My post last week on Complex Reality did not go over well in some quarters. In fact, only David Strom at Hot Air got it at all, and his twitter thread was a good take. Much appreciated too. Several took me to task for failing to provide good counter-options to the Chamberlin Brigade and the War Brigade.
There are no good options to suggest.
Give me a moment here and let’s review a few things. There are indeed options, but none of them are what I would call good options.
First up, we would not be in the mess except for the fact that we have incompetent leadership. The Biden Regency is corrupt, incompetent, and unswervingly bent on ideological matters (fundamentally transforming America). Our military leadership is equally incompetent and all in on the religious conversion (on the religious aspect, see Glenn’s take here). We are well past the point any remaining competent GOFOs should have been putting stars on the table (and, honestly, even birds and bars). If any have, it’s not made the general run of RUMINT yet. The current lot of GOFOs couldn’t organize a drinking party in a distillery (yes, tempted to use a different analogy but the Pentagon is already one of the largest whorehouses in DC), and actually winning a war is not even on the table. Proper party indoctrination takes time and money, and, who needs a training budget anyway given they see time spent on struggle sessions as being far more important than actual combat training. Before I go on a rant about this and other things, here’s a point to consider: name me one thing of importance our so-called elites have been right about in the past year; the past three years; the past five years; or, the last ten years.
Then again, Russia has its problems too. Oligarchy and a system that puts a very different take on doing in the competition (and extends it to all walks and levels of life) tends to stifle innovation and competition. Corruption at all levels, and in all branches of service, tends to give you a military that can’t live up to the hype.
Add to it a leadership and population who absolutely believe that the West invaded them after the fall of communism and that they are literally at war with the West, and it makes the situation even touchier. This, and other memes, are often dismissed as propaganda by well-educated idiots in said West, but are the real cultural belief of a complex people who are not ‘just like us but speak funny.’ The roots of this really do go back to the Enlightenment, and to the decision to go with the German model rather than the British when the Czars (Czarina) decided to “modernize” Russia a few hundred years back. And, yes, the anti-British/anti-West roots of the modern Slavophile movement do go back that far.
Now, throw in this little ice water douche into the mix. The argument is often made we have no viable reason to support Ukraine as they are not a member of NATO, etc. Back when the Soviet Union fell, Ukraine suddenly found itself the third largest nuclear power in the world. For a number of reasons, pretty much nobody was happy with that, so the United States and other countries and entities stepped up to guarantee Ukraine’s safety if they gave up all those nukes. Now, the fact is we pretty much abrogated our responsibilities under those agreements back in the wake of the first Russian invasion. Yet, they do still bind us as a matter of honor. While honor is in short supply in political and military leadership around the world, it is something a country should be very careful about discarding completely. It takes generations to rebuild the trust that is lost, and as David and I discussed on Twitter, I don’t think we’ve got those generations.
The magic money press the Biden Regency is running flat out is flat out running us into the ground. We literally can’t afford to keep it running as the bills for that magic money are already past due. We also are facing shortages of critical weapons, as I noted last week. Beege Wellborn has been all over this on Twitter, and courtesy of an exchange she had, I suggest you read this and consider the following.
We are talking about years to decades (and if you want to see schedules slip, look at any military procurement schedule) to restock to peacetime levels. Way things are going, we don’t have that much time. We also need to be building up to wartime levels and training/recruiting to fight a two front war, as that is the quickest way to stop any number of aggressions. Right now, the Brits are facing running out of critical supplies in one day (HT Instapundit). I’ve been hearing for a while that we are looking at doing so in three days. I will simply note again (and again and again) that peacetime stocks are a joke, and anyone who tells you they are sufficient is also a joke.
A good solution to the current situation would be to cut spending, use the Defense Production Act for actual military supplies and needs, and supply actual arms to Ukraine with audit and oversight to ensure they don’t end up on the black market. The billions need to stop. At least from us. Oh, and we need to get back to training to win wars, not how to win a drag show.
That radical Jazz Shaw actually proposed something along those lines, with having other NATO members actually step up to their obligations. I think that’s a great idea, and Germany should take the lead. Then again, in some ways I’m a radical too.
Given our leadership, as well as theirs, that’s not going to happen. The Regency is fine with the billions and the money laundering. If you don’t think there is any, you might want to look at Sam the Scam and how many funds went into his crypto operation from Ukraine. Just a hint, but that’s the tip of the iceberg.
Until we can sustain what we are doing, we need to cut back on what is going to Ukraine. We need others to step up and match deeds to words when it comes to supplying arms and funds. Where there are roadblocks to them doing so, we need to remove those roadblocks if we can do so. This is not a good solution, but it is workable — sorta.
The fact is, if Vladimir and Russia are not stopped now, we are going to have a bigger problem later when they go after all the former republics. And, yes, they will do so. And go for even more besides. For all that many here deride Russkiy Mir as a joke, it is not such to the Russians. It is the blueprint for Slavophile redemption, and they will pursue it religiously unless they are unable to do so. I agree with Kamil Galeev that the only way that happens is if the Russian Federation breaks up or is broken up. On the latter, no “safe” way to do that and on the former odds are against it despite certain areas being restive in regards rule by Moscow. For all that China wants certain areas back, and Russia seems to be willing to risk the China trap (and Xi appears to be pulling out the stops to get Ukraine to fall completely into the Chinese Road trap), I wouldn’t count on external factors yet.
Quick aside for Zelensky: be careful, China will offer all sorts of loans and massive rebuilding for a fee. When you can’t pay, they seize and either retain — or sell it to Russian ownership. Just a hint, as even I can see that one coming.
Again, reality is complex and rarely subject to simple or simplistic solutions. There is not a good solution to the problem that is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There are varying degrees of unpalatable solutions, none of which address many of the real if underlying issues at play. Trust me, if I spot what I think might be even a glimmer of a realistic solution to restore peace and prevent the next war, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops. Until then…