As I’ve said on several occasions, we can’t trust news reports coming out of Ukraine and Russia about the ongoing war between them. Almost everyone has an axe to grind, almost everyone is pushing a biased, subjective perspective, and almost everyone is holding back anything and everything that might reflect negatively on the side they support. We’re left floundering in the fog of war, wondering what’s really going on, and we probably won’t know for months, if not years, what’s actually taking place right now.
Be that as it may, there are some very intelligent, well-informed commenters out there who are putting the conflict into perspective from their points of view. I’ve been trying to read about the situation as widely as possible, and found their insights valuable in helping me to understand why the war started, its current direction, and what it might imply for the world in the future. Here are four that I highly recommend to your attention. Click each headline to read the article in full.
Bluntly Putin seems to have bet on a “short victorious war” and failed. He can now at best get either a short war or a victorious war but not both. And quite possibly neither … Indeed, this unprovoked assault is unifying in a non-squishy manner all sorts of countries and organizations that Putin must have assumed were not capable of such … In fact I think we’re seeing more reaction to Russian aggression than anyone expected and the reason is that this invasion has brought home just how vulnerable much of Europe is. That has scared the European political class. Scared people will often band together and lash out at their attackers from a group.
Which leads me back to last month’s invasion of Ottawa and the parallels with Ukraine.
Castreau has probably defeated (for now) the Honkening, and he did so by invoking his emergencies act which included telling banks to freeze the accounts of anyone suspected of being sympathetic to the Truckers. In the short term this was successful even if he had to undo most of the act a week later but he’s done long term damage to Canada as a result. There are persistent rumors that Canadians of all stripes are withdrawing money from all Canadian banks … Moreover my guess is that the move to a cashless society with everything paid for by card/smartphone has just reversed hard in Canada … All in all the Canadian financial system has probably taken a significant hit and that in turn is likely to hit the rest of the economy, which thanks to the Wuflu, is not as healthy as it might be anyway. When this comes out – and it will – the victory over the Honkening will likely lead to negative consequences for Castreau and his liberals. We can add that the intransigence regarding vaccination etc. is likely to also impact the ability of Canadian trucking firms to recruit new drivers and that is going to hurt the economy even more. Plus there has I think, been a general loss of trust in the police, and that’s never a good thing. Its hard to see exactly how this plays out but I don’t think it will benefit the Turdeau.
In similar fashion the weaponizing of the financial system against Russia is going to cause some second and third order consequences that people haven’t thought about. It’s going to screw up trust in the global financial system as a whole.
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You don’t have to be a Putin fanboy (in case it isn’t obvious I’m not, I hope he gets a Romanian Christmas present for Easter) to see that western governments are taking advantage of this crisis as they did of the Wuflu to gather more power to themselves and provide less opportunity to the lower classes. Just as with the Canadian financial mess, none of this is going to be easily put back in the bottle. The global powers have seen (just as they did with 9/11 for that matter) that under the right circumstances they can ignore the rule of law and custom and just take things/impose regulations if there’s an emergency. Whether or not Putin wins in Ukraine, fighting him is going to do severe harm to international institutions and norms and that’s just as bad when it’s in a good cause (stopping Putin) as when it isn’t (stopping Truckers).
Much of the “realist” discourse is about accepting Putin’s victory, cuz it’s *guaranteed*. But how do we know it is?
I’ll argue that analysts 1) overrate Russian army 2) underrate Ukrainian one 3) misunderstand Russian strategy & political goals.
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Russian invading force is small. It has LOTS of artillery ofc. But it’s not numerous enough to win. Pro-Russian analysts compare their advance with Barbarossa. But unlike Wehrmacht in 1941 Russian invaders have only *ONE ECHELON OF TROOPS*
How is a Blitzkrieg organised? By echelons. First echelon is moving forward as fast as they can. Ofc this means that lots of defenders will be left in their rear. But then the second echelon comes, then third, etc. They finish defenders, occupy territory, control the supply lines
If Russia launched a proper Barbarossa-style Blitzkrieg that would happen now – first, second, third echelons. But the second echelon didn’t come. It never existed. Why? First, Russia’s *not* landmaxing and thus doesn’t have so much resources and infrastructure for the land war
Secondly, launching several echelons would require long arduous preparation. You need to mobilise them, move to the borders, quarter, maintain and supply. It’s not that easy. It’s a hard job that should have been done well in advance to wage a Blitzkrieg. And it hadn’t been done
Why Russia didn’t prepare a proper Blitzkrieg? And now we come for the third and main reason. Blitzkrieg is a war strategy. Blitzkrieg is how you break & suppress the enemy who’s actually fighting. Russia didn’t plan it because it didn’t plan a war. It planned a Special Operation
[Putin’s] declaration of “special operation” in Ukraine is sincere, because he didn’t expect the war. He doesn’t know how to do wars. For all of his life he’s been organising and launching the special operations
First, as a KGB officer. Then, as St Petersburg city councillor for foreign affairs (= illegally selling Soviet warehouse stuff to the West). In 1990s he closely worked with the criminal world and he did it successfully.
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[Putin] initiated conflicts each time his had to boost his popularity and tough image. Chechnya, Georgia, Syria. But neither of this was a war. Every conflict was a Special operation waged:
1) for political goals
2) against small force which had no chance to win against Russia
Putin fought only with small countries. Chechnya – 1 million people, Georgia – 4. Syria had more, but he fought with rebels, with no proper training or armaments. Also “counterterrorist” discourse allowed Russians to simply level entire cities to the ground with no consequences
Every time Putin needed to confirm his alpha status he would devastate some little country with a Special Operation. They didn’t require proper preparation because they bore no existential risk to Russia or to him. Like, the **** they’re gonna do? No risk = no need to bother
Putin decided to repeat this little trick again. Hence, not that numerous army of invasion, only one echelon of advance, etc. But Ukraine is much bigger – it has 44 million people. What was Putin thinking?
Gas and oil, and thus who tried to curtail both, explain a lot of the current mess. The nihilist Biden’s decision voluntarily to cancel new pipelines, federal leases, ANWAR, and leverage loss of bank financing for fracking, and to give up well over 2 million barrels of daily production will be seen not just as an economic disaster. It was a strategic catastrophe.
When Europe, or indeed the West, is dependent on Russian goodwill to drive and keep warm, it can never be free.
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Factor in the Afghanistan humiliation, the walk away from $80 billion in arms and equipment, a $1 billion Kabul embassy, a multimillion-dollar refit of Bagram Airbase, the woke politicization of the Pentagon, the McCarthyite hunt inside the ranks for white rage/supremacy, the inane rantings of retired admirals and generals, the revolving door of four-stars to defense contractor boards—and in just three years, the military lost a half-century of American public support.
All this and more have eroded the global fear of the U.S. military. We have all but destroyed American trust in our own armed forces (only 45 percent of the Americans poll great confidence in the military).
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In short, the America of even 1990 no longer exists. To retain our deterrence abroad, we must tighten our belts at home, pump oil and gas, start to balance our budget, junk wokeism as a nihilist indulgence, and recalibrate our military.
NATO is now a mere construct. It was birthed and exists to do three things in Europe: keep America in, Germany down, and Russia out. Now Germany is up. America is out. And Russia is in.
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Left unsaid are the years of rapacious Biden family profiteering in Ukraine, a decade of leftist passive-aggressive love and hate of Russia, from obsequious reset to greedy Uranium One to pathetic “tell Vladimir . . .” to unhinged vetoing of sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
What a crowded road to Kyiv.
While you are training for diversity and destroying your own infrastructure, somebody else is training for war. When you meet them, they will win.
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The uncertainty caused by the war means that importing nations are looking at their alternatives to buy from elsewhere. But the options may be limited as Russia and Ukraine together account for more than a quarter of global wheat trade and nearly a fifth of corn.
The disruptions come at a time when global crop prices have already soared to records, fueling inflation and hunger levels, while grain stockpiles have been declining. If Russia and Ukraine were both to leave the global grain market for an extended period it would have a dramatic effect on world food supplies and prices.
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There are a number of reasons why Russia invaded Ukraine, and control of wheat and grain that sustains much of Europe, Asia and Africa is but one.
I recommend all four articles to your attention. I suspect their analyses and postulations are probably a lot more accurate than most mainstream media reporting.