Thanks to commentator Keith Harbaugh for the inspiration tonight. I’ve had a busy day and I’m running late on my writing assignment. Here is his comment that prompts my comment:
Keith Harbaugh says
TTG, at turcopolier.com, kindly posted a response to this column:
I have no way of judging between these two POVs. Perhaps both are correct. I’m just posting this here to encourage understanding of alternative versions of what the situation really is.
As for my POV, it is essentially identical to what John Mearsheimer has consistently stated:
For those new to this blog and not familiar with TTG, TTG is a retired US Army Special Forces officer of Lithuanian descent. He no longer thinks rationally about war. His hatred of all things Russian clouds his judgment. He claims that I am drinking Moscow’s Kool-Aid because I am stating the obvious – Russia is winning and will defeat Ukraine completely and utterly.
TTG insists that the arrival of the HIMARS and M777 is a game changer and, wait for it, the Ukrainians will take the final offensive and push the Russians back to Moscow. Normally I wouldn’t want to waste my time dealing with such nonsense, but in this case I think it’s justified.
Let’s start with my wrong prediction in early March that Russia would make quick work of the Ukrainians. At the time, I did not fully appreciate two critical facts – 1, Ukraine’s military had built and occupied extensive layered trench/bunker fortifications; 2, Ukraine had a three to one troop advantage over Russian/Donbass forces.
Russia’s response to these two facts was to methodically destroy the command centers for each layer of the trench network using artillery, rockets, and aerial bombardment. This is a slow process designed to limit casualties on the Russian side and maximize casualties on the Ukrainian side.
The fact that Ukraine had a three-to-one advantage and were embedded in defensive positions should have led to the defeat of the Russians. One of the traditional military doctrines is that an army fighting an enemy that is on the defensive must have at least a three to one advantage if it has any hope of prevailing in battle. Well guess what – Russia turned that doctrine upside down. We now have a case study (ongoing) of the first time an inferior force (in terms of numbers) steadily defeats a fortified, entrenched enemy with three times its numbers.
There is not a single area in Ukraine where the Ukrainian army has pushed the Russians out of their occupied territory and held it against Russian counterattacks. None. The Russian feint towards Kyiv in early March does not count. Western propaganda insists that this is a huge Ukrainian victory. But Russia is using this operation to pin down Ukrainian forces around Kyiv so that Russian, Donetsk and Luhansk forces can assemble for the offensive to retake Donbass. And that is exactly what the Special Military Operation has been doing for the past five months.
The only “crime” we see from Ukraine is the shelling of civilians in Donbass. This highlights one shortcoming of the Russian SMO – the lack of effective, comprehensive counter-battery fire. It is worth noting that the areas targeted by Ukraine are in the western part of Donbass, occupied by Russia and its allied republics (i.e. Donetsk and Luhansk). Killing a few civilians in Donbas towns with indiscriminate shelling – while terrifying for the families who lost loved ones – does not win the war for Ukraine. In fact, it reinforces its image as a lawless violator of human rights. However, it is up to Russia to create the necessary intelligence platforms needed to quickly identify the source of the fires and put them out.
Ukrainian artillery and HIMMARS will not stop Russia’s allied offensive and force a retreat. Nor will it lead to a dead end. Russia has de facto air supremacy and has intact tank battalions and loads of artillery and missiles that it continues to shower on Ukrainian forces.
Note the silence regarding psychological operations by the Ukrainian military. You don’t see videos of Ukrainians rushing to sign up to fight the Russian invaders. You don’t see videos of Ukrainian unit commanders who have defected in response to claims by men who say they were abandoned and used as cannon fodder. You don’t see videos or reports of Ukrainian aircraft providing direct air support to Ukrainian units. You don’t see videos or Ukrainian tank units shelling Russians and sending them running for safety. Ask yourself “Why?”
This is not Kremlin Kool Aid. These are objective facts. Most importantly, the numerically weaker force is systematically and methodically reclaiming territory once occupied by Ukrainian forces and pushing those forces toward the Dnieper River. Cities and communities that Ukraine swore would never fall have fallen, and Russia is restoring order to those places.
Speaking of predictions, I want to remind you of the bold analysis of the mentor of TTG, Pat Lang:
“The Russian military may only be able to sustain the fight in Ukraine for another 14 days Daily Mail reports.
This was written by the newspaper, referring to the information of UK defense sources in two weeks, Russian forces may be struggling to hold on to the territory they have captured in Ukraine.
Comment by Pat Lang: There is something in the air that tells me this assessment is correct. The Russian army is like a brick wall, rotten at its core. When it starts to fall, it will quickly fall apart.
This has aged well. It highlights the main problem with the so-called analysis by TTG and Lang – they believe the propaganda spewed out of the UK rather than using their brains and experience. A sad epitaph for these two men.