of his article except this nugget of wisdom: “avoid needless war, fulfill the promises in the country’s founding documents, and provide ordinary citizens with the prospect of a decent life. A place to begin is to reconfigure the U.S. military into a force designed to protect the American people rather than to serve as an instrument of global power projection.” Dear God it is that simple…
…reconfigure the U.S. military into a force designed to protect the American people… — Vallhalla Rising
While I whole-heartedly agree with your sentiment, I greatly fear its implementation — given the proclivities of power and its excesses. Yes, close the overseas bases and bring the boys home, but what happens then? Restart the GWOT and focus on domestic extremist Catholics and Republicans?
Up thread Roland asks: Why is the USA not afraid of the 6000 nuclear war heads of Russia? Can anyone explain please?
Hubris. Arrogance. Nihilism.
The people elite consensus have charged with rule of their empire believe they can fight, and win, a nuclear war with Russia. And they’ve deployed recently upgraded weapons, Trident SLBMs and B61-12 gravity bombs, specifically designed to accomplish this aim.
The Russians know their adversary’s capabilities…
The SLBMs are strategically targeted for a decapitating first strike, while the upgraded B61s (now able to be carried by any NATO combat aircraft) threaten their ground forces. Perhaps the USG/NATO consider their 100,000+ troops stationed around Ukraine’s western and southern borders a mop-up force, because that is the only scenario (other than bio-weapons) in which they might prevail.
It’s insane — Dr. Strangelovian insane — but without Russia’s resources and strategic position, the empire crumbles. And they’ve staked everything, in front of the entire world, on defeating Russia at all costs.
Zelensky is now calling for American troops. A wartime draft. How much time do you think we have left?
Vallhalla Rising says
Hey Spanky thanks for the feedback…I think much of the angst regarding nuclear war could be reversed if the US did an about face on the Ukraine, NATO and the Pacific Pivot. I am not advocating getting rid of our nukes but I am advocating that the US military be used as a defensive force not the frickin’ world police or defenders of global democracy (which is a hypocritical concept to begin with). Of course US political elites would never agree to such a proposition…”how much time do ‘I’ think we have left”…not much really, I think NATOstan will continue to irrationally double down…the big game changer now is public support (or lack thereof) for the Ukraine…I do not think the US is prepared as a society for a force on force conflict with Russia or China.
just saying says
For all those western experts that fail to understand Russian Armed Forces, here’s a video that could help:
It’s great, wonderful.
For what you understand.
Ghost of Mozgovoy says
Now, that people posting on Facebook Sy Hersh´s research on the blowing up of European pipelines is being warned by Facebook´s fact-checkers on the inadequacy of postinf fake news, and Jürgen Habermas has been signaled for witch hunt, just for proposing a return to the statu quo ante February 23rd 2022, with high possibilities of ending in the Myrotvorets ( at this point everybody and his dog, at least in Europe, knowing it´s really NATO´s…) list, Emmanuel Todd, historian, antropologist, essayist, prospectivist, who, so far had reserved his views on Ukraine for the Japanese public, ( due no doubt to the current intellectual constraint in Europe….) conceeded a rare interview to Le Figaro where he expresses his view on the war in Ukraine as an antropologic one, amongst some more interesting details, which adds to the difficulty for its end…..
Spanish translation for Politika, published in http://www.pressenza.com….
Transaltion into English, mine, helped by translator…
LE FIGARO. Why publish a book about the war in Ukraine in Japan and not in France?
Emmanuel TODD. The Japanese are just as anti-Russian as the Europeans. But they’re geographically far from the conflict, so there’s no real sense of urgency, they don’t have our emotional relationship with Ukraine.
And in Japan I don’t have the same status as in France. Here I have the absurd reputation of being a “rebel leader,” while in Japan I am a respected anthropologist, historian, and geopolitician, speaking in all the major newspapers and magazines, and whose books are all published. I can express myself there in a serene environment, which I did first in magazines, then by publishing this book, which is a collection of interviews. This work is called World War III has already begun, with 100,000 copies sold to date….
(…) We provide weapons anyway. We kill Russians, even if we don’t expose ourselves. But it remains true that we Europeans are above all financially compromised. For the rest we feel our true entry into war due to inflation and scarcity.
Putin made a big mistake at the beginning, which is of great socio-historical interest. Those who worked (researched) on Ukraine on the eve of the war viewed the country, not as a nascent democracy, but as a decaying society and a “failed state” in the making. We wondered if Ukraine had lost 10 million or 15 million inhabitants since its independence. We couldn’t decide because Ukraine hasn’t conducted a census since 2001, a classic sign of a society afraid of reality.
I think the Kremlin’s calculation was that this decaying society would collapse on first impact, or even say “welcome mom” to holy Russia. But what we discovered, on the contrary, is that a decomposing society, if it is fed by financial and military resources from abroad, can find in war a new kind of balance, even a horizon, a hope. The Russians could not foresee it. Nobody could….
(…) Germany and France had become junior partners in NATO and were unaware of what was going on in the Ukraine militarily. French and German naivety have been criticized because our governments did not believe in the possibility of a Russian invasion. True, but because they did not know that the Americans, British and Poles could allow Ukraine to wage an extended war. The fundamental axis of NATO is now Washington-London-Warsaw-Kyiv….
(…) There, the Russians settled in the war, and Putin benefits from something that we have no idea, and that is that the 2000s, the years of Putin, were for the Russians the years of a return to balance, a return to a normal life.
On the contrary, I think that Macron will represent for the French the discovery of an unpredictable and dangerous world, a reencounter with fear.
The 90s were for Russia a period of unprecedented suffering. The 2000s have been a return to normality, and not just in terms of living standards: we see suicide and homicide rates collapse, and above all, my favorite indicator, the infant mortality rate, fall even below the rate in the US.
In the minds of the Russians, Putin embodies (in the strong, Christic sense) this stability. And, fundamentally, ordinary Russians consider, like their president, waging a defensive war. They are aware of having made mistakes at the beginning, but their good economic preparation increased their confidence, not against Ukraine (the resistance of the Ukrainians is interpretable for them, they are brave like the Russians, Westerners would never fight like that!), but against to what they call the “collective West,” or “the United States and its vassals.”
The true priority of the Russian regime is not military victory on the ground, it is not to lose the social stability acquired in the last 20 years. So they are waging this war “on the economy,” especially by economizing their men. Because Russia continues to have its demographic problem, with a fertility rate of 1.5 children per woman. In five years they will have empty age classes.
In my opinion, they must win the war in 5 years, or lose it. A normal duration for a world war. So they wage this war on the economy, rebuilding a partial war economy, but seeking to preserve men. This is the meaning of the withdrawal from Kherson, after that from the Kharkov regions, and from Kyiv.
We count the square kilometers retaken by the Ukrainians, but the Russians expect the fall of the European economies. We are your main front.
Obviously I can be wrong, but I live with the idea that the behavior of the Russians is legible, because it is rational and harsh. The unknowns are elsewhere….
(…) I propose a psycho-geographical exercise, which can be done by zooming back. If we look at the map of Ukraine, we see the entry of Russian troops from the North, the East, the South… And there, indeed, we have the vision of a Russian invasion, there is no other word. But if we zoom back immensely into a perception of the world, say to Washington, we see NATO guns and missiles converging from far away on the battlefield, arms movement that had begun before the war.
Bakhmut is 8,400 kilometers from Washington, but 130 kilometers from the Russian border. A simple reading of the world map allows, I think, to consider the hypothesis that “Yes, from the Russian point of view, this must be a defensive war.”
(…) The satelliteization of the Ukraine by Europe and the United States did not represent additional Western dynamism, but the exhaustion of a wave launched around 1990, reinforced by anti-Russian resentment among Poles and Balts.
(…) I have just finished reading a book by S. Jaishankar, Foreign Minister of India (The India Way), published just before the war, who sees American weakness, who knows that the confrontation between China and the United States will not see a winner, but it will give space to a country like India, and many others. I add: but not to the Europeans. Everywhere we see the weakening of the United States, but not in Europe or Japan because one of the effects of the retreat of the imperial system is that the United States tightens its control over its initial protectorates.
If we read Brzeziński (The Great Chessboard), we see that the American empire was established at the end of World War II with the conquest of Germany and Japan, which are still separate protectorates today. As the US system shrinks, it weighs more and more on the local elites of the protectorates (and I include the whole of Europe here).
The first to lose all national autonomy will be (or already are) the English and Australians. The Internet has produced in the Anglo-sphere a human interaction with the United States of such intensity that its academic, media and artistic elites have been, so to speak, annexed.
On the European continent we are somewhat protected by our national languages, but the decline in our autonomy is considerable and rapid. Let’s remember the war in Iraq, when Chirac, Schröder and Putin held joint press conferences against the war.
(…) War becomes a test of political economy, it is the great revealer. The GDP of Russia and Belarus represents 3.3% of Western GDP (United States, Anglo-sphere, Europe, Japan, South Korea), practically nothing. One may wonder how this paltry GDP can cope and continue to produce missiles.
The reason for this is that GDP is a fictitious measure of output. If we remove half of its over-invoiced health care expenses from the GDP of the United States, then the “wealth produced” by the activity of its lawyers, by the most crowded prisons in the world, and then by an entire poorly serviced economy. defined, including the “output” of its 15 to 20 thousand economists with an average salary of $120,000, we realize that a significant part of this GDP is steam.
War brings us back to the real economy, allows us to understand the true wealth of nations, the production capacity, and therefore the capacity for war. If we go back to the material variables, we see the Russian economy. In 2014 we implemented the first major sanctions against Russia, but Russia increases its wheat production, which goes from 40 to 90 million tons in 2020. While, thanks to neoliberalism, US wheat production, between 1980 and 2020, went from 80 to 40 million tons.
Russia also became the first exporter of nuclear power plants. In 2007, the Americans explained that their strategic adversary was in such a state of nuclear deliquescence that the United States would soon have a first-strike capability on a Russia that could not respond. Today, the Russians are in nuclear superiority with their hypersonic missiles.
Russia has real adaptability. When we want to make fun of centralized economies, we emphasize its rigidity, and when we make an apology for capitalism, we extol its flexibility. We are right. For an economy to be flexible, the market, financial and monetary mechanisms are certainly needed. But first we need an active population that knows how to do things.
The United States now has more than twice the population of Russia (2.2 times in student age groups). Only, with proportions by comparable cohorts of young people in higher education, in the United States 7% study engineering, while in Russia it is 25%. Which means that with 2.2 times fewer people studying, Russians train 30% more engineers.
The United States plugs the hole with foreign students, but they are mainly Indian and even more Chinese. This substitution resource is not secure and is already declining. It’s the fundamental dilemma of the US economy: it can only cope with Chinese competition by importing skilled Chinese labor. I propose here the concept of economic balancing act.
The Russian economy, as for it, accepted the rules of market operation (it is even an obsession for Putin to preserve them), but with a large role for the State, which maintains its flexibility in training engineers that allow adaptations, industrialists and military.
(…) One of the most striking things about this conflict, and what makes it so uncertain, is that it raises (like any modern warfare) the question of the balance between advanced technologies and mass production.
There is no doubt that the United States has some very advanced military technologies, and that they have at times been decisive for Ukrainian military successes. But when we enter the duration, in a war of attrition, not only on the human resources side, but also on the material side, the ability to continue depends on the lower-end weapons production industry.
And we find, going back through the window, the question of globalization and the fundamental problem of Westerners: we have relocated such a proportion of our industrial activities that we do not know if our war production can continue.
(…) There were denser, communal family structures in Russia, some of whose values have survived. There is a Russian patriotic feeling that is something we have no idea about here, nurtured by the subconscious of a family nation.
Russia had a patrilineal family organization, that is to say, in which men are central and she cannot adhere to all the neo-feminist, LGBT, transgender Western innovations… When we see the Russian Duma vote even more repressive legislation on “propaganda LGBT”, we feel superior. I can feel like that as an ordinary Westerner. But from a geopolitical point of view, if we think in terms of soft power, it is a mistake.
In 75% of the planet, the parental organization was patrilineal and there they can feel a strong understanding of Russian attitudes. For the non-Western collective, Russia affirms a comforting moral conservatism. Latin America, however, is here on the Western side.
When we do geopolitics, we are interested in multiple areas: energy, military power relations, arms production (which refers to industrial power relations). But there is also the relationship of ideological and cultural forces, what the Americans call “soft power.”
The USSR had a certain form of soft power, communism, which influenced part of Italy, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Serbs, the French workers… But communism was abhorrent to the entire Muslim world because of its atheism and it did not inspire anything privately to India, outside of West Bengal and Kerala.
Now, today, Russia as it has repositioned itself as the archetype of a great power, not only anti-colonialist, but also patrilineal and conservative of traditional customs, can seduce much further.
The Americans feel betrayed by Saudi Arabia, which refuses to increase its oil production, despite the energy crisis caused by the war, and actually sides with the Russians: on the one hand, of course, out of oil interest . But it is clear that Putin’s Russia, turned morally conservative, has become sympathetic to the Saudis, who I am sure do not understand the American debates on the access of transgender women (defined as men from conception) to the bathroom. ladies.
Western newspapers are tragically funny, they keep saying: “Russia is isolated, Russia is isolated.” But when we look at the votes of the United Nations, we find that 75% of the world does not follow the West, which then appears very small.
If you are an anthropologist, you can explain the map, on the one hand of countries classified as having a good level of democracy by The Economist (that is, the Anglo-sphere, Europe…), on the other hand the authoritarian countries, ranging from Africa to China, through the Arab world and Russia. For an anthropologist, this is a banal map.
In the “western” periphery we find countries with a nuclear family structure with bilateral kinship systems, that is, where male and female kin are equivalent in defining the social status of the child. And in the center, with the bulk of the Afro-Eurasian mass, we find community and patrilineal family organizations.
It is then seen that this conflict, described by our media as a conflict of political values, is at a deeper level a conflict of anthropological values. It is this unconsciousness and this depth that make confrontation dangerous.
The USA didn’t win WW2. Russia did with our help.
All these “experts” probably haven’t read any books written by the Soviet Generals of WW2. I strongly urge y’all to read the works of Vasili Chuikov, Victor of the Battle of Stalingrad and Conqueror of Berlin.
Learn about Reconnaissance In Force.
Simplicus has a grasp of 4th and Fifth Generation Warfare. He must have studied COL John Boyd. The US Military is a 3rd Generation force fixated on Blitzkrieg.
“The USA didn’t win WW2. Russia did with our help.”
and significant obstruction since “sustainable winning” of war is never an option only sustainable transcendence is, but
“All these “experts” probably haven’t read any books written by the Soviet Generals of WW2.” but more importantly read the works of members of Stavka including the “planners”, since most remain “restricted” under the control of the Office of The President of The Russian Federation.
However some materials may be released to “inform” some fora at some point.
Bacevich, like fmr chief of staff John Kelly suffers Daedalus syndrome(my term) where a father has lured his child to the siren’s song, both lost their sons in this Iraq/Afghan mess. He also plays @ the Quincy Institute:)
Using Occam’s famous razor, the most likely explanation is: Putin is a man of his word. He said this was a Special Military Operation, not a “war”. And the prime reason for the SMO was the liberation of the Donbass. That is about done now. Let’s see what happens next. The ball may be in the West’s court.