Monday Update

Well, we made it through the weekend though it remains to be seen how the weekend plays out. For those who missed the latest bits of Biden’s verbal incontinence, he: indicated that we would respond to any chemical attack with a chemical attack; he then went on to tell the 82nd what they would see when they arrived in the Ukraine; and, to top it off, he called for the removal of Putin — regime change.

For all that the White House valiantly strove to walk these comments back, the damage is done. In this case, the damage is severe. When you talk about using chemical or nuclear weapons like a loose cannon, the other side is going to view words and operations in that context. When you talk about sending in troops, they aren’t going to believe you when you say ‘just kidding.’ When you talk about regime change, which means the death of Putin, they actually are not out of line to regard those comments as “certainly alarming” and to “track the statements of the U.S. president in the most attentive way.”

Vladimir and others in the Kremlin do not have the liveliest regard for Biden to start with. Senile and an idiot may come up in non-public discussions, along with much stronger about Biden and those behind him in private, and it is no secret that Vladimir regards most Western leaders as corrupt hypocrites. With good cause in my opinion. He does see them as attacking him over things they do themselves; and, keep in mind that any attack on him is an attack on the Rodina and the dream of Russkiy Mir. Such attacks infuriate him and there are rumors that it is not a calm and collected response (to be polite).

So, thanks to diarrhea mouth, he has every reason to believe we want him dead and will encourage such; that we are going to send in troops; and, that we will use special weapons. Joy.

Now, add to this the abysmal and utter failures of both U.S. and Western intelligence over the last few years, but particularly this last year. The thing is, I’m sure somewhere down at the lowest ranks, there are people who diligently dug up the info and crafted decent analysis of that information and events. Almost every time you dig into a failure, you find that people had the parts but either through incompetence/mores or willful manipulation, such never got to the top.

The thing is, it’s not just in the West. Clearly, Vladimir’s own agencies let him down. It is interesting that both Biden and Vladimir “knew” that Kyiv would fall in two days. Equally, it is clear that didn’t happen. However, both made their responses based on that, and until this weekend, neither had changed course. This weekend, Vladimir did.

It is more than just the announcement that the Russians declaring that they had met their initial objective (think a cat doing that “I meant to do that” thing) and that now they would focus on the next goals and securing the Donbas. In some ways, they have no choice but to do that as weather/terrain and logistics make that and the South the only regions where they do much.

However, a message was sent in response to Biden’s comments. The attacks on the large supply depots in Lviv are both a message and an effort to start making the Ukraine change how it does things. As was noted by a spokesman, they are going to have to change to smaller depots and a lot more of them. It’s not unsurprising and in some respects it isn’t much, but the Russian’s have been dancing to the Ukrainian’s tune as it were, and wanted to see the Ukraine dance at least a beat or two to theirs.

I’m also watching the story of Ukrainian troops torturing POWs. If it is true, the Ukrainian government needs to investigate and act fast in terms of punishment. By itself, it could undo a lot of the goodwill the world has for the Ukraine. However, I also am wondering if this is disinformatia/maskirova coming out of Russia. Again, it could be done just to damage the image of the Ukraine (and weaken support); or, it could be aimed at Russian troops trying to slow the rate of desertion and surrender; or, it could also be part of a plan to justify a change in use of force/weapons. Both (all) sides have been doing some amazing propaganda, and I have to wonder where this falls.

I also find this article by Niall Ferguson to be both interesting and on some levels quite naive. He is correct that many in the halls of power speak history as the language of power. Putting things into a historical context makes it easier for many to understand. However, thinking that what is happening now equates to the past, rather than blazing new history, explains how the initial responses to a situation are so often wrong. Think generals at the start of a new war still fighting the old. It also offers a way to manipulate at the top by being tailored to their prejudices and mores via the convenient omission of parts of that historical context.

His analysis of what we are doing and why, seems pretty spot on to me. I also find his declaration that Vladimir won’t use nuclear to be charmingly naive. Which leads to his discussion of the Ukraine losing the war. While he has a point, I think he’s missing some things.

Frankly, I’m surprised that the attack out of Belarus has not already happened. That said, there are good reasons it hasn’t and some of that has to do with the sabotage of the logistics and transportation by those in Belarus who are opposed to the war and/or their government. For all that Lukashenko rules with an iron fist and was willing to hijack a plane to kidnap an opposition leader (with the aid of Vladimir), the natives are beyond restless. Right now, what is being done is largely cyber, but that may be changing. Lukashenko can send the troops in, but how well that will go is debatable and the Ukraine has had time to prepare — and I hope they have done so. So long as they can’t do a “lightning strike” and close the supply lines, this could well turn into another slogging match.

The East and the Donbas are where I think the Russians have the best chance because of weather, terrain, and the ability to get supplies to the troops. That said, I’m not prepared to declare it a “gimme” given how badly Russian Army has performed so far. Keep in mind that there are strong pockets of resistance and reports that the Russian rule in the two pockets has been so brutal that even some of the Russophiles are unhappy and would like to see the Russians gone.

The South is the question mark, and quite probably the schwerpunkt. If the Russians can take Odessa, the coast, and all the ports, it is over unless the Ukrainians can quickly retake part of the area. Without those ports, a viable independent Ukraine is unlikely. While Mr. Ferguson makes a good point, I think he misses how hard it will be for the Russians to take Odessa quickly. Can they do it, yes. Are they willing to commit the troops and supplies needed, and can they get them where they need them quickly and easily? That’s not as likely and the Ukrainians have just demonstrated that they can and will take a weapons system that can’t possibly be used to do X and use it to do X via the short-range ballistic attack on the LST.

There is also the upcoming peace talks. Though Vladimir’s word isn’t worth the spit behind it, they could end up offering a chance for both sides to set things aside for a while. Will Vladimir ever give up the dream of getting the full Ukraine back as the start of Russkiy Mir? No. That is an indelible part of the plan, and as Col. Kalugin noted Kyiv is the birthplace of Russia and as such highly desired.

While Mr. Ferguson does make some valid and good points, I think the reason he misses on some is that he believes Vladimir is focused on the past, on Imperial Russia. In some respects, he is; but, where he truly is focused is not the past but on creating a new, larger, better, greater Imperial Russia in Russkiy Mir. For all that he is aware of the past and speaks the language of history (do love Ferguson’s points on this!), he is focused on the future, not the past. He is seeking to take the plan for Russkiy Mir and make it real, with himself in the top spot.

For now, he has no other choice. There is no path for him to relinquish power and live, and a good bit of that is his own doing. That Biden keeps removing offramps via his verbal outbursts and actions, is not helping the situation. It is why Vladimir has not taken special weapons of any type off the table, and believes that the U.S. either won’t respond (despite what has been said) or that response can be controlled via manipulating the Biden administrations fear of WWIII. Or, very small chance, he may hold back simply because Biden is senile and might be crazier than he thinks and thus there is no way to control his response.

If Russian troops continue to be stalled. If the resistance in the Donbas is stronger than expected. If the Belarus attack is thwarted. If the attack on Odessa turns into another siege, then look to Vladimir to follow doctrine and employ special weapons. As I said earlier, I wonder about that video and if it could be the first of several such to get out and used to set the stage for such via maskirova. And if you want something to really make you wonder, why have radioactive materials apparently disappeared from Chernobyl when the Russians have plenty of such in their own stockpiles? What if “the Ukraine” or some of “its forces” suddenly make use of a dirty bomb of sorts? Never, ever underestimate the willingness of the Russian military and leadership to use disinformatia and maskirova. It’s doctrine, has been, is, and may always be. Just like the use of special weapons.

There’s more, but this is long enough, I’m tired, and have to go see a doc. Let’s see what the day brings. May yours bring you good things.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add



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