52 thoughts on “The Ukraine War”

  1. I mostly agree with this analysis but it leaves out one other possibility, Putin is already dying. His swollen face reminds me of someone who is taking prednisone due to an underlying condition. In the ultimate calculus, this was his last attempt to rebuilt the system with the strategic buffer and economic engine that is Ukraine to enable a reboot of the Soviet into something sustainable. But to have the Ukraine go off and merge with the EU (and it IS a merger, similar to a US State joining the Union) as it was attempting to do would have made that dream impossible. Also he was deluded into thinking the Ukrainian populace was not wedded to this regime and would not put up much, if any, of a fight. Add in a weak US President and the chance to put NATO into disarray, all of that would have been a legacy any Russian leader could be proud of. He acted now because he doesn’t have much time left.

    1. “Add in a weak US President and the chance to put NATO into disarray, all of that would have been a legacy any Russian leader could be proud of. ”

      It was illuminating to see how NATO and the Euros acted without American leadership.

    2. If Putin is dying, and cleverer than most give him credit for, this may be part of the plan. Get the Ukrainians to hate *him* rather than Russia generally…

      That said, look to thesaker.is for another perspective on how things are actually going. Western media is sucking up one side’s propaganda uncritically, so it’s interesting to see what the other side is saying.

      1. “Interesting” only in the same sense as were the lovingly-crafted and gruesomely accurate models of horrendous agricultural accidents and their as-best-we-could surgical repairs I saw in the Mayo Clinic Medical Museum as a boy.

        This guy was apparently a long-time major player, then chief, in the intelligence apparat of some country, though not the U.S. as he also makes reference to having come here in 2002 well after some mysterious incident involving betrayal by his peers resulted in his being bounced and blackballed in his native land.

        He also mentions that one of his old comrades drew a long prison sentence while the others all walked. I think he is the one who drew the prison sentence. He likely came here after release because his life was still in danger – and understandably so – back in his country of origin.

        Given that he also says his old service was disbanded, he most likely is the former head of the KGB clone of some lesser nation of the former Warsaw Pact – one of those that purged its Checkists and quickly became a NATO member following the Soviet collapse.

        The literal iconography on his website makes it obvious he is – at least now – an Orthodox Christian of some sort. He refers to the U.S. and the West generally as “The Empire of Hate and Lies.” He is an unblushing anti-semite and an admirer of Hezbollah.

        He is, in short, pretty much a bitter nostalgist anent past tyrannies and a gushing fanboy of present day ones – especially that of Vladimir Putin.

        His defense of Russian intervention in Ukraine and his attempts to paint the slaughter of civilians in Bucha and elsewhere as Ukrainian-NATO false flag operations smack heavily of the sort of crapola the CPUSA once published in The Daily Worker about Soviet interventions in East Germany, Hungary and Czechoslovakia back in the day.

        In attempting to paint Russian reverses as preludes to inevitable victory he is up against the same problem the Japanese had during WW2. One can lie about “great victories” as much as one likes, but, if you mention where those “great victories” occur, a reader will quickly note that those “great victories” are occurring nearer and nearer to the “victorious” homeland.

        This guy, in short, is pretty much like one of those ex-concentration camp guards that fled to the U.S. after WW2 except he actually served time for his crimes before old age overtook him. And, of course, he’s a lot less circumspect.

        If you take any of his arrant twaddle seriously, you are either a credulous “woke” youngster with no grasp at all of history or one of my fellow aging crocks, but of the sort who hated his country before doing so was so popular as at present. Perhaps even a former subscriber to The Daily Worker.

      2. If Putin is dying, and cleverer than most give him credit for, this may be part of the plan. Get the Ukrainians to hate *him* rather than Russia generally…

        Why this great hope that Putin has good intentions that for some nebulous reason he must hide under a basket? He could have just not invaded the Ukraine and thus, not have a need for Ukrainians to hate him, right?

        Dude is former KGB with a long history of cruel and brutal misdeeds. We’re just seeing yet again what was always there.

        1. Unless someone thinks I’m singing the lyrics for Sympathy for the Devil let me just say I’m speculating on the motives of the man not his morals or ethics. The Soviet is the 2nd worse idea to come out of Russia after Bolshevism. Which was inspired by communism, which came from England.

  2. “A political end is what I would bet on, with the Russians taking the short end of the stick.”

    A political end that leaves Russia in control of Crimea and the separatist regions that launched this would be a win for Russia. I could see Western leaders laughing at Russia getting their butts kicked and then letting Putin keep those territories. Putin mostly focuses on the East because Putin has counted on a negotiated settlement all along.

    What we don’t want to see is the winnowing of the Russian armed forces leading to a meritocracy in promoting replacements as there are likely a lot of people capable of making changes beneficial to Russia given enough time. Ukraine could get stronger over time but so can Russia and prolonged conflicts induce creativity to win, unless you are American.

    1. Going for chunks of eastern Ukraine would be the best plan for Putin at this point. Concentrate forces there and then sue for peace as long as he gets to keep them. Of course, I wouldn’t consider that a full on victory. Had he simply went for the disputed regions in the first place the war might be over now.

      1. Militaryland has been doing a running commentary: Invasion Day 43 Summary.
        Looking at the Lukhansk Salient in the East my old wargaming instincts yell: “Southern thrust from Izyum to pocket the salient”. After pocketing the UA troops there the Russians can sit on Eastern Ukraine, declare victory and decide whether to attack next year or not…

      2. Since it began, I thought full annexation of Ukraine was a stretch goal to securing the Eastern provinces, oil fields, and overland access control to Crimea. The destruction of Ukraine’s strategic production capability (rocket engines, oil field services, etc.) was spite that was easy to do. The major failure for Putin is not getting regime change in Ukraine, but that may still come. For Putin to lose big will require continued sanctions after a settled peace, which I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    2. Any political agreement ending the Russo-Ukraine War is going to depend upon facts on the ground. Those appear to be moving in Ukraine’s favor. It has an effectively bottomless pipeline of small and medium weapons coming in from NATO and, as Jay Leno once said when pitching Doritos on TV, “Eat all you want – we’ll make more.” There is even some possibility the rest of NATO might tell Joe Biden to stick it and begin providing even heavier stuff.

      This all constitutes a huge can of Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Victory Soup. All the Ukrainians have to add is blood. They seem more than willing, given that the Russians are now busily slaughtering anything they come across that can’t fight back.

      The Russian larder, in contrast, is getting seriously depleted. Putin’s army, now being seen to have devolved to 3rd-world level, is anything but a WW2-style bottomless well of expendable manpower. And Lend-Lease, as noted, is on the other side now. Time is on Ukraine’s side. The West will arm it, feed it, and look after its refugees allowing its menfolk to get about the business of righteous slaughter.

      I expect the war, now, to enter a phase not unlike that of the U.S. Pacific campaign in WW2. The Ukrainians are already shooting prisoners. So has the U.S. military in every war it has ever fought, but especially in the Pacific against the Japanese. The official story is that the Japanese code of Bushido required every man to fight to the death. Many were thus willing, it is true. But, except late in successful campaigns while mopping up, the U.S. took essentially no Japanese prisoners. This is the way of war from time immemorial. And, after what the Russians have done, they’ve got it coming and I have no problem with it.

      That being the case, it seems entirely possible Ukraine will be in no mood to grant Putin even a return to status quo ante. I think they will do their best to take back all lost territory, including Crimea. They may or may not succeed, but I now view the attempt as inevitable.

      Should Ukraine succeed in this, I think it will also choose to smack Putin squarely across the face with a wet flounder and petition for prompt accession to NATO. I hope that petition is quickly agreed to, though Joe Biden – should he still be in office – is a potential speed bump.

      I also think the Finns will come in, though I expect the Swedes to continue their longstanding “neutrality” once things settle down.

      I would not waste any time worrying about some notional Russian military meritocracy breaking out, post-bellum. There appears to be essentially no one of any military merit in the present-day Russian military. Losses in Ukraine will likely include any few who might have existed antebellum. Russian military culture has never been based on innovation and merit, but on loyalty/political reliability. That isn’t going to change.

      And you are wrong to take gratuitous swipes at the American military for failing to innovate sufficiently to win long wars. Both sides of the American Civil War were innovative in plenty. All of America’s other long wars that have been lost were lost due to the stupidities of various political leaderships, not any lack of innovation on the part of its military in the field.

      That is true of other militaries as well. The Germans, for example, didn’t lose WW2 because they were insufficiently clever, but because they had an overconfident psychopath running the country.

      1. We lost in Afghanistan because our leaders lack the creativity to solve complicated problems. They don’t have to be particularly clever or audacious or involve a grand conspiracy, they just need to come up with successful ideas and they have/had none.

        If you kill enough Russian officers, eventually necessity would dictate putting competent people in charge. That doesn’t mean they would win or anything, just that they can adapt and improve like all other humans.

        I don’t have a horse in the game because this war has nothing to do with my country’s interests.

        1. I knew a man who was a mercenary pilot in SE Asia from 1962-68. He told me of the schemes people were using to make money hand over fist, including LBJ. It seems Lady Bird was a major shareholder n the company that just coincidentally won most of the big construction contracts over there. He said that war were on so long because the people making the money didn’t want it to end. The same kind of thing was happening in Afghanistan and it went on even longer.

          1. Certain people have certainly done well out of each of America’s wars. But Vietnam did not drag on because LBJ deliberately stretched it out to benefit a company in which his wife held an equity stake. That equity stake was actually LBJ’s and he had it because the company in question was buying him to get its contracts. LBJ made a lot of similar deals during his life. It’s how a man who spent most of his life on government payrolls accumulated a sizable fortune by the time he died.

            That’s how most prominent Democrats have made their fortunes after allowing for those who either inherited them, married them or – as in the case of John Kerry – did both. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, for example, are just two of the higher-profile career criminals who have always constituted the top tier of the Democratic Party.

            The Sicilian Mob and all of its copies of various ethnicities are organized criminal enterprises that sell drugs, women, “protection,” take bets, run lotteries, etc. The Democratic Party is a comparable organization but it’s principal illicit product for sale is political influence.

            The U.S. military contracts for a lot of construction all over the world. The deal with LBJ would have been made whether or not the U.S. was at war in Vietnam. The construction company was paying for a meal. That the meal turned out to come with extra gravy was just a bonus.

            Vietnam dragged on because the U.S. military of the time hadn’t a clue about fighting insurgencies backed by Moscow and Beijing and was too pig-headed to take any advice from people – mainly the British – who did have useful advice to impart. LBJ was no evil genius, he was an arrogant fool – a much simpler explanation of an identical result.

            Iraq and, especially, Afghanistan, also dragged on because of stupid moves by U.S. political actors – GWB in these cases – that he foolishly thought would enable quick exits from both.

            Specifically, he created two more Vietnams by standing up local governments in both places – following their initial quick and relatively easy conquests – that were weak, corrupt and unrepresentative rather than simply running both under military governments of occupation as we had done with Germany and Japan after WW2.

            Bush did this because he eschewed “nation-building,” fearing long U.S. commitments. He was right that such commitments would inevitably ensue, but he got those anyway after having yielded the leverage we could have used to achieve far more satisfactory results after equivalent investments of time and likely much smaller investments of money and blood.

            Having authoritarian and corrupt local governments in the mix also hampered us in Korea and Vietnam but at least, in those places, we didn’t deliberately create them in the first place. And, in Korea, at least, we managed to achieve a better result than in any of our subsequent long conflicts.

          2. William, it was a different guy. He had both feet and lived a very colorful life. He was a 19 year old B-17 pilot flying out of England in 1944. Shot down on his 28th mission, captured by the Gestapo while trying to make his way home, spent 3 months in Buckenwald concentration camp. Flew for Chennault during the Chinese Civil War. Flew as a mercenary in SE Asia. Shot down again in Cambodia. Retired with over 30,000 flying hours. He died about 12 years ago.

        2. If you kill enough Russian officers, eventually necessity would dictate putting competent people in charge.

          Unless the officers being killed were the competent people.

        3. Part of the wisdom-lack anent the solving of complex problems by American leadership is ignorance of history. Bush set us up for a long, slow loss in Afghanistan by not simply accepting that no quick-exit solution actually existed. Given acceptance of that fact, he might then have chosen to look to the post-WW2 examples of Germany and Japan – especially Japan – for relevant lessons. But he wanted to get out quickly and cheaply, thereby dooming us to an extended and expensive defeat by inches over two entire decades.

          If you kill enough Russian officers, you win the war. Top-down armies go to pieces in the absence of orders to follow. Killing off the incompetent only results in their replacement by competence if that is what the overall political leadership back home wants. Putin, like all Russian autocrats, wants loyalty above all else, but seems willing to settle for servile obeisance if that’s the best he can do.

          The U.S. won WW2 because top leadership in DC was willing to relieve a lot of pre-war commanders who failed to prove themselves when actual conflict broke out – starting with Kimmel and Short after Pearl Harbor. The Germans and Japanese lost for many reasons, but one was substantial failure to do the same. Putin utterly lacks any ability to put competent people in charge of the Ukraine invasion because he hasn’t got any.

          What is your country, by the way? I’m American and my country certainly has interests at stake in Ukraine.

          1. The USA has interests all over, so that is a bit of a cop out. The question is whether or not you want to go to war with Russia over Ukraine. There is nothing in Ukraine worth American lives.

            “Killing off the incompetent only results in their replacement by competence if that is what the overall political leadership back home wants.”

            No kidding. Be careful what you wish for. Out of chaos, a strongman can appear. Who replaces Putin? Russia has a lot of problems but I don’t have a fatalistic view of the future.

            Sometimes when I read people write about Russia, it’s like reading about how the Romans thought of the hereditary traits of different tribes. These ones are good swimmers. These ones are horsemen. The Romans thought it was their innate nature but they were just skills all humans can learn.

  3. 1945: USA armed Russian imperialists to fight Ukrainian nationalists
    2022: USA arms Ukrainian nationalists to fight Russian imperialists

    Perfectly balanced…

  4. If this goes as predicted (I still have my doubts), the one thing I’m reasonaly sure of is the American taxpayer will wind up footing the bill. Anybody who thinks crushing Russia under reparations has forgotten what happened after WW1. Of course, I’m really just hoping for WW3. By damn, I was promised a nuclear war as a child, and I want to see one before I croak from something else! Not only that, but get off my lawn, you rotten kids!

    1. Not only that, but get off my lawn, you rotten kids!
      Oh go duck and cover yourself old man!

    2. Of course we will pay to rebuild Ukraine, though if Trump returns to the White House in 2025, he will also arm-twist the rest of NATO into non-trivial kick-ins as well.

      But we always pay the fixer-uppers – even sometimes anent former enemies. That was the premise of The Mouse that Roared – pick a fight with the U.S., lose, then get aid afterward. Underwriting this sort of rebuilding has proven to actually advance U.S. national interests in the past and will again.

    3. “If this goes as predicted (I still have my doubts), the one thing I’m reasonaly sure of is the American taxpayer will wind up footing the bill.”

      There are a lot of politicians who have kids who need to put kid’s through college.

  5. Biden the pathetic is more likely to croak in the next few months than Putin.

      1. I hope that in whatever way that man leaves office, that it is with the least drama possible.

          1. Perhaps the contract will go to Hillary. She seems to have a talent for that sort of thing. 🙂

          2. That may well prove impossible. If so, I’d certainly advise her to hire a food taster.

        1. Death by “natural” causes would seem to be best for that. But, in the current national situation, more questions would probably be raised by that than by any of the other possible paths to rendering the U.S. Bidenrein.

          I expect concerted efforts to get the senile old fart to resign voluntarily – which may well be already underway. As “the good of the nation” has never been a Biden priority, I don’t expect these efforts to work.

          That will leave the 25th Amendment. Hardly drama-free, but probably the only way to remove him before a new Republican-majority Congress gets to impeach him.

          1. Impeaching Biden won’t get rid of him. Even with a GOP majority in the Senate next year, there won’t be enough votes to convict. Trump was “impeached” twice but didn’t leave until he was allegedly defeated in the vote.

  6. Putin missed his golden opportunity to end the war in triumph. When CNN, full of righteous indignation, stopped broadcasting in Russia, Putin should have put up a big “Mission Accomplished” banner, and called the troops home.

  7. Russia is doing exactly what Putin said he would do.
    The ethnic-Russian provinces that have been under attack by USA-supported neo-Nazi forces since 2014 are being cleansed of the neo-Nazi forces, by local & Russia forces. That’s what Putin said he would do. He’s doing it.
    And of course Biden doesn’t like it. His neo-Nazi money laundry is getting busted up.

    1. Russia is doing exactly what Putin said he would do.

      Like deplete Russia’s military might while simultaneously burn Russia’s residual reputation in a dumpster fire? Putin also said he was just conducting war games in Belorus. At some point, you’ll have to realize that what Putin says has little to do with what Putin does.

      1. IMHO if a brutal dictator says he wants to attack prepare for him to do just that. If he says he wants peace, also prepare for him to attack you.

  8. Putin went into the war with two goals: 1) decapitate the Ukrainian government by a quick strike on Kyiv so they could install a Russian puppet government, and 2) finish the job they started in 2014 of annexing the southern and eastern parts of the country with majority Russian populations. They have failed at goal 1 and are withdrawing there. But Putin still has a chance of victory on goal 2. And yet, that effort has also gone badly for Russia. So there is a chance he will settle for less than he wanted, as long as he can plausibly claim victory to his own thoroughly propagandized populace. Instead of goal 1, he might be able to claim victory if he has assurances from Ukraine and the West that Ukraine will never join NATO or the EU, and will remain “neutral”. On goal 2, if he retains Crimea and completes the conquest of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces he may be able to tell his people he has restored those Russian-speaking areas to Mother Russia. There’s even more chance he will settle for a deal if the West agrees to lift sanctions, or at least the most punishing, new ones.

    Ukraine cannot win a long, drawn-out war. Millions have fled the country and many more will follow. Cities are being bombed out and civilians dying by the thousands. Given months, or perhaps a year or two, Russia will be able to regroup, rearm, and train new troops. It is a much larger country with many natural resources. Therefore, Ukraine will likely have to settle for some kind of deal, presumably when they conclude their counterattacks have reached a high water mark and they have recovered as much territory as they are able. Putin’s incentive to settle is assurance he can maintain his hold on power in the face of possible rebellion at a long, bloody war and sanctions. Ukraine’s incentive to settle is to still have a country when the war is over.

    There is a chance that NATO will finally be willing to incur some greater risk of direct confrontation with Russia and provide enough military assistance to Ukraine to push the Russians out. I hope that happens. But I agree with the fundamental idea that we really, really do not want to get into a shooting war between NATO and Russia. That would be Russia’s nightmare scenario too – the difference being that Putin might make some desperate attempt to escalate until NATO chickens out. That might be WMDs or just a conventional long range missile strike on Western Europe, killing civilians in EU cities. How much blood will Western politicians be willing to shed to recover Crimea for Ukraine?

    1. Given months, or perhaps a year or two, Russia will be able to regroup, rearm, and train new troops.

      Keep in mind that Russia might not have that time or those resources! Putin is in a precarious situation. It’s not just a matter of getting more troops and resources (as well as training those troops and other important pre-combat tasks). He also needs to stay in power.

      And how long will it take Russian industry to replace the losses they’ve suffered so far in the war? My take is that it may well take several years just to return the gear of the Russian military to the point where they were at the start (though they do have a lot of Cold War vehicles in storage which might be viable or might not).

      1. Putin is in a precarious situation[…]He also needs to stay in power.
        That’s another dangerous escalation scenario. If he becomes desperate he may escalate to intimidate, perhaps deploying WMD against Ukraine. However, you are correct that if he is deposed internally his successors will likely sue for peace on some sort of face saving terms and blame the whole mess on Putin.

    2. I wonder if the original plan for the invasion was merely to secure eastern Ukraine and Putin decided to go all in at the last minute. Would explain why Russian forces seem so ill prepared.

  9. Admiring the many conspiracy theories, I think it’d be hilarious if the sanctions worked to collapse the petrodollar finance regime. I also crack up every time I see the term “Globohomo.”

  10. Bill Hensley wrote:

    “Putin went into the war with two goals: 1) decapitate the Ukrainian government by a quick strike on Kyiv so they could install a Russian puppet government, and 2) finish the job they started in 2014 of annexing the southern and eastern parts of the country with majority Russian populations. ”

    Maybe. That’s your opinion.

    I submit we don’t really know what Putin’s goals were and now are.

    1. Since I don’t watch the corporate deep state news (incl Fox) I didn’t know Putin wanted to conquer Kiev. I heard sending the troops to the suburbs as a strategy to draw the Ukrane forces away from the Donbass and the Black Sea so Russian can achieve their stated objectives. Looks like thats what happened.

      1. So when did you hear about this alleged strategy? Sounds like an after-the-fact rationalization to me. So I assume the strategy now is to let Ukraine beat on those forces elsewhere for a while.

        What I heard is that it was just going to be a two week war with said decapitation strike replacing the current government with a Russian puppet and eastern territory getting annexed. Then veiled threats against the next targets (Baltic states, Moldova, Poland, Finland, etc).

        We’ll see if my corporate deep state news is better than your corporate deep state news.

        1. I haven’t heard that strategy, but I came to a similar conclusion when I saw were Russian forces were massed, their deployment, and what was to be gained from the nearest target. I’ll only add that attacking Kiev was also part of Bill Hensley’s goal 1. Whatever the case, I wouldn’t say it is after the fact rationalization compared to reading the order of battle and how it was arranged in the field.

    2. We do know what Putin’s actions on the battlefield were. That strongly supports the above speculation.

  11. George Friedman was also the author of “The Coming War With Japan”. His crystal ball has failed before.

    The Russians have lost quite a lot of material and the Ukrainians are giving more of a fight than I thought they would. But so far I think the Russians are still likely to come on top at least with regards to getting the Ukrainian army out of LNR/DNR territory.

    Contrary to what others might say there was simply no chance that 50,000 troops would be enough to capture Kiev. A city with nearly 3 million people. And I doubt the Russians expected as much. They probably did a strike with maximalist ambitions and then pulled back when they saw there was more resistance than expected. I think we will see a slow grinding down of Ukrainian forces and a protracted campaign. Since the Russians basically control the airspace.

    With regards to Lend-Lease. The preeminent industrial power today is not the US. If this gets as far as who can out produce who I think we know who can do that. And Ukraine has basically no strategic depth. Since the Russians can basically hit any part of their territory.

    1. ” The preeminent industrial power today is not the US. ”

      China has to be wondering if their equipment sucks worse than Russia’s. They are obviously making steady advancements but they have a lot in common with Russia gearwise.

    2. Since the Russians basically control the airspace.

      They have an advantage in the airspace, but they do not control it. That opportunity was lost in the first few weeks of the war.

      If this gets as far as who can out produce who I think we know who can do that.

      It’s already beyond that. Those man portable missiles and other equipment has a substantial asymmetrical advantage to it. Out producing more costly and high logistics targets won’t negate that.

  12. “Ukraine war reintroduces U.S. politicians to the Second Amendment Ukrainian police should burn their gun registration records now”

    “Will Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military overrun Ukraine like Adolf Hitler’s army overran France in 1940, or will Kyiv become Mr. Putin’s Stalingrad? Ukraine’s armed population could play an increasingly decisive role, from house-to-house fighting in the cities to guerilla strikes in the countryside. In the United States, Second Amendment supporters see Ukrainian resistance as exemplifying the virtues of an armed citizenry, while detractors are aghast at the implications.

    When Russia launched its attack on Ukraine the following day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — who previously resisted liberalizing firearm laws — directed that any citizen who wanted to defend the country would be given a weapon. More than 25,000 automatic rifles reportedly were distributed in Kyiv alone.”


Comments are closed.