First, my sincere thanks for everyone who took time to comment in depth on the Open Thread. I learned a lot from all of you and have had calls from friends today who are equally impressed. You are, by and large, a thoughtful, intelligent group of folks and I am humbled that you deign me worthy of your attention.
Second, let me tell you what I think is going on with the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine. Let me start with Captain Obvious–Russia is grudgingly giving up territory in Kharkov, Donetsk and Kherson, but is avoiding set piece battles. What do I mean? Consider what happened at Liman, for example. Five hundred Russian allied troops help off over 6000 Ukrainians for more than a week and then conducted a tactical retreat. It is true that Ukraine has deployed more forces to these areas than the Russians. But Russia, through its superior fire power with artillery and combat air, slows these attacks and inflicts heavy casualties on the Ukrainians in terms of men and equipment. At the same time, Russia is suffering minimal casualties. This certainly is a break with the sad tradition Soviet troops established in World War II. Millions of Soviet soldiers were killed and wounded in the battles of Kursk and Bagration, for example. Conserving force was not a priority then, but it is now.
The United States and NATO are having a field day with these events, touting these successes as “proof” that Russian troops are poorly led, poorly supplied and lacking motivation. But that is having little effect in rallying public support in the United States and Europe. That lackluster support among the general populace will fade even more in the coming months as inflation, unemployment and recession escalate in those nations. Ukraine capturing a city that most Americans cannot spell is not a recipe for whipping up public support among Americans for sending more billions of dollars to Kiev while prices at home soar and the economy grinds to a halt.
Ukraine’s so-called victories are illusory. Yes, they are occupying territory once held by Russia but they are doing so without the benefit of air support and minimal artillery fires. Ukraine is relying on attacking lightly manned Russian positions with a larger force. This comes at a great cost however, in the loss of men and material that Ukraine cannot easily nor quickly replace. Every country in a war suffers casualties. This means a country at war must have a system in place to call up reserves, train them, equip them and deploy them. Ukraine is outnumbered dramatically by Russia on this count. If (or when) the “Special Military Operation” is finally acknowledged as a war by Russia’s leaders, Putin and his generals have far greater human resources at their command. The current Russian special mobilization is calling back to duty experienced soldiers.
Ukraine does not have a secure training facility where it can assemble and train new recruits because Russia has demonstrated repeatedly over the last 7 months the ability and willingness to attack and destroy those centers. That means Ukraine must rely on one or more NATO countries to host a training base. Even with a secure training base someplace in Europe, new Ukrainian recruits will need a minimum of three months of instruction before they are minimally prepared to go to the front to replace lost personnel. I do not believe that Europe has the capability or the will to host 200,000 new Ukrainian recruits. In short, Ukraine has no real chance of replacing the troops already lost in the front lines.
The training requirements for the Russian reservists called back to duty is far less daunting. The Russian soldiers already know how to wear a uniform, march in formation, maneuver as a unit, clean and operate their weapons, and communicate within a chain of command.
The biggest disadvantage for Ukraine is its lack of an economic base to fund the war and to produce the weapons, vehicles, food and medical supplies required to sustain an army in the field. Ukraine is now entirely dependent on the United States and NATO. Those lines of communication must remain open and flowing. Otherwise, their soldiers will be left defenseless in the field.
Russia, by contrast, has a robust economy that is producing all that its army and air force requires to operate. Its factories are operating 24-7 and it is quite competent, despite western propaganda stating otherwise, to move needed troops, tanks, munitions and vehicles to the front.
The west is betting all on the belief that Russia–its leaders, its government bureaucracy and its economy–is a paper tiger that will crumble if only enough pressure is applied. That is a dangerous and risky wager. While Russia is not a utopia, it has invested its capital over the last 20 years in building up its infrastructure, developing modern, cost effective weapons systems and educating its population to a standard that surpasses anything offered by the United States or Europe. Most importantly, it has vast natural resources and minerals and the industrial capability to extract them and manufacture what it needs to fight.
The United States, by contrast, has burned up billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in fruitless military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan while American infrastructure deteriorates, its industrial capacity is hollowed out, it is dependent on foreign imports of critical materials to produce key weapon systems and its educational system is in shambles. More time is devoted in U.S. schools, it appears, to learning proper pronouns rather than learning math, biology, chemistry, physics and foreign languages. The recently announced failure of the U.S. Army to meet its recruitment goals (25% below the target) is not an aberration. It is a symptom of societal failure in the west.
So what is Russia waiting for? On paper, it has the full capability to crush Ukraine. I am certain that the events of the last seven months have convinced the Russian leaders and civilians that they face an existential crisis from the west. I believe that Putin’s decision to return the four Ukrainian oblasts to the Russian Federation was not made in desperation. Putin, so far, has shown no sign of panic or alarm. I have seen no evidence to suggest that he is out of touch with reality. Instead, he has worked methodically to shore up relations with China, India and the Gulf States. He realizes he can no longer rely on any hope of a working relationship with the United States and Europe. it appears that the referenda process, which culminated on Tuesday with the acceptance of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporhyzhia as new members of the Russian Federation, now paves the way for Russia to invoke the defense protocols of the CSTO. That means additional troops from allied countries like Belarusia can join the fight if needed.
It very much reminds me of a game of chess. Russia is now sacrificing pawns in the form of strategically useless territory, while Ukraine is rushing forward to seize symbolic territory without having the necessary reserves in terms of trained soldiers and equipment to sustain the attack and defeat Russia. Russia, meanwhile, is moving its Knights, Rooks and Bishops into position for checkmate. The question remains–what is Putin’s gambit?
Some Thoughts: The Ukraine Theater is a merely sideshow at the big picture Grand Strategy.
Moscow‘s Grand Strategy seems to be just let NATOland sanction itself into starvation. As long as 87% of the world remains neutral/supportive of Moscow, then this Grand Strategy will be successful. However, it will take more than 1 winter for NATOland to starve. Moscow’s war of Attrition will take many years maybe a decade.
Watch the 87% to see if they waver – especially such gov‘ts as Mexico, Brazil, India, and Saudia. Keeping them on board is the key to Moscow‘s Grand Strategy.
Note – Moscow laid out its War Aims in Dec 2021. Those go far beyond rejiggering boundries of Ukrainian oblasts. Worth revisiting the Dec 2021 peace proposal.
Larry – btw solid overview of the ukraine situation as many see it.
I give it two tops. Dutch Greenhouses are shutting down due to the gas prices: https://www.omroepwest.nl/nieuws/4617889/grote-ontslagronde-van-arbeidsmigranten-in-kassen-door-gascrisis
Note that the Netherlands provides 40% of fresh vegetables to the EU.
2 years before an isolated NATOland crumbles ?
Doubtful – NATOland has vast reserves and will brutally suppress the slightest hint of revolt from its impoverished citizens.
Maybe I‘m wrong, we‘ll know more after this first winter.
My guess is American middle class will be first to crack, just a guess.
Men – especially Western men – have lower testosterone levels than they did during the Great Depression. Frankly I don’t think we have the cajones to endure hardship like we once did.
@Randolorian Especially when the purported reason for enduring hardship is so uncompelling—propping up a Nazi-infested Ukraine so as to weaken a vital trading partner, namely Russia. Why suffer so that the United States can maintain its hegemonic position? How does that help Europeans?
Anna Zimmerman says
Vast reserves….of what, exactly? Chutzpah? Rainbow flags?
Without energy, nothing can be achieved. Those raw materials that the West still has cannot be processed without it, including food. Wars cannot be provisioned or fought without energy. The US is too far away, and its energy sources are over-stretched, even if it were possible to ship over in the quantities required.
The West will be lucky if it is able to provide for its own people in a sufficiently adequate manner to avert severe social unrest. Fighting a war on top of that will be out of the question.
Those people crowing about the recent Ukrainian gains have little understanding of these underlying realities. I don’t know what they do for a living, but I’m willing to bet they don’t know much about economics or industrial processes.
Muralidhar Rao says
Ms. Zimmerman I agree with your assessment. When Saddam and then Qaddaffi had the cajones to challenge the west, the west pounced on them and crushed them. That great success against those guys made the west overestimate its own strength and underestimate Russia’s strength. When you see the African states kicking the west and telling them to take a flight that tells us where the world is heading (Never mind China or India). I don’t think these great thinkers in the so called West understand that they are going against an awakened Bear with a stick to beat him up to behave as a circus animal. Little did they realize this is a real bear with claws and strong teeth. They soon will find out what awaits them.
Hear her! Hear her!
Natoland does not have vast reserves to crush anyone. They spent the last 30 years dismantling their military and reducing their capability to handle things.
Whats left is being shipped to Ukraine to be blown up by the Russians.
The reason Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao were able to get away with their terror is because they had a lot of guys with guns to do the dirty work.
All NATOland has is money which they are devaluing very quickly. How they planning on paying for all this.
Top Gum says
OPEC+ is also not interested to serve west interest anymore. They work together as they see the opportunity now to take some money back for what happened over the past years when the prices hit a low. They will gladly put a new higher price tag on oil. Just in time for raging inflation in the west. I think this war of self destruction of the west won’t take long. Wait until the people have to pay their utility bills. This will be the so called **game changer**. Just look how UK is struggling. Johnson was canceled and Truss will be gone next (fighting is happening in Ukraine not UK). UK needs Russian resources and economic/industrial investment opportunities. The sanctions will never work as intended, but they will make the countries imposing them to deteriorate and fall much faster. I think everyone sees what is happening in Germany. They are all in emergency mode. Various shortages, high inflation, economy contracting, industry going out of business or moving their base to another (stable) areas.
I agree with You – we did not event entered winter time, and it is bad. I can`t even imagine what will happend till end of the year. And after january, when yearly prices will go up hundreds percents up? I can`t imagine people will survive this for long, too many people live month to month – and now they will have to pay insanly more every month for electricity/heating, here in Poland – for sure. It is just not sustainable – I know time is coming when I will go out with other people on the streets for first time in my life, because change is coming, and it will start from us – the people.
Top Gum says
Be careful thou. I think you also may experience something interesting. Protesting people often see the lies in the media very clearly. When I went on to protest in Germany on the next day I often read total BS on what went down during protesting. The MSM lied about almost everything that was said or did happen. It was a big eye opener for me too. So I encourage people to go. They don’t have to be part of it. Just go, maybe only stand by near and see what is being said and done and how the media writes about it. Most people after that experience join the protest voluntary, because they by then know, which side they are on.
Hey, I was born in Poland in Szczecin 🙂 But yes, people sadly don’t see the consequences rolling towards us/them. They have to feel them, understand them and make a choice. But heating, food, medical support and of course hard earned money is very important to most people in Europe. Take something from that away and there will be trouble.
How ironic that the West sends Ukrainians to die, ostensibly to weaken russia. It seems that Russia, with its grind down the opponent strategy, is actually weakening us.
I know a lot of people don’t like it when Jews are mentioned, but they are over-represented in foreign policy and defense. (Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger, Blinken, Wolfowitz, etc.) Most of these people, at least the ones in government, have hatred of Russia embedded in their DNA.
I often wonder what our foreign policy would look like without such heavy Jewish influence in the US government. I suspect our relations with Russia would be far better, not to mention that I wouldn’t have the feeling that our government has been infiltrated and occupied by hostile actors that represent somebody else’s interests.
I simply don’t feel that our government represents what the average American is thinking. That is unsustainable in the long run.
“I simply don’t feel that our government represents what the average American is thinking.” That is true. The US government is grossly out of touch with what average Americans think. Beyond who is more wrong / more right regarding the current geopolitical/military conflict amongst Russia, Ukraine, NATO, and the US (Russia’s opponents are almost completely in the wrong on all counts), there is the matter for the average American or citizen of a EU/NATO country who he/she thinks aligns more with their beliefs and aspirations. On that matter I believe there is a sizeable minority who want to see Russia victorious, as we see the US & the west as incorrigibly against us, the people of the US & the west.
Yes ‘the enemy (Russia) of my enemy (WEF/Cabal) is my friend’.
Ruth Gordon says
It has nothing to with them being jewish or not. We’re talking about global monopoly capitalism. Countries such as Russia and China are an obstacle to their plans. Ideally they (US based capital) want to colonize China and Russia and extract their natural resources. It doesn’t matter if China and Russia are communist, socialist or as today mostly capitalist. Russia has it own capital groups. As they are not yet absorbed they’re just as much an enemy as Soviets were.
Consider this conspiracy theory please. Russia found COVID in Ukraine biolabs, NATO/Davos spread it at the Wuhan wet market and blame China lab leak. Covid lockdown created supply chain crunches, massive unemployment and a massive increase in western money supply via government payment to citizens, couple this with insane green policy across the west we have inflation spikes. The control of US monetary policy was removed from DAVOS in Dec 21 via LIBOR being replaced by SOFR as a result the Fed has hiked rates massively weaponizing the USD producing more inflation. Coupled with the food crisis via green policy effecting fertilizer and the Ukraine war adversely affecting SCO nations worse than the west and the high USD making commodities more expensive and smashing those nations with USD denominated debt. Whilst Russia has sanctioned proofed itself that other 87% you speak if have not. The Fed is hitting the world hard and that includes Europe who they hate and putting the Moscow grand strategy at risk and making a play at retaining US hegemony.
In this world of quick satisfaction,The pace of Russian victory is maddning to the average computer geek, much patience is required.
It is also maddening to many Russians who are actually fighting.
Are you wilfully ignorant? Are you not aware of criticism of this war strategyby those who are actually fighting in it? It’s increasingly widespread in Russia with former generals joining in as well as leadership of fighting units. Are they are impatient fools?
How do you know it?
I can read and hear.
10 to 1 says
You can read and hear what others want you to read and hear. Like the audience at a broadway show. But it’s the playwright behind the scenes which is controlling the scenes.
Anna Zimmerman says
So what? I don’t expect Ivan Bloggs to be any more savvy about war strategy than Joe Bloggs. They will change their tune when circumstances on the ground start changing.
Well prove it, share your items, convince us your claim is valid. I’m waiting.
Michael Droy says
This strikes me as manipulated – or at least passively manipulated by the lack of a strong defence of Russian policies.
A few sharp statements along the lines Larry has written ought to snap Russian public opinion in line. They are conspicuously missing.
Russia absolutely wants Ukrainians to advance towards Russian artillery – it is perfect tactics. I’m not sure if that is enough (perhaps) or if an invasion from the North will find Ukrainian forces widely dispersed and very very vulnerable. On Russia has effective air power.
Russia must dread the idea of Ukrainian forces withdrawing deep, hitting civilians with long range missiles (a return to the February shelling of Donbas that triggered the SMO). Chasing Ukrainians all over E Ukraine would only lead to many more Russian military deaths and a lot of civilian deaths which will be reported all over the world (what is the point of having avoided Iraq2 for 6 months only to start now).
According to Alex Mercouris, Russian opinion polls still show 75% support. He says if you follow Russian bloggers or those posting on telegram you will this sentiment and though they are reporting on the ground what they see, they can’t necessarily analyze the whole situation. He also cited the Financial Times, a globalist mouthpiece, putting out a report about Kherson. That UA was ordered to take Kherson City by Autumn. Only the rainy season has started, the battlefield is covered in fog and the article was muddled to him because it’s not at all clear if the Russian army is retreating due to the UA or if they can’t maneuver in the mud, rain, and fog and decided to pull back. If he’s wrong he thinks it could hurt Putin politically. Either way, Mercouris said he expects things to slow down and doesn’t know why FT thinks the rain and mud will arrive in November when it’s October and has just begun. ( Paraphrased from memory.)
Raymond Flagstaff says
There is a reason we have leader, generals, commanders, infantry etc. It is the leader’s job to ensure victory… I highly doubt infantry is complaining about not being forced into difficult battles when the leadership thinks that defensive operations are currently sufficient… it is the leader’s job to moderate head strong generals… I find this point silly, and completely lacking in insight… So what if Kadyrov wants to toss caution to the wind? The fact that he speaks at all like this only shows that Russia isn’t some insane dictatorship where all dissent is silenced and jailed…
Ruth Gordon says
It seems that no country, no state, no county, no group of people are ever united in support of any idea, especially fighting. There are always people with criticisms. That’s human nature. What people as a whole, though, dislike is uncertainty and stress. I doubt seriously that the majority of citizens who’s country is engaged in a war want to expand a war, especially against an opponent who is backed by another country who could possibly defeat them. What people want is diplomacy and solutions to problems. They want to negotiate. They want to get back to some sort of normalcy and to get back to living their lives. They want threats removed.
The soldiers want to just win so they can go home. People back home want that, too. The problem is where to draw the line. Where to stop. Where will going forward hasten the end. If the majority of people in Russia think that the best way to accelerate the end is to expand the war and accelerate it, they are wrong. Russia has to proceed methodically and with consideration that their actions could bring in a lot more people and nations such as India, Pakistan, and even China.
There are a lot of Russian generals and old hard-liners that would love an excuse to remove Putin because they would like to return to the “golden age” of the USSR. From what I understand, if Putin were removed this is exactly what would happen. This would not be good for the West or the world at large. A lot of the criticism you may hear likely comes from this side of the political spectrum in Russia. I would hope those forces do not become the predominant voice of Russia. If the West were smart (oh were that it so) it would realize that it’s a lot easier to gain access to Russian minerals and resources through the bargaining table than the battlefield.
Dieter Kief says
Two ways of life meet.
Russia has the clock and the time!
This is a question. If Russia attacks again, without destroying the backbone, and acting like the old special military operation, it seems like it will have to advance another few kilometers a day, handling untrained cannon feed. This means that it will take several months to get back what was stolen now. Reinforced concrete fortresses are completed in 2 weeks. Voluntary or patriotic, Ukraine seems to be able to throw a million people.
Top Gum says
Not how I see it. On paper maybe. Ukraine is at the mercy of their backers. They have no money (huge financial deficit) no weapons and no experienced military. They already lost in week 2 after massive waves of destruction of their core military infrastructure.
US/NATO will use their proxy to the last Ukrainian, like many people have joked about. The west is now only buying time and hoping to avoid the loss of face. But it is too late already.
Taking territory is not important. The numbers of lost men/equipment every day is what counts. And everybody knows how this is playing out for Russia. It was their goal and it is still successfully being implemented.
Russia is trading with the world to earn money and they do it well. The west, as always, prints money by creating credit to sustain liquidity. How people still believe in that whole money ponzi is beyond me. Something is going to break soon enough. The west was always doomed living like that.
Ukraine is 100% remote controlled. They are totally dependent on their backers and without their monthly support in hardware and money they are broke and defeated already. They can maybe slow down Russian advancement (still not important) but they loose by far more men and hardware every day, which what a winning strategy is all about. One side looses faster that the other and therefore looses the conflict.
what you’re saying makes a lot of sense, Larry, but I respectfully think you’re under some illusions about OSTC troop support. Armenia and Azerbaijan are at a virtual war, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are shooting each other every 15 days, Kazakhstan recently supplied arms to Ukraine, and finally India and China support Russia but will not get angry with the USA.
Larry Johnson says
I present the ideas and am interested in promoting a discussion. Thanks for doing your part.
Raven 6 says
I believe all Russia really needs from the OSTC is getting Belarus into the conflict. Russian has moved massive amounts of force’s into Belarus recently. That would present Ukraine with a difficult situation regarding the northern border. Russia could actually swing all the way down thru western Ukraine to block the border regions. It remains to be seen if Russian wants to take all of Ukraine where the western region is heavily infested with nazis.
The US is trying to open up new fronts to hamper Russia. The Stans and the other 2 shitholes wil soon fall into place as soon as they see what Russia will do to Ukraine. Bide your time…
Detlef Romatzki says
It is a lot more complicated than you think. You should read up or watch some videos.
Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is a civil matter, not governmental.
Armernia is mainly supported by Russia but go look at the history and map. That conflict is totally stupid.
Kazakhstan is untrustworthy and strange….
As I recall, the US coalition in say Afghanistan or Iraq, though mostly symbolic from most of the “allies,” was presented as a positive due to the coalition’s broadness. I presume Russia would find the same geopolitical benefit. Except for Belorussia which has a neighborly grand interest.
Anna Zimmerman says
I don’t think that Russia really needs their help anyway. Why would it?
I think you’re mostly right about the CSTO, hellh, though I would not completely discount the Belarusians. On paper they’re the second army of the CSTO (no idea on how combat ready and capable they are), and they are strategically extremely well placed to, at least, be able to annoy and pin down some Ukrainian troops.
Kazakhstan seems unreliable, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have microscopic armies; and Armenians are not that many and have recently been losing badly militarily, plus making friends with the US.
But, respectfully, Azerbaijan left the CSTO in 1999, and China and India were never members. Maybe you thought of the SCO (which, unlike the CSTO, is not a military alliance).
Larry Johnson says
I did not mean to suggest that China and India were part of the CSTO. Belarusia has a strong position to create major problems for Ukraine. For example, they could cut off diesel supplied to Ukraine.
Sorry Mr. Johnson,
I was not directly commenting on something you said, but replying to commentator “hellh”‘s comment, which (probably rightly) said not to harbor too many illusions about the CSTO but seemed to include Azerbaijan, China and India in it.
I listened to putins speech and it felt like going to an old fashioned tent church revival meeting. Perhaps there is still hope out there.
Vladimir Putin’s Speech on the Incorporation of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye – ENG Sub
the highlights for me were him talking about dresden, the trans degenerate west and using the words of ivan IIyim. For those who have never heard of IIyim; he is discussed in the podcast below. Putin had his body brought back to russia and reburied with honors.
am sending for Mr. Larry Johnsons comments at the 31 minute mark and the wagner group video shown at the 36 and a half minute mark
Putin’s Private Q-Army? General Winter & the Storm – Woman Warriors Engage in Spiritual Warfare
I fully agree. Putin’s speech is about as gloves off as it can get. After voting to incorporate the Donbass into Russia I don’t see Russia setting back and allowing constant shelling from Ukraine forces.
I don’t agree with those who make the argument that giving up any ground amounts to a loss. It is a very long front and trying to hold every inch of it does not make sense. I think that Russia is falling back and fortifying their defenses to hold off any significant UAF advance while waiting for the 300,000 reservists to come on line.
We won’t have to wait long to find out how this shakes out.
Mike D. says
Old enough to recall US military would tout taking control of towns in Vietnam. The US would move on and the Viet Fong would back to town. Media(until they figured out they were being used) only reported the initial capture.
Seems a very accurate assessment to me!
In the U.K. the political class and corporate media are all in on Ukraine. The population seems to think similarly to Americans: it is not the priority. Pretty much all of the Ukraine flags have gone (one of the local Thames boat clubs still has one) and people seem disinterested, despite the constant propaganda.
After over twenty years of the “collective west” wrecking other countries in the name of “democracy” we are in no position to lecture anyone else. Sheer hypocrisy.
India, Brazil, Gabon and China’s abstentions in the recent UNSC vote are ignored by western media but is actually very significant, I believe.
“India, Brazil, Gabon and China’s abstentions in the recent UNSC vote are ignored by western media but is actually very significant, I believe.”
This, along with the recent OPEC+ statement that they are planning to reduce oil production significantly (which is a huge FU to the EU) are the most significant, and most underappreciated, news items in recent days. The real war that is being waged, and to which the West is largely oblivious, is not the war on the ground in Ukraine, nor the war of the Twitter bots or blogosphere, but the war for the hearts and minds of the Global South. And Russia is winning that war overwhelmingly.
Communism is what made Russia a superpower, and lifted it out of its Middle Age stupor under the Tzars. It was communism that made the Red Army so powerful that it defeated Hitler’s Wehrmacht army–which had easily destroyed every countries army before that: France, Poland, Belgium etc and drove the Brits off the Normandy coast.
Moscow Exile says
Off the Flanders coast as a matter of fact, old chap.
Oblomovka daydream says
Dunkerque once upon a time used to be part of Flanders, indeed.
Dunkerque was once in England’s ownership, Oblomovka, it was sold to the French by Charles II (he was always short of money, mostly because the Parliament refused to fund him) in October 1662, almost exactly 360 years ago, for around £400,000.
Should the Brits buy it back?
Both of my parents are from one of those Eastern European countries. (Yugoslavia.) They are rock ribbed, conservative Republicans and overall not a fan of the Communists.
However, my mom came here when she was young. She said the happiest times in her life were when she was in the old country. She was carefree, happy, and lived a good life. She has fond memories.
My dad is the same. Even more radically Reagan Republican. He even says the commies did a lot of good in his country, even though he despised them. Especially did well by giving people accessibility to healthcare that they wouldn’t have had before. He also says that a village kid like him would never have had the chance to go to college if not for the commies.
I’m a right winger myself. My point when I bring this up is that everybody has this idea that communism was like living under Joe Stalin. I don’t think that was the case at all. I think most people were happy even if they did not have the material wealth we have in the west. Communism fell because they wanted that material wealth more than anything else.
Communism in Yugoslavia was more akin to the socialist – welfare states of scandanavia. Private businesses up to 25 non-family employees were allowed. Farmers were also left alone. The big companies were owned by their employee stockholders. Yugoslavs could freely travel overseas.
Also note from 1946 until around 1974 – the Yugoslav economy grew as fast as Japan‘s. Yugoslavia made semi-conductors, televisions, jet engines, and more.
“Farmers were also left alone.”
But the commies took all of their animals. I think they were allowed to only have one. I’m fuzzy on this, I have to ask, but my uncle tells a story about throwing rocks at the commie who tried to take his baby goat.
That was true at the end of WW2 when there were not enough food. Later it was allowed for farmers to have whatever they ownd and sell at the local markets.
that’s not true – I am from Serbia and my aunts and uncles lived there and had as many animals as they wanted. They still do.
My nephews and nieces drive better cars in Serbian countryside than most people I know in USA (BMW x6, mercedes, audis etc). They all have their own houses and land, children, family friends and they travel wherever they want (at least before Convid murder system was implemented).
I am back in Serbia after decades spent in JUSA, UK and Canadistani transgender gulag – it’s much better here. Better people, better looking, far better socially meaningfully connected, great sense of humor, happy kids playing unattended after dark and many other indicators of a good society – the exact opposite of JUSSA and NAZO shitholes.
I used to be a “winger” (the right wing of the Uni-philosophical Bird ) and then I decided to stop adopting other people’s philosophies and I gotta tell you Temponick, it’s astoundingly liberating in thought. You’ll see the world the way it is, instead of through ideological lenses.
Seriously, I did this in 2001, right after 911 (30+ yrs as a right-winger) and never looked back. The Patriot Act did it for me. How the heck was that monster written so fast? Made me start to wonder.
I don’t believe this is correct. Russia had tremendous economic growth right before the Great War.
The electrification plan that Bolshevics appropriated and executed was developed by the Tsarist government.
Even little things like spelling reform and the Red Army iconic uniform with pointed hats were the product of the Tsarist government.
Yes, areas can be reconquered, but soldiers cannot be resurrected.
So yeah, giving up areas is okay.
A few questions remain for me
(1) how long can the Russian economy sustain without their key export partners?
(2) the likelihood of Afghan 2.0 lingers…
(3) the political situation in Europe, especially Germany – what will they do after ns2 was bombed?
At the end of the day, you can’t choose your neighbours!
(4) how far will Russia go West? I mean, the costs of occupation increases the further one moves West in Ukraine.
(5) what would normal eu-rus relations be like in the next 5, 10, 15 years?
An anti Russia Europe refilled with new weapons from Usa will look for a target…
Lastly, from Singapore… Things are quite normal here, food prices are definitely up.
However, the controlled prices on key economic goods and living subsidies for the lower income is keeping the political situation cool.
Not many following the SMO though.. The English press is pro West, while the Chinese press is more nuanced.
Oscar de Caracas says
Within 3 months Russia will have 30 fully equipped divisions if I am not mistaken. Can the West do that right now? At the beginning of 2023, Russia will begin to have new aerial weapons; neither can the west do that
Detlef Romatzki says
I think you are mistaken.
If NATO ever has to enter the war and mobilize they will do it after 6 months of preparations, assembly, etc. and then enter the theater. like they did before Iraq2.
No big wars are started immediately. There is always preparations and ample warnings…..
So do not be fooled by current NATO capabilities.
He’s asking about western support in the form of many more weapons, and leaving out the fact that a little more than half those weapons,–if that–make it into Ukraine, and much less than that to the front lines.
Absent a world war, western support isnt enough to create a parity between Russia and Ukraine.p
And it’s impossible to do so clandestinely and Russia has the ability to hit troop concentrations anywhere in Europe in minutes. If A larger war emerges with direct participation of NATO the Russians will destroy all airfields, ports, etc with standoff weapons to prevent any such formation from threatening.
I always thought that if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction they would have used them against the massive troop formations in Saudi Arabia so in fact they didn’t have shit.
The West can always draft troops, sure, but they no longer have the arms production capability to equip and supply a force of that size and their economies are collapsing so they can’t afford to finance an effort of that size. Add to that the growing social and political unrest in the EU. Looks like Truss will be out soon, so how many regime changes is that in just the last few months? 2 from UK, 1 each from Sweden and Italy.
Don’t fool yourself.
Sorry my language but all swedish politicians are anti-russian and US ass-lickers.
The next tipped swedish prime minister, was wearing armband with Ukrainian colours when SMO started.
That alone tells you it doesn’t matter who is in charge, as long as they answer only to Uncle Sam.
Incidentally, Ukrainian colors are Swedish colors.
They are the heritage of Hetman Mazepa’s betrayal who took Charles XII’s side against Peter the Great
What is Putin’s gambit?
What it has been since he first came to power. To restore Russia to its rightful place in the world, to create a nation state that protects its people, its land, its culture. He is doing that in spades.
I anticipate he will continue until Russia has control of the entire Black Sea, has rescued Odessa and united with Transnistria. I listened to a Scott Ritter interview with a member of the Russia Duma last week.
When asked what was next, the official replied that in three weeks Ukraine would have no lights, no heat, no water, it would cease to be. The man was clearly extremely angry and if he were running Russia, I anticipate that many of the West would be dead. It is important to remember that Putin is the moderate in his government.
Another point to ponder is all of the Ukraine top military, its Generals, trained with the Russian top military. They know each other well. I believe the Ukraine military will overthrow the government and negotiate a peace. It may take until next year, but it is the only way Ukraine will continue to exist.
Well into the future, if the nations of the EU are able to break free of their NATO/WEF/IMF masters, a time may come when relations are restored. But Putin is old, he is the one who hoped to unite with the West. I doubt it will be a priority, even an interest on the part of his successor’s government.
The West will fall, the East will rise.
Blue Thunder says
By the way, I’m listening to Alexander Mercouris’ videos and while these are rather slow and lengthy his analysis is first class. Following his posted video titled “Russia Completes Annexation of Four Regions…”, there’s the possibility that the apparent late mobilization of Russian conscripts was calculated from a psychological perspective rather than from a military perspective. That is, the Ukraine army retaking significant areas of land (whether strategic or not, that’s another matter) is a serious slap to the pride of the Russian population. Plus it also instills fears national security issues – which in my mind are very real, and I believe many others share as well. The Russians have been dealt a bloody nose by the Ukrainians via their Western sponsors, which absolutely cannot be ignored and demands a strong response. Put another way: the hornets nest had to be kicked-in and a gently prodding was not sufficient to raise the necessary strong patriotic response by the general population. Furthermore, now it’s no longer a SMO, but “defending mother Russia against the Western aggressors”. Putin may have factored all that in.
Also, regarding Russia’s national security concerns, I do believe that these are valid in a way: Ukraine was being cut up and sold. Apparently 30% of Ukrainian arable land had already been bought by the likes of Cargill, DuPont and Monsanto. (https://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/us-corporations-own-around-30-of-ukrainian-arable-land/305335) And let’s not forget that Ukraine’s south had Europe’s second largest gas reserves (https://hir.harvard.edu/ukraine-energy-reserves/).
So Ukraine was the template for what would follow in Belarus and Russia. Divide and conquer. Lots and lots of loot to go around.
Andrew Boyles says
Agree with your assessment. Thirty Divisions are not being assembled to sit and so nothing. Massive conventional bombing attack on UAF and critical Ukrianian infrastcture followed by the capture of Odessa linking with Transnistria. Then crossing the Dneiper pushing westward to the boundaries of Kiev by fall 2023. Capitulation and regime change of Ukriane by Xmas 2023 and negotiations to allow Kiev to exist as Urkainian enclave landlocked area by February 2024. Maybe it’s a crazy dream. But it lines up with Medvedev ‘s map a few months ago of the future state of Ukraine. Annexation of virtually the entire country is still possible as an objective.
Yes, that was live streamed on Sept 29th, so the week of Oct 23rd we should see something if they haven’t changed their minds. I had been wondering about this until I heard him say that. Russia has left Ukraine’s infrastructure largely intact. Yes, they’ve hit electrical stations that feed the rail system, because much of Ukrainian rail is electrical. The one thing that I thought was holding him back was Nuclear plants. They need grid power to stay running. Yes, there are safety systems that are in place to allow the circulation of cooling water once a reactor has SCRAMed. (Backup generators) There is a lot of residual heat in a reactor, plus the holding pond of spent rods. (I know about how the US does it, but not Ukraine.) Needs power, even if backup power. The backup power needs fuel, usually diesel. Fukashima had an issue when the backup generators were swamped by a tsunami. So as long as Ukraine hasn’t repurposed the fuel for the war and could refuel them if needed, there is no reason I can see for Russia to NOT take out the whole Ukrainian grid. Keeping those backup generators is VERY important though.
Vous êtes très optimiste ! Ce scénario est clairement écarté par les faits sur le terrain. Au contraire ce sera très laborieux….
The sucker punch.
The objective is to destroy and kill the Nazis.
War fought on the economic kill shot or two, time table.
Destroy the EU Destroy NATO …looking good so far.
Why rush, the enemy is making continuous mistakes ( Cluster Fuck combat.)
Biden bragged on TV the 82nd Airborne will be in Ukraine soon.
Russia artillery, missiles and rockets taking care of business.
SMO will soon see the total collapse of the fake financial system in the west.
I know History Degrees are not popular with combat lounge lizards but the reality of what is going on has stuck out like dogs balls for the last 10 years.
Everyone needs to concentrate on their own survival not Ukies. Buy gold if you have biggish money. Silver for everyday folks. A silver eagle may save your family from extreme hunger.
Putins end game, is all the above and yes he is playing chess but someone else is rolling the dice for him.
Larry, considering everything you have said for months coming true over and over again plus the total incompetence in depth, of western politicians. The debt, the fraud, the head first plunge into woke insanity. You could not make the stuff up. Ie Brandon, Boris, Muz Tosser, the Sausage and the TV toy box Generals!
No one would believe it’s possible, but it is.
Currently the northern front runs exactly along the Border between Kharkiv and Luhansk Oblast. I think the Russians are playing a diplomatic game here. They now have no forces left on what they consider Ukraine ground, however Ukraine has forces left on the new russian regions. So the Russians will set an ultimatum for Ukraine to leave russia. Ukraine will of course fight on. Then Russia will tell the world community, that obviously Ukraine is the aggressor, not russia and that Russia again is forced to use military power. Russia did a very good job in recent month to turn world opinion in their favor and they will make sure that world opinions stays on their side. Showing Zelensky as an irrational warmonger plays well into their hands and would be a big diplomatic victory.
Excellent observation about the northern front & border, thanks.
Bill A says
I think Russia is very much pacing itself and co-ordinating the timing with the ratcheting effect of the sanctions so that the economic pain on Europe has time to make the Europeans capitulate and see the absolute necessity to remove the meddling US from their sandpit. Because that is the bigger picture, not just de-fanging Ukraine but to break NATO’s cohesiveness as well. Russia would then have a much better chance of negotiating a new security architecture with Europe.
That’s the only thing that explains the seemingly odd behaviour lately on the front. Because if Russia ended the war in Ukraine too quickly, sanctions may then be relaxed and Russia will lose its current leverage.
…. if Russia ended the war in Ukraine too quickly, sanctions may then be relaxed and Russia will lose its current leverage……
Top Gum says
I think so too. Some of the western bubble heads in politics had talked very openly about what the west wants Russia to become of, basically revealing to the public what this conflict is about, in other words the western agenda behind all of this. Russia was given the opportunity to teach those simpletons what it means to do something like that. They will either learn their lesson or no one in the world will really care that the west went down at some point.
Today’s OPEC’s agreement on the cutting of oil production (by 2 million barrels a day!!!), is just another clear sign that the west is being isolated from the rest of the free world that holds most of the resources. It was about time someone stood up to the bullies 😉
I think this is also aimed to help the OPEC countries that are under questionable US sanctions. Their profits will rise and they will get some relief from that.
It appears to me that Putin and his advisors for strategic thinking and direction are doing a good job keeping keeping the various time dependent pieces (economic, financial, social, political, and military) on the board synergized and acting in unison towards their ultimate strategic goal: neutralizing the globalist threat to the sovereign existence of their people.
The pipeline sabotage successfully damaged Russian power (defined as capability to persuade or coerce other people to do what you want) in the short term, but at the cost of what I think will be staggering damage to the globalist enterprise in the long term. Planetary environmental terrorism now joins sexual mutilation of children and normalization of deviance and open borders as the new signatures of America’s brand. The new brand signatures stand in direct opposition to everything that once defined America’s brand when it was a reasonably respected European republic with a WASP ruling class, and more importantly are not appreciated or valued by the vast majority of the rest of the world. The Globalist American Empire is only winning modest short term victories, which are not enough to force Russian capitulation, at the cost of undermining its capability to exercise power abroad.
arielle curtin says
I agree completely. That the US spouts “rules-based international order” and then commits (or is suspected of committing) an act of industrial sabotage, the rules are completely broken and America stands bare, before the international community, and China in particular, as the unrestrained Leviathan that will only stop its bullying ways when forced.
Biggus Dickus says
With the dire economic situation in Europe and the US, Ukraine won’t be able to get arms and funds from western countries for too long. That’s the point that the Russians are waiting for.
Either Ukraine will unconditionally surrender, or Russia will blow a decapitating strike on the Ukrainian military with a deep-operation-style attack, making the Ukrainian military collapse with firepower and maneuver.
I’m not convinced the Russians will switch to a US style campaign. If they decapitate the Ukrainian military there will be no one to negotiate with and no one to launch a counter color revolution.
Cato the Uncensored says
There’s no one to negotiate with now. The average European, particularly among the Germans, who I see every day is tired of seeing Zelensky yapping at them to do more for Ukraine … that they owe Ukraine. I doubt they would share many tears if Mr. K was to pay him a visit.
James K says
Pushing forward too “quickly” would give NATO casus belli to likewise “quickly” ramp up their involvement in the conflict too. NATO would then fully go into Ukraine and both sides will escalate immensely (from their current lowballing) using much more of their full capabilities.
Top Gun says
In my opinion NATO will never push into Ukraine like you think. They will never be a part of this conflict. They know too well that Russia would finish them of easily. They will use Ukraine as means to weaken Russia until there is nothing more to throw at them (literally to the last Ukrainian). Then they will simply turn their backs and walk away. They still have their “sanctions” to (supposedly) hurt Russia. US/NATO have no real exit strategy, not even a plan what to do next. They miscalculated the whole conflict they started but now it is too late to turn back. They will get crushed economically and financially anyway. With governments in the west failing (UK, Italy), Nordsteam under attack/disrupted, very high energy prices, raging inflation, I see more problems there than what the west wanted to create for Russia. Someone failing like that has only one way to go … down.
Escalating to a NATO/Russia standoff would be the certain end of West-Europe and the western hegemony at once. Russia is not bluffing and that is very well known in the western leadership circles, despite what the western propaganda-machine and some political bubble-heads are spewing out.
You underestimate the leader of little Kaczynski and the PiS party who see themselves as the messiah of the nation. They really will do anything to destroy Russia, especially after Smolensk in 2010. If there is any force to enter Ukraine, they can do it. idiots
James K says
Whether Russia “might” finish them NATO forces in Ukraine easily or not is irrelevant — US/NATO is willing to throw all of Europe under the bus for this even if it was a lost cause.
Also, only Russia here has “no way back”, not US/NATO. Seeing as how Ukraine government is completely unwilling to negotiate at all, it seems Russia will have to conquer ever single bit of Ukrainian territory now to finish off this conflict. Disabling military infrastructure in Kiev / elsewhere in Ukraine is simply not enough — all NATO needs is nothing but the smallest patch of Ukrainian territory just to place some HIMARS, artillery, etc… to strike back at the Russian forces. And the more territory the Russians take, the more aggressive NATO will start to become (Ukrainians will receive much longer-range artillery from the West and Zelensky’s dream of a “no-fly zone” may finally receive NATO assistance as well). And so, going back to what I said initially — this is why both Russia and NATO are both still lowballing this operation! Neither side wants to commit to a more gigantic conflict — and Ukraine is not an Iraq / Afghanistan that one can simply bomb into oblivion and conquer afterwards while the rest of the world doesn’t bat an eye. Russia knows this all too well (which is why Russia’s doors for “negotiation” are always open)…
another steve says
Thank you Monty Python crew. And if you remember rightly, if you laugh, you die.
A report of the past week up to today, Ukie offensives and Ukie losses:
from someone who keeps close track of what the Ukies have and what the Ukies have lost:
“Starting from Monday to Saturday afternoon, 121 vehicles (armored vehicles, pickups, special vehicles of various types), 89 armored combat vehicles (including at least 30 tanks), 1 SAM, 13 MLRS (including at least 2 batteries of chemical weapons of unknown quantity, presumably 2-3 units each), 24 units were destroyed. artillery, 8 aircraft, 39 drones, 30 ammunition depots (including at least 3-4 really large ones), 39 command posts and locations, 5 factories for the repair of military equipment (there are at least 90 tanks for repair only in Kharkiv, at least 10 artillery units in Zaporozhye and an unknown number of tanks in Kiev). Dnepropetrovsk and Mykolaiv region), 1 ground control station of the Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicle complex, 2 radar stations of the S-300 air defense system. In total, artillery, rockets and aircraft hit manpower and equipment in 1,113 districts (including multiple hits in the same areas).
At least 10 pieces of military equipment of various types and at least 100 prisoners were captured during the week. There were reports of damage to the Zelenodolsk (Kryvyi Rih) thermal power plant, but without details. In addition, the Ukrainian Armed Forces stopped attempts to attack near Opytne, Kurdyumivka, Belogorivka, Ugledar, Kupyansk (2 attacks) in the Zaporizhia region and Kherson region. The Andreevsky bridgehead near Ingulets was almost completely destroyed. The Russian Army is advancing in the areas of Zaitsevo, Mayorsk, Veselaya Dolina, Bakhmutskoye, Otradovka, Kurdyumovka, New York, Pervomaiskoye, Vyemka, Pavlovka, Bezymyannoye, as well as in Artemovsk and Soledar. There is fighting near Seversk.
This is a 5-day summary. Moreover, judging by the comparison of figures, Konashenkov’s reports do not include a considerable amount of liquidated equipment as part of the APU offensives and our defensive battles. They seem to appear in text summaries, but they are clearly not taken into account in the overall figures. So, according to the reports of defeats of accumulations of manpower and military equipment, 30 tanks and 21 infantry fighting vehicles were eliminated, that is, a total of 51 units, and the total losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were declared at 89 units of armored vehicles. That is, defensive battles account for a total of only 38 vehicles in 5 days, although according to video reports and reports of military commanders, there are much more of them. Only according to the confirmed personnel, video materials and reports of military correspondents in the framework of such skirmishes and our defense, 21 tanks and 28 infantry fighting vehicles have been eliminated from the Armed Forces of Ukraine since Monday morning. There is evidence that there is more, but we will leave them. That is, the real losses are about 110-120 armored vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, taking into account what was shot down and captured “at the front”, but without taking into account what burned down in the shops. No less important is the fact that the reports have never featured the destruction of Ukrainian targets by Geran-2 drones, of which there were already quite a lot.
According to all critical figures of equipment (not counting air defense systems and aircraft, which is a separate conversation), from 10 to 15% of everything that the APU had as of Monday morning was lost. And this is despite the fact that the soldiers mobilized during this time have only just begun to be transferred to the DPR and for additional training, and not immediately to the front. The Armed Forces of Ukraine still have from 3 to 5 thousand people killed, wounded and captured per day. This does not appear in the reports, but it is clearly visible, since within the framework of rocket and artillery hits alone, about 500 people are killed in this way per day. In the framework of defensive battles, the AFU’s losses are much higher (Zaluzhny even woke Zelensky up this morning with a report about completely disproportionate losses under the Estuary alone).
At the same time, NATO drew attention to the fact that they no longer have T-72 tanks, the M-55 (Slovenian modification of the T-55) is not enough and they need shells. Other NATO observers noted that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are being transferred to 105-caliber artillery instead of 155, since 155 is not available. The total assistance that has been allocated recently is 21 chemical weapons systems (although only 18 have been confirmed so far), 150 old armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles from the United States, several dozen armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, as well as Cheetah missile and gun systems from Germany. It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything about deliveries of 777 howitzers, Caesars, or German Panzers. You don’t hear about the supply of Javelins, which the Ukry literally prayed for for some reason for months, as well as about Nlaw and other nonsense. Nor does the West supply Ukraine with helicopters, and it rarely and sparsely flies there. U points end in Ukraine — only 4 missiles were intercepted during these days, while earlier in the day they could have intercepted a dozen.
Judging by all these figures and trends, by the time all those mobilized are put into operation, they will be needed only for the rapid occupation of new territories. In October, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will lose about 600 armored combat vehicles (now they have from 900 to 1000 units in stock and about 200 more will probably be delivered to them), 100-150 artillery units (the stock is about the same, a maximum of 200 units) and at least 50 MLRS of various types (stocks are not really known, but they are also running out). Most likely, all remaining radars and almost all drones will lose. Planes have been flying for a long time in a single copy, maybe another 5 pieces will be shot down during this time. They will probably lose their Y Points and HARM missiles completely.
No less important is the information that almost all the reserves from the Kharkiv region and from the Slavyansk garrison were sent to storm the Estuary on Wednesday, and in the afternoon there was information that some troops were transferred directly from Kiev to speed up. Which indicates a total lack of resources of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In the evening, there were new reports of fighting in the Kherson region. According to preliminary data, the Ukrainians already have at least minus 25 pieces of equipment and at least 10 tanks from them. Meet them really hot and tough. And of these 25 units, 13 were thrown on the battlefield during the shooting of the Ukrainian column. They write that the meat is rushing and dying in incredible quantities. And although the Ukram managed to really take a couple of villages and in some places seem to gain a foothold-the night promises not only surprises, but also the total destruction of the APU in these areas. What, in fact, all commanders in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation strive for. Twenty-five pieces of equipment is already serious for some evening. And this is despite the ongoing active strikes of our artillery, rockets and aircraft in all other areas. With new strikes on groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine already in the Estuary itself. From the looks of it, the current roll is already really desperate. It couldn’t be more desperate. Exactly as I wrote — it’s now or never. And this same thing is rapidly advancing on the remnants of Ukraine.
It seems that NATO has set a strict ultimatum — either the success of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the front will be significant (not taking the unfortunate Estuary in 3 weeks of fighting) or the help is over. It is too expensive, too fast to burn all the NATO reserves on the fronts, which the NATO instructors themselves are better aware of than we are. And there are already many different videos from near Kherson. And the losses there are fatal. If the Ukrainian Armed Forces can’t achieve anything here and can’t continue the offensive after Liman, the front may start to roll back towards Kiev as early as next week, oddly enough. At the same time, it is very fast and very tough. Now all that is there is going into battle. Theoretically, they can throw and in general all the available reserve of about 1000 armored vehicles and all the artillery in order to somehow get through somewhere. They know that there are very few chances, but they don’t want to sit and die under shelling anymore. Ukrainians have repeatedly written about “victory on the battlefield”. And here it is, the very battlefield. On all sections. I am sure that ours will survive. Yes, you may have to go somewhere else and somehow just like in the Estuary. I don’t rule it out. But there are unlikely to be many such items. And it is unlikely that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be able to recover from the current losses in the coming months. If at all they can still somehow recover from the current losses.”
Dieter Kief says
Thousands of Urkaine soldiers lost in one night? – Shouldn’t that show up elsewhere too?
It should, but it doesn’t. Hm.
Thx. for sharing these infos.
Hal Duell says
I agree with all of your analysis. Ukraine pushed on an open door in Kharkiv but still suffered serious losses in manpower and materiel. Then the open door closed just south of Lyman when Russia decided that that was far enough. Again, Ukraine has suffered heavy losses in manpower and materiel, losses that will be impossible to replace.
In Kherson, Ukraine pushed on a closed door and suffered even greater losses than it did in Kharkiv. While some jockeying for position might still go on in the north, there will be no such jockeying in the south.
Meanwhile the new recruits and their equipment are being put in place, backed by a united Russia fully able and willing to defend what is now Russia. And those four regions are now Russia.
Putin’s gambit? I still think the goal is Odessa and the complete control of the North shore of the Black Sea. To do this he has to first rid Donetsk of the Ukrainians, take Zaporizhzhia City and also Mykolaiv Oblast.
The rains have started, so it’s a muddy slog right now. But Winter is coming, and by then those new Russian troops with their equipment will be in place. I expect we’ll see major offensives in November/December.
Another factor is the collective West is sick of it. It was all touchy/feely over the summer, but a cold winter is at hand, economies are tanking, and few really care about an incompetent and greedy Ukraine.
The Joker in the pack is nukes. Is the West really that depraved? Let us hope not.
“Ukraine capturing a city that most Americans cannot spell is not a recipe for whipping up public support among Americans for sending more billions of dollars to Kiev while prices at home soar and the economy grinds to a halt.”
As long as the West can show results the pressure at home to end the war and stop will be low. Combine this with pretty much all political parties being the same and you neutraluse this issue in north America and UK and the Europeans do what the US tells them. So as long as US can manage this they only need British polish and french support the rest are irrelevant. Germany will not close it’s US bases.
I cannot see any other country militarily overtly helping Russia. Rather there are reports of NATO personnel in its border countries and it’s a question of time before other fronts open.
I don’t see winter making a big difference. Russia started the war in winter – Feb. NATO has lots of troops trained for these conditions.
I don’t see Ukraine /NATO running out of troops. The Brits will throw in Gurkha, Sikh regiments, Fijians, all who still fight for them and the US will not care much about the ordinary soldier especially if they are ‘mercenaries’ . to recruit more they can get over a million easy from the young fit Latinos crossing the border desperate for work and citizenship. That’s ready Cannon fodder right there.fit young men, desperate to earn a dollar and right to be American. Take this gun don, swear thus oath.
You open us citizenship path in exchange for military service the US would have millions of applications.
I don’t see any shortages of men or weapons from the west in fact they are ratcheting up the weapons and look to be gearing up for something audacious.
I would not bet against US taking out Russian satellites before Russia takes there satellites, then what will Russia do. It is will be deaf and blind on a battlefield for a critical period.
I would love to believe Russia has this but proof of the pudding is in the eating. They may have air superiority but they don’t have supremacy. And West is busily recruiting pilots for Ukraine.
It will be very hard to get land lost back and the cost of mobilisation will eat massively into Russias budget. Let’s not pretend this is cost free.
The problem is Russia is fighting predictably, solid, steady, largely humanitarian, unable to adapt fast but in fact worse than predicted, and West is unpredictable and actually surprisingly patient and strategic.
Yes West has economic issues but after 2008 covid etc those were coming anyway. They just have an excuse.
The US is boss now and Europe has no agency. And let’s admit it. The west is actually doing well right now.
Can Russia turn it around? Not sure. Going with situation on ground I would say they have to come up with something very special.
NATO attacked them in the rear of their lines. The casualties in Russian side have yet to be announced. They also came from rear with vehicles reportedly marked z and v to look Russian. So who is deceiving who.
Agree that the American people, gullible as they are, can be kept in the dark indefinitely, even if the US suffers yet another proxy war defeat.
On the other hand, I consider it highly unlikely that Russian troops are suffering heavy losses. They are presently ceding ground and letting their artillery do the talking. We don’t know the number of Ukrainian losses. But they are quite heavy.
Finally, the introduction of 370,000 trained troops and volunteers erases the only advantage the Ukrainians have ever had. I now consider it more likely that Russia will take all of Ukraine than Russia losing the war.
Eric Newhill says
“As long as the West can show results the pressure at home to end the war and stop will be low. Combine this with pretty much all political parties being the same and you neutraluse this issue in north America and UK and the Europeans do what the US tells them. So as long as US can manage this they only need British polish and french support the rest are irrelevant. Germany will not close it’s US bases.”
Ukraine is clearly enjoying huge benefits from US satellites, sophisticated targeting systems, SIGINT, etc. The value and power of all that should not be underestimated.
I would tend to agree with – though not wholly accept – the assessment (Larry’s), but for the lack of Russian air. WHY was close air support not annihilating the attacking Ukrainian forces? In the US military, a lowly company commander – heck, even a platoon leader – can dial up CAS and be fairly confident that it will show up and take care of the sort of problems that the Ukros were presenting to Russian defenders.
Which brings me back to the value of some of what the US supplying UKR. IMO, there is some kind of system that the Russian airforce is scared of and that is causing use of assets to be more limited than optimal – which is a real problem for Russia, especially given the small force they have in country.
Top Gum says
Don’t forget the relatively cheap and small but pretty heavy attack drones that are in use right now. Without AD (surprise, surprise) Ukraine has now even more problems as the Russian army is very easily attacking their rear areas inflicting more damage to military infrastructure. This is a pretty smart move by Russia.
The drones are small but big enough to deliver a serious blow to the target. It is very impressive in my opinion. So far the US “toys” haven’t changed anything for Ukraine.
I also think the US is facing a big disaster in regards to at least some of their weapons. They are maybe ok when used on unarmed civilians / defenseless countries, but facing a real military force they are simply not preforming at all.
Things aren’t that easy like they seem on paper. Oil price cap will be another disaster for the west. Russia is not idle anymore.
“The Joker in the pack is nukes.
Is the West really that depraved?
Let us hope not.”
There is no bottom to to this place of depravity in which the rulers of USA have entered.
They designed a virus and a vaccine for the purpose of depopulation and global surveillance.
They have continued to show themselves absolutely immoral, reckless, exceedingly ignorant an destructive.
Don’t put anything beyond them, they’re mindless, foolish and utterly mistaken.
Top Gum says
Looking at what is happening from a grater distance, to see the big picture is very important. People should at least be skeptical when so called politicians make odd choices for us all or call the shots on topics they are not qualified for. Making a flu into a pandemic, crippling economies, depriving people of income, creating fears of mass-vaccinations is not a sign of sound and responsible policies. That is madness.
When did people become so apathetic and discouraged? Is there really something about the chem-trails, that makes us that way, like some reports say? Many questions, not so many answers. My point is, be vigilant, be skeptical and always call for answers or a sound discussion.
peon d. rich says
Let us hope that this new blow against the empire sends it reeling. That may re-invigorate the dormant anti-war, anti- imperial, anti-oligarch Left in the West that has seen that the mantle of Reason has been better inherited by the non-Western colonized than the murderous colonizers.
Georgian USA says
After all the formalities were completed on October4 and the four former Ukrainian oblasts are now part of Russia, I expect Russia to proceed rather quickly and forcibly to resolve the conflict. If the reports are correct that earlier this evening Russia started blinding our satelittes, the operation may have already started.
As someone else noted lately, Russia once even gave it’s capital to the enemy. For some while, and then took his whole army. Liman is much smaller than Moscow, and almost deserted anyway.
Chess is a good metaphor, as it requires the player to think more than one step ahead. If he doesn’t, he loses every time. Which leads me to the pitiful state of Western leadership. Their hubris and fanatic hate for everything Russian makes them ignore all the signs, and continue to double down.
My only question is, what will they do if the Russian army has surrounded Lvov …
USA ….moar money! Germany moar tanks…we are Jewish Nazis for gods sake.
Tell the Sausage, moar money, moar of everything. Remember German voters don’t count and your Government don’t care what think either.
Donate Bitcoin, Like and Subscribe to save Ukraine from moar Boris & Brandon.
Hi Larry, another excellent analysis. I think if you want to know where this is going you need to read Vladimir Putin’s speech from 30 September. It’s clear as crystal that in the view of the Russian leadership there is far more going on than just the gain or loss of some empty territory or a few villages on the Ukrainian steppe. It’s more even than an existential struggle for the survival of Russia as a nation.
At it’s heart it’s part of a transformative process which, if successful, will alter the trajectory of human history in a way that is beyond anything we can predict from this vantage point. If you like, go back to his speech in Munich in 2007 to see where all this started.
Just as a sidebar, NS1 and NS2 get blown up last week and today the EU is planning to announce a cap on the price of Russian oil. By this time tomorrow Russia, Saudi Arabia and the rest of OPEC+ will have announced production cuts of 1-2 million bpd. Check. Like Putin said, you can’t eat paper money.
This war is being fought on so many levels it just about does my head in trying to keep track. And kudos to the other commentators on this blog. So much thoughtful analysis and opinions in one place is hard to find.
Cato the Uncensored says
You can’t eat paper money, but you can burn it. The countries of the EU are so hell-bent on vaxxing, starving, and freezing their own people to death that they are even trying to phase out paper money.
In addition, Ukraine does not have the logistical support, particularly in winter, to support the salients.
Russia also has worked with China and apparently India to create a parallel financial system, one based on natural resources instead of the printing press as in the west. That is probably Russia’s strongest weapon.
Piotr Kopyłowicz says
I have no inside information and do not consider mself an expert, but it’s I think it’s worthwhile to look at the Russian ultimatum from December. I don’t know how they will go about implementing this, but it seems to be their end goal.
I’ll cut and paste from an older article on the web.
“The Russian ultimatum demands that “the following be legally established: the renunciation of any enlargement of NATO [to the east], the cessation of military cooperation with post-Soviet countries, the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons from Europe and the withdrawal of NATO armed forces to the borders of 1997”. Russia and the United States commit themselves not to deploy nuclear weapons abroad and to withdraw those already deployed, as well as to eliminate nuclear weapons deployment infrastructure outside their territory. Article 4 states, in part, that “the Russian Federation and all participants which were, as of 27 May 1997, member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, shall not deploy their armed forces and armaments on the territory of any other European state in addition to the forces stationed on that territory as of 27 May 1997.” And Article 7 specifies that “the participants, which are Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, shall refrain from conducting any military activities on the territory of Ukraine, as well as of the other States of Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia.”
This includes the fourteen Eastern European and Balkan states that have become members of NATO in the last twenty-four years: “Thus, in addition to the post-Soviet space, the Moscow initiative includes a wide range of countries located between Western Europe and Russia — mainly Poland and the Baltic States, which are targeted because additional forces of the North Atlantic Alliance have been deployed there as decided at the NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016.” In short, “the Russian initiative could help the Americans to quietly leave Central and Eastern Europe,” according to the headline of an article posted by the very official think tank Russtrat. But it is not only that: “the link established between the concept of ‘fundamental security interests’ (which is introduced for the first time) and the range of missiles obliges the United States to refrain from entering our seas (mainly the Black Sea, but also those of the north: the Baltic, Barents, Okhotsk), and to stop the flights of American bombers (taking into account the real range of ‘Tomahawks’ of about 1800 km), practically over the whole of Europe and most of Asia. The same is true of Japan, for which acceptance of the Treaty clauses means the de-occupation and liquidation of American bases…”
To sum up, “the parties exclude the deployment of nuclear weapons outside the national territory and return to the national territory the weapons already deployed outside the national territory at the time of the entry into force of this Treaty.” Commentator Pyotr Akopov points out: “Russia has now drawn its red lines very clearly. [They imply] not only the refusal to expand NATO to the East, but also, as stated in the draft agreement with the alliance, the refusal “to conduct any military activity on the territory of Ukraine, as well as other states of Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia”. He adds: “It is clear that the United States will repatriate its nuclear weapons only when the Anglo-Saxon project of world domination finally collapses, but it is good to prepare the ground… If the West does not want to notice our red lines (more precisely, if it pretends not to want to notice them), then it is primarily his problem, not ours.”
“An article in the digital newspaper Svpressa eloquently titled “Putin’s ultimatum: Russia, if you will, will bury all of Europe and two-thirds of the United States in 30 minutes” dots the i’s: “The Kremlin will have to prove its position with deeds. It is probably only possible to force the “partners” to sit at the negotiating table by coercion. Economically, the Russian Federation cannot compete with the West. There remains war.” Military expert Konstantin Sivkov believes that “to bring the United States and NATO to the negotiating table, some kind of super weapon is needed. For the moment, Russia does not show this potential to its adversaries. But it exists. Russia has the capability to use superpowered munitions with a capacity of up to 100 megatons. […] We must repeat that we are not interested in a world without Russia, as Putin once said, and demonstrate our determination to strike if NATO expands. After that, I can assure you that they [the West] will be afraid. Nothing else can stop them. […] It is naive to rely on diplomatic procedures. […] Russia’s move is a signal that already radical measures are going to be taken. You refused, so you will have yourselves to blame…””
Thanks for posting this – critical to understand Moscow‘s War Aims
I would think that the Russians carefully created weakspots in their defence lines, to basically motivate the UKR army to get out of defensive positions into an offence one. Russia controls the events witch it planned and calculated.
The bait must be very convincing to US NATO intel (C4ISR). Russia creates her own media panic, let Kadyrov speak out of rank etc. perfectly aligned with the western narrative.
Russia allows the calculated and planned offensive to continue, Ukraine troops are enthusiastic, USNATO western media hysteric, more reserves are sucked into the controlled space. Gradually the casualties and destruction increase (boil the frock slowly) . The offensive is allowed to continue until it hits the calculated points where Russia turns the tables. Russia knows the battlefield as no one else.
Events seem to be following your assessment. Plus, it obviously is not the main thrust of Russian Strategy, which was sufficient troops where needed for the election, and a strategic pause to integrate existing forces and new forces.
For me, it begins to look like Putin is aboulic.
Jim S says
Concur with what others say about the big picture. We ought to take V Putin seriously when he essentially says that Russia is in civilizational conflict with the West. It’s been expressed here and elsewhere that Russia may be keeping both hands free against the risk of having to fight WW3. From that perspective Ukraine may have been an economy-of-force effort since May. Even if WW3 is not pressing, the timing is going to be keyed to the Western powers’ movements, not Ukraine’s (think Bruce Lee fending off waves of henchmen while he watches the boss). I think we can take Russia’s stated goals in Ukraine at face value; getting a sense of Russia’s desired end state vis-a-vis the West would be the place to start evaluating her larger strategy.
I am very curious as to the state of the air war. What little I know leads me to believe Russia should have total air superiority over eastern Ukraine, but the two sides appear to be at air parity over the line of contact. Given that Russia wrecked Ukraine’s air force and fixed air defenses at the start, something else must be going on.
At the beginning Putin said his goal was to “demilitarise and denazify” Ukraine. What better way to do that than kill as many of the military personnel and Nazis (who are pretty much all IN the military by most accounts) as possible? After all, if Russia had simply rolled over Ukraine it would have been left with a pile of Nazi POWs which it wouldn’t want to release back into the community, and executing them in bulk would cause a huge storm of protest around the world. So much simpler to just kill them in a war.
From the early days it appeared the Russians intended to keep civilian casualties and infrastructure damage to a minimum, presumably because the intention was to eventually join parts of Ukraine with Russia. The best way to achieve these goals? In my opinion, keep fighting the Ukrainians over relatively small pieces of ground YOU choose so as to minimise widespread infrastructure damage, and your own and civilian casualties, while doing all you could to maximise the Ukrainian personnel and hardware losses. Destroy the Ukraine army once in a certain area, withdraw a little to lure them back, then beat them again on now familiar ground. Rinse and repeat until the stated goals are reached.
Josef Schweik says
Ukies have obviously well functioning logistic network which remains basically untouched. They, or their masters, have implemented small highly mobile unit tactic which is very successful, Ru are retreating and leaving in the lost territories their pawns, collaborating population plus their dead soldiers. All this is very humiliating and Ru are losing their own moral every day, and credit as well. The chess player and his grandeur looks now like a mediocre manager of a rusty gas station. What remains is nuclear arsenal, of course. Gott mit uns.
Cato the Uncensored says
You’ve been watching too much ARD.
Josef Schweik, Švejk in fact says
Nope, I know what is ARD precisely, Dr Goebbels children. And their propaganda against people of protektorat, of which I am member. And I have friends in AfD, East Germany, hence I know well how is working ARD and other German propaganda outlets against them. We have real experience with these Orwell-like regime presstitutes from past, both ex-DDR people and Czechs. The same applies, however, for propaganda techniques, less sophisticated, of Mr Martyanov, old era soviet officer, still full stomach of revanche and smotthie, for some reasons having his armchair comfortably in the USA. Such people ivaded and occupied my country from 1968.
Josef Schweik says
I have answered to you. But the answer did not appear here under your comment. We are all equal but some of us are more equal than others as a son of the American revolution obviously believes.
Very timely post, Larry.
I am no expert but have some thoughts.
To me what we are seeing now is nothing more complicated than a temporary lag in events, as 2 pre-planned phases transition. During the lag, the Ukrainians are throwing all they can at Kherson etc as Russia switches between the 2 phases.
The Russians destroy as much of the Ukrainian force as they can, then tactically withdraw and give the Ukrainians pyrrhic victories. Why? Because they already know that Ukrainian gains are meaningless and will be won back. Probably by next week.
How do they know this? From the start, this has struck me as a very carefully planned strategy and plan. Evidence : the Russians had fireproofed their economy from the sanctions.
Putin didn’t launch the SMO until he was certain of victory, indeed he was saying early on in the SMO that the West had already lost, but hadn’t realised it yet. I think that remains the case.
From the start, I’ve been struck at how Putin has been the one in control of major events. It’s as if he is checking off a series of key dates on a piece of paper. Consider how key events have rolled out : Launch SMO. Payment for rubles. Khinzal warning/strike. Etc etc . It’s uncanny.
Now? I can’t help but notice that Phase 1 (the SMO) seems to be ending just as winter hits. Again it suggests to me that this was the preplanned deadline. Look at the state of those Ukrainian lads left on the front lines. It’s a mess. They tragically won’t last long, if Russia intensifies.
What’s next? Back to those 2 phases.
Phase 1 was completed about an hour ago with Putin’s ratification of the Duma’s legislation to being the 4 territories into Russia.
Phase 2 will be the ‘gloves off’ phase. My best guess is that we will now see the true power of the Russian military brought to bear, interspersed with Putin’s offer to ceasefire with an unconditional surrender.
In this phase, Odessa and Transnistria will be subsumed into Russia like the 4 other regions. My guess is that Putin will want all of Ukraine east of the Dnieper. That means Kharkov falls or is destroyed.
If Zelensky refuses to surrender, my sense is that the Russians will go all the way to the western border, and take the entire country.
Putin has been around for a long time. 30 years as leader of Russia and before that, years of experience in the KGB. He has seen it all and has more experience at the sharp end of geopolitics than any leader in the world.
Putin sees this as an existential struggle. That’s all we need to know. There’s no going back and no deals with the West.
Many observers want fireworks 24/7, mainly to reassure themselves that everything is on track. I haven’t had the same worries. Again, I back Putin’s judgement. He appears to be very patient and wants things done by the book. I sense a certain indecisiveness in him sometimes, but his track record and judgement are impeccable.
Thank you for reading my long post.
I just posted my comment regarding Russia strategy on Andrei Martynov blog:
“Well hat off to Putin or Russian generals staff if they manage to navigate it properly. Because on one hand all this situation calls for massive escalation – not only Ukraine attack and occupy terrain that from today Russia view as integral part of her land but also USA is casually aiding and abetting from sending more and more weapons to providing intelligence and even being involved in direct operation planing. On the other hand Russia so far was very much holding back and does not responding (least not directly) to more provocation. And it honesty seams to me that West is literally taunting Russia and asking for WW III and by how insane and corrupt western leaders are they very well may want just that.
So the way I see it Putin need to navigate between wining this conflict and not causing WW III in a process while western leaders seams not to care at all and continue to poking the bear.
To make things worse literally all that west care for is a power and show of force in the most primitive meaning of power possible (bomb Iraq to the ground, place sanction on everything Russian etc. etc.) So I fear that restrain and patience that Putin continue to show are being seen as nothing else but weakness and lack of decisiveness.”
In short Putin strike me as sort of Cunctator type of leader: act slowly and methodically, consider and deliberate every decision, do not rush to action etc. All of those are usually a very good qualities. But the danger here is that by waiting too long You can let a good opportunity slip away, You can also appear weak and that can embolden Your enemies. Furthermore in today age of instant gratifications lots of people are impatience enough to expect or even demand results right away now or else. Russia is playing a longer game while west is very much focused on getting any kind of results right now. That means that long term Russia is favoured to win as long as it will not allow west get enough momentum and topple and damage Russia too badly in a short term.
What are they waiting for? The ground to freeze, from everything I’m reading.
John Thurloe says
No matter how artful and however justified Russian conduct may be the damage to the image of their military competence is severe. Certainly, Russian field intelligence has been terrible and the judgment of their high command is seen to be poor. The Russian public and their global well-wishers are disappointed and confidence in the Russian leadership is shaken. Their enemies are emboldened. The Ukrainians may suffer crushing losses but will be admired for showing initiative and boldness against the sluggish and indolent Russians. On a global scale this will cost the Russians dearly.
In full agreement with you.
Your evidence for
“Russian Field Intelligence is terrible” So far their intelligence seems excellent in terms of meeting the goals of the SMO – destroying the military of Urkaine.
Putin’s popularity seems unshaken, so, “so far,” the meme of loss of confidence in Russian leadership is only NATO propaganda.
On a global scale, only China matters. “Follow the money.”
“Indolent? “Any evidence?”
“Sluggish” A tactical retreat under fire with minimal losses is not sluggish. Any evidence for sluggish?
Oblomovka daydream says
I think the Russian High Command is effectively exploiting the alternating leadership of the UAF, sometimes led by president Zelensky and sometimes by General Valerii Zaluzhnyi. As soon as the Russian High Command found out about Zelensky’s fanatical strife to get – cost what it may cost – some kind of military victory, they have begun to feed him with ‘military victories’, therewith weakening the position of Valerii Zaluzhnyi as well as depleting the UAF of human lives on a huge scale. So by making the RF retreat tactically president Zelensky is getting high in his (coke-)head even more, making him order the UAF to attack again and again without counting the cost of human lives.
At present we are staying in Dieppe, France. While driving to this place we passed Ieper (Ypres) and the Somme. I inadvertently was made to remember the horrific events that took place here during the Great War (and August 1942), which cost the lives of a whole generation of young men. Many of these battles were a waste of human lives without the commanders caring a damn. The Russian High Command is noticing how particularly Zelensky is careless in throwing away the UAF in order to acquire his getting-high experience, and they have quickly accommodated to these facts, helping Zelensky into his delusions deeper and deeper (and keeping Valerii Zaluzhnyi out of control). As soon as the 300.000 RF are ready the remainder of the UAF will be dealt with in a quick and decisive manner.
Made this comment on twitter, but no followers & in fact I don’t read the bird, so here again, as you missed it –
Consider – zionist Russia(1 mil Israeli immigrants the give away) is ‘fighting’ with their zionist mates of Ukraine/UK/USA (the world) because there’s money in it. So, Drag It Out = BigerBucks&Rubles on going.
Money is never on the front line, only young (& now older) trash – animals who are not the millennia refined superior elite. Eight years of more money to prepare, years of more money war to ‘fight’, yuk yuk.
It all must be quite a celebration for the traveling zion, continuing the 20th century of huge money in forever war. Thousands of years of continuous preparation…for the end of time.
So sorry planet earth
Bringing in outside reinforcements brings with it a host of political problems. If they can kick them back as they have so far at a 1:3 disadvantage in men they don’t need them unless NATO goes all in. NATO doesn’t seem to like that idea either thank God.
I’ve been saying for a while now how long does it take to drive to Lvov once there is no
effective Ukrainian army? All those defensive battles just encourage the Ukrainian’s to get out of their positions and run across open ground at the mercy of Russian artillery and air strikes. If things get to hot they can withdraw without suffering the same problems. They look bad when Russian people who should know better get hysterical and play into the Ukrainian propaganda’s aims but militarily they play into Russia hands.
If they take Odessa they open up the Danube countries such as Hungary that are landlocked within the EU to leave. They need to take Odessa anyway it’s a Russian Oblast. They need to take Kharkov as it’s Russian as well but i can’t see any great strategic value there. Now the deals been signed by Putin when all the forces we’ve seen heading into Crimea are ready we may see a WW2 style offensive in the south. Gloves come off?
As Lavrov said recently listen to what Putin said at the start of the campaign. The two objectives were to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine. The’ve pretty much done the former on steroids as they’ve done the same to the west as well. At first they appeared to be looking for a negotiated settlement. To that end they didn’t want to take Lvov militarily. With all that’s happened since however how can you denazify Ukraine without going the whole way? The thing that’s impressed me about the Russian’s in this is that they have run the campaign in such a way that they can win the peace once it’s all over. Unlike every western war in living memory.
Why is it an advantage to have Ukrainian/ NATO troops running to Russian front from OUTSIDE of areas Russia intends to take?
Please explain what advantage that gives Russia.
Noting that there is zero chance Russia will kill all of them short of WMD and it invites pressure onto a weak front line and civilians. Plus risk of loss.
Cutting Edge says
Larry, I think your Phase 2 projection is pretty spot on, but with one possible alternative play. That is Russia dropping every road and rail bridge/tunnel west of the Dnieper and NOT advancing beyond that line (with Kharkov, Odessa and the bridge to Transnistria included as primary objectives). Bearing in mind the further west they go, the more they are likely to encounter guerilla warfare, and that could get very messy. As it was in that region against the same (CIA-directed) foe for the Soviets for a decade post-WWII. The Dnieper would make a mighty fine line of demarcation, and easy to manage in terms of logistics, manpower cost etc.
A small point, but one I believe worth highlighting, and something the West will never give Russia credit for, but maybe history will. And that is the civilian casualty count. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as of 3 October, 15246 civilian casualties were recorded, including 6114 deaths. Caveat: The actual figure could be significantly higher as reported victims are confirmed. But even factoring that in?
Compare with the NATO-directed onslaught of Mosul in 2017 – an estimated 40k civilian deaths in that one city siege. Or for that matter the war in Yemen with an estimated 377k deaths as of the end of 2021.
Probably the nearest thing to an “ethical” war in our lifetimes?
another steve says
“This certainly is a break with the sad tradition Soviet troops established in World War II. Millions of Soviet soldiers were killed and wounded in the battles of Kursk and Bagration, for example. Conserving force was not a priority then, but it is now”
How dare you, Sir! Mr. M and friends will soon correct your ideas about Russia’s always infallible arms.
Larry, thanks so much for your thoughts.
I just read on a Russian site that at best there will be negotiations between Ukraine (West) and Russia in Riyadh. Ukraine remains so far intact, but withdrawal and recognition of the new territories. If they remain stubborn again, the hard war begins with carpet bombing, elimination of all infrastructure and forcible conquest of the incorporated territories.
My money is on variant 2, which should certainly start at the end of October, or at best in November. Until then, they will hold their ground with as few casualties as possible and continue to demilitarize. We will see.
I think it’s safe to make two conclusions about the war up to now; first, the Russians have chosen to go in with a relatively small force and have prioritized minimizing casualties (they’ve used overwhelming artillery to make this succeed). Secondly, the Ukrainian leaders are callously indifferent to casualties.
Throughout the spring and summer Russian troops would pull this trick of making small withdrawals, luring Ukrainian troops out of their fortifications, and then slaughtering the exposed Ukrainians. This got to be so predictable that I wondered why the Ukrainians didn’t catch on (I think the ground troops did catch on, there were reports of them sometimes refusing orders to advance) . Much of the current Ukrainian offensives appears similar to me, but on a larger scale. That’s why I don’t think of them as turning the tide of the war. If they recaptured something major (like say Mariupul) then my mind would be changed.
Despite what the mainstream media wants people to believe, wars are never merely about the actual military fighting it out. Let’s not fall into that trap. They don’t start when the fight starts and don’t end when the fighting stops.
Some historians classify the fighting phase as the end of diplomacy. Others classify it as the extension of diplomacy.
This current war for Russia didn’t start a few months ago. For that matter it’s not a war against Ukraine. It started in 1991. Instead of welcoming the new Russia into the world, the west punished Russia and took advantage of their weakness.
Russia endured this and had leaders who would actually lead them going forward. In spite of Russophobia, Russia came back and developed a country with a commitment to culture, infrastructure and self reliance. No one ever said that Russians were stupid and they used their talents for their own country.
I don’t think that Russia anticipated the massive sanctions, but they were set up to withstand them. They didn’t anticipate the huge increase in prices of oil and gas, but they certainly didn’t mind the increased revenues.
Putin has worked hard in his years wresting the oligarchs influence in Russia. When the sanctions hit, a large number of them left Russia to pursue their ventures elsewhere. Big win for Russia and Putin.
Russia has been working on new trade routes from the east to west for many years now. Ignored by the western media, it is now garnering attention. Putin and Russia have responded very quickly to use the actions of the West to get the interest and support of the non western countries to embrace a new and different way to do business and political relationships.
An argument can be made that this war has already been won. The 80% of the world that hasn’t embraced the actions of the West are seemingly willing to embrace a new way of going forward. You can either believe that Putin goaded the West into doing what they’ve done in order to attract the 80% or that the Russians are just much better at diplomacy and reacted quickly to take advantage of the West’s blunder.
To finalize the deals, Russia will have to prove they can win on the battlefield. I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia is currently working diplomatically with the various Ukraine border states to make a final deal for peace to include giving the historical areas back to their countries.
The only thing left for Russia to accomplish in Ukraine is to somehow help create a scenario where the West isn’t left with a simmering loss. I’m not sure what the scenario is, but the West has to be left with a way out. War is politics after all and for the West, politicians like to campaign on the notion that they did something good.
Why does the west need to be left with a way out of Ukraine? You recall the Russian goal of NATO out of eastern Europe.
Otherwise, spot on for the big picture!
Look at the end of WWI. Humiliating the loser often leads to resentment and retaliation. Yeah it is usually not a rational decision, but in that case, it led to WWII. I don’t think Russia is too worried about Europe (although England and France have nukes). For the US, a scenario has to be created that everyone blames Biden and neos don’t get too butt hurt.
Maybe the Ukrainians are winning and Russia is losing
Perhaps Russia should withdraw
Putin’s gambit will likely include taking out Uki command and control, not in personnel, but in US satellite based intelligence. Tell is found in yesterday’s First Committee UNSC discussion.
United Nations, 4 October
The text was read by his deputy Konstantin Vorontsov. “In the course of the events in Ukraine, a new extremely dangerous trend has emerged. We are talking about the use by the United States and its allies of civilian infrastructure components in space, including commercial ones, for military purposes,” the diplomat said. “Such activities, in fact, represent indirect participation in armed conflicts, and quasi-civilian infrastructure can be a legitimate target for retaliation.
(h/t Martyanov’s blog)
The original goals of the SMO were the denazification and de-militarization of the Ukraine. Now NATO has joined the war so de-militarization just takes a bit longer.
Autumn is always a bad time for offensive actions in that region, as I learned from my grandfather. Muddy roads, still leafes on the trees for hiding even large equipment and high water levels in every small river.
2-3 months of training for the mobilized show, that everything might be planed for some winter action by the Russians .
And in the meanwhile they can watch the things in Europe and the US getting worse and worse .
Russia has just added some 100k sqkm of land and 9 million of population. Things will change soon on the battlefield but Russia rushed once at the beginning and didn’t reach the political objektives now they know to proceed slowly. I’m sure soon the infrastructure in western Ukraine will targeted more often and it will become more and more difficult to supply the personell at the front.
Well written. Thank you. I’m sure Russia knows how to play this game.
Larry I found you through The Duran, who I found through Andrei, who I found through Gonzalo and I must say that your sober and realistic, and MOST importantly DISPASSIONATE (i.e. “there is a grown up in the room”) analysis is one of the best on the internet with respect to a plethora of topics.
I have been following you for months and am very impressed. Look, all that I desire is THE TRUTH, warts and all, nothing else. You know the old adage “You can ignore reality but you cannot ignore the effects of ignoring reality”. Well, your site is a tonic against that mindset.
BTW, my wife and I shall be taking advanced firearms training with you but I suspect that with the recent storm you will need time to reassemble things, so to speak?
Larry Johnson says
No need to wait on the training. I’m ready.
Russians have the numbers but it is far from certain they can translate that into a military victory. Also, some of those numbers are only on paper. I’ve heard stories of officers grossly misreporting the real combat readiness of their units. This seems to be a widespread practice.
Russian military is like this shiny car that someone put a fresh coat of paint onto, but is all rusty inside. This rust is made of mismanagement, corruption and nepotism.
After months of stagnation, they have begun losing ground at a quick pace. Instead of facing the reality, some Russian hotheads have even begun calling for war between Russia and Kazakhstan.
Russia is at a precipice here. They may or may not be able to stabilize the front and prevent a complete rout but I don’t see Ukrainians quitting. They probably wouldn’t be allowed to even if they tried.
This is all pure projection. For an obvious example of force readiness on paper, one need only look at the Javelin missile fiasco. There is is a 3 star in charge (J4?) of making sure those Javelins had working batteries, wtf have they been doing over there for the last 20 years?
There is a possibility that Russian timing is linked to the US mid term elections.
Putin is preparing an October surprise which will regime change Biden.
A favour returned.
Come on man.
Biden has two more years, no matter what happens in November.
And Congress has not the political ability (nor has it the desire given its whoring to the highest bidder) to over-ride presidential foreign policy.
I do not think Russia gives a fig leaf for US politics – it always remains the same whoever is elected.
I agree with Larry’s analysis. And also Scipio’s in the comments. Not to mention Smith’s article previous to this, to which I wrote a commentary / introduction when I reposted it on my Substack site, News Forensics. https://julianmacfarlane.substack.com/p/premonitions-helmhotz-smith-with . If you read my other articles, such as “The Tau of Vladimir Putin”, you will see that I believe that most people in the West misunderstand where Putin is coming from. A lot of people such as Scott Ritter talk about Putin’s “intentions” as though they knew what they are. But Putin does not telegraph his strategies – only his goals and mindset which he states very clearly (and honestly) in his speeches. IMO, Putin’s goals are several but related. He has always wanted to unleash the potential of Russia – not to restore to what it used to be –but to take it forward. He sees the world as “One Earth, many worlds” (actually, the motto of my company!), which is to say one must respect each culture for its uniqueness and identity. Americans think “we are the world”. Or, “there is only ONE world –US”. So this “war’ is not against Ukraine as much as it is against the US Empire and its vassals. It is an existential war for the independence of Russia and all other cultures and countries that want to be free of US neocolonial domination. To achieve that of course Putin needs the full support of the Russian people — now angry against the Empire over NS2 and its support of Nazis– and angry too at Putin’s moderation. For every Russian fleeing Russia, a hundred sign up to fight. Putin can cede territory because victory in Ukraine — and against the Empire is not about territory. Putin, if you like is a Son of the New Russian Revolution.
Eric Newhill says
Disagree. It became about territory when parts of Eastern Ukraine voted to join Russia. There is simply no way overlooking that fact in an assessment.
Also, if it is an existential war – and it may be – then producing tangible victories is critical to maintain the morale of the people at risk of losing their existence. Retreating all over the place is just not something you do – and the Russian people and many of their various government representatives are now vocalizing that very sentiment.
I find it very hard to believe that Putin and the Russian military could be so incompetent as to blow this operation and fail in the wider war. However, in the course of my life I have occasionally encountered “inconceivable” scenarios that proved that word – inconceivable – didn’t mean what I thought it did.
On the other, the “if it walks like duck, etc.” razor has served me well. So what kind of duck are we looking at? A Russian military carefully planning and patiently waiting to launch a massive attack on UKR – b/c anything else would be “inconceivable”? Or a lame duck? I cannot tell, yet. IMO, the answer will clear by the end of the month
” IMO, the answer will clear by the end of the month.”
Agree that the answer will be clear soon enough, but I believe the build up for the various offensives will take longer than a month.
I don’t know about everyone else, but my YouTube feed has filled up in the last three days with over 100 videos of Russian military equipment of all kinds heading toward the front, mostly by train, but there were some impressive looking road columns sprinkled in there as well.
This is an extraordinary development. Not the build up, per se, I was expecting it after the recent Russian “legal announcements and proclamations,”but the fact that for whatever reason, someone wants me to know that Russian Federation is about to get serious.
I’ve spent the whole war up until this point in near total blackout, the majority of the video I’ve been able to study being of Russian artillery batteries drone hunting depleted squads of Ukrainians manning nearly empty trenches.
In fact, for me, the biggest mystery in this war so far, is why is my government suddenly allowing me to see this, when such an allowance would have unthinkable only a week prior?
It’s so weird. It’s like the US is telling the world, or more accurately, for the first time allowing all interested parties to know and bare witness, that we have been bamboozling you all along, the Russians do have the capability to crush our proxies anytime they want,and we are giving you fair warning, they are about to do so.
Is the US playing 6th demensional chess, to counter Putin 5th dimensional kind? I don’t know man, I just know YouTube needs to block these videos because they are scaring the crap out me.
One of the trains had 17 just-off-the-factory floor mobile field kitchens on board, and if I was a Ukrainian, that would scare me a lot more than a train carrying tanks, because everyone knows, armies march ( in this instance West) on their stomachs.
Yes, I guess that you _could_ say that it became about territory with the absorbtion of the (so far) four eastern oblasts into Russia; but then these oblasts, as well as Crimea, were for centuries part of Russia, and would still have been so but for the decisions of Lenin and Khrushchev within the last century, decisions made because of “political” reasons, carving the four oblasts out of territory originally part of Imperial Russia, and Crimea due to an ill-considered impulse of Khrushchev (this last being resisted by the residents of Crimea when they were assigned to Ukraine upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and originally recognized legally within the new state of Ukraine, only later to be abrogated). Culturally and spiritually they remained Russian, despite the cynical acts of communist dictators. As the Quebecois say, “Je me souviens”, so too for these Russians, in the past sundered by dictatorial fiats – and of late, through genocidal actions – from their nation. You, being of Armenian ancestry, must surely comprehend these sentiments.
This, as the cliched saying has it, changes everything. It was not so much a territorial grab (like Kosovo, notoriously), but a return homewards toward safety, and a future.
Let’s make some observations. Firstly, the preparations began when Obama/Biden decided a bungled pull out of Afghanistan. These bafoon’s knew Russia would begin a special military operation. Afghanistan was an unconstitutional quagmire that should of never happened under a government that abides by its constitutional limits. The decision to leave all that artillery behind was an easy decision for Obama/Biden as it would leave great intelligence behind in weaponry for Afghans to sell to other nations….like Russia. This would give them an idea of where we stand with our technology. Obama/Biden love to sell out this country as they actually hate it.
The recovering of meaningless territories is short lived for Ukraine. This is actually a strategic move to draw out the troops from western Ukraine, give them a false confidence and then crush them when it counts. Our military is in shambles…..and on purpose. We are living with traitor’s in charge of the country. They don’t care about anything but the destruction of our beloved country and people. This is why they promote perversion in every school, governmental office, and corporate board rooms. If God exists….and He does, we are in for a monumental defeat. It WILL happen as God does not honor immoral reprobrate’s. This is reflection of our tolerance of this. We should not tolerate it, ever! On the other hand, Russia does try to promote family values, religion, and a way of life that stabilizes society. Who will be blessed with victory? What say you?
Josef Schweik says
I have answered to you. But the answer did not appear here under your comment. We are all equal but some of us are more equal than others as a son of the American revolution obviously believes.
I do not think there is any set grand strategy, except for the obvious. West is very broke, just look at UK’s finances and its pension problems last 2 weeks. Japan is very broke, just look at them wasting $20 billion just to move the yen a few bps. EU is set to break up, just look at their currency and the right leaning voting happening, soon to be total repudiation of this WEF agenda that’s created a lost generation of unmotivated unproductive populace similar to what occurred w/ USSR during much of the 70/80’s which led to its ultimate break up. Like many posters have said, Ukraine is on total life support, albeit a very expensive life support. Maybe Putin is about to raise that life support expense by a few multiples, leading to some very unpleasant reality for all the ignorants supporting this war and its costs. Many people hurting in the west are already tired of all the funds given to support this war, if the costs keep rising exponentially, it would stop, no ifs or buts. Timing is everything in life, timing is everything.
“WEF agenda that’s created a lost generation of unmotivated unproductive populace similar to what occurred w/ USSR during much of the 70/80’s which led to its ultimate break up.”
Taking away people’s livelihoods through a bankster manipulated pirate capitalism will do that. You take away good paying jobs from people just so some bankster hedge fund can stuff more money in their pockets and this is what you get.
In the 18’th and 19’th centuries the Great Powers in the West were always perplexed about why Russia was doing what she was doing, and why Russia was not doing what Russia ought to do. Russia wasn’t making sense back then and Russia isn’t making sense now, Russia is just being Russia, her usual “mystery wrapped in an enigma” self. Good to see that Russia hasn’t changed that much over the centuries, Communism didn’t change her essence.
Now Russia is just doing what she wants to in Ukraine. As you have mentioned, NATO is in no economic position to be of much assistance. All anyone can do is watch the bear play with the fish the bear has hooked on his line, sometimes the bear reels in some line, sometimes the bear lets the fish run with some line. Sometimes the bear puts the rod down to pour a shot of vodka or peel an orange, before resuming playing with the fish again. Soon it will be winter and the bear will be even more in his element. In summary, Russia can do anything she wants to in Ukraine, and no-one can stop Russia. Might as well just pour yourself a vodka as well because trying to figure out what Russia is up to next in Ukraine is just going to make your head sore.
How has this analysis by retired Russia Colonel-General at outset of war aged?
Every country has liberal malcontents, I guess.
Barry Sheridan says
Since 1945 the US has dominated much of the globe, despite facing the powerful forces once inherent in communism, which eventually collapsed largely thanks to its own contradictions. During these decades of the Cold War America seeded animosities far and wide because it’s actions towards other countries were frequently high handed and indifferent towards any sensibilities other than its own. The world has not forgotten these injuries and if there are alternative systems which will offer improved considerations then the US hegemony faces a challenge. Russia and China have combined to offer this alternative, and while it might not be perfect, it may well offer better evenly balance prospects.
The aggressiveness of US actions in carrying out, or at least facilitating the attacks on NS 1&2, is a major blunder, for now an uncertain world knows America will stop at nothing, even to the point of destroying its allies. It this realisation that underlies Russian strategies, the geo-political aim of revealing the ugliness of the west and the fresh opportunities for smaller countries to gain a share of the world’s largesse, instead of it all being consumed by greedy Americans and Europeans. They have stayed their hand in Ukraine, that is no longer necessary.
Watching the latest vid of AFU operations–showing the ‘liberation’ of yet another village–I couldn’t help noticing that the Ukrainian Army appears to be using M-113 APCs.
These vehicles might–perhaps–stop small caliber ammo, but a typical heavy machine gun will slice right through those vertical aluminium side panels. The 113 is NOT an armored fighting vehicle, just a ‘carrier’ as its name implies, and if the West can supply nothing more robust than this old track, then the Ukrainian Army is in serious trouble….
When Russia goes all west to the polish border they can buy the poles. They can offer the Ukrainian neighbours such as Poland and Romania to make referendums in western ukraine. The current polish government is eager to resurrect a new Greater Poland and will happily take the bet, therefore supporting the Russian plan to push US troops west. Remember that Medvejev postet a map where western Ukraine was carved up among its western neighbors. So Russia of course will not stay longterm in western Ukraine, but they will conquer it as a bargain chip.
Julio Ruata says
Your insight and articles are a light in the midst of darkness in today world.
The chess metaphor is very apt, maybe the best I heard about the current situation. I’m a neophite from Argentina but thanks to you, sir, and Martyanov, Berletic, Ritter, the Duran guys I can understand what’s happening on the ground and at the big chess board. A great and indispensable service you give the world that save us both from MSM lies and Twitter/Telegram hysteria.
Military victory is great , but winning only the military part might not be enough to ensure a peaceful future.
An economic victory is needed first. West is crumbling under the weight of it’s own sanctions … it can last still , but for how long ? Then , the political victory is needed , grieves have to be settled and conclusions have to be accepted by everyone. Yes , even you USA.
Finally there is lessons to be drawn from all that shit and to be learned ! How do we prevent those kind of conflict in the future ? How to avoid remote controlled color revolutions ? How judge and condemn those so called “humans” who still do this kind of sheit anyway and that were never in fear from any form of consequences to begin with ?
Starting a war is easy , ending one much less so …
One of your first points was really on the mark – among the political class and their MIC patrons, these so-called Ukrainian successes are exhilarating and they think (because they have no contact with them) that the unwashed masses should be excited too. They should clamor for more weapons and more dollars be sent to Ukraine. The politicians/MIC are baffled why working class people don’t care, because they don’t see that nothing that happens in Ukraine will benefit working class people at all.
Bert Huber says
I have read that from 1.oct, ukrainian women in age fit for military service are not allowed to leave the country anymore.
Does anybody know if this is true ?
The only thing I read about this, was a month ago, and don’t remember where I read it. I read that Ukraine was going to start conscripting women.
Sounds like a recipe to annihilate their future generations. Perhaps, they should send some younger NeoCons over there to mate with them.
If I lived there, I’d get pregnant pronto.
To keep it simple, I think the coming Russian offensives will come down to ammunition and will.
By ammunition I don’t mean bullets, tank rounds and artillery shells. I’m quite sure the Russians have plenty of those antiquated war fighting implements. But missiles, of all varieties, and spotter and killer drones.
Hopefully, if this war is teaching anybody anything, is that in this era of equal – and full! -satellite coverage by all sides, air supremacy comes down to who not only has the most drones, but the most lethal ones, and can keep the spotters drones up there, long enough, for the killers slip through and/or overwhelm air defenses, and strike home.
Because in my estimation, based on what I’ve seen so far, a successful in-depth offensive will require dominance of the air at the deck, because that’s all you got. Anything above the deck gets you killed.
One hopes, from the Russian perspective, that the in-theater dancing and prancing around that last 7 months was an exercise in deflection, in order by the time to produce, stockpile and deliver the necessary requirements for doing whatever it is the Russians plan on doing.
Crushing cauldrons and solidifying undefined boundries and marching on Odessa and so on.
As for will, I hate to do it but it really comes to that one man we have all come to either love or loath, Vladimar Putin.
I always pegged Vlad as a Western neo-liberal globalist wannabe, who wanted in to the club but kept getting bounced. And no matter how often he was rudely rejected, he kept on showing up.
Nothing I have seen since Fef 24 has given me the slightest inclination to forgo this notion.
But I could be wrong. Maybe he has been a secret Russian patriot all along, or has had a recent, Saul of Tarsus moment. Either way, I do appreciate the stress and pressure he’s under. I would bet my last penny that all 7 of America’s at sea boomers are in postion off “his” coast, which means, if or when he launches these offensives he will do it knowing there are 1,500 (plus plus?) nulcear warheads no more than 8 minutes flight time from striking their initial Federation targets, one of them most assuredly being him.
And if there is one thing I know about my country (the US), we are incabable of winning conventional wars against anyone even resembling a near peer, but this fact doesn’t seem to trouble us in the slightest.
Perhaps because winning conventional wars doesn’t interest us all that much. In fact, it seems to me, the whole point of them from our perspective, is to keep them going for as long as possible.
Winning conventional wars, in other words, is not only counter-productive, they don’t even count as war in the grand scheme.
Tom Hickey says
Here is an email comment to a friend about all this, based on his non-military understanding of the military situation, edited somewhat for the question under consideration here:
It’s not just about the conflict or even Ukraine. To paraphrase Clausewitz, war is an extension of politics. Policy comes first, then strategy, then operations, and finally tactics. Most people unfamiliar with this see only tactics and miss the big picture. No one knows what the Russian leadership and Stavka are thinking and trying to discern it by analyzing the “situation on the ground,” that is, tactics, is a fool’s errand.
Deception and surprise are the name of the game. Yes, Russia can destroy Ukraine anytime it wishes, but that is clearly not the plan (yet) and it is not a mistake to conclude it is. This is the position of the “sixth column” in Russia in criticizing the government’s approach.
To paraphrase Rumsfeld there are things we know, things we know we don’t know and things we don’t know that we don’t know. In the present situation depending on media reports and “war reporting” is not even useful information since it can’t be checked for accuracy. Plus, the is not only a military conflict, it is a global struggle in which information war is as significant as kinetic. The level of disinformation is off the charts and most people taking about military matters are clueless about military matters.
Policy determines strategy, strategy determines operations, and operations determine tactics. As Putin’s speech indicated, this is about geopolitics and geostrategy — essentially the completion of decolonization and birthing a new world order, while the US/UK are trying to colonize the entire world. Thus, this is really WWIII, but that doesn’t mean it will be completely kinetic. It’s down to the availability of real resources, which Russia has in abundance. It is also about industrialized warfare, at which Russia excels. In the West economics is about finance, while in Russia economics is about national capability and production of real goods. This is the basis of power, not flashy technology.
Regarding Ukraine, I expect the game to change militarily when the accession process is complete and Russia is then defending the homeland. This is a different game entirely geopoliticaly. Previously Russia was offering Ukraine (and NATO) a deal. Now it is for keeps.
I disagree about the Russian leadership. In my read, they understand the world system much better than most, certainly better than the US, UK and European leaders who don’t seem to be able to think beyond the next step. Ande the head of the Ukrainian general staff, the most competent military leader on the planet is Valery Gerasimov, the head of the Russian general staff, as It’s not just about the conflict or even Ukraine. To paraphrase Clausewitz, war is an extension of politics.
Policy comes first, then strategy, then operations, and finally tactics. Most people unfamiliar with this see only tactics and miss the big picture. So most of what is written is just uninformed if it is not propaganda as well.
As Putin’s speech indicated, this is about geopolitics and geostrategy — essentially the completion of decolonization and birthing a new world order, while the US/UK are trying to colonize the entire world. Thus, this is really WWIII, but that doesn’t mean it will be completely kinetic. It’s down to the availability of real resources.
Regarding Ukraine, I expect the game to change militarily when the accession process is complete and Russia is then defending the homeland. This is a different game entirely geopoliticaly. Previously Russia was offering Ukraine (and NATO) a deal. Now it is for keeps.
I disagree with the take about the Russian leadership being incompetent for the task. In my read, they understand the world system much better than most, certainly better than the US, UK, and European leaders who don’t seem to be able to think beyond the next step. Moreover, Valery Gerasimov is the top military mind on the planet, and that’s testified to by Varlery Zaluzhny, the head of the Ukrainian general staff.
Right now, an ultimate objective of Russian policy, the break up of NATO and the EU, is in progress, and another ultimate objective of a new world order based on multipolarity is advancing. What’s not to like?
Russia’s strategy, from this non-military minded person seems quite pragmatic and counter to the hyperbolic thinking found in the West. Thankfully.
Now I ask what do you make of this observation of Will Schryver (@imetatonink) and his recent observation regarding possible test of large ordinances (correct term?) in Nevada?
Josef Schweik says
The UA regime is really nasty, corrupt and all that, but the Ru regime is not much better. Both based on insane Leaders, oligarchs, greed for money first and power, vast corruption and common people are for them just pawns. Not repaiable thingies are these regimes.
To retreating Russian soldiers you can really read this?
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
You think they are ready to swallow it?
Marco, the Yugo Surfer says
I see one problem in all those military analysis.
They are doing exactly this.
Analysing militarily a situation, which is not fought as a classical war.
We see Russia letting Ukraine shipping men and equipment to Lyman over the Oskil river. They transport this equipment and troops by train to the river and let them then pass the river over several pontoon bridges to be eventually able to attack Lyman.
Wouldn’t you agree, that this stinks from miles away like a trap?
Russia could very easily (as demonstrated several times already) destroy those pontoon bridges or substations/bridges/tracks, whatever, to hinder Ukraine to bring in the reinforcements.
Russia defended Lyman with some 500 militia troops. That’s right.
But the whole 20th Army of the Russian armed forces were stationed right next to Lyman for fire support. This is an Army, designed to fight NATO troops. Again, that stinks like a trap.
I could show such examples, that smells like “trap” all over the field. But I think the message is clear. We should stop analysing this war, in terms, how it should be fought doctrinal in large scale land hostilities.
As you pointed rightly out, Russia needs to spare men.
Why? Because Russia shouldn’t lose the best trained soldiers against Ukraine, which is not such an enemy, were such troops would be needed. Ukraine needs to be defeated in such a way, that afterwards Russia comes out stronger at the NATO borders, instead of having lost huge parts of its Army, equipment and troops. Which would happen if Russia would fight doctrinally with large scale formations and deep penetration manoeuvres. These forces and strategies need to be spared to be able to contain NATO.
What do we have now?
Russia created initially in the shock moment huge buffer zones around strategically important towns. Russia now can retreat and thereby draw as much Ukrainian forces and equipment as possible into open fields.
Especially where Russia has:
– a friendly population
– Air dominance (Which it doesn’t have all over Ukraine)
– short and reliable supply lines
– Favourable terrain
Under this circumstances Russia can grind as much Western supplied equipment, and of course Ukrainian manpower down, as possible, with minimal own casualties.
Thereby Russia achieves two objectives.
Demilitarization of Ukraine and of NATO.
The second advantage of the slow progress, or let’s say, the SMO (special military operation) is, that the West has all time it needs, to weaken itself with “self-sanctions” and struggles within, for resource distribution. Finally, Russia can achieve, by proceeding this way, that, when the European population starves and freezes, starts with revolutions inside Europe, to achieve all goals of the draft security framework for Europe, proposed in December 2021.
If NATO eats up itself within the next two years, all goals, proposed in 2021 to Biden, will be achieved, without firing a shot onto NATO countries.
Russia is playing the long game here.
If Russia would have stormed Ukraine by doctrine with a large-scale invasion, we could assume, that Ukraine would have fallen already.
But we would have the following disadvantages:
– Many Russian casualties, less Ukrainian causalities, NATO NOT demilitarized, as it is now.
– Europe and its citizens wouldn’t have all the time it needs, to breed a proper revolution and thereby destroy NATO from within. Why? Because if there is no war, it would be far more problematic, to sell the European citizens, why they don’t buy all the cheap and NEEDED energy from Russia.
Well, that’s the whole story 🙂
well written, sir. The only thing missing in your analysis is the financial war which has followed the same script (its a trap!).
Marco, the Yugo Surfer says
Thanks. You’re absolutely right.
There is a whole other dimension, which I didn’t want to mix in here.
Not only financial (Russia deposited its reserves in the West as a bait, but it would require a whole new analysis in depth to explain it), but also economical. There is a whole new financial and economics system in the making with a abstract new currency, as global exchange value holder. This abstract currency won’t be controlled by a single state, but by the collective, to exclude the possibility for using currencies as a sanction weapon ever again.
But I stop here, maybe I’ll write at another platform an analysis about this dimension.
Larry – I am somewhat pessimistic, not about Russian strategic capabilities, but that the Euro-Atlantic elites may view a large continental war as the only way to retain power with the looming economic and political problems.
Per Intel Slava, Putin will announce fundamental change to smo today. Either to war or counter terror.
In the meantime, Russia continues to move massive forces to its (old & new) borders. 800+ planes, lines & lines of tanks, etc.
Also, Russia & SA are cutting oil production by 1million barrels/ day.
UK adding new sanctions on Russia.
The squeeze is on. Our “leaders” are Schwab’s dream & we are so screwed.
Before the war, and I assume before the new 300K are called up and organized, the standing army of the Russian Federation was 850K. There are a few Russians now in Ukraine, mostly in support roles. Today, all the legal BS is done, and President Putin can finally take action.
Assuming that it takes 500K to guard the borders, that leaves 350,000 men, 4000 T80s or T90s, the entire Air Force, etc that could attack Ukraine on a line starting at Kharkiv and ending at (say) Kodyma. Given that this area is lightly defended, it might take a week to encircle Ukraines entire active army.
Given that I know nothing. That is what I predict for today.
Top Gum says
Russian military is carefully selecting their targets and the weapons to strike them. They are professionals and are approaching their goals with a lot of consideration wisdom and experience. Whatever they do and how they react to things changing on the ground amazes a lot of people. I don’t know if they will start some brute campaigns to retake some areas. But I’m sure they will succeed however their approach may be.
Most uninformed people in the west have no idea, that this is the **final** conflict between the collective west and (mostly eastern) the people and countries that won’t submit to the western dictatorship / hegemony. There is no way back and the split-up between Russia and the EU is already reality. In my opinion this will also be the end of NATO and EU as the European countries at some pint will have to make a choice to either follow EU orders and fall or survive by splitting with EU and doing what is best for their own people/country.
I believe the real unknown here is Poland, and how they will react to events, especially if Belarus becomes involved.
It’s a safe bet they were intimately involved in the Nord Stream pipeline bombings.
Top Gum says
Poland’s military is a joke like the Ukrainian (was). They also have a big mouth when they think that their “friends” are bigger than other countries “friends”. But that is common for such devoted proxies in the west. Poland has been and still is very insignificant. They try very hard to be seen and have a bigger role in the international arena. But they have nothing really to show for beside cheap labor and the wish for their own destruction. That only goes for the government. They have been accustomed to bribery (since they became a western democracy) and they love it.
I’m not an expert of any sort, but my thinking is that these retreats might be ‘bait’ set out for the Ukrainians. As they move deeper into what is -as of a few hours ago- Russian territory, they’re lining up for the slaughter.
We know that Putin is no ‘supreme ruler’ with absolute power at his fingertips. Every stage and escalation in the SMO on the part of Russia have been carried out methodically, with obvious careful planning, and strictly by the book of law -be it Russian or international.
The Russian leadership had definite foreknowledge of the 4 referenda, and very likely had a big hand in their planning and execution. The two Donbass republics have begged for years for approval, so the fact that they were allowed now means that the timing has definite significance. Putin, Shoigu, et. al. would also have had advanced warning of the longer-range HIMARS and whatever other goodies the USA has recently delivered to the black hole with the stated goal of reaching existing Russian territory and infrastructure. This is an obvious red line.
My bet is that Putin will once more offer the West an opportunity to “lose good”, as he did on December 21st, by demanding that Ukrainian forces immediately and unconditionally leave the Russian territory of the four oblasts. When Zelensky and the West inevitably refuse, that’s the legal go-ahead to launch a larger scale ‘defensive war’ on what will then be the ‘invading Ukrainian forces’.
They will then “lose bad”. Ukrainian military/nationalist eradication will follow (and I wonder if targets within EU borders will be considered in the “Demilitarization” campaign).
Just throwing spitballs, seeing if the idea makes sense.
Alceu Gonçalves says
Sorry for my english/google. Here in my country, Brazil, we are going through difficult political and social times and my Candidate, LULA, took the lead in the second round, but unfortunately the extreme right has advanced and taken over strategic political areas. And what do these facts have to do with the PUTIN/RUSSIA special operation in Ukraine? Simple; why the Northern Genocides and their doormats in NATO + EU +UK will lose, because for PUTIN/RUSSIA defeat, in any dimension, is not part of the options, after all, they are defending their homes, millenary culture and all their future. And in the end, when the Genocides and their doormats recognize defeat, they will go for option B, which is to guarantee all sources of energy and natural resources in their “backyard”, Latin America. Poor, unhappy Mexico, so close to Satan! Finally, the victory of LULA over Bolsonaro is of fundamental importance for the New Order already emerging on the horizon, because as LULA we will indeed return to the BRICs and our struggle for True Sovereignty.
Alceu Gonçalves says
… Finalizando meu comentário anterior;
“…LULA’s victory over Bolsonaro is of fundamental importance for the New Order already emerging on the horizon, because as LULA we will indeed return to the BRICs and our struggle for True Sovereignty”.
Kirill Velizhanin says
Just an observation to “Conserving force was not a priority then, but it is now.” I have been reading a lot of those books by Artem Drabkin with first-hand recollections by regular low-level Soviet soldiers in the Great Patriotic War. Some of those books (but not all!) are available in English on amazon. An eye opening read! Some of the best non-fiction books I have every read, I highly recommend them to anyone. What struck me the most was the mind-boggling negligence (by today’s standards, everything is relative of course) not even to a life of your subordinate (it was enough of that of course), but to one’s own life. And perhaps the negligence to subordinate’s life was just an extrapolation of the latter. It is just unthinkable by today’s standards. It was just a totally different mentality/mindset, partially coming from, I am guessing, lower level of education, peasantry and a specific historical/cultural background. So when somebody depicts the situation when either (i) evil politruks were forcibly sending helpless soldiers to their certain death, or (ii) when highly propagandized and indoctrinated soldiers were fighting to death with Great Stalin in their mind, the story is even more complicated (as always, really). Many of them seemed to not care about their own life to the extent we do now (in the West, or in Russia). Which is a yet another great reminder that when one is approaching history with today’s mindset, it might, at the very least, be misleading and lead to very wrong conclusions.
The observation and thinking above is not consequential to Larry’s post and not intended as a critique. It just that his line about conserving force triggered me (in a good way) to remember reading those books and being stunned in disbelief over how the prevailing mindset can dramatically change in a given country over the course of just two/three generations.
Probably because of the demise of religion. If you honestly and sincerely believe that you will go to heaven/paradise/Valhalla, whatever you want to call it, when you die, maybe you don’t mind dying. You might even welcome it.
Thankfully, no really knows they’re dead once they’re dead. So there’s that.
Larry P. Johnson says
Larry, that is spot on commentary and I think you have described the situation succinctly.
Recently the Saker expressed an opinion that Putin’s Referenda speech was his best and would be the historical statement for Russia about the relationship between Russia and the West.
This is not a speech as much as a proclamation of Russia insisting on its own rules as a country for its people, and the West will never own Russia.
The Saker was right. This is a speech of a century and will go down as the statement of a doomed relationship. The West loses credibility with Russia and will never be anyone else’s dominium.
The latter is the main point! This is a must see video for your readership!!!
Thanks for all you do for our understanding.
Josef Schweik says
Saker is just religion and ideology con men. Baghdad Bob 2.0. in full.
I have been wondering about these things myself these days and expressing doubt at the Russian strength.
However, I came to the conclusion that the western world is in panic and this has, in fact, become an existential fight for United States and EU as well. People talk about this being an existential fight for Putin but I think it is an equally large (if not larger!) existential fight for US/EU’s dominance over the rest of the world because our dominance is what allows for our collective lavish lifestyles – we depend on the rest of the world to fuel our “fun”. In this direction, the stories of German factories moving to USA are bull*hit – everyone who has taken a look at the level of education of our workforce, the amount of drugs, stupidity, laziness etc. in USA right now knows that they would not only have to move the factories but also half of the German population, if anyone was to work in these factories. After all, the Germans make high precision stuff, not buttons and sweaters (can we even make those ourselves these days?).
If you look around the modern West, most of what we have, most of what allows our “click a button on Amazon and get what you want in 2 days” is built on colonial and neocolonial exploitation, throw in a little bit of genocide, a lot of petroleum dependence, dollar dominance, do as we say not as we do while staring into the barrel approach etc.
Putin is pointing all that out and challenging it and the cracks are starting to show. It is all now in the open in the global south and where people were aware of this before but said nothing, now it is talked about in the open and he is cheered as someone who is standing up to put a stop to all that. I mean, at the end of the day – why would the average Kenyan support the UK, why would the average Nicaraguan support the US? All they got from the West is looting, destruction of culture and tradition – with empty promises of better life – and these days interference in government via loan/credit blackmail, moral and gender lectures.
The West in its arrogance, however, could not see this. Witness Blinken’s encounters during his “Africa tour” recently and the lecture he got from the foreign minister of South Africa – it was a first rate display of shallow “it’s about optics, we can fix this” USA approach of “everything is PR, we just have to go through the motions on TV” but turned out it is much deeper than that. Question is – did he get the message? I think so – at least to the point that they now probably understand the extent of the rebellion against the “world order” led by Putin and Xi and the rest of BRICS.
It is not just Putin, it is the whole global south that is slipping away from western control, this is why this fight is existential. The way the global south sees it – the West frivolously consumed the planet (do two 60 year olds really need a 50 ft 5th wheel and an F-550?) and exploited millions in the process while promising a better life. The better life sure came – for the Europeans and Americans. If living in a shanty town in Mogadishu is better life, I think most of Somalis wish today that the Brits never showed up and instead the Somalis could have just been left to being tribal goat herders like two centuries ago, without borders drawn out of thin air. Kind of like the peasants in the western world being turned into poor proletariat, that promise turned independent peasantry that was poor into drowning in debt consumers on a treadmill with no agency.
Xi may not be feeding weapons into Russia but he is 100% behind this struggle as well. Why? Because economically even though China needs United States now, in the long term we can all see where USA is going. I am sure there are projections being made about the direction of the West every year in Peking and they all point to one thing that is obvious to some of us living in the West – decay, chaos, increasing poverty and loss of purchasing power, class segmentation, violence, lack of education and medical care, bigger and fuller corporate run prisons.
Since purchasing power is falling in USA, China is now on the path of “converting” its position of using USA as a market to grow and learn from (steal tech from) on to shifting itself into becoming _the_ market itself and also to using the rest of the world as the market via developing/investing in it and growing the global south’s purchasing power (the Chinese “boot” may not be much different than the American). The smart thing about the Chinese is that they are having someone else fight the military war while they build roads, hospitals etc. in Africa and Latin America and gain a foothold everywhere. The easy way to do this is – “America/EU arrogant, deceitful and moralizing, China good and humble and helping and by the way, in line with Russia”.
As far as the current military situation is concerned it is more and more looking like “bait and switch” ;). It is possible that the whole public quarrel in Russia is part of a Russian (intelligence) ploy to get the West even more invested into the fight. Oddly enough, with all the victories the Ukrainians have been winning, the coverage in USA is kind of “meh”. It is there but not as rabid as it was back in March, you can only watch Petreaus or Wesley Clark so many times vomiting and eating their own vomit on TV before such acts lose their entertainment value and you turn to more important things like inflation, gas prices, the fact that your brand new car that cost $20k more has a s*it part that broke 6 months into the purchase and now you have to wait for weeks to get it and the myriad of other issues that are splintering our society here (and there are so many….).
I think at least some of the puppet-masters in DC are worried that these “territory losses” and displays of public disobedience (like Kadirov) are a major bait by the Russian side and they don’t want to get too invested publicly in these temporary victories for fear of being shown to be naive and incompetent in a few weeks time (this is why expendables like Clark or Petraeus are pushed to provide paid-for opinions). If you have noticed, nobody “official” except replaceable Ned Price and maybe equally easily replaceable twins Kirby/Sullivan (are they the same person??) is spewing Ukrainian propaganda on TV officially in USA. I mean, where is Nuland? After all, she was handing out cookies in Ukraine in 2014, her panties should be wet with excitement with all the victories Ukraine is achieving – or is it that she is worried about a huge loss of face being identified as one of the architects of this coming failure and thus is creeping in the shadows… Does Kamala have an opinion on Ukraine? What about Milley? The silence is deafening just as the military aid is dwindling.
If this is about reputation, the world may be perceiving the Russian setbacks right now as RF humiliation but imagine the West’s humiliation if the Russians were to come back and win everything and more. After all, we do have attention spans and memories about as long as insects these days – today crying tomorrow cheering! Putin has correctly identified that perception is all the West is running on these days and he may be goading the USA/EU into committing and committing and committing until the crushing (non-nuclear!) blow in Ukraine and then thoroughly embarrassing them on the world stage. If this blow in Ukraine can happen in time for elections in November, even better for Putin – the regime change game played backwards on USA, I am sure they will be replaying Biden’s speech in Poland delivered a while ago about Putin not being allowed to remain in power. Now that would be a message for the global south.
There is no doubt that the Russians have the resources and know-how to win this operation. I think at this point they are only looking at the question of maximum damage and maximum gain and how to get these two together into one war with minimal losses – they seem to be strategically positioned for this to happen (?).
Meaning, they are looking at ways to inflict crushing and long-lasting economic, political and perception defeats on Washington/EU/NATO while at the same time achieving their military goals in Ukraine, all at a minimal cost. It is a game that requires many considerations and careful planning/moves/contingencies. In that respect sacrificing a few soldiers today and some territory may be a long term preservation of life of many more soldiers etc.
In other words, if the Russians were just to march into Ukraine tomorrow, that would leave NATO/US largely undamaged because if the Russians take all they want today, it will cement a status quo (they cannot go further into NATO lands) and EU (now largely relieved!) will be back at the negotiating table by Christmas and business as usual by January – they will find a way to get gas etc. from Russia, there is no doubt about that – after all, you don’t spend centuries living off others without having learned how to get something you need, everything else be damned, even if the vaults with looted diamonds and money need to be opened somewhere in London or Paris.
If this were to happen, the Russians would not really have achieved anything larger than getting some territory but the threat would remain the same as the threat was never Ukraine, it was always the neo-colonial behavior of DC/EU. The way Russians may see it, this has to be a lesson that the West will remember for a long time.
Anyway, I am not a strategist, just a guy. The above is just pure conjecture based on zero actual information and of course, there is always the possibility that Petreaus and Clark and Price/Sullivan/Kirby trio are correct and that Russia is a hollow s*ithole powered by cheap vodka…
It’s simple. The strategies on the two sides are entirely different. UKR is about holding / taking territory through military action and propaganda, false flags, and outright lies. RUS strategy is about attrition of UKR forces and taking territory through political action.
Who’s winning again!!??
Short term tactics in support of long term strategy is usually the mark of the winning side.
Josef Schweik says
Attrition? Perhaps in Konashenko reports. Meanwhile Ukie army is alive and kicking, logistic working and untouched.
Bakhmut has just been evacuated by the ukro who couldn’t hold their line. Maybe the tide is turning. Anyway, i doubt that the ukros have the manpower to move on and keep positions
I am no expert on military laws. So I would like if someone can explain to me (Larry or any other of the well informed commenters) what would happen if the West started recruiting volunteers around the world, to go fight for Ukraine.
They would NOT appear as foreign fighters (although it would be obvious they are not ukrinians) and would dress the ukrainian uniform and integrate the UAF (or constitute separate divisions, but stay under the same command, which is finally Nato).
Under a legalistic approach (which is what seems favored by Putin) they would be seen as ukrainians or Nato troops ?
Someone here pointed that it would not be very difficult to draft hundreds of thousands of these recruits (some may have already good experience in the military), maybe even millions, all over the world, specially in the countries more indebted to the USA, and with the help of good bribes (money, US or european citizenship, etc).
This could be very destabilizing to Russia, which has certainly superiority in the arms and military technology, but has not an infinite number of men to fill their army.
Would that precipitate the entering in the conflict by other countries which have stood at sidelines until now ? Eg China, India, Iran, etc ?
Nato has said repeatedly they don’t want to enter in direct confrontation, but this covert supply” of endless number of soldiers could be their way to maintain indefinitely their proxy to fight for them.
I started writing a serious reply to your speculation, but why bother?
Simple. corpses for a meat grinder are not an effective military.
And ineffective militaries lose.
Perhaps you should read some serious military strategy blogs, like Sonar21?
But isn’t Larry who says:
“Ukraine is relying on attacking lightly manned Russian positions with a larger force.
I do not believe that Europe has the capability or the will to host 200,000 new Ukrainian recruits. In short, Ukraine has no real chance of replacing the troops already lost in the front lines.”
That statement is letting in the air the supposition that “if Ukraine has a real chance of replacing the troops lost, the same kind of advances would become possible”. And a real threat to Russia.
So, “corpses for a meat grinder are not an effective military” at no matter the rate of inequality of infantry forces, or there is a point tipping the scale for the larger number ?
And I have to say, I’ve been following LJ blog since some time and I find it excellent, together with A.Martyanov analysis.
Jim Giles says
Subject: What is Putin’s gambit?
You offer brilliant analysis with profound humility! And I love the game of chess having been taught to play the game by my grandfather. We played endless games as I grew up. I was finally able to defeat him later on but that may have been due to his impaired vision rather than my chess skill.
I only started reading your articles recently so I don’t know what your view is of the Zionist Occupation Government, ZOG, which rules America. Paul Craig Roberts recently wrote the following about Jews and war: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2022/09/29/are-jews-again-driving-the-western-world-into-a-fatal-war/
What is your view of ZOG and jews?
Do you think President Putin will move a knight, a bishop or a rook?
Given the West is now controlled by perverts, how can President Putin’s response be anything but move his Queen, a strategic first strike?
While I like the game of chess, and it is very analogous to the current war in the Ukraine, I think the better analogy is a bare fisted street fight. There are no rules, referees or time limits. Your opponent is not trying to place your king in checkmate. Your opponent is trying to cut your heart out and kill you. This is a fight to the death. After the fight is completed there will be one sole survivor, America or Russia.
Your opponent will not resign and shake your hand. Your opponent is going after Mother Russia, the Queen. Your opponent intends to rape Mother Russia just like ZOG blew up your Nord Stream pipelines.
You mentioned American fist in your recent speech which affirms the reality that this is going to be a bare fisted street fight. Mr. Johnson asks, “What is Putin’s gambit?”
My question to you is: How will the world respond after you grab America by the throat, and rip out America’s jugular vein with a Russian fist?
Radio Free Mississippi
Josef Schweik says
Attrition? Perhaps in Konashenko reports. Meanwhile Ukie army is alive and kicking, logistic working and untouched.
I can’t assess Russian strategy because I don’t know what Russian policy is. What are their war aims? (I set aside their feeble propaganda about Nazis.)
If the initial policy was to take control of Ukraine with as little damage as possible and with the population still in place then a swift charge to Kiev to be followed by declaring victory was a rational strategy. But it proved to be beyond the competence of his army. My wife likes to quote Elizabeth I: “I do not like war. It is costly and the outcome uncertain.”
On Putin I like to ask “What was he thinking of?” More generally I advise governments subject to provocation ‘Do not do the very thing your provoker wants you to do.’ In support I cite France in 1870 and Japan in 1941.
I have no idea what the outcome will be but the American attack on the Russian pipelines does (I assume) show the Administration’s determination to keep its European satraps under its thumb.
I feel sorry for the Ukes and for the Russian soldiers too. What a bloody fiasco. As for western politicians and their shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot sanctions: string ’em up!
Bert Huber says
In european media, they write” yeah Russia is loosing the war”.
I guess , 1941 when the germans got far far into the Soviet Union,
pleople thought the same.
Gus 2021 says
I remember machine shops paying 8$ a hour in the early 2000s ,I remember thinking that a absolutely critical industry was in complete shambles, half the time the owner made 12$ if that ,this all being in LA so it’s small wonder everyone gave up ….I hear all this about going to war with China or Russia and laugh ,the talking heads forget the F18 is made with machines from China .
WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF RUSSIA’S STRATEGY IN UKRAINE?
To be honest I’ve been a little confused by it. I expected a much larger Russian force earlier on particularly from the Western and Southern military districts. I thought Belarus would be more active militarily. I had thought the choke points on the Dnieper river would have played a bigger role. I expected Ukraine’s water, internet, electricity, sanitation, etc. would have been destroyed by now.
I am not at all surprised by the response from NATO. There are still plenty of NATO weapons systems to bring to the battlefield in Ukraine. I personally have seen huge parking lots being filled the Abrams and Bradley’s coming out of underground storage facilities in Europe. NATO command and control systems have made a huge difference in Ukraine. How is Russia going to neutralize this key component?
As it stands right now it looks as if Russia is preparing for a massive counterattack on an overexposed Ukrainian force. Whole cities in Western Ukraine might not be spared from massive attacks on infrastructure targets going forward.
The Belarusian defense minister Viktor Khrenin has recently stated that it looks as if NATO is getting ready for direct involvement.
Russia is prepared for this eventuality but not before NATO does as much damage as possible by proxy in Ukraine.
April 2003 : Marines corp complained that they had to buy their own equipment. Rumsfled bragged about being right in dispating only 150000 men. 3 months later he couldn’t even protect the green zone. 2006, Tsahal men baby cried behind their tank, complained about the total lack of strategy of the high command and… about the purchase of their own equipment.
The fighting that take place on the moving front line in ukraine is more of a large scale skirmish than a real battle. No real loss for the russians and a horrendous attrition rate for the ukros.
Polish is the main language spoken on the front lines. That speak volumes. Foreigners stand for maybe 60% of the combatants now. So much for the ukro liberating their home turf.
BTW, there was a quipy video of two young girls interviewed by a Western journalist about the return of the ukro in their town. they were prone to pinpoint that the russians paid handled the city fair and square, paying the salaries and being polite. Their enthusiasm for being liberated was not off the roof ))
What Putin is now doing was not Russia’s original strategy. Russia’s original strategy was to win the war very quickly by seizing Kyiv. This attempt failed miserably. So, Putin and his generals improvised, and now we are seeing the poor results of their Plan B. With Plan B not working, now Putin and his generals are trying Plan C–a mobilization of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Russian men, most of whom absolutely do not want to be forced into a uniform and sent off to the front lines in Ukraine (many, if not most, of them are very much out of shape, too, which greatly reduces their effectiveness as soldiers). One should not be surprised if Plan C doesn’t work out well for Putin and his generals, either.
Please stop with the “Russia tried to take Kiev and failed” nonsense.
If Russia had wanted to take Kiev they certainly would have brought more than 250,000 troops.
As Medwedev joked the other day: if NATO does not want Ukraine – what about an application to join the Russian Federation?
My guess: this application would (will) definitely be part of an unconditional surrender.
What is Putin’s gambit?
He is looking to 2023 and beyond.
Who will be Russia’s main trading partners? China, Iran, Turkey, parts of the soon-to-be-former EU.
How will its economy be structured? Import replacement, energy, banking system.
Will it have a declining or expanding population/workforce?
Ukraine is focused on short-term goals (gaining as much money from the West before their economies collapse this winter), while Russia is thinking long-term.
So yeah, give up a little territory (which can be retaken) to save lives (which can’t) and wait for the inevitable Western collapse. i.e. Run out the clock when you know you’ve already won the game. Why risk your player’s health?
Detlef Romatzki says
I think, as I have discussed in my videos, that the point is missed about the Ukrainian offensive. It is always the same narrative, everywhere under Pro Russian Punters, even when the situation changes.
Nobody asks “WHY?” Zelenski is doing the offensive. Is it because he is an idiot? Is there not a general consensus under Pro Russian Punters that the Americans are directing the war effort?
Let me forward some ideas for Zelenski’s Action.
1) Zelenski states he has 700 000 troops. Russia has 200 000. Russia is mobilizing 300 000 more. That is a total of 500 000. So Zelensky believe he can launch an offense.
2) The Ukrainian army is gaining territory. It is by no means small territory, counter to what is professed. Retreating is demoralizing for Russian troops and population. However, it is very effective for Ukrainian side. Russian looses 0/10.
3) Zelensky has to show his supporters that his Army can win the Russians and he has done so successfully. It is like proving your business plan for your investors…..
4) If he looses his equipment, tanks, artillery, etc, then he runs out of hardware and can not effectively continue with the war. This gives him leverage with his Western partners for more modern Western weapons. He effectively forces them to make a choice. Either commit or Ukraine surrenders. With all the rhetoric of the West to support Ukraine till the end, what is the West going to decide?
5) With Putin having made his move by annexing the 4 provinces, the ball is in the court of the West. Russia considers this war as being existential. Does the West feel the same? If so then Zelensky’s plan forces the West to make a commitment and the war will escalate.
The above are just some thoughts.
Just one more point …
“The Russian soldiers already know how to wear a uniform, march in formation, maneuver as a unit, clean and operate their weapons, and communicate within a chain of command. ”
You do not need 3 months to do that. I have had military training and in 3 months you learn to do basic maneuvers, clean a rifle, learn how to disassemble and assemble it and learn to shoot….. more or less. The rest was PT, marching and discipline. We were then send into combat. It is called “Basic training”.
If I can suggest a tactic for the Ukrainian Soldiers. (Arm chair tactition)
Split forces up in platoon size, move to the front and within the, say 3km, minimum range of artillery, where they can converge or attack over the complete front. It will then become a hand to hand, tank vs anti tank or other form of battle. I know it is not that simple but tactics can be change if you have no aviation or proper artillery support.
Just my 2 cents …..
Putin thought he was dealing with The West and NATO, that they would negotiate a deal. He wasn’t. He instead was facing the WEF neocons, and their goal was sanctions, which failed. After Putin’s speech, I think he has caught on. The WEF neocons care little if Europeans suffer. This is what Putin missed and why negotiations would never be proffered. It was always about sanctions and destroying WEF’s main adversary, Russia. As a bonus, by destroying Russia with sanctions, they could finish the takeover of Syria and build their pipelines.
As of now the only goal is to keep Ukraine from collapsing before the November elections and the Senate steal. After that, Ukraine won’t matter. Biden will leave and Kamala will take over.
I also think Putin calculated he could hold on in Ukraine with present forces until winter took down Europe. Putin didn’t see a bunch of Academii NATO forces show up, nor did he think WEF would order the destruction of Nordstream.
Again, after his speech, I think he has caught on.
Putin’s refusal to respond firmly has made the situation very volatile. His SMO, designed to adhere to international law, is seen as a weakness by Washington! To the West, international law is nothing but a weapon to be used against those who don’t comply. Russia is a sitting duck, while Washington misreads the situation, and willfully crosses every Russian red line! Washington listens to Mr. Putin saying that he’s not bluffing, but at the same time his army is retreating from Russian territories, leaving Russians to the fate of Ukrainian Nazis. Mr. Putin’s threats do not reflect his actions on the ground, on the contrary it emboldens the Ukrainian to intensify shelling Russian territories on a daily basis, killing Russians indiscriminately! No wonder why Washington does not believe the Kremlin’s warnings. Putin’s SMO may have produced considerable financial success (except for Russian funds confiscated by EU banks), but on the other hand it has produced substantial military failure. Consider the fact that after seven months of fighting the contact line has not changed much (according to Russell Bently). This SMO has destroyed the reputation of the Russian military! Our beloved CIA runs circles around Russia and will exploit the desires of the Russian liberals to join the west into a color revolution, which is the CIA’s most likely future play! If the Russian military or the ruling Russian elites allow Mr. Putin to do another SMO, more civilians will die and Russia will surely be subjugated.
It is very difficult to know what Russia’s strategy is. Russia is unpredictable, and I mean that as a compliment! They act rational, they exhaust every alternative to war, but when they act, they act in a way that no one expected or predicted, thus gaining an advantage. They have read Zun Tse!
In mid-February, I was certain that Russia would intervene militarily, and thought that it would be an large assault in Donbass, in several east-west axes. From the Russian point of view, it was a rational thing to do to end the war in Donbas, but not to occupy or annex the whole of Ukraine. The 21st February, I predicted an attack on Donbass in what I think of as a classical Soviet style assault: broad front, heavy armour and artillery, destroying everything before them. (I later have realized that this is more the US style, but that is another story.) I expected a powerful, but simple operation. But what happed was a mind blowing complex operation in multiple directions. By the first week, Ukraine had lost virtually all operational capability. And it has not yet regained it, because Kharkov and Kerson is at most in the tactical-operational level.
Most surprising was that they attacked with a numerical inferior force, even though superior in firepower. I do not think that anyone predicted this, least of all USA/NATO, who’s goal it was to start a war of attrition to bleed Russia dry of military resources. They wanted the large Soviet style frontal attack. Instead we got a non-linear Blitz-Krieg on 5 fronts, combined with a very the decimation of C3IRS capacities and a rather rapidly destruction of armour, airdefence and airforce capacities. They reduced the Ukrainian army to entrenched infantry. Unpredictable! Impressive!
Almost every time I wonder at what the Russians are doing, it becomes clear that it is a part of a larger plan. A plan that is evolving, naturally. A military plan is a set of plans which constantly is adjusted based on what options one has. Or should be, I am not sure that is true for USA, they seem to be better at doubling-down, than to adapt.
What are the Russians up to now? Good question! All I know is that I do not know, and I suspect that when we know we will say: Yeah, that was a clever move. I predict that when they do act, that will be in a manner that we did not predict.
-But I am guessing that they aim for winter warfare. There will not be a winter vacation in this war. The US and UK handlers are appallingly bad at winter warfare and are generally not equipped for it, while Russians are really good at it and have gear that can handle it.
Carlton Meyer says
Army recruiting is down because people join for travel, good pay, and GI bill benefits. Your average GI doubles his pay when he joins. But no one wants to die for Ukraine.
The Russians fought bloody urban battles ousting the Ukes from cities. The Americans encouraged them to move into the farmlands to fight manly. The Russians thought, GREAT! Bring it on! Attack in open ground so our air and artillery can blast away.
The Russians don’t care much about the North. They are getting ready ready to surge across to Moldova and cut off Odessa.
Russian Gambit seems to be to coordinate their moves with the domestic events in the West. They would wait for elections in US to be over to see how they affect Ukraine. Till then they would keep a low profile lest they inadvertently end up strengthening Ukraine which would translate into additional costs in manpower, materials and time. This waiting would also wreak havoc on EU with the advent of winter possibly exposing their hidden internal enmity for the general public to see. OPEC+ have already decided to cut oil production, a sweet revenge for the stupid artificial lowering of oil prices to hurt Russian economy a few years back that nearly bankrupted Saudi Arabia. Russian goal would be to make the cost of continuation of war for the average citizen in the West unbearably high from their internal issues. This should mount pressure for a tacit agreement on ditching Ukraine. This would be accomplished by baiting Zelensky into committing some act that would morally justify his forced departure perhaps through a coup. After much huffing and puffing the West would come round to negotiation on resuming normal trade. Russia would seize that moment of weakness to get their new security architecture on the table as part of a package on normalisation of relations. That indivisible security is the end goal of Putin and Lavrov.
Public support of the West’s military operations in Ukraine is meaningless because all decisions are taken from authorities beyond the reach of voters. That is why there are few if any protests in the streets – most people know they have no influence and will be beaten down no matter what. The ellites are content to see Europe’s economies grind to a halt – they’re forcing the same offshoring of manufacturing and labor to Europe that previously was done to the US. “… societal failure in the west” again is of little concern to the elites, only the preservation of their financial hegemony.
“Ukraine has no real chance of replacing the troops already lost in the front lines.” That assumption has already been proved wrong. The West has nearly endless mercenary resources available, which going forward will be used in terrorist operations instead of official Ukrainian army actions. Training is of little importance for terrorism.
“Ukraine is now entirely dependent on the United States and NATO.” This has been true since 2014 and the US will continue pouring money and equipment into Ukraine. You underestimate these capabilities by assuming that economic conditions will hamper them, but you fail to understand the war economy is independent of the civilian one.
The Ukraine is the next Syria and there will be other countries to follow.
Russian strategy? I dunno, the Russian general staff doesn’t email me memos.
From what I can tell, Ukraine, just like the EU and the UK, are committing suicide. I don’t care, so I am not much interested in what they do or how they do it, but they seem to be using Russia for a weapon. Russia is obliging them.
The task seems tedious and I think Russia may want to stop when it is safe to do so. There is still Odesa Oblast, though.
I hesitate to call Russia’s strategy a corporeal act of mercy, but it often seems so.
Charles E. Fromage says
Bureaucracies and politicians everywhere are stupid. Remember when Donald Rumsfeld thought that the USA could take and pacify Iraq with 150K troops? I bet someone told Putin the same thing about Ukraine.
Russia certainly has many options, some planned, some probably serendipitous (like western banks collapsing due to higher interest rates, due to inflation). Also, American conservatives are finally finding a voice about dumping more $$ down the Ukraine rat-hole. The clock is ticking loudly for US neocons in Ukraine.
In that time, they will try to bleed Russia as much as possible.
How long does this game play out? No one knows.
That’s the million dollar question Larry. My opinion is that a non dystopian future requires a Russian win.
As has been clearly stated, the SMO was understaffed for its mission. The big gambit was to get Ukraine to sue for peace right? Well it didn’t work. I understand that the secondary objective was to tie down Ukraine forces while making territorial gains, that did work, and did saved many lives.
But ever since then Russia has been giving up massive chunks of territory and the truth is you don’t win a war by giving up territory. That’s like playing football to lose ground. But as Patton said, No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country, He won it by making some other dumb bastard die for his country.
Strategic withdrawals as a means to liquidate the enemy, ok but the needless sacrifice of civilians, soldiers and equipment in the towns and villages you leave behind is terrible and a waste.
Shouldn’t you take out critical infrastructure no matter what? We know Putin was trying to stay friends with the Ukrainians. That’s a bitter lesson paid for with lots of blood. They should have learned this lesson early on when Russian solders were given poisoned booze by the liberated Uke civilians etc.
Does Russia have a magic limit of 200,000 soldiers for a SMO? Why not start out with 500,000?
I would have expect Russia to have been alot tougher and better organized. For sure political and military incompetence and maybe traitorous activity is at work here. There is no such thing as victorious half-assed war.
As the Russian reinforcements arrive, I expect to see that Russia has learned most of its lessons and will come out swinging like what I originally expected. This war is physical, economic and spiritual. The Russian strategy could really be 5d chess… or not. I eagerly await your analysis.
Over and Out… Armchair General Greg
Bert Huber says
on this blog, the author recommends that Biden should blow turkstream in just like northstream
Tom Hickey says
Russia doesn’t need to sell its resources to fund the war. Being a currency issuer rather than a currency user, the state funds itself by issuing the currency, in this case the RUB, over which it has a monopoly as the sole issuer. It can require others to pay in RUB, which they have to obtain since only Russia issues the RUB. This is the present arrangement with Gazprom, for example. Russia could extend it to other commodities at will. But the RUB is still too strong in the opinion of the financial people to extend the RUB requirement.
Why would Russia want to sell its resources for USD, GBP, or EUR when its holdings of these currencies is seized and it cannot use these currencies for trade since they clear through institutions under the control of its enemies?
The only reason that Russia would need to obtain foreign currency is to purchase imported goods payable only in other currencies. But Russia instituted import substitution in anticipation of the. Russia is a currency sovereign with minimal foreign obligations that doesn’t need USD or Eur or anything else to pay for imported goods since import substitution has made Russia largely self-sufficient economically and financially.
Moreover, being one of the chief gold producers, Russia can inject funds directly into the economy. When the Bank of Russia buys gold from domestic producers, it simply issues the currency to do so. This all occurs electronically on spreadsheets. Actually, the commercial banks buys the gold output from the miners/refiners, and the Bank of Russia buys the gold from the banks, providing the RUB. This is considered a monetary transaction rather than a fiscal one.
So killing Turkstream would not affect Russia adversely but it would sink Europe almost ensuring the political rise of nationalistic populist parties opposed to the globalization, the EU and NATO. The resources that would have been going to Europe will be rerouted East instead. So killing more pipelines to Europe would just be another shot to the temple for the West.
In fact, the chief Russian strategy at this point seems to be just stand back and let the West destroy itself with arrogance combined with stupidity. I don’t know how the Russian leadership keeps from laughing publicly.
Henry Rech says
Very accurate summary of the situation.
In the longer term however, if the countries Russia is selling oil and gas to begin to reduce fossil fuel usage to comply with climate change mitigation obligations then Russia could be in trouble.
And as long as its gold production holds up it will have an internationally accepted currency.
The question is will it have sufficient gold to meet its foreign exchange obligations.
Tom Hickey says
Russia doesn’t rely just on it gold and energy resources. Russia is resource rich in many other ways on which the rest of the world is dependent owing to its market share. And in spite of the green agenda, the transition away from carbon-based energy is going to take decade under the best of circumstances, that is, with concerted action.
What we are seeing instead is nations pursuing their own interests, and in uncertain times like these no one is so committed to going green as to reduce their military capabilities. Militaries require huge amounts of fossil fuels. World trade depends on maritime fleets that run on bunker oil. These are two major sources of pollution. And then there is air travel. Jets burn through a lot of fuel.
Russia’s overall strategy is to challenge the West based on real resources, which the nations of the Global South/East are rich in. Russian economist Sergei Glazyev has laid this out. It’s a plan
Accessing real resources is the reason for colonialism in the first place. Russia and China are now challenging the 500 year rule of the Western colonial powers. In his accession speech, Putin positioned Russia as the champion of the Global South/East regarding decolonization. Notice how the Global South/East has been lining up, much to the West’s chagrin. In fact, the underlying reason for the move on Russia is to subordinate it and loot its resources as the West was doing under Yetsin after the collapse of the USSR. Putin put an end to it. Russians know this is the real objective. It was Hitler’s objective, too.
Colonialism worked while the colonizers had technological and industrial superiority, in fact, they pretty much ran a monopoly. That is over as the developing world is catching up and Russia and China are either at parity or ahead in some key fields. Russia and China have hypersonic missile capabilities that are already in production and tested in combat.
The West not only expected Russia to collapse financially and economically within weeks due to the sanctions but also to run out of ammunition in a few weeks. Neither happened because Russia is playing a different game on a different field.. Now that Western equipment and ammo stocks are drawn down supplying Ukraine, Nato countries are finding that they lack the industrial capacity to keep up. Russia is still expending ammo as usual.
Meanwhile, NATO and the EU are self-destructing from within economically. Germany is being forced to convert from an industrial economy to a service economy now that German industry can no longer rely on cheap Russian energy. Take out Southstream and the lights go out.
Henry Rech says
“..Russia doesn’t rely just on it gold and energy resources. Russia is resource rich in many other ways”
Yes of course. However, fossil fuel income is a large proportion of the economy. If and whenever fossil fuel consumption is significantly curtailed, it will hurt Russia.
“…… loot its resources as the West was doing under Yetsin after the collapse of the USSR.”
Yes, the Russian kleptocrats have the same knack of doing it to themselves.
“Germany is being forced to convert from an industrial economy to a service economy …”
Shouldn’t get too carried away by the Duran boys’ prognostications. Germany will hurt but it will adjust. The bigger problem for Germany could be what happens to its exports to China.
As for all the military stuff, I have no idea who to believe, but probably the pro-Russians. We’ll see.
Climate obligations are a controversial subject in itself and not everyone agrees with the so called climate science. Besides, food and fertilizers also bring a lot of income to Russia. Military exports are another money earner. So your concern about the rouble’s international standing is really not a serious matter.
You observed the poor state of education and industry in the West. Whatever the actual gambits of Russian strategy, delay works to their benefit. The main substantially educated personnel in North America are trades people and some engineers and scientists. However, many of these are maleducated, and even those who are adequate often have weak foundational knowledge.
In Mexico, one must first master a trade before one may obtain engineering training, thus such people may suitably integrate theory and practice. What holds Mexico back is many pathologies, of which I suspect Pb poisoning especially due to fuel is the principal issue.
But in order for engineering and education to improve, substantially new projects are needed, that force good policies on education. NATO countries have been resting on their laurels for a long time, thus allowing all manner of tom-foolery with education. Thus educational ideologies are fashions with short half-lives, instead of under the direction of those responsible for tertiary education (although look up “The Fall of the Faculty” by Benjamin Ginsberg—“professional” administrators do not care about education).
At the same time, experienced technical personnel retire, and can thus not give on-the-job training to new personnel. Entire skill-sets are being lost, while culture wars (internal factional fights) prevent action to address these issues.
Another matter where time is on Russia’s side is the attitudes of Ukrainians. As a younger generation (and less Pb affected generation — Yeltsin’s destruction of the Russian economy is likely behind the current low crime younger Russian generation due to collapse of fuel consumption) grows up in the Ukraine, they will be able to displace the ideologues and criminals currently running the show, and can thus take on the task of reconstruction.
Dan Farrand says
2 weeks ago I would not have believed it possible, but now it seems possible that Russia will be forced out of Kherson.
Once the railroad bridge over the dam is within Ukrainian artillery range, the supply situation on the west bank will become very difficult. It seems apparent that supplies are already tight there since there seems to be little effort to reinforce the defense there.
Still seems improbable, but Ukraine keeps attacking and Russia keeps backing up. They have another 50 miles or so.
Once they are forced off the west bank. Given the offensive capabilities we’ve seen thus far, the Russian army will never get back over..
Again it seems highly improbably, but given the stakes I would expect to see the Russians do more, which may suggest they are doing all they can and they are much weaker than anyone imagined.
If Kherson is lost, the war is lost. In theory, the Russians could fight back , but politically it would be very difficult to keep the people from concluding that the current Russian Military is the Czars WW1 military all over again. It’s also hard to see how Putin stays in power if Kherson is lost. A Russia reporter with the troops there for the first time mentioned it as a possibility. Maybe it’s time for Putin to find his inner Stalin if he does not want to end up like Alexandar because he put too much faith in the formal lines of communication with his military.
Putins watch word need to be: “Show me”
just saying says
Ukrops taking Kherson would be a modern day equivalent of Nazis on doorstep of Moscow. It could easily happen, but it would not make Russians want to surerender. It would make them mobilize more, and make payback bloodier.
On tactical minutiae, Shukow about the campaign of autumn 1943 in the Ukraine:
“In the evening of October 24. Our troops were coerced at a number of places to retreat for up to 10 Km and, without being able to entrench, to retreat further 25 Kilometer. Only at the Ingulez the could trench. So much the enemy tried to throw us back behind this river, he didn’t succeed. After large losses he had to cease his attacks and to pass over to defense.”
Shukow, Erinnerungen und Gedanken, Berlin 1987,Vol 2, p.204.
Please note, events like this happened, again at this or that sector of the front, even 9 Months after the victory of Stalingrad and 3 months after Kursk, about which Shukow stated, that the Russian Army had now developed the full level of mastering the art of war.
The historical event of the last and the current week gives an incredible opportunity for mundane astrologers, to learn to watch and read the parallels on the strategical, operational and tactical level between Earth and heaven.
This diary of the 40 week contains the horoscope of last Friday’s signing of the accession of the new/old territories to the RF, and the transits of the moment to V.V. Putin’s personal horoscope.
It’s completely speaking for itself:
Raymond Flagstaff says
You allude to the different soviet tactic of sacrificing men in greater numbers than what Russia is currently doing but I think it should be noted that the situations are not all that similar and really somewhat reversed. I guess Zhukov gave that impression before the war, but if you look at how Zhukov really came into historical prominence it was with his tireless effort as the Nazis closed in on Moscow… between Moscow and Kursk there still remained an extremely dire threat that the Nazi’s could destroy the Soviets.
On the flipside we see the opposite now, except the critical difference is that Ukraine is not legally backed by anything resembling the old Soviet base. Instead, I agree it doesn’t seem like there is a realistic way outside of wider war for Ukraine to withstand Russian advances… Additionally my understanding is that one critical flaw of Hitler’s post Moscow war effort was an unwillingness to give territory. Outsiders such as myself, perhaps you the host, will find it hard to understand what is going on on the ground. We really have no way of knowing one way or the other whether Russia is simply taking out opposition men and material during the advance, retreating before major casualties, and forming counter attacks or durable defensive lines on the now over extended lines of the attacking force… this is exactly what Zhukov accomplished at Kursk… or whether the Ukraine is being supplied with more forces than we are told of, perhaps by the west, and the Russian military is acting incompetently. The somewhat simplistic nature of the incompetency argument, and the general lack of strategic or tactical knowledge by the populace at large implies the Russian’s are acting prudently to me. Giving ground and counter attacking is a very viable method of war and no amount of blogger sniveling will change that.
If we go to the chess analogy I don’t even see Russia as ‘sacrificing pawns’, they are in fact keeping their material advantage and using the clock against the west and Ukraine. They may not be following generally accepted opening principals, but that’s never necessary when you have prepared a line. They are however sacrificing control of some parts of the board in order to take advantage of the attack on the other side, or even the most critical center. This is likely their strategy based on their preparations. Should the areas away from Ukraine’s current successes yield heavy losses then it becomes more acceptable to question Russia’s strategy. Losing the center, or the kingside are meaningful if they willingly gave up the queenside. It’s almost a categorical error of bloggers and pundits (Martyanov takes pains to explain this but I doubt many get it anyway) to think in terms of the tit for tat space advantages when Russia still maintains all its pieces and has already taken large areas of the board. Most people have no clue how to play chess, and even less probably understand what war is. Ukraine’s losses are 100% unsustainable and no amount of PR is going to change what is happening on the board. NATO probably cannot indefinitely funnel men and supplies into Ukraine and so eventually Russia’s material advantages will collapse the Ukrainian defense under the pressure of the clock running out, the same way Hitler collapsed his ability to fight war by demanding the Kursk offensive that he and his generals largely suspected would fail… Also similar the way Hitler ran out of time and the attack was weeks too late allowing further Soviet entrenchment. Clock plays a very important role in strategy
It would be more appropriate in March of this year for Putin to have said, one kick and the whole edifice will crumble down, than for Hitler. Putin so far seems content with the anti-genocidal move on Ukraine, whereas it doesn’t seem Hitler was satiated by his anti-genocidal move on Poland, or perhaps like the west tries now, he was incapable of stopping there… Putin has shown to me as a serious and reliable leader, not easily swayed by whim, in short a strategically minded intelligent leader. We all focus so much on Russia because the media and narratives tell us to, but it is the west now opening a many front war without enough manufacturing base to make good on its threats or people willing to fight its war… the west is following the path of Nazi Germany and Russia kicked in the door.
OPEC+ cutting production by 2 million barrels per day will help keep inflation stoked and J. Powell raising interest rates. This goes to show how far Amercan prestige has fallen. A driveling Biden tried to talk the Saudis into increasing oil production but they did the opposite. I guess they were unimpressed (hmmm? Wonder why?). Before this fiasco is over, NATO will be gone, Germany and the US estranged, and the BRICS nations the new power axis.
“Bad times make strong men,
Strong men make good times,
Good times make weak men,
Weak men make bad times”
The clown show known as the Biden Administration are the epitome of “weak men” (and dumb too!)
Putin is a strong man: building his society from the ruin of the USSR and the drunk Yeltsin. Churches are being built, culture and pride being restored and Russua is negotiating and succeeding with the non-Western world (non of which are going along with sanctions). In contrast, the US is overly concerned with men who wear dresses, blows up their allies’ energy life line, invades the world and invites the world.
It saddens me to say, but America is going to fall a lot further.
Black Cloud says
Temporairly ceding some abandonded and destroyed territory is not a sacrafice. Watching the SMO reveals a repeated pattern of well-planned and executed tactical withdrawls that draw Ukros aways from cities and their human shields out into open killing fields.
The chess analogy would be better applied to the war against the west, but only if the west was not playing tiddly winks.
Ocean Jasper says
Use the SMO to slowly take over enough of the four oblasts so as get enough of the population to hold a vote on whether to join the RF or not, while at the same time grinding the UFA war ability to dust.
And then right as the oblasts are becoming Russian and thus the SMO no longer applies the weather is changing and the ground is getting muddy and harder to traverse making movements more predictable, as reports of a massive Russian troop build is occurring, the UFA is suddenly becoming successful and really extending themselves.
They’ve left their safe zones and soon will be mostly forced to use roads all of which have likely been gridded for artillery fire and are likely under constant surveillance from sats, drones, well-hidden manned OPs, and well-concealed unmanned cameras watching every crossroads and potential hiding places.
The UAF will soon be contending with more, (maybe higher-quality?), troops fighting under different rules.
I think the RAF have let the UAF weeds grow tall and are about to scythe them down to the ground.
However they may not want to destroy all of them. Just enough that they are not a real threat.
So they may want to leave some to continue the fight from outside Russia’s new borders giving the Russians cause to push into those areas and grab enough of them to hold referenda on joining the RF.
Repeat until all the territory they want is part of the RF.
Note: This means there ample reason for Russia not to cripple Ukraine by taking out a lot of critical infrastructure. They are not going to want to harm their prospective new citizens nor would they want to bring misery to those in areas they will not claim. If you look at the language map there are native Russian speakers as minorities all throughout Ukraine and likely have relations that live in Russia, so wantonly destroying infrastructure will not only directly harm Russians but will anger their relatives as well as Russians in general.
Zé das bolachas says
My 2 cents:
Russia has plenty of resources namely energy, food, water and comodities.
The west has its printers.
Those printers sure atract alot of mercenaries, criminals and low IQ scum.
Russia is playing the game of letting them feel overconfident, send more scum and junk machines to be grinded down by remote means.
See, you can always print more money but eventually you achieve a point where not even all the money can find a merc willing to have it.
You can print money but not, let’s say, an apple!
So, again, Russia preserving assets while the west is losing them.
To paraphrase, what I believe is an old Soviet Army joke.
President Putin and Minister Shoigu are eating dinner in a restaurant in Kiev. President Putin suddenly looks troubled.
“Is something wrong, Mr. President?”, asks Minister Shoigu.
“Remind me again Sergei. Who won the Propaganda War?”
The current Ukrainian offensive is the one that was supposed to drive the Russians out of Donbass and even Crimea. I suspect the chances of this happening approach zero.
As for the next step for the Russian Armed Forces, I see two directions that could be taken.
They could launch a large counterattack intended to completely sunder the Ukrainian lines and drive them back over a large distance. Not unlike Bagration. This carries with it the likelihood of a relatively high Russian casualty rate. It also might cause the West to do something rash.
Alternatively they could opt for a more measured level of activity to slowly drive the Ukrainians back, while preserving the Russian forces and the illusion of Ukrainian viability.
In neither case do I foresee any attempt to seriously damage civilian infrastructure or to heavily bomb Ukrainian population centers.
Personally I think they will and should choose the second option. It will be interesting to see what happens.
As for Belarus. Their best use is as a peaceful buffer between Russia and Poland.
I just listened to corporate ex-general Patraeus on a US media program talking about Russian military strategy in Ukraine.
What a disgusting example of US military leadership.
Jim Giles says
Putin Must Go
I once interviewed John Bolton: https://rebelarmy.com/audio/RFM-2008-08-25-JohnBolton.mp3
Thanks to Larry Johnson I believe I have you figured out. Dr. Roberts has got it all wrong:
Goody Two Shoes in the Kremlin
I believe you are planning and preparing for a counterattack, the likes of which the world has never seen.
And the option of this never coming to pass is not a possibility because those controlling America are the same people who caused WWI and WWII. IOW, there is no avoiding WWIII which is coming soon under your command.
Russia being the largest country in the world allows for you to have a safer haven. After America destroyed your Nord Stream pipelines, America will never be the same again. A very small country compared to Russia in more ways than one.
What will China do when Russia counterattacks America?
Radio Free Mississippi
P.S. Dr. Giraldi, What is the world going to look like after Russia’s counterattack on America?
One can only speculate on what it is Putin’s after:
The snail like speed of the op from the start, avoiding the destruction of bridges over Dniepr, command centres, railway links etc., the giving up of territory and retreating now may all be a bait, Putin may want a head on confrontation with NATO aka the Americans (he may get what he wishes for – see the link).
Winning in Ukraine, if it happened, would solve nothing, Russia would be even worse off than when the special op began what with two more neighbours of Russia joining the alliance.
What the Stavka must believe is that there’s a window before the Americans have defence and attack missile systems akin to those Russia currently possesses, the Americans are unable to intercept all Russian missiles, Russia has the capability to intercept theirs.
Nobody can win a nuclear conflict but Putin doesn’t have to win it, all he has to do is inflict enough harm to get the Americans to make serious concessions to prevent their mainland turning inhabitable, in this he gambles thinking that few nukes over Russia will not destroy his regime, the majority of the Russian plebeians are backing him, the same support is missing in the West, the majority of people have had enough of the progressive wokeness, he must believe, they will turn against their leaders who are blamed for it.
The blowing up the N-2 gas pipeline wasn’t necessary, the Americans could have ordered the Germans/EU to stop buying Russian oil&gas, they would have complied, the destruction was chosen deliberately, it not only cuts off Russian gas deliveries to Europe opening the market solely for the American LNG, it also humiliates Putin, next the Americans will exacerbate the ignominy by imposing new sanctions on Russia for ‘disrupting the European energy network’.
Black Cloud says
No speculation necessary, Putin has been clearly defining Russia’s needs since at least 2007.
We are not talking objectives, BC, but the means of achieving them, what everyone is missing is the obvious, whatever the outcome in Ukraine the end result would change FA as far as the US policy of containment, encirclement and eventual balkanisation of Russia is concerned, Putin needs to force the Americans to publicly abandon it.
The only way it can happen is if the Russian Armed Forces confront the Americans head on, there isn’t any other way.
The hardware Russia currently has in the missile department is superior to what the Americans can deploy, Russian missiles have the ability to get through the American defensive set-up, that won’t last, in 2-3 years the Americans will catch up or get better defensive and offensive gear, that will be curtains for Russia.
Black Cloud says
The US depends on its European vassals to achieve their aims against Russia. With the imminent collapse of the EU and likely disintegration of NATO the US foothold in Europe will be reduced to England, which is also in deep economic and political trouble.
As events in Central Asia show US malfeasance there is being actively repelled. The Middle East and Africa are firmly on Russia’s side, as are China and India.
Most of the action is taking place outside of Ukraine. Pay attention and lay off the KoolAid.
Glenn Crowther says
Going to sound a lot like Scott Ritter here. I think his analysis of the conflict is pretty spot on and he explains his analysis quite well.
Due to legislative restraints the Allies used combined arms mobile warfare to get the Ukrainians close to a peace deal in April, a condition of which was Russian withdrawal from northern Ukraine. Once this was scuppered by Johnson … the buffoon not Larry … having already shaped the battle field in the east as they wanted it, sat back and blew the living crap out of the heavily entrenched Ukrainian forces in the Donbass whilst fighting holding actions and occasional reconnaissance probes to the north and south and only taking territory once resistance was bombed out of existence. Essentially they had destroyed most of Ukraine’s armed forces this way. NATO then reconstituted the Ukrainian army out of harms way for the offensives in September, planning and conducting the whole operation, exposing the lack of troops the Allies have especially in the North.
Russia then changed the game with the absorption of the four southern Oblasts and limited mobilization. In a few months we will see the biggest offensive in Europe since since WW2, according to normal Russian doctrine.
Russia have been fighting a modern combined arms war, even with the limitations of the SMO and this war would of been over with out US and NATO support to prolong the conflict. Ukrainian has been fighting the war by sacrificing it’s manpower for political PR and the territory it has “reclaimed” was at an abhorrent costs which is unsustainable to say the least.
On the larger geopolitical scale Russia is winning the economic war, NATO equipment resources to give to Ukraine are pretty much exhausted and the west no longer had the manufacturing base to quickly reconstitute it for themselves let alone give more to Ukraine. If not gaining international support they have garnered international understanding from major world players and a new wold order is being created.
I also think the Nord Stream destruction obviously by the USA who had motive, means and opportunity … not to mention the obvious cui bono factor … and existing desire and threat to do so will fracture Europe and drive them away from the US though this will take time and changes of government to manifest. Unfortunately this will drive Europe to the far right as it did pre-WW2.
That would be my highly plagiarized two cents worth but I have agreed with Ritter’s opinion and analysis on most things since he appeared on Australian TV twenty years ago.
In the late 1800s …. Anglo banking interests declared war on Germany….once they developed a process to create Nitrogen fertilizer theoretically the Nation could support a population base that would dominate Europe and the colonial holdings of Europe…..war has been declared against the largest and richest land mass on earth plain and simple….the Anglo American domination of the world has run its course but it will not go quietly into the night…it will drag down its allies who are competition and the perceived enemy …enter stage right…a proxy army to attack the enemy/resource rich Nation and create a conflict that will keep its allies/competition within it’s sphere of influence. The Democrats under Clinton promised war as part of her campaign promise in the form of a no flies zone over Syria that would topple Assad and allow Qatari gas to flow to Europe via Turkey.. hence existential threat to Russia and war.. and now sleepy Joe puppet and Obama are picking up where Killary left off. I suspect Western interests and their trillions of missing tax dollars have built deep underground shelters for the elite and are now pushing for a nuclear war that will solve all the problems….save the dollar….massive depopulation…. retention of power base and destruction of competition and absolute control of a left over compliant shocked population. I believe the nationalist Putin knows this and is acting logically and methodically but purposely not escalating as they want. He pummeled the Ukrainian army that was on the defensive and then stopped offensive operations because conditions are now benefitting defensive operations. He will slowly take the historic areas of the Rus population and let the Catholic regions go back to Poland etc….at the same time not taking the bait of the globalists and Zionist Christian neocon death cults who are trying to quantify Their apocalyptic self prophesy who want this showdown.
Sierra Madre Trails says
Russia awaits the invader in the conquered territories, the invader hesitates because the terms have changed if they attack they invade the Russian Federation, it seems that the Russian army hesitates but it is the West that hesitates and orders the Ukrainians and Nazis to die for the glory of themselves without Having shed a drop of their blood until today, the West does not show its face, it does everything in darkness and betrayal, it would be convenient for Russia if the West loses control and tries to emulate Hitler and Napoleon.
Let us recall the line from “The Hunt for Red October” that the Russians “don’t take a dump without a plan”. Russia has planned all this out to the finest detail, as Andrei Martyanov keeps reminding us. And Russia’s apparent slowness in dealing with Ukraine is also to keep its key allies – India, China, Brazil, Africa – on board, whose support Russia very much needs. Otherwise, any sudden moves would destabilize the global economy on which those countries depend. Look at how India, China and Brazil abstained in the UNSC on the resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of the four territories.
The media is fixated on Russia’s retreats in Liman and Kherson, without informing us that literally thousands of Ukrainian soldiers are being slaughtered there – obviously, this a Russian trap, into which Ukraine has foolishly fallen. This will eventually trigger mass emigration of young men out of Ukraine, or an eventual military coup that will topple the Zelensky regime.
Or, Ukraine will continue slowly bleeding to death, after which Russia’s newly mobilized force of 300,000 experienced troops will simply take over Odessa and Kharkov. Remember – Sergei Lavrov already hinted that Russia hasn’t stopped grabbing Ukrainian territory.
No they are not losing to keep others on board.
Other countries backing Russia wanted a quick win.
As for planning to the finest detail Russia did not want to invade, it felt it had to, and there is alot of political interference in military plans and firing and hiring. The army always wanted more soldiers.
They are not losing at all. They are winning slowly in order to keep others on board. A quick win would require the complete destruction of Ukraine, in a manner similar to NATO’s “shock and awe” destruction of Serbia and Iraq – something that would trigger huge criticism from the media, and which would eventually force Russia’s allies to start complaining about “loss of civilian life”, etc.
Yes, Russia did invade when it became absolutely necessary, but that’s how countries with defensive military doctrines (as opposed to NATO which invades mainly to preserve its hegemony) always behave.
And yes, political interference in military matters exists in all countries governed by the rule of law – nothing unusual there. That’s because this is a war that being fought on two fronts simultaneously – geopolitical as well as military. And the military leaders won’t be as knowledgeable about the geopolitical situation as Putin and his leadership team.
No a quick win would not have required total destruction.
Earlier deployment of
300k troops and properly equipping the republics would have done it.
Richard Whitney says
Putin is applying Laozi, Dao principles, to this operation.
Watch it unfold.
I’m going to be a contrarian of sorts.
Taking physical land truly does mean something. Think Vietnam and the George W Bush’s surge. Yet, at the same time one can give up land to get a better outcome, but that it historically not a military norm.
I truly don’t give a flip who wins in this. It shouldn’t affect me as a US citizen, but it does because it might mean a much wider, direct war that may mean my area might be wiped away, Raytheon is only a mere 20-30 miles away. Worse, it might mean a full on invasion of my US homeland. Really, you say? Well, when you do not give a face saving out, you better expect the worst.
I have taken 3 separate oaths to defend the US Constitution. If it means I must fight Russia on our soul, oh, I will fight, not to defend my country or now Constitution, but to make sure my family is safe. This is all due to the fact we are not acting Constitutionally or even reasonable.
Yes, taking physical land does mean something – as long as you are able to defend the takeover, and as long as the soldiers who took the land don’t keep getting wiped out by Russia artillery. Beyond a point, you won’t have enough soldiers to defend the grabbed land, and then Russia’s newly mobilized 300K+ soldiers can simply move in and take over.
Ukraine is basically taking land mainly as a PR exercise, to keep the West’s interest in this war alive, which is now waning. Frankly, the only option left for Ukraine is to retreat behind solid defensive lines, conserve its weapons/ammo and soldiers, and find some sort of negotiated peace with Russia so that it at least gets to keep Odessa, which will give it access to the sea. In any case, Putin has once again made the offer of negotiations.
Jim Giles says
From MI Spooks:
Nuclear war is highly unlikely. That’s not wishful thinking on my part, but I’ll not disclose how I know.
Since you are not special forces U.S. Military like MI Spooks how do you respond to the certitude of MI Spooks?
Radio Free Mississippi
P.S. Col. North, You’ve probably forgotten flying me to DC but you did and I sat next to you and answered your friend Paul Begala’s questions. A question for you since you are a Marine, like MI Spooks, why is nuclear war highly unlikely?
Far from unlikely, Jim, both parties have nuclear that isn’t radioactive, that gets lobbied first with a warning ‘surrender or we will fire nukes that pollute’. You reckon the Western leaders will carry on after the stage one? More to the point, will the unwashed support the leaders that have been ‘bringing back better’?
On the other side, Putin has the backing of the majority of his unwashed, he has to confront the Americans to a point at which they will be compelled to abandon the policy of containment, eventually the balkanisation of Russia, i.e. giving up on the Wolfowitz doctrine.
Greenwald’s right, de-escalate now.
Ernesto González says
Great piece, Mr. Johnson! Thanks for taking the time to educate us and pull all us out the cavern of the Western propaganda. My surmise is, if may I be so bold, Putin’s gambit has been, it is and will be attrition, attrition and attrition, again and again, at all levels. It is perhaps the only way he can counteracts the hyper and hybrid the Russian Federation has been subjected to sice last February. And yes I concur with your chess analogy, but also think it is a chess match at a far more complex geopolitical degree. Ukraine is just one square in the “Great Game” we are now watching, an importat one, but nonetheless only a square. While playing at the cracks in the opposite field, offering baits and preparing new moves, Russia and their allies are chipping bit by bit a beast -the Colective West- that has dig his own pit and will be buried in it….So, thank again and looking forward to new posts on your blog.
“Despite a resounding victory at Camden in August 1780, Cornwallis’s force was unable to completely destroy the enemy regulars and to suppress the irregular partisan bands. Defeats of subordinates (Cowpens, January 1781; Kings Mountain, October 1780) stripped away his mounted infantry and dragoons and inhibited Loyalist support. Nevertheless, Cornwallis pressed on and chased the Continental Army under Nathanael Greene across North Carolina in a winter campaign. Cornwallis finally engaged Greene at Guilford Courthouse in March 1781, winning the field but suffering irreplaceable casualties.”
…Then came Yorktown, and the rest is history which Americans—and the British—seem to have forgotten.
Savor your “victories”, Ukraine. Winter is coming, and with it, your Yorktown.
The west is mistaking Russian patience on the battlefield for weakness. I believe that Putin is ripping a page right out of the Rand Corp. study, and drawing out the conflict to “overextend and unbalance” the U.S. and their European poodles.
HMS Terror says
Answering the title question requires weaving a number of sometimes apparently contradictory developments regarding the RuAF’s activities into one strategic picture.
Notwithstanding battlefield developments, the big picture that has emerged over the last month is that Putin has successfully synced the ideological, political, legal and military realms and all of Russia now understands that the battle is existential. He can now, should the situation warrant, put the entire country on a war footing with little social/political resistance.
Russia’s opponents are very, very far from being able to do that. In fact, the opposite trends are underway. The collective West is unravelling as Europeans start to realize the strategy behind the US’ refusal to commit troops, its suicidal sanctions schemes, and its destruction of Nordstream. Namely, the US has cut Europe adrift, and is siphoning off its industrial wealth to America. Europe’s great industrial concerns are already shopping for locations and individual States are already rolling out red carpets of incentives. This is how MAGA will win after all. That a critical mass of Europe’s politicians facilitated the American plan because it fits with Davos-man’s bizarre, dystopian ideology made it too easy.
Escobar confirms that Patrushev and Sullivan are talking. Maybe they’re discussing how easy it is to blow up each other’s unprotected infrastructure, but it’s more likely that the realists in the State Dept and NSA have at least temporarily gained the upper hand and they’re discussing the ground rules that will govern their behaviour now and perhaps later at the Table of Great Powers when the transition to multi-polarity matures. It’s not at all clear that the realists will continue to prevail, so bets are being hedged all ’round.
As for the front line, the notion that the Allies’ sudden abandonment of offence and settling first into defence, then draw-down, and finally into withdrawal was due to “lack of resources” and/or “incompetence” is non-sensical.
These were clearly professionally planned and executed Retrograde Operations. Prior to those “retreats”, men and materiel including vast quantities of armour had been massing in the rear. That includes the 30-60k man 3rd Corps which proclaimed itself ready to roll in mid-summer and promptly disappeared from view. By all accounts, there were plenty of resources scattered around Crimea and the 4 new Oblasts that the General Staff could’ve brought forward to man the barricades if holding ground was a priority.
That can mean only one thing. Despite having the resources to hand, the General Staff had no intention of holding at the line of contact when the AFU attacked. All we know is that the AFU were allowed to advance with no more resistance than it took to slow their progress to a pace that allowed Allied stand-off artillery, missile and aviation forces to exact the heaviest possible price at the lowest possible cost.
The massing in the rear has recently accelerated. Then there’s a steady stream of reports that the RuAF is also massing in Belgorod Oblast. Less reliable reports are coming out of Sumy & Belarus. I haven’t seen definitive evidence of the reality and size of these massings, but true or false they’re helping shape the future battlefield.
Sun Tze’s dictums tell the strategist to: “Appear weak where you are strong, and appear strong where you are weak” and to “appear close when you are far away, and far away when you are close”. IOW, maskirovka, a Russian specialty. All in all, we can honestly glean only that something unexpected & dangerous AFU’s way comes.
Our hope is the mid-terms elections in USA.
If only the globalists could lose their grip on the weapon that is the USA, it might (with the help of some prayers to Santa Rita) prevent an all-out war between NATO and Russia in Ukraine.