One Weird Trick--How The US Talked Ukraine Into A Disastrous War
If you’re like me, you probably think back to March - April of 2022, when Russia was offering Ukraine a very reasonable deal that would have avoided the catastrophe that now threatens the very existence of the Ukrainian nation. Yeah, we know that, when the Ukrainians were on the verge of taking Putin’s deal, the Neocons put the kibosh on it. Put could it really have been that simple? Just say no? Or was there some other enticement to talk Ukraine into national suicide so the American Empire could “bleed” Russia?
Armchair Warlord, in a thread that I read many months ago, maintains that the Neocons deployed one weird trick that led the Ukrainians to their doom. It’s worth reproducing most of the thread, because it helps make sense of what has transpired in the year and a half since then. The short story is that NATO thought they had come up with a rad new way of making war that would blow the backward Russians away—if the sanctions shock and awe didn’t do the job first. For those readers who are familiar with Simplicius the Thinker’s writings, you’ll be aware that it has now become a truism to say that what we are seeing in Ukraine is a way of war that has rendered all previous forms obsolete—it’s based on network centric integration of weapons and operations (I made that term up) connected to C4ISR: the C4ISR concept of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, the U.S. term for C4ISTAR. What Armchair Warlord is saying is that, in order to con the Ukrainians into risking their national existence for our devious purposes, we promised them not only some of our top tier weapons but integration into our C4ISR and our new way of making war. I’ve edited out most of the photos, but feel free to check them out at the link.
Basically, the American Empire thought of Ukraine as the first test of their new war making plans. The idea was to use C4ISR linked to HIMARS to take out the Russian army at long range. I’ve linked to other discussions of this concept in the past, but a reminder seems good. Along the way we’ll encounter an old friend—Doug Macgregor.
This is very apropos today because Putin revealed details of the April 2022 Russo-Ukrainian peace treaty to the African peace delegation today.
NATO seems to have promised Zelensky not just unlimited support but a war-winning superweapon to get him to denounce the agreement.
This led directly to the provision, starting in late April 2022, of vast quantities of Western precision weapons linked to the full glare of NATO's intelligence and surveillance apparatus.
No other escalation in Western support has remotely approached this one in significance.
This explains why HIMARS - America's most dangerous surface-fired weapon and an enormous leap up the escalation ladder from the previous shoulder-fired missiles - arrived in Ukraine so early and when the AFU still had substantial rocket and missile forces remaining.
This also explains why NATO (read: the US) has been willing to expend so much of its stock of precision-guided MLRS munitions in Ukraine.
This war was to have been the first test of Western next-generation battle doctrine, focused on persistent surveillance and precision strike.
This is a concept that has been mooted for decades now, going back to the original Future Combat Systems concepts of the late 1990s.
The idea is that light Western forces will be able to use "information dominance" and precise long-range fires to win with minimal losses.
Col. Douglas Macgregor (a far higher profile military commentator than myself) has presented precisely such a concept as the "Light Reconnaissance Strike Group," essentially an off-the-shelf FCS Brigade.
This thinking was also influential in designing the United Kingdom's new Strike Brigade concept, mounted in wheeled APCs but intended to square off with Russian armored formations by using standoff fires and precision missiles.
Strike Brigades - More than Just a Medium Weight Capability: Nicholas Drummond takes us on a deep dive into how the Strike concept can provide much more than just a medium weight capability.
The provision of exactly these capabilities to Ukraine was intended to enable them to target and destroy Russian forces at an absolutely industrial scale, day after day after day, leading to their military collapse and defeat. A "strategy of corrosion" if you will.
The war planners at NATO thought this would work because, as explained above, this was exactly how they themselves intended to fight in the future - stiff-arming heavier enemies with precise fires from standoff distances.
Unfortunately for them, there are no shortcuts in war.
The Russians quickly adapted to the new threat by dispersing, hiding and digging-in their forces, interdicting launchers and missiles, deploying effective GPS jammers, and revealing that their air defenses can do missile defense.
The end result of this has been much like the end-result of most life hacks - wasted time, effort and money, with the problem remaining very much unsolved.
NATO is running out of precision weapons and the Russian position in Ukraine is probably better now than it has ever been.
We all know how this turned out. This concept might have worked on a 21st century version of the Iraqi army, but our NATO geniuses made the classic mistake of grossly underestimating the Russians. The concept did have the effect of requiring the Russians to forego Big Arrow maneuver warfare in favor of attritional warfare. However, that change of plans—if that, indeed is what transpired—has had a significant benefit for Russia. Attritting Ukraine translates directly into attritting NATO—meaning, the US. In the meantime, Russia has used the time to gear up its war industries and to assemble a vast military that’s ready for just about anything—while our woke military has purged normals that it can’t replace.
Here is Armchair Warlord’s tweet from today, in which—in a sense—he follows up on the above, describing the results of Russian adaptation to our new way of war. One preliminary. It’s being reported that there’s a debate going on with regard to the way forward for Ukraine. It comes down to two choices: 1) Somehow induce Russia to negotiate with the “Kiev regime”—something the Russians show no inclination to do any longer, or 2) call on a national mobilization, including women and children, for a last ditch effort against Russia. Reports are that the first alternative, in one form or another, is what US officials have urged upon the Ukrainians in recent trips to Kiev. Armchair Warlord believes in the second alternative:
Armchair Warlord @ArmchairW
With news breaking that the Ukrainians are moving towards a final, total mobilization against Russia - and me regretting I didn't post about it yesterday when I had a hunch on the matter - something occurred to me. I've underestimated the Russians before. What if I still am?
The Russians, after all, could quite easily attack and seize huge swathes of Ukraine via high-speed maneuver. The Ukrainians have a thousand kilometers of lightly-defended and barely-fortified left flank running from Kharkov to Lvov. The Russians could crash through it quite easily if they actually wanted to and they've always had forces in reserve that could do it - these days a huge mass of them. As things currently stand Russian special forces roam at will in Sumy and Chernigov, preying on the thinly-stretched garrisons.
But, no, the Russians have consolidated their position in Ukraine into a convenient stretch of highly defensible terrain in the country's east and then just sat there, for over a year now, killing Ukrainian soldiers at horrifyingly lopsided ratios. When they can defend, they defend. When they must attack to keep the pressure on, they find some Ukrainian salient and turn it into a shooting gallery. Where they don't want to push the front up, they just mow the lawn and pull back - they have to have taken the same line of strongholds east of Kupyansk a dozen times by now, each time pulling back and letting the AFU flood the same old trenches with new recruits again.
Ukrainian casualties have been so astronomical they're now deep into desperate measures trying to keep soldiers in the ranks, drafting women and looking at emptying out the small pool of privileged young students to feed the front. When the war is over, Ukraine will be a broken society in which most of the people willing to fight for an independent Ukrainian state - and a Western-oriented Ukrainian national identity separate from Russia - will be dead.
What if that's the point? Objectively speaking, if the Russian plan was simply to kill as many Ukrainian combatants as possible, as efficiently as possible, with as little risk to themselves as possible, then they're doing it. The Russians know full well that the current iteration of Ukrainian national identity is implacably hostile to Russia and they cannot coexist with it - and they're very coldly killing anyone and everyone willing and able (or coercible) to bear arms in its defense on the battlefield. In their manic drive to expel the Russians and fight for every inch of their land, the Ukrainian leadership is facilitating this.
Is this genocide? No.The Russians are fighting armed combatants. It's no violation of the law of war to inflict horrific casualties on the enemy, and any comparison with the ongoing war in Gaza will show that the Russians have been meticulous to avoid civilian casualties. Will it have the effect of breaking the Ukrainian nation at the end of the war? Yes.
Is it an ugly thought that the Russians may very well have planned it this way? Very.
1:49 AM · Nov 25, 2023
I would argue against Armchair Warlord that mass deaths of Ukrainians has never been the Russian plan. Their scrupulous avoidance of civilian casualties shows that. This was a war Russia was forced into—basically, by the Neocons, although the Ukro-Nazis share the blame. They have fought the war in such a way as to minimize their own casualties, in strking contrast with the Ukrainian approach. Further, the Ukrainian plan has always been to conquer Russian populated regions that have never been “their [Ukrainian] land”, as Armchair Warlord puts it.
Further Ukrainian mobilization isn’t going to change the outcome, nor even prolong the war much. In modern warfare bodies that haven’t been trained are of limited value—and that’s where Ukraine is now. They’re also running short of NATO weaponry. The end appears to be nigh.
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