To be sure, there are, among readers of my essays, a certain number of cheerleaders for the Russian side in the ongoing war in and over Ukraine. Some are keenly interested in the facts and the risks that each escalation in the conflict brings with it. Others are often quite ignorant about Russia and have no sincere interest in that country, any more than the Washington elites rooting for Ukraine care about the realities or the fate of that country. These folks are playing the Grand Chessboard, and their logic is ‘you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs,’ by which I mean that the losses of the combatant sides are merely collateral damage in a much needed realignment of the World Order that takes America down from its pedestal. Quite apart from the cynicism that underlies such position-taking, it ignores that we may all become ‘collateral damage’ if one or the other combatant side miscalculates and touches off a nuclear war.
Meanwhile, I see that both Scott Ritter and Col. Douglas Macgregor continue their cheerleading of Russian forces with daily predictions of a rout of the Ukrainian army. They are both talking nonsense, and bring their fake news to very large Western audiences. Why do I say nonsense? Because no one really knows what the situation on the ground will be when the Ukrainians launch their counter offensive next month.
Both sides have imposed strictest secrecy on their current operations and plans for the coming couple of months. Though the Russians continue to make progress in their capture of Bakhmut and Avdievka, there is little movement elsewhere on the very long front. Both sides are engaged in minor sorties to find out weak spots in the defenses of the other side for purposes of the big battle to come.
In the past few days, Zelensky has played down the Ukrainian military potential for the purpose of squeezing more and more aid from the West and to make the possible Ukrainian breakthrough during the counter offensive appear all the more remarkable if it indeed occurs.
The Russians have been digging in, literally, with spades to fortify their defensive positions in a series of lines. The Russians are nervous over what the USA and NATO actually have dispatched to Ukraine, which they believe may be much more advanced than what the newspaper accounts are saying. Forget the tanks, which are a side show. The real threat is long range ballistic missiles and other weaponry that can reach into the supply depots, regional command centers and barracks of reservists in Crimea and the Russian oblasts bordering the Donbas.
Should Russian fears, which we hear set out in some detail on the daily talk shows these days, be justified and not merely a message to their own leadership to take maximum precautions and not to be giddy with success, then you and I should be very, very nervous. Why? Because if the United States indeed goes va banque and throws in as a further guarantee of success NATO piloted aircraft and battalions of infantry, then the possibility of Russians resorting to tactical nukes raises its head.
For some time now John Mearsheimer has been warning of the Russians resorting to nuclear weapons if they are too heavily pressed in the Ukraine war. I had been resisting his logic by pointing to the unique new conventional weapons like the hypersonic missiles that the Russians have largely been holding back until now but could throw into the battle if needed. After all, in principle, the Russians are fully capable of decapitating the Ukrainian political and military leadership by precision strikes on Kiev at any time of their choosing. However, that may itself be as risky in terms of relations with the USA and NATO as a nuclear strike in the field would be, and it would leave no one with whom to negotiate an end to the war.
And so, sadly and reluctantly, I take back my words about the impossibility of Russian use of nuclear weapons in the field. I have done this privately in a letter to Professor Mearsheimer. Now I do so publicly.
If US assistance to the Ukrainian counteroffensive goes over the top, we may all become collateral casualties of war, both here in Europe and on the mythically secure shores across the Atlantic.
For all of these reasons, I repeat the argument of the Appeal drafted by European Parliament deputies and published here a week ago: this war must end NOW, and imposing a cease-fire is the most urgent task of international diplomacy.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023
Translations into German (Andreas Mylaeus), French (Youri)and Spanish (Hugo Guido)
Jubel oder Gänsehaut: Was wird die ukrainische Gegenoffensive bringen?
Sicherlich gibt es unter den Lesern meiner Aufsätze eine gewisse Anzahl von Befürwortern der russischen Seite in dem andauernden Krieg in und um die Ukraine. Einige interessieren sich sehr für die Fakten und die Risiken, die jede Eskalation des Konflikts mit sich bringt. Andere sind oft ziemlich unwissend über Russland und haben kein aufrichtiges Interesse an diesem Land, ebenso wenig wie die Washingtoner Eliten, die für die Ukraine sind, sich aber für die Realitäten oder das Schicksal dieses Landes nicht ernsthaft interessieren. Diese Leute spielen auf dem großen Schachbrett, und ihre Logik lautet: “Man kann kein Omelett machen, ohne Eier zu zerbrechen”, womit gemeint ist, dass die Verluste der kämpfenden Seiten lediglich Kollateralschäden bei einer dringend erforderlichen Neuordnung der Weltordnung sind, die Amerika von seinem Sockel stürzt. Abgesehen von dem Zynismus, der einer solchen Haltung zugrunde liegt, wird dabei übersehen, dass wir alle zu “Kollateralschäden” werden können, wenn sich die eine oder andere Seite verkalkuliert und einen Atomkrieg auslöst.
In der Zwischenzeit sehe ich, dass sowohl Scott Ritter als auch Oberst Douglas Macgregor weiterhin die russischen Streitkräfte anfeuern und täglich eine Niederlage der ukrainischen Armee vorhersagen. Sie reden beide Unsinn und bringen ihre Fake News einem sehr großen westlichen Publikum nahe. Warum sage ich “Unsinn”? Weil niemand wirklich weiß, wie die Lage vor Ort sein wird, wenn die Ukrainer nächsten Monat ihre Gegenoffensive starten.
Beide Seiten haben über ihre laufenden Operationen und die Pläne für die kommenden Monate strengste Geheimhaltung angeordnet. Obwohl die Russen bei der Einnahme von Bakhmut und Avdievka weiter vorankommen, gibt es nur wenig Bewegung an der sehr langen Front. Beide Seiten sind mit kleineren Einsätzen beschäftigt, um Schwachstellen in der Verteidigung der anderen Seite im Hinblick auf die bevorstehende große Schlacht ausfindig zu machen.
In den letzten Tagen hat Zelensky das ukrainische militärische Potenzial heruntergespielt, um mehr und mehr Hilfe aus dem Westen zu erzwingen und den möglichen ukrainischen Durchbruch während der Gegenoffensive umso bemerkenswerter erscheinen zu lassen, falls er tatsächlich eintritt.
Die Russen haben sich im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes mit Spaten eingegraben, um ihre Verteidigungspositionen in einer Reihe von Linien zu befestigen. Die Russen sind nervös über das, was die USA und die NATO tatsächlich in die Ukraine entsandt haben, und sie glauben, dass es viel fortschrittlicher sein könnte, als es in den Zeitungsberichten dargestellt wird. Vergessen Sie die Panzer, die sind nur ein Nebenschauplatz. Die wahre Bedrohung sind ballistische Langstreckenraketen und andere Waffen, die bis in die Nachschubdepots, regionalen Kommandozentralen und Kasernen der Reservisten auf der Krim und in den russischen Oblasten, die an den Donbass grenzen, reichen können.
Sollten die russischen Befürchtungen, die in diesen Tagen in den täglichen Talkshows ausführlich dargelegt werden, berechtigt sein und nicht nur eine Botschaft an die eigene Führung, maximale Vorsichtsmaßnahmen zu ergreifen und sich nicht vom Erfolg treiben zu lassen, dann sollten Sie und ich sehr, sehr nervös sein. Und warum? Weil, wenn die Vereinigten Staaten tatsächlich in die Vollen gehen und als weitere Erfolgsgarantie NATO-gesteuerte Flugzeuge und Infanteriebataillone einsetzen, die Möglichkeit besteht, dass die Russen auf taktische Atomwaffen zurückgreifen.
Seit einiger Zeit warnt John Mearsheimer davor, dass die Russen auf Atomwaffen zurückgreifen werden, wenn sie im Ukraine-Krieg zu sehr unter Druck geraten. Ich hatte mich seiner Logik widersetzt, indem ich auf die einzigartigen neuen konventionellen Waffen wie die Hyperschallraketen verwies, die die Russen bisher weitgehend zurückgehalten haben, aber bei Bedarf in die Schlacht werfen könnten. Schließlich sind die Russen prinzipiell in der Lage, die ukrainische politische und militärische Führung durch Präzisionsschläge auf Kiew jederzeit zu enthaupten, wenn sie wollen. Dies könnte jedoch im Hinblick auf die Beziehungen zu den USA und der NATO ebenso riskant sein wie ein Atomschlag vor Ort, und es gäbe niemanden, mit dem über ein Ende des Krieges verhandelt werden könnte.
Und so nehme ich leider und widerwillig meine Worte über die Unmöglichkeit eines russischen Einsatzes von Atomwaffen in diesem Gebiet zurück. Ich habe dies privat in einem Brief an Professor Mearsheimer getan. Jetzt tue ich es öffentlich.
Wenn die Unterstützung der USA für die ukrainische Gegenoffensive zu weit geht, könnten wir alle zu Kollateralopfern des Krieges werden, sowohl hier in Europa als auch an den mythisch sicheren Ufern jenseits des Atlantiks.
Aus all diesen Gründen wiederhole ich die Argumentation des Appells, der von Abgeordneten des Europäischen Parlaments verfasst und hier vor einer Woche veröffentlicht wurde: Dieser Krieg muss JETZT beendet werden, und die Durchsetzung eines Waffenstillstands ist die dringendste Aufgabe der internationalen Diplomatie.
Acclamations ou tremblements :
qu’apportera la contre-offensive ukrainienne imminente ?
Il est certain qu’il y a, parmi les lecteurs de mes analyses, un certain nombre de partisans de la partie russe dans la guerre en cours en Ukraine et autour de l’Ukraine. Certains s’intéressent vivement aux faits et aux risques que chaque escalade du conflit entraîne. D’autres sont souvent très ignorants de la Russie et n’ont aucun intérêt sincère pour ce pays, pas plus que les élites de Washington qui soutiennent l’Ukraine ne se soucient des réalités ou du sort de ce pays. Ces personnes participent au « Grand Échiquier » et leur logique est la suivante : « on ne peut pas faire d’omelette sans casser des œufs », ce qui signifie que les pertes des parties combattantes ne sont que des dommages collatéraux dans le cadre d’un réalignement nécessaire à un Ordre Mondial qui fait descendre l’Amérique de son piédestal. Outre le cynisme qui sous-tend cette prise de position, elle ignore que nous pouvons tous devenir des « dommages collatéraux » si l’un ou l’autre des belligérants fait une erreur de calcul et déclenche une guerre nucléaire.
Pendant ce temps, je constate que Scott Ritter et le colonel Douglas Macgregor continuent d’encourager les forces russes en prédisant quotidiennement la déroute de l’armée ukrainienne. Ils disent tous les deux des absurdités et transmettent leurs fausses nouvelles à de très larges audiences occidentales. Pourquoi est-ce que je dis que ce sont des absurdités ? Parce que personne ne sait vraiment quelle sera la situation sur le terrain lorsque les Ukrainiens lanceront leur contre-offensive le mois prochain.
Les deux parties ont imposé le plus grand secret sur leurs opérations en cours et leurs plans pour les deux mois à venir. Bien que les Russes continuent de progresser dans la prise de Bakhmut et d’Avdeïevka, il y a peu de mouvement ailleurs sur le très long front. Les deux camps effectuent des sorties mineures pour découvrir les points faibles des défenses de l’autre camp en vue de la grande bataille à venir.
Ces derniers jours, Zelensky a minimisé le potentiel militaire ukrainien dans le but d’obtenir de plus en plus d’aide de l’Occident et de faire en sorte que l’éventuelle percée ukrainienne au cours de la contre-offensive apparaisse d’autant plus remarquable si elle se produit réellement.
Les Russes ont littéralement creusé à l’aide de pelles pour fortifier leurs positions défensives dans une série de lignes. Les Russes s’inquiètent de ce que les États-Unis et l’OTAN ont réellement envoyé en Ukraine, car ils pensent que ces engins sont beaucoup plus avancés que ce qu’en disent les journaux. Oubliez les chars d’assaut, qui ne sont qu’un spectacle secondaire. La véritable menace, ce sont les missiles balistiques à longue portée et d’autres armes qui peuvent atteindre les dépôts d’approvisionnement, les centres de commandement régionaux et les casernes des réservistes en Crimée et dans les oblasts russes qui bordent le Donbass.
Si les craintes des Russes, que nous entendons ces jours-ci dans les talk-shows quotidiens, sont justifiées et ne sont pas simplement un message adressé à leurs propres dirigeants pour qu’ils prennent un maximum de précautions et ne se laissent pas griser par le succès, alors vous et moi devrions être très, très nerveux. Pourquoi ? Parce que si les États-Unis se lancent effectivement dans l’aventure et ajoutent, comme garantie supplémentaire de succès, des avions pilotés par l’OTAN et des bataillons d’infanterie, la possibilité que les Russes recourent à des armes nucléaires tactiques se fera jour.
Depuis quelque temps, John Mearsheimer met en garde les Russes contre le recours aux armes nucléaires s’ils sont trop pressés dans la guerre en Ukraine. J’ai résisté à sa logique en soulignant les nouvelles armes conventionnelles uniques, telles que les missiles hypersoniques, que les Russes ont largement retenues jusqu’à présent, mais qu’ils pourraient lancer dans la bataille si nécessaire. Après tout, en principe, les Russes sont tout à fait capables de décapiter les dirigeants politiques et militaires ukrainiens par des frappes de précision sur Kiev au moment de leur choix. Toutefois, cela pourrait être aussi risqué en termes de relations avec les États-Unis et l’OTAN qu’une frappe nucléaire sur le terrain, et cela ne laisserait personne avec qui négocier la fin de la guerre.
C’est pourquoi, malheureusement et à contrecœur, je reviens sur mes propos concernant l’impossibilité pour la Russie d’utiliser des armes nucléaires sur le terrain. Je l’ai fait en privé dans une lettre au professeur Mearsheimer. Je le fais maintenant publiquement.
Si l’aide américaine à la contre-offensive ukrainienne dépasse les bornes, nous pourrions tous devenir des victimes collatérales de la guerre, tant ici en Europe que sur les rivages mythiquement sûrs de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique.
Pour toutes ces raisons, je réitère l’argument de l’appel rédigé par les députés du Parlement européen et publié ici il y a une semaine : cette guerre doit cesser MAINTENANT, et imposer un cessez-le-feu est la tâche la plus urgente de la diplomatie internationale.
Porristas versus escalofríos en tu columna vertebral: ¿qué traerá la próxima contraofensiva ucraniana?
Sin duda hay, entre los lectores de mis ensayos, un cierto número de animadores del lado ruso en la guerra en curso en Ucrania. Algunos están muy interesados en los hechos y los riesgos que cada escalada en el conflicto trae consigo. Otros a menudo son bastante ignorantes sobre Rusia y no tienen un interés sincero en ese país, como las élites de Washington que apoyan a Ucrania y tampoco se preocupan por las realidades o el destino de ese país. Estas personas están jugando al Gran Tablero de Ajedrez, y su lógica es ‘no se puede hacer un omelet sin romper huevos’, con lo cual quiero decir que las pérdidas de los bandos combatientes son simplemente daños colaterales en un realineamiento muy necesario del Orden Mundial que derribaría a Estados Unidos de su pedestal. Aparte del cinismo que subyace en tal toma de posición, ignora que todos podemos convertirnos en “daños colaterales” si uno u otro lado combatiente calcula mal y desencadena una guerra nuclear.
Mientras tanto, veo que tanto Scott Ritter como el coronel Douglas Macgregor continúan animando a las fuerzas rusas con predicciones diarias de una derrota del ejército ucraniano. Ambos están diciendo tonterías y llevan sus noticias falsas a audiencias occidentales muy grandes. ¿Por qué digo tonterías? Porque nadie sabe realmente cuál será la situación sobre el terreno cuando los ucranianos lancen su contraofensiva el próximo mes.
Ambas partes han impuesto el más estricto secreto sobre sus operaciones y planes actuales para los próximos meses. Aunque los rusos continúan progresando en su captura de Bakhmut y Avdievka, hay poco movimiento en otras partes de un frente muy largo. Ambas partes están involucradas en asaltos menores para descubrir puntos débiles en las defensas del bando contrario para los propósitos de la gran batalla por venir.
En los últimos días, Zelensky ha minimizado el potencial militar ucraniano con el propósito de exprimir más y más ayuda de Occidente y hacer que el posible avance ucraniano durante la contraofensiva parezca aún más notable si realmente ocurre.
Los rusos han estado cavando, literalmente, con espadas para fortalecer sus posiciones defensivas en una serie de líneas. Los rusos están nerviosos por lo que Estados Unidos y la OTAN realmente han enviado a Ucrania, que creen puede ser mucho más avanzado de lo que dicen los informes de los periódicos. Olvídense de los tanques, que son un espectáculo secundario. La verdadera amenaza son los misiles balísticos de largo alcance y otras armas que pueden llegar a los depósitos de suministro, centros de comando regionales y cuarteles de reservistas en Crimea y las provincias rusas que bordean el Donbas.
Si los temores rusos, que escuchamos expuestos con cierto detalle en los programas de entrevistas cotidianos en estos días, están justificados y no son simplemente un mensaje a sus propios líderes para que tomen las máximas precauciones y no se mareen con el éxito, entonces usted y yo deberíamos estar muy, muy nerviosos. ¿Por qué? Porque si los Estados Unidos realmente se vuelven locos y arrojan como una garantía adicional de éxito aviones pilotados por la OTAN y batallones de infantería, entonces la posibilidad de que los rusos recurran a armas nucleares tácticas aumenta considerablemente.
Desde hace algún tiempo, John Mearsheimer ha estado advirtiendo de que los rusos recurrirán a las armas nucleares si están demasiado presionados en la guerra de Ucrania. Me había resistido a su lógica señalando las nuevas y notables armas convencionales, como los misiles hipersónicos que los rusos han estado reteniendo en gran medida hasta ahora, pero que podrían lanzar a la batalla si fuera necesario. Después de todo, en principio, los rusos son totalmente capaces de decapitar a los líderes políticos y militares ucranianos mediante ataques de precisión contra Kiev en cualquier momento que eligan. Sin embargo, eso puede ser tan arriesgado en términos de relaciones con los Estados Unidos y la OTAN como lo sería un ataque nuclear que no dejara a nadie con quien negociar el fin de la guerra.
Y así, triste y a regañadientes, retomo mis palabras sobre la imposibilidad del uso ruso de armas nucleares en el campo de batalla. Lo he hecho en privado en una carta dirigida al profesor Mearsheimer. Ahora lo hago públicamente.
Si la ayuda estadounidense a la contraofensiva ucraniana es exagerada, todos podemos convertirnos en víctimas colaterales de la guerra, tanto aquí en Europa como en las costas míticamente seguras al otro lado del Atlántico.
Por todas estas razones repito el argumento del Llamamiento redactado por los diputados del Parlamento Europeo y publicado aquí hace una semana: esta guerra debe terminar AHORA, e imponer un alto el fuego es la tarea más urgente de la diplomacia internacional.
61 thoughts on “Cheerleading versus shivers down your spine: what will the coming Ukrainian counter-offensive bring?”
You might take better notice of events in Isreal and France. Which undercut your thesis. The west has close to no possibility of employing more military hardware against Russia. Not just because the Russians have the most advanced air defense systems and knocking out US et al missiles and F-16 would leave them defenseless and give the Russians a might victory before the world. It is that regular people in the West have had enough of autocratic, lying elites and will move to overthrow them. By force, if necessary. The West’s leaders and the whole business in the Ukraine will be settled in the streets of Bremen, Naples, Atlanta and Toronto.
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“no possibility of employing more military hardware”? You have not read my essay carefully. The USA has plenty left to throw at the Russians, and however good any air defense is, it cannot stop everything so there will inevitably be grave Russian losses if these weapons are deployed. “regular people in the West have had enough of autocratic, lying elites”? not from what I see around me in Belgium, Germany et al. Your France is the great exception, not the rule, and the street fighting is over social benefits in their country not over the war, which a majority of French still support, per polls. “settled in the streets of….Atlanta and Toronto” – this is totally wishful thinking. The Americans are comfy in their sofas and have no intention of taking to the streets. The Canadians are muzzled by an authoritarian government that, thanks to their Deputy PM Freeland, heiress to a line of Ukrainian collaborators with the Hitlerite regime, to Bandera and other scum, and thanks the large Ukrainian diaspora in their midst, is rock solid for a Kiev regime victory.
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Much of your reply is excellent and I endorse it. Canadians generally, are gullible, weak and stupid. However, I was amazed to see local farmers, shopkeepers and retirees head off to Windsor and Ottawa for the trucker’s convoy. And so was Trudeau. The path to public resistance is just non-resistance. Where I live there about 15 police with no back up possible. Note that in France a rate-limiting factor is that the police are simply worn out. They cannot remain on a high intensity of active duty for very long. Their gear wears out, management falls apart. And yet, if people keep out on the streets they can prevail by default.
The U.S military is next to worthless. Their hardware is old or junked up and logistically they are at an impossible disadvantage. The F-35 is incable of real combat. Plus, neither the U.S. nor the EU (or Canada) could or ever will be able to actually ‘mobilize’ their nations of fatties. As opposed to Russia with short supply lines, a population able and used to military molilization with a leader who has their confidence.
I grew up in Toronto’s Ukraine diaspora. Hell, I went to Plast. None of my old friends do anything more than shove a few dollars to the ’cause’, show up ceremoniously. Maybe once. Sure as hell don’t see any Toronto Ukies volunteering to fight or selling their house to donate the dough. They all know damned well who Freeland is. And so do I.
Dear Mr Doctorow,
I share all of your concerns and have much sympathy for your stance.
But consider this: people like President Putin are really highly intelligent, much more so than the Western “leaders”. If a president Putin says, as he did, that Russia is prepared “for anything”, then most probably that will be true. It may cost Russia a lot. It will cost NATO much more. The Russians won’t be foolhardy and they will use nuclear weapons only when pushed to the wall, whatever firebrand Medvedev says. Russia may lose a hundred tanks, NATO will lose all of its tanks. And as history shows again and again, Central Europe will eat itself, Poles against Ukrainians etc. I don’t think there will be a large offensive by anyone: the Russians keep slowly grinding, NATO keeps looking for reserves, no one believes in a bright future of Europe, no one has the energy for a sudden definite push but Russian patience will win in the end.
My desire for a ceasefire is even simpler than yours Mr Doctorow, I just want the human beings in this conflict to stop killing each other i.e. fellow human beings. This isn’t because I’m some religious nut, but merely because this sort of nonsense where ordinary humans previously occupying themselves by going about their business kill other human beings also previously going about their business are acting on instruction from other humans on each side of the conflict content to order other allegedly ‘lesser humans ‘ about whilst safe in the knowledge that they personally will never be damaged by the alleged ‘enemy’.
History should have taught us that no matter how worthy the cause appears to be, the real enemy – those who caused the issue from the get-go, are rarely if ever held accountable, therefore shooting some innocent who is equally powerless as yourself is both destructive and incapable of affecting the result one iota.
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It may come as some small comfort to you that on the Russian side, the war journalists keep some human decency and express regrets for the vast majority of Ukrainian conscripts who will die in the coming weeks and days because they are sent to their doom by the Kiev regime. However, unlike you, they go on to say that they have no regrets for the deaths of the neo-Nazis nad cutthroat “mercenaries” from NATO who are in it for the pure pleasure of the kill. So your innocent and admirable pacificsm runs into a stone wall on that count.
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I enjoy and respect your commentary Gilbert . I have studied for 48 years plus military history and my ancestors are military. I totally agree with your assessment – except Russia will Nuke the UK,USA,Germany – why bother with Tac nukes after the US demonstrated close nuclear bombing runs on St Petersburg and other Russian precious targets – sorry but I think this is it for Russia. Putin has been a joke in this war and has buggered the Russian armed response. I think if the Shit hits the fan -it will be taken out of his pathetic hands. I am not a fanboy of Russia but I totally respect them and despise USA with there Pedo LGBTQ+ culture and fake human rights while they have 2 million slave prisoners being feed sub human food ! They have destroyed Australia my country and turned us into a low wage Blackrock,Vanguard US shithole slave colony -Democracy -please what a joke.
So Gilbert I think Mearsheimer is totally wrong as well
You know full well that the call to end the war “now” means the Russians will sit on some 20% of Ukrainian territory in perpetuity. There is no country on the planet which would countenance this, why expect it from the Ukrainians? To end the war, the Russians need to full back to positions held on February 24th 2022 when they foolishly started this thing. I accept that that is also politically impossible, so this grotesque war will regretably continue.
Except that over half of former Ukraine would countenance this.
there seems to be a confusion about Ukraine – it is a split country in civil war. But it is presented in the media as 100% behind Zelensky.
In the last fair elections when all parties were allowed to stand the pro-Russians dominated to Sejm and Yanukovych won. Yes 75% voted for Zelensky – but that was he was opposing the pro-war Poroshenko and his mandate was to ensure peaceful negotiations with Russia and to fulfill the Minsk agreements – the very opposite to his later policies (or rather the policies forced upon him by Nazis and Nato).
Remember much of the pre-2014 military went off to join the rebels which is why the remaining 2014/15 military got beat by rebels with no Russian forces assistance. Then the current military got “boosted” by the promotion of the Nazi militia into key positions.
Who is Ukraine – make your mind up – the W Ukraine minority? Or the majority who are pro-Russia or sitting here safely in London and EU?
No, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians support the continuation of the war and the return of all legal Ukrainian territories. Whether that comes to pass remains to be seen, by signing off on 20% of the countries territory is a political non-starter (as it would be in any country). Incidentally, the parliament in Ukraine is the Rada, the Sejm is in Poland
Any actual and reliable source that supports the claim that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians support the continuation of the war?
Yes, I think Ischguet is off the money with his claim that the people of Ukraine support the war. Please see “The State of Ukrainian Democracy Is Not Strong” [https://jacobin.com/2023/02/ukraine-censorship-authoritarianism-illiberalism-crackdown-police-zelensky].
““Zelensky used the Russian invasion and the war as a pretext to eliminate most of the political opposition and potential rivals for power and to consolidate his largely undemocratic rule,” says University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski… treason and collaboration cases have exploded… Since OPZZh’s ban in 2022, a number of its leaders — including cochairman and close Putin friend Viktor Medvedchuk, but also officials who have made no pro-Russian statements since the war — have been arrested, exiled, and stripped of their citizenship. Some, including the OPZZh candidate who became mayor of Zelensky’s hometown, have been killed… “All Ukrainian journalists and bloggers who did not want to promote Zelensky’s version of ‘truth’ had to either shut up (voluntarily or under duress) or, if possible, emigrate… These names are added by a secret panel of unknown administrators, and the blacklist’s use as a resource for law enforcement — along with the involvement of a former SBU officer and its listing of the CIA’s headquarters of Langley, Virginia as an address…The site may be most notorious for labeling as “terrorist collaborators” and doxing more than five thousand journalists and others who applied for press accreditation to work in separatist areas in 2016, sparking threats against them and their families… Crackdowns on Russian cultural heritage — one of the policies that fueled civil strife in the country where many speak and ethnically identify as Russian — has intensified. The war has seen numerous regional and local bans on Russian products, and speaking and even learning Russian, so that by November, there were nearly no schools left that taught the language. June saw the Zelensky government create a special council to coordinate “the country’s movement for de-Russification”; parliament passed several laws curtailing Russian books and music. Fines for speaking Russian, even for the mayor of a Russian-speaking city, aren’t out of the question, while a leading university outright banned the language from its campus. This February, the government celebrated purging the country’s libraries of nineteen million books, some written in Ukrainian but from the Soviet era, and eleven million written in Russian.”
It’s a fascist hell hole.
I assume you’re located far distant from Ukraine to believe that the new state of Ukraine that emerged post-1989 from the Soviet wreckage is the true historic Ukraine. The new Ukraine of today incorporates large areas that were never Ukrainian but post-WW2 Soviet booty: a large chunk of Roumania; Carpathian Hungary; majority Roman Catholic Ruthenia in the west – Polish in living memory and ancestral home of the Bzrezinski family and Bandera – where Romanian, Hungarian and Polish are still spoken. Concerning the east and south, Ukraine oblast was enlarged by Kruschev in 1953 for Soviet administrative reasons by adding industrial Donbas (always Russian), Crimea, and all of Novorussia (again, Russian).
Only the landlocked part in the centre is historic Ukraine, comprising less than 50% of present day Ukraine. “Ukraine” in fact means border area / frontier land, please think about that! Since Russia grew out of Kievian Rus it is the SW border of Russia.
All this to say that far from “no country on the planet ….would countenance this” it is in fact difficult to justify Ukraine’s present bloated borders, especially when Kiev – for 8 long years – has waged low grade aggression against its polyglot foreign minorities to the west and full-scale war on Russian NovoRussia and Donbas to the south and east. Nor have the surrounding countries forgotten or forgiven the loss of their ancestral territories to Soviet “Ukraine”, nor toay forgive the targeted mistreatment of their displaced citizens.
Well actually I’m sitting in Warsaw right now, Ukraine is just some 300 km away. Most of your historical claims are plain wrong–Galicia was not majority Roman Catholic; Ukraine was not an oblast; Donbas was not added by Khrushchev; Donbas was not “always Russian”. More to the point, modern borders are not based on “historical territories”, all hell would break out if they were. They are however protected by international law. The suggestion that Ukraine should just hand over 20% of its territory is a non-starter legally, politically and socially.
Sadly, the Collective West has made any possibility of a “ceasefire” moot. One cannot lie, lie, and lie some more, and then voluntarily confess to lying so that Ukraine can build up its military, and then expect Russia to trust that you will not continue to do the same this time. I would argue that the US Govt (my govt, vomit) is the bigger threat to use nukes because its war is so heavily dependent on ego/EGO. Russia seems to have some wiggle room, whereas the US has “bet the farm” at a time when it is internally propping itself on shaky and crumbling ground. Internal political power in the USA has made the Democratic Party to keep power out of the hands of Trump, the neocons are desperate to gift the oligarchs two big resource prizes (along wiith what they are best at: CHAOS, and the neolibs’ have forgottn the part about walking softly while carrying the big stick. I dont see Ritter and Macgregor as cheerleaders as much as they are realists trying to warn the US Govt and NATO that they have put themselves and the world on the precipice all based on the same kind of propaganda they employed during the virus that wasnt a virus lock up the free world campaign. Putin didn’t ask for this war, but the US Govt has done / continues to do everything it can to keep it going with no apparent or readily available way to disengage in a way that will save face.
Reblogged this on Unorthodox Truth.
“Why do I say nonsense? Because no one really knows what the situation on the ground will be when the Ukrainians launch their counter offensive next month. Why do I say nonsense? Because no one really knows what the situation on the ground will be when the Ukrainians launch their counter offensive next month. ”
They would argue that it is quite plain to see a) the limited attempts by west to re-arm Ukraine, and b) the desperate attempts to conscript U-18s and Over 50s to re-man the forces.
Any attempt at a forward campaign by Ukraine is just a desperate PR attempt.
Ritter and MacGregor are not lying, they are just counting.
Ritter and Macgregor are simply not listening to what the Russians are saying. Their appraisals are underinformed..
(and you comments below)
It is certainly curious that the Russian media is very sceptical about all news and seem to be quite free of political pressure to print what the Kremlin wants. Whereas …..
It isn’t the Russians we need to be listening to when discussing what is happening in Ukraine. It is Ukraine – and the story out of Ukraine is very clear, huge deaths, little or no reserves, consistent failures in exploratory attacks on Russian lines. That is the story.
It is nice to see a national media revelling in its ability to say what it likes and express its own doubts. And you do an excellent job of explaining that. I wouldn’t say that that makes it more reliable than independent analysis.
(Note that Ritter, not MacGregor, became a huge doubter of Russia’s eventual victory last year when the HIMARS went in. So he does get stuff wrong. But it is not just Ritter or the smarter MacGregor. It is pretty much every independent analyst right now.)
Russia, at a minimum will secure the 4 oblasts that voted to join Russia and the Dumas accepted?
I enjoy your website and comments. I take a minor disagreement with your characterization of Scott Ritter and especially Col. Douglas MacGregor as cheerleading. Yes, of course there is fog of war. But mass audiences in the U.S. and Europe are continuously being fed straight propaganda that Ukraine is winning this war with Russia. Both Ritter and MacGregor have the direct military experience to fully grasp what is happening on the field. They understand the capabilities of the weapons being used, the tactics and the quality of the troops. Without their comments, it would be even harder to gain any type of idea about how the war is really going for both Russia and Ukraine. This war should never have been fought and it should end immediately. All Western pro-Ukraine propaganda only prolongs the needless death and suffering. If enough citizens of the West understood that sending arms and cash to Ukraine only extends the horrors of war in a losing cause, support for funding the war would end quickly. Only government Psy-Ops and media lies keep the daily death toll rising. You risk letting the perfect truth become the enemy of the plain truth.
I am not a military expert, never pretended to be. I have read Simplicius and he can persuade me of whatever he wishes since I have no counter information. BUT I do have reason to think he is just too damned “simple.” The Russian experts I watch discuss the war on tv are themselves very uncertain which way things will go once the offensive begins and THAT is the message I am bringing to the readers of these blogs. Even today Ritter continues to say this war is going to end in a quick Russian victory. He has no right to say that if he has not listened to the Russians talking among themselves and I am damned sure he hasn’t.
Scraping the bottom of the barrel? Yes, the Ukrainians are doing that to get more cannon fodder to the front. But they have ever more NATO personnel on the front lines, and if they get Polish piloted fighter jets and NATO manned HYMARS up to their wedge, who knows whether the Russian defense will be sufficient. Even today I read about Ukrainian helicopters harrassing the Russians around Bakhmut. Even today I heard on Russian news Vesti a Russian tank commander explaining how he covered for retreating Russian infantry while 4 Ukrainian tanks attacked his and one other Russian tank. Where did the helicopters come from? Why were Russian tanks outnumbered 4 – 2 near Bakhmut. Things don’t tally with the “Ukrainians are finished” story.
What I read about the US hawks is that they are hoping the Ukrainians will have sufficient gains in their counteroffensive to compel the Russians to sit at a peace table and give up some of their territorial gains. Readers of these blogs will not wonder how that happened if it comes to pass; they will not look to scapegoat Putin or the Russian general command. We must not underestimate the sheer viciousness of the U.S. leadership and its readiness to expose the NATO allies in Europe to Russian revenge counter attacks.
“and give up some of their territorial gains”. I don’t think they will stop until the 4 Oblasts are secure come hell or high water. They might stop after that, but not before.
I certainly share your concerns about the U.S. and NATO growing more deeply involved in this conflict. Ukraine -is- finished in the sense that they were already finished once Zelensky made the suicidal choice to take up arms against Russia. Ukraine carefully conceals losses of their troops but they are clearly much weaker than they were when the conflict started. Western nations suffer from ADD and have the patience of a 3 year old. Everyone in the West wants this unpleasant war to end quickly but they demand a Ukrainian victory too. Putin is teaching Nuland, Sullivan, Blinken, Biden and the E.U. vassal heads of states a lesson in patience that ought to end in their complete humiliation. The greatest danger is that a desperate Biden may seek to create a diversion from his abject weakness and reckless foreign policy failure in Ukraine. Here is pathological liar Lloyd Austin yesterday spinning to Congress that ‘a Ukraine Spring counteroffensive has a very good chance of success.’ Right, and all Ukraine needs for that is another duplicate army to replace the one they have already squandered and more weapons and ammunition that no country in the West currently has in stock. This war will take as long as Russia needs it to take. Putin has shown restraint in prosecuting the war. Knowing that one day it will end and that Russian and Ukrainian neighbors will have to live together again. Such restraint is always reported by western media as that Putin is confused or weak. Unlike the Western jackals, he has read and understood history and knows that things take time. It is the shrill West that is wetting their collective pants while Russia methodically eliminates the threat of NATO’s meddling in Ukraine. All time is on Putin’s side in this ill-conceived hegemonic power grab by Nuland and company.
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“Putin has shown restraint in prosecuting the war. Knowing that one day it will end and that Russian and Ukrainian neighbors will have to live together again”
If you have to wage a war in a polite and restrained manner, that’s probably a sign that you shouldn’t do it in the first place. Meanwhile in the real world, after 13 months Russia is still struggling to take the Donbas.
If Putin really wanted a compliant regime in Kiev, why didn’t he stage a CIA-style coup? Ukraine would not have been short of willing collaborators at the time, and the whole thing would have been much less bloody and costly.
Paul Craig Roberts believes the USA fully intends to provoke a nuclear war and that Russia completely, completely, believes that. Russia is slow walking in Ukraine to have time to put more offensive and defensive system in play before that inevitable, in thier view, war happens.
I take great interest in your commentary, and thank you for offering it. I praise you for continuously re-evaluating your position; it shows an active and questioning mind.
Perhaps you have done a disservice to yourself by applying the term cheerleader to Messrs Ritter and Macgregor. Yes, their notoriety comes from their dissident views on the current conflict. I believe their assessments come from their experience and self. They are not alone in this “cheerleading”. Dima (MilitarySummary), Brian Berletic (TheNewAtlas) and others. I have followed this conflict in depth since the late phase of the civil war, trying to find useful information and understanding the biases implicit in the sources.
Your conclusion is the nail being directly hit on its head.
I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Russia is committed to completing the return of the territories of the Donbas to their residents. It will take until Autumn to assault and claim Kramatorsk and Siversk. The big question is Kharkiv. Odessa is again an “apple of discord”, just as in WWII.
Russia is again proving, don’t attack her near or worst of all on her territory. History is repeating. Russia is building new defence lines in western Lugansk, norwestern Zaparozhia and western Kherson. Can Ukraine give up the rest of the Donetsk oblast? If so, then a political settlement is possible. Russia will have defended the people, taken most of Ukraine’s industrial capacity and made certain that it’s warm water port in Sevastopol is held.
Here the stakes stand.
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“The Russian experts I watch discuss the war on tv are themselves very uncertain which way things will go once the offensive begins and THAT is the message I am bringing to the readers of these blogs.”
The Russians are hopeful pessimists, Dr. Doctorow.
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I am no expert on Turkish politics, but it would seem to me from the outside that with an election coming up in May, the recent earthquake provides the US with the perfect opportunity for regime change. Has the west ever waged a war in Crimea without Turkish support or neutrality? Seems folly to underestimate the US ability to effect regime change just because of the last couple of failures.
One could argue that a turning point in WW2 was when Hitler lost Turkish neutrality. Crimea was not long for the holding after that.
The truth is that nuclear weapons make conventional warfare obsolete. No country can be expected to surrender its sovereignty in war without resrrving the right to employ its entire arsenal if that becomes necessary.
This is why the prospect of war between nuclear peers has been unthinkable except to those ready to condone nuclear war.
The relative size of the military budget of NATO’s members compared to Russia’s make it very plain that Russia regards its nuclear weapons, together with its highly developed air defence system as the centre of its defence strategy. To impose on Russia a pre-nuclear war with NATO is to invite a nuclear response; and that is clearly what NATO-dominated as it always has been by the US- wants.
To criticise Russia, in effect, for not being able to match the multi trillion dollar “Defence” expenditure, the close to six hundred million population and the much more developed-and unplundered-economic bases of Europe and north America is ridiculous. The country is a remnant of a Soviet Union which bankrupted itself attempting to match the military power of the entire capitalist imperial world over seventy years of unabated aggression.
If, as Gilbert prophecies, the US intends to keep pumping weaponry-increasingly weaponry that can be launched from beyond Ukraine’s borders and without Ukrainian participation- into the war, in order, presumably to advance its regime change in Moscow programme, it is inviting nuclear attacks on European targets.
The people of Europe ought to be apprised of this. And that is why Russia is insisting that the likelihood of it being forced into last resort defence is increased with every day that NATO continues to breach the peace negotiated at Minsk.
It is not only inviting nuclear attacks on European targets.. If they happen, they will take in the US mainland and the UK as well.
If nuclear weapons made conventional warfare obsolete, the Ukraine war would not have begun or would have ended quickly. Because this is a war is between Russia and the US and always has been, and both sides know that. Zelensky knows it, too, I believe.
As far as direct war between US/NATO and Russia, it is my experience that the general public in the US believe either (a) Ukraine is winning the war and Russia will be defeated, or (b) US military power is overwhelming and Russia would never attempt to challenge it. Consequently, the only people I encounter who consider nuclear war a real possibility are those who read Gilbert Doctorow and the handful of other essayists who have both the background and the fluency to consider the very real (in my estimation) possibility that this war may escalate further into a nuclear nightmare. That includes the readers at Antiwar.com, Consortium News, Scheerpost, and others in the alternative media. Which is a small number of people.
You write that “the prospect of war between nuclear peers has been unthinkable except to those ready to condone nuclear war”. I disagree. The US has used the prospect of nuclear war many times over the past 75 years, in the same way a policeman uses his pistol every day: it is a visible reminder that this weapon may be used against you if you transgress our policies. And the US public has become so habituated to the idea of US military dominance that I read many comments in the New York Times and Washington Post recommending that the US launch nuclear missiles as a first strike against Russia. Those people seem quite ready to have a nuclear war. They are ill-informed, but seem numerous.
I concur with Mr. Doctorow that our situation is extremely delicate and that the Russian government recognizes this as well. I believe my own government (US) is in a bind and could wind up triggering a nuclear war even if most of the deciding individuals find the idea repulsive. That, in my view, is how things can happen in a political bureaucracy. Conditions can generate their own momentum.
Yes, Gilbert. I am a bit of a Russophile, but I am not a cheerleader for Russia in this war. As in, go Russia, go! Russians are fighting the fight against western imperialism for the whole world. However, it is not going to be so easy. Russia does have some limitations. In the end, noone can tell the Russians what to do. They are the ones in the ring.
The West / NATO is absolutely not the united Russophobic front most commentators assume. The apparently Russophobic NATO members eager to participate in Ukraine are first and foremost the Anglophone 5 Eyes / Echelon, followed by the historically nazi-supportive countries of northern Europe and the descendents of the old Polish- Lithuanian imperium. The rest of EU is not truly on board.
The populations of the Balkans and the Greek/Cypriot republics support Russia above 80%, the populations of Italy, Spain and France also show majority support.
The first group are despised hostages inside NATO – since civilisationally they are part of the Orthodox world and naturally aligned with Russia; the latter group have on the whole had friendly ties with Russia. Yes, despite Napoleon: it was Russia that preserved France as a country at the Congress of Vienna, negotiated by its foreign minister Capodistrias (a Greek). The Tsar and Capodistrias also guareanteed Switzerland’s independence, while Capodistrias wrote Switzerland’s famous constitution with Greece in mind.
There are many deep ties between these countries, unacknowledged today – or unknown.
Unacknowledged too is the false equivalence between the EU and the countries captive inside it. Brussels is simply the US’s administrative centre in Europe. The truth is that few EU countries truly like the United States, nor the AngloAmerican world, and most wish to break free of it.
I object most of all to your phrase “impose a ceasefire”: This echoes the language of the West, habituated to their own sense of entitlement and supremacy. International diplomacy has been euthanized, and there are no parties capable of imposing anything. I would gauge an uprising among the Ukrainian population and military a more likely event to impose anything. Pray for voices of reason to emerge.
It is true that no one knows the situation on the ground, except for people with General Staff level classified data, and nobody has any way to know what their thinking and considerations are. However the mood on Russian TV seems to me a poor barometer of anything objective, as poor as the mood on TV anywhere else.
I do not think that Russia believes it can field “nuclear weapons in the field” without all out war, in which case it makes more sense to use weapons on Washington, London, and Brussels than on the Ukrainian steppe. The same reaction could be prompted by striking the Russian depth, which would serve to galvanize Russian resolve and outrage. Russia could inflict rather a lot of damage on the other side’s homeland even without resorting to nuclear weapons, and this is the role of hypersonic weapons, not combat tasks on the steppe. It is NATO which will likely be sore pressed if it goes va banque and may then resort to their silly nuclear doctrines (escalate-to-deescalate, tactical nukes, lower threshold nukes, etc.).
The “minor sorties” is a mischaracterization of the fighting along a 1000 km front. The action along this front can result over time in the collapse of the front and inability to plug the gaps. All comparisons to previous military engagements are wide the mark: the nature of military engagement has been changed by ubiquitous intelligence and surveillance.
Very well said! I disagree with Doctorow’s thesis in the post, but applaud him for having the energy to start this conversation.
By the way, I’m finding myself to be a “Putin apologist”. He really seems to be doing things the right way, in my view. As James White said above, “Putin has shown restraint in prosecuting the war. Knowing that one day it will end and that Russian and Ukrainian neighbors will have to live together again. Such restraint is always reported by western media as that Putin is confused or weak.”
It’s a good thing that the Russia public and TV crowd are not all certain of victory. Contrast that with the mainstream media in the US which seemingly has a much higher degree of certainty that Putin is a Dr Evil style buffoon, and that Ukraine is winning.
The thing about Ritter and Macgregor is the proof is in the pudding. They have been making confident predictions for well over a year now about this war. What is their record? Have their predictions panned out? Clearly they haven’t. And it doesn’t do much good to appeal to authority (their rank and experience), both on principle (what is the point of rank if they are wrong all the time?) and on the fact that there are very many more highly credentialed people who claim the opposite of what they claim.
I am critical of the Russian war effort and am a “doomer”, yet I still find myself having been consistently too optimistic about Russian military prospects over the course of this war. In other words, based on how the war actually has turned out so far, I haven’t doomed enough. I expect Russian defenses to pretty much hold during this coming Ukrainian offensive. Yet my own predictive record suggests that I am wrong, as I was wrong to have ruled out the possibilities of the Kharkov fiasco and a withdrawal from Kherson one month after it was annexed “forever.” I certainly ruled out the chance of after one year of war, the Russians would still be banging against Ukraine’s first line of defense in Donetsk Oblast.
Ritter and Macgregor have proven right in that Russia is winning the war and Western support is flagging. Yes, Russia voluntarily retreated from some land they had occupied, and retreated from regions of Kharkiv without much of a fight. But the bigger picture is clear: Russia is winning diplomatically (see support for Putin in Russia — also China, India, Africa, Brazil, faltering support for Western regimes) while it has made AND CONSOLIDATED major military territorial gains.
Ritter and Macgregor made much more specific claims and predictions than “Russia is winning”. They consistently predicted imminent Russian victory and Ukrainian collapse, for pretty much the entirety of this war, and it didn’t happen. If they were investment advisors, you would fire them for always being wrong and losing you money. That’s the thing about pundits, both regarding this war and regarding everything else. There doesn’t seem to be any accountability for being wrong, in the way there is in the real world (try having Macgregor’s record of success this past year as a doctor or a businessman, you would already be looking for a new career).
Zooming out a bit, just about everyone except a few kooks and cranks were predicting that the Russians would easily take the Donbas, and very possibly all of Ukraine, on the eve of the invasion. Even Russia’s enemies were preparing for an insurgency in Ukraine, not a giant peer land war. Russia massively, massively underperformed expectations.
My guess as to why is that the Russian military budget was limited and they had to make choices and trade offs. They did them in a way that left them short of precision weaponry and satellite intelligence. There are indications now that Russia has started to use more precision bombs (fitting wings and glonass to huge dumb bombs) around Avdeevka, and as a result started to make significantly faster progress there. What this suggests to me is that a “proper” first world military would have steamrolled Ukraine this way, while Russia fights like it’s WW1 because of a lack of precision weapons and inability to take out Ukrainian air defense in most sectors
I deeply agree with the core of this post, also with the critique on Ritter, MacGregor and other Western critical observers. While their reasoning is correct, and so is in my their perspective, I have always wondered on what raw data and information this reasoning is based on. After one year of daily predictions of imminent collapse of the Ukrainian army, this has yet to materialise and it indeed seems quite unlikely to happen anytime soon.
I have no idea about when, if and how the counteroffensive will be carried out. And I have no idea with how many men and equipment this will be carried out and what they will face on the Russian side. The point is precisely that neither Scott Ritter nor Douglas MacGregor know it, unless they prove to have fresh evidence and information unavailable to others, but it seems to me that in this respect they do not much more than an interested layman like me who gather information on Military Summary Channel, Weeb Union, Defense Politics Asia and so on – who also have limited access to information vital to understand the actual reality on the field and are not privy to the Ukrainian or Russian high commands.
So, I have come to the sad conclusion that it is correct to define what they talk as “nonsense”, as Mr Doctorow correctly does.
For Tsigantes Eleni: although Italy is not Sweden or Finland, and fortunately so, I doubt that the majority of Italians support Russia. Many do, but they are a minority. Antirussian and anti-Putin propaganda have been sweeping and far-reaching for many years now and Italian public think of Russia and PUtin in terms of those clichès and narratives.
I point you to my reply above to Sean.
I have friends who make a version of this argument: “It’s a fog of war. Nobody knows what’s happening or what’s going to happen.” I do know (95% probability). Russia is winning and will continue to win. Ritter and Macgregor are right, in my opinion.
We’ll see. Anyway, thanks for the discussion and you could be right.
They may be right, but this was not my point. My point were that they have been predicting daily, for over one year, something that hasn’t happened. That is the collapse of Ukrainian army. Second, they do speculate on what basis? Nothing.
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@David. You seem to be vastly oversimplifying what Ritter and Macgregor have been saying (especially the “Nothing” comment).
Anyway, it’s fine to disagree as long we’re listening to one another.
As a thought exercise, let’s imagine that Ukraine launches some sort of attack that kills thousands of Russians — say a large barrack of troops, or perhaps even Russian civilians in a city — and Putin gives the green light to respond with tactical nukes. Exactly what would Russia target with tactical nukes, that could not be targeted with conventional weapons?
Nukes make sense if the goal is to wipe out a city, aka Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But wiping out cities was then, and still is, of questionable military value. To win a war, you need to wipe out the enemy’s military and put your own boots on the ground to maintain control of territory.
Tactical nukes might make sense used on a large assembly of troops — say if you could take out 100,000 or so enemy troops with one blow. But no such concentration of troops exists in Ukraine. Instead, troops are dispersed over a very long front. Plus, use of nukes at the front would contaminate Russia’s own land (the Donbass). I’m just not seeing a logical military role for tactical nukes in the current situation.
It seems to me the biggest obstacle to Russian tanks rolling across Ukraine is mines. Before Russia can advance, the land has to be de-mined, a slow process that often incurs casualties and exposes the advancing forces to enemy fire. Meanwhile, Ukraine is happy to send its troops within range of Russian artillery, so why should Russia advance if it can attrit the enemy along a nearly static front? The war of attrition is frustratingly slow and to an observer it often seems like a stalemate, but if it results in destruction of the enemy forces, isn’t that the name of the game?
Gilbert really dug himself into a hole with this post, but it’s great to voice your concerns and have them addressed.
I’m an unabashed Putin supporter (“cheerleader”). As M. K. BHADRAKUMAR says (https://www.indianpunchline.com/russia-alone-can-already-confront-the-entire-west/):
‘The Ukraine war, paradoxically, is turning out to be a wake-up call — a war that can prevent another world war rather than engender one. China understands that Russia has single-handedly taken on the “collective West” and shown it is more than a match.’
Agree that the Ukraine conflict – horrific as it already is, especially for Ukraine — can explode into something far worse, threatening us all. Putin’s decision to move Tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus sent a signal that nukes could be in the offing (also creating a bargaining chip for future negotiation) and maybe that will give the Poles et. al. pause. And Mearsheimer has been correct from the beginning about “whose fault” the war in Ukraine is, but, alas, those running the U.S. Empire are not rational and don’t think in realist terms.
It seems clear, having backed themselves into believing their own propaganda, U.S. policy makers convinced themselves that sanctions would result in Russia’s collapse. When the opposite occurred, the U.S. tightened the noose around Europe and the proxy war became as existential for the West as it is and has been for Russia – the big fight now is over the re-arrangement of power relations in the world: the U.S. wants to retain control and the Russians, Chinese and other major states want a multi-polar world stressing economic development, respect for sovereignty, etc.
Back to the war on the ground: I don’t think that military analysts like Macgregor and Ritter (add Brian Berletic, “Big Serge,” and others) are talking “nonsense” about Ukraine’s extremely dim chances given what is known about the equipment and men they’ve lost and the inability of the West to supply them with enough — to make a difference — of the type of weapons and ammo currently being used on the battlefield. This could be why all the talk about Ukraine’s Spring Offensive may be more than just “PR” by the West hoping to put off the inevitable. You may be right that the U.S. will escalate by providing Ukraine with more powerful, longer range missiles, in which case the danger level would rise substantially. Let’s hope not.
A cease-fire in place with no pre-conditions (other than what is already “Russian”) would be the tonic the world needs to stop the needless slaughter be sure. Zelensky would have to back off his ridiculous demands and the U.S. would have to stop the incessant vilification of Russia and demonization of Putin. Alas, the U.S. has no real diplomats (Burns now drinks the “Empire’s” kool aid”), and the Russians have zero trust as they’ve been endlessly burnt by the West. If only . . .
Anyway, I’ve followed you for years and very much appreciate your experience and insights, including “what’s happening” in real life in Russia! Keep on keepin’ on!
San Anselmo, CA
Vladimir Putin: “If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.”
Noam Chomsky: ”Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. Media.”
Maj. Ritter and Col. Macgregor have credibility on military capabilities and possibilities for me. Col. Macgregor obviously relies on contacts within the Pentagon for assessments of AFU weaknesses. No doubt, Maj. Ritter has similar sources, plus long experience with Pentagon liars. They both have formidable intellects and well organized opinions.
Zelenskiy is press-gang conscripting 16 and 60 year olds then pushing them into the front lines without any meaningful training. This obvious fact is a blunt admission Zelenskiy and the AFU army don’t have the demographic resources to provide trained troops. This is always a sign of impending defeat. The AFU had no support in 2014 when more than 90% of reservists refused AFU service. Eastern reservist units defected with all heavy weapons to Donetsk and Lugansk republican forces which then destroyed Bandera Nazi formations. They had no support in 2017 when 70% refused to be inducted, and 30% joined the Donbas republican armies.
Russia might have accepted a non-aligned Ukraine before negotiations were sabotaged multiple times by the White West. US-NAYOYO’s genocidal goal requiring Russian destruction now demands the demilitarization and de-nazification of Ukraine. Ukraine will forever be a nation tied to Russia. As a bonus, US-NAYOYO leadership and logistical preparation is revealed as incompetent. Western militaries are completely inadequate for defences of more than 3 to 6 months. This leaves our defences completely defined by American domestic politics, and nuclear retaliation.
US, UK sabotaged peace deal because they ‘don’t care about Ukraine’: fmr. NATO adviser — The Grey Zone — Aaron Mate — YouTube — Sept 27, 2022 — Mate interviews Col Jacques Baud on lost peace efforts and prospects for this war’s future.
1993: The Barry R. Posen Plan for War on Russia via Zombie State Ukraine — Mendelssohn Moses — The Postil Magazine
Ukrainian destruction was contemplated months into Clinton’s first year. Posen’s plan is an absolutely chilling strategy displaying callused indifference to Ukraine’s fate. An extremely accurate description of US strategy for Russian destruction using former Warsaw Pact countries as NATO forward bases. This plan describes using Partners for Peace, and NATO admissions as creeping threats to Russian security. This proposal is currently implemented in Ukraine now, and in eastern Europe since 1993. The author, Posen, describes the whole concept as “inherent irrationality”. No wonder Clinton and the Demo untermensch pushed this project hard. I can only assume the Republicans held out for China as their slice of the geopolitical pie.
Anatoly Antonov, Russian ambassador to the United States, “The emergence of tanks, bearing Nazi insignia, on the former Soviet soil unequivocally makes us aim at toppling the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine and creating normal conditions so that the neighboring peoples in the region could live peacefully like in the old days.”
Russia has announced they will attack any source of intelligence, communications, weapons and supplies wherever found. NAYOYO is risking attacks on Poland, Rumania, and Slovakian bases, supply points, railroads and highways. Russia knows NAYOYO can’t defend Ukraine let alone mount an effective defence of Europe. Any attempt to respond militarily to Russian attacks would complete the destruction of European armies.
Biden’s War won’t freeze, inevitably or with God’s will. This war is about to get as cold as a grave. Russians have heard all the promises, watched treaties signed and quickly ignored with cynical lying contempt for peace and human rights. They know of racist genocides committed and planned because Washington’s announced plans demand the destruction of Russia’s leadership, economy, and territorial integrity. US promises, statements, and treaties are ass wipe whenever brief domestic political advantage demands selfish repudiation.
So it won’t be the vacuous opinions of irrelevant Westerners that define this war’s end. It will be blunt demands and brutal facts on the ground that define Ukraine’s public defeat. This war will end with NAYOYO humiliated, Russian tanks shaking the ground at western borders, and the Global South dancing drunkenly in the streets.
The other possibility which you blissfully ignore is that the US response to impending defeat is escalation that takes us to nuclear exchange, and we are all incinerated. Ladies and gentlemen: this Comment section has given ample expression to the various views we hold on where the war is headed. All further comments will be deleted.
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