22 thoughts on “The Ukrainian Counteroffensive”

  1. I see a lot of comments on the internet but people who do/did work tend to have a different view of what is going on than what is in the media. Lex Fridman recently interviewed former CIA agent Andrew Bustamante. Great interview overall and there was a segment about Ukraine, https://youtu.be/T3FC7qIAGZk?t=754

    Is this the first time Ukraine hasn’t directly taken credit for an attack and is it the opening to an offensive? I don’t know. I expect them to try. But anonymous sources in Politico aren’t indicative of much of anything other than someone is trying to create a narrative.

    Whatever caused the explosion doesn’t reflect well on Russia. Either they aren’t handling explosives correctly or their defense systems have more holes than they already knew about.

    The information civilians are getting isn’t enough to make good judgements about what is going on over there and as always, the future is uncertain.

    1. and as always, the future is uncertain.

      Well, except for Ukraine asking for aid and weapons. I’m expecting to see a telethon any day now. There are Ukraine relief commercials running on at least one cable news channel now.

      Should we start a GoFundMe for Ukrainian power-plant radiation suits?

    2. The information civilians are getting isn’t enough to make good judgements about what is going on over there and as always, the future is uncertain.

      Out of curiosity, what do you consider a “good judgment” to be? As I see it, there’s enough information to evaluate some of the basics: like the alleged pretexts for the invasion and the general behavior of the participants, the relative success of the warring parties and their technology, and the general flow of the war.

      Russia fares poorly on all counts. Ukraine should be a substantially inferior foe. Ukrainian nazis are hard to come by and very uncompelling a foe (unless you happen to be an invader). NATO and EU are more of a threat now that Russia has moved against Ukraine than it ever was before. And the various deceptions and falsehoods Russia employed leading up to the war are unmatched.

      For example, I occasionally read of calls for peace usually stating something like “Ukraine will need to make compromises”. But there isn’t much reason to compromise with the present leadership of Russia. What’s to keep them from using a period of peace to rearm and start a new war against a weaker Ukraine? And then repeat after that until Ukraine is no more?

      The only viable solution for a long term independent Ukrainian future is to make it hurt enough now to completely discourage future war. From the US side, it’s a long term strategic failure (as well as a disaster of considerable proportions) to allow Russia to recapture the former Eastern Bloc. As I noted way back when, nobody really has a better approach than to just kill Russians now until Putin is replaced and the war ends on terms more favorable to Ukraine.

      1. “Out of curiosity, what do you consider a “good judgment” to be?”

        It isn’t a necessarily a “what” or a preferred outcome. A good judgement is an accurate and unbiased assessment of what is going on that may or may not fit our preferred preferences.

        Without good information, you don’t really know what the basics are and can’t get an accurate picture of what is taking place. Unless you have some secret access to information that isn’t public, you are relying on what people want to tell you and those people are engaging in information warfare. Ukrainian and Russian OSINT types are posting in English. Our media is regularly used by the government to push an agenda. (You might want to take a look at some of the shifting coverage there too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLkgRJqij4k)

        It isn’t even just about who is winning or losing but what other countries are doing and why they are doing what they are doing. Are we really giving Ukraine what they need to win? Watch the Andrew Bustamante clip. Watch anything from former spec ops guys.

        As poorly as Russia is faring, they keep taking territory. Sure, they could lose. I don’t want them to win. But despite everything we hear in the media, they keep gaining ground. They keep falling up the stairs instead of down and that means we aren’t getting good information to make proper judgements about what is taking place. And not just with the fighting between Ukraine and Russia but what the other actors are doing and why they are doing it as well.

        1. As poorly as Russia is faring, they keep taking territory.

          Except of course, when they aren’t, such as pulling back from attacks on Kiev and Kharkiv. Or the more recent loss of territory near Kherson.

    3. I have no idea who this Bustamente guy is, but if he actually works or worked for the CIA – and is typical of its staff – it certainly explains why we always seem to get caught flat-footed by big developments of the sort the U.S. intelligence apparat should see coming were it actually worthy of what the U.S. taxpayer spends to support it. The collapse of the Soviet Union and 9-11 are two examples of times the U.S. intelligence apparat got completely blindsided. There are many others going back to the agency’s earliest days.

      Quite apart from some gross factual errors – the U.S., for example, is supplying more than just Lend-Lease materiel to Ukraine, particularly tactical intelligence via technical means – his notion that Russia is “winning” and will have taken Odessa by the Fall is risible. Russia couldn’t take Odessa when it had a fresh army of almost 200,000. How Russia is supposed to just waltz into Odessa and on to Transnistria after its army has taken 40% casualties Mr. Bustamente declined to explain.

      He also competely misrepresents the nature of the recent Turkish-Russian-Ukrainian deal to allow food shipments out of Ukraine. Bustamente sees this, somehow, as an index of Russian strength. In fact, it’s an index of Russian weakness. It is Turkey that effectively owns the Black Sea, not Russia. Turkey has a longstanding requirement for Ukrainian-grown food and Russia’s war had been getting in the way of those shipments. Turkey had the whip hand in this deal, not Russia.

      As to hard information about, say, the Russian airbase in Crimea that was destroyed a couple of days ago, it’s readily available. Here, for instance, is a YouTube video featuring before-and-after satellite imagery of the base. The cause of the destruction seems pretty obviously not to be accidental, as the Russians claim. The after imagery shows a number of what sure look to me like the sorts of craters left by munitions of some rather powerful type.

      1. At least you watched something that wasn’t prepared for your consumption. I cast a wide net and am skeptical of everyone’s opinions and I compare what our media says with events.

        Russia falling up the stairs should cause you to question what you are being told. The same people you say were caught flat footed are the ones in charge now and running the information campaign you consume.

        1. Sure they can. Russia is bleeding men and materiel very heavily. “Transfusions” are getting harder to come by. The Belorussians don’t seem anxious to help out. If the Norks send help, none of it will ever see Pyongyang again. The Ukrainians have demonstrated they can reach out and touch Crimean and Belorussian airfields. It’s certainly still possible for Ukraine to lose, but that probability is receding by the day.

        2. Okay, my first comment was intended as a reply to Waddington. Don’t know why it’s here now.

          Exactly what “events” do you refer to? And why, if you trust no one’s opinions, do you trust anyone’s reportage of alleged “events?” The Russians, for example, say the loss of the comprehensively destroyed airfield in Crimea was the result of an ammunition handling accident. The satellite imagery tells rather a different story.

          The Russians lost quite a number of ammo/fuel dumps supporting their Donbass offensive a couple or three weeks ago. Since then, what little progress they were making on that front has all but stopped.

          Nor are things going well for Russia on the Kherson front. Russia moved troops from Donbass to the area, then the Ukrainians trapped many of them by destroying their supply lines behind them. The damage to the bridges, roads and rail lines in question has been shown on both Ukrainian and Russian media feeds. I expect the Ukes to give the Russkies awhile to marinate and use up their supplies, then attack and roll them up.

          1. You are caught up in rooting for one side or the other, which wasn’t what my comment was about and I am not a person who thinks Russia is doing well but also not as poorly as the media has been saying.

            It isn’t that I distrust everything, I just apply skepticism with the knowledge that the information presented in the media is incomplete.

            Surely you can understand the distinctions and if you are looking for a pro-Ukraine vs pro-Russia argument, that isn’t with me and you will have to find someone else. I can point you in some directions to have those debates with other people.

            My only prediction is that Russia can end the war any time they want and the international community will allow them to keep all the land they hold at that time. My desired outcome is far different but my desires aren’t a prediction of the future and I think my desired outcome poses some risks to the USA and our welfare is my main concern.

  2. Russia has always had issues with ammunition that just accidentally goes boom…..

    Even in Czarist times, through the Soviets….

    Funny, we in the west don’t have those issues.

      1. I doubt that the Guy Fawkes plotters had enough boom powder to actually do a lot of damage.

  3. The Ukrainians don’t need to win, they just need to exist. Russia cannot occupy the Crimea with an active assault threat to the north. This war has inadvertantly allowed a new front, one that can be justified in the context of two warring nations and their allies. The message that was sent was to the Russians vacationing there. “No one is safe here.”

  4. I’ll see your risible and raise you one rodomontade. Of course, that means we’ll all die in our sleep tonight, and on the morrow sockbots will have taken our place…

  5. ChicagoBoyz contributor Trent Telenko in a recent one of his fascinating Twitter threads about the Ukraine War, observes that it’s really quite easy to understand how Ukraine managed to hit the airbase in Crimea: Ukraine’s Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles have the capability of attacking land, they have the range (280 km), plus an accurate enough inertial navigation system to get them there precisely (enough), while en route they can fly only 5m above the Black Sea waves so as to avoid preliminary radar detection. Trent also suggests that personnel at the USAF Stand-Off Munitions Activity Center could well have spent days planning out the Neptunes’ attack profile so it would work.

    1. Ukraine has been very clever, probably with a lot of help, but also a lot of their own initiative. The war has been as great way to test Russia’s weapon systems and our own without directly being in war and also shown how some anticipated but as yet unrealized possibilities with evolution of warfare can take shape and what we need to work on to counter them.

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