17 thoughts on “Ukraine’s Attrition Strategy”

  1. “Mearsheimer is skeptical of idealistic crusades, such as the one in Iraq that George W. Bush drew the country into in 2003. ”

    I wish we really were involved in an ideological war in Iraq. But perhaps we were and the ideology we wanted to install wasn’t American ideology but the leftist ideology that infests the State Department.

    “Neither will survive for long if the United States manages the world’s assets in a non-fiduciary way.”

    Is this the intended or unintended consequence? I’m inclined to think the ruin being inflicted on the American economy is on purpose, in order to overthrow our system of government and culture, and that the same people doing that view the existence of America illegitimate abroad and not just at home and must destroy our influence.

    One need only look how our friends to the left have time after time sided with our enemies at the expense of our country and allies.

    I wish we didn’t get involved in Ukraine in the past or now. Russia isn’t a military threat aside from nukes, EMPs, and ASATs. Russia has more power with their energy exports than they do with their military and the wise people running our foreign policy and energy sector are more caught up in thinking humans are a plague on the planet than being a source for abundant energy that would allow us and our allies to flourish.

    Whether intended or not, everything leftists do is not just bad for the USA but also counterproductive to all the things they claim motivate them.

  2. Written by a person with at best simplistic understandings of combat.

    ALL combat is designed to atrit the enemies people, logistics and economy. To make it personally and economically unfeasible to continue the conflict.

    1. I disagree. There are other ways than attrition. For example, the Battle of France in 1940 resulted in considerable losses for the allies – about 10% casualties, but the defeat happened because France lost the will to fight after Paris had been taken (surrendering 11 days later).

      This was also what Russia attempted in the first few weeks of the war, attempting to decapitate the Ukrainian government by taking Kiev. In each case, the idea was to rapidly capture targets that would rob the foe of important assets and cripple their morale.

      Here, the alleged Ukrainian strategy is near purely destruction of troops, equipment, and supplies in a fight with the odds as much in Ukraine’s favor as possible. It’s a meat grinder. At present, there’s no subtlety or maneuver – lure a bunch of Russians into an allegedly weak position and shoot them a lot while disrupting their logistics.

      Such strategies are notorious in their own way and don’t always work out like expected. The First World War was chock full of such things that usually resulted in vast casualties for everyone. A few decades later, Dien Bien Phu was a French attrition trap (they planned to make a series of heavily fortified air bases that would be very costly to take – but necessary in order for the rebels to maintain control of Laos) that was turned against the French, resulting in a decisive loss and the departure of France from Indochina.

      So for example, in the advent of an invasion of Kherson, the Russians could allow the Ukrainians into the city and then counterattack around the edges, in a flanking movement. Attrition fighting only kills the Russians that are placed in Kherson, it doesn’t harm any that they might be saving for a counterattack.

      In summary, attrition is a real strategy, but one with a bad reputation. It tends to be predictable and often as bad for the side using the strategy as for the foe.

      1. Yes. Exactly. The French lost the will to fight (quelle suprise!), because the Germans had attrited their logistics, economy, leadership, personnel…

        Later on, in the debacle of Dien Bien Phu that was straight up attrition, damned near blockade….

        1. because the Germans had attrited their logistics, economy, leadership, personnel…

          Well, France did run out of Parises.

    1. “Make a desert and call it peace.”

      “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
      Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
      Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
      Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
      The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

  3. I am amazed and grateful that the Russian military has seen fit to share their strategies with so many people on the internet.

    1. What is a strategy, Mike? Ultimately, it’s a plan for what you want to do in the future. Eventually that future becomes past and you can figure how what the strategy was by what they did (and tried to do).

      For example, we can figure out that Russia was trying a decapitation strike early in the war because they showed up in the suburbs of Kiev suddenly, indicating that there was something of value to being there, and left as suddenly, indicating that whatever value there had been to being there was no longer.

    2. Mike
      I am also grateful that the same internet experts have had personal one on one therapy sessions Vladimir Putin in their mom’s basement where he revealed his desires and strategies personally to them.

    1. There is an old joke where the Lone Ranger asks Tonto how they can escape the surrounding hostile Indian braves. The reply is “What is this we, white-eyes?”

      Expect a lot of people waiting for some poor bloody idiot to jump into the fire while they sit back (safely) and call out advice.

  4. Ukraine has little choice. They are doing well with what they have. They need to buy time but next year will be spicy for everyone involved.

  5. As I recall (and I couldn’t find it in two minutes googling, and am not inclined to look much longer) the late Jerry Pournelle posted an anecdote on his blog about a debate he’d participated in on the Vietnam war – Pournelle, a hawkish conservative, was in favor of continuing to prosecute it with, and with vigor. After the debate, he chatted briefly with his opponent, who said something to the effect: “You know, I want to admit defeat and get out. You want to win and get out, which is wrong but sane. The thing is, they guys running this show; they want to lose and stay in!”

    At the time, Pournelle thought that was a very sharp point. But he commented that years later, he was left wondering if, by pure accident, “lose and stay in” was wrong tactics but right strategy. Russia provided *enormous* amounts of aid to Vietnam – the NVA had more tanks than the Third Reich ever did! It’s entirely plausible the collapse of the Soviet economy in the 70s/80s was in large part due to Vietnam.

    It makes one wonder about the long-term effects of attrition in Ukraine…

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