I mentioned yesterday that there would have to be a military response to the loss of the Moskva. After all, it was far more than just the flagship of the Black Sea fleet. It was, in many ways, the symbol of the Navy and modern Russia. It was the site of state visits and ceremonial occasions.
Back during the Reagan administration, I offended some DC-types (one of many times) by pointing out that if you viewed countries as toddlers, you got a much better idea of what they would do, how, and when than off of computer models. After all, computer models suffer from the GIGO law (garbage in, garbage out) and our models have been full of garbage far longer than Trent Telenko covers in this excellent post. More on the corruption of intelligence later, but it has been corrupted for decades.
The toddler model has been accurate more than 99 percent of the time. Just apply the so-called toddler laws and typical actions of toddlers, and it is scary just how accurate it is in predicting the actions of a nation. No, this is not saying that the leaders of the country (or countries) are toddlers or are of that intellectual level (though some have been, and are now I suspect). In fact, I’ve met some political and other leaders who were some of the sharpest people out there. The problem is that the individuals are not the nation, and they have to act as that nation with all the pride, possessiveness, and outrage that arise during crisis. Just think of the toddler who gets hit, or has their toy taken, and how they will either run and cry, or puff up and go after the culprit.
I bring this up because right now, Vladimir is going to have to retaliate for the loss of the Moskva. Pride (and desperation) leave him no choice. It is going to have to be big, for this was a big loss.
That said, if they were going to be smart about it, they would do something to help shape the battlespace in the East or possibly the South to preempt the Ukrainians from taking advantage of how the loss of the Moskva puts the South into play. They will also not say that the Ukraine sank the ship; rather, they should say ‘since they want to take credit for the loss, they should pay as if they had’ things. Not betting on smart though.
That would be smart. Yet, there is going to be a lot of push to hit something as symbolic for the Ukrainians as the Moskva was for the Russians. Kyiv? A person or group of people? It is going to have to be big, powerful, and ugly otherwise it is yet another failure for Vladimir.
Despite what many seem to think, there are serious cracks in the foundation of his rule. In fact, it almost has the appearance of a safety-glass window that is shattered but not yet fallen out of the frame… He can still hold things together, but it is taking a good bit of effort. Too many more surprises, however, and it will shatter. In that case, I have doubts that anyone replacing him will be an improvement.
All that said, he is going to have to retaliate. It is going to have to be big and nasty. His conventional forces, particularly the Army, can’t be guaranteed to give him what he needs. So, how will he strike back, when will he strike back, and where will he strike back? All good questions without a good (or pleasant) answer.
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