April 12, 2022
OPINION: This article contains the author’s opinion.
If you are looking for sound military analysis of the situation on the ground in Ukraine set aside an hour or so and watch Gonzalo Lira’s interview of Scott Ritter. Scott has the best grasp of the military strategy and tactics at play in the Donbas.
I want to focus on the Ukrainian’s attempt to stage horrific attacks to gin up Western hatred of Russia. This has been the most “effective” component of Ukraine’s failing effort to fight Russia. But I put “effective” in quotes because the propaganda pushed about Bucha and the missile attack on Kramatorsk has not compelled NATO to intervene with ground and air forces inside Ukraine. The big show of sending tanks, outdated air defense systems and weapons to Ukraine is not changing the tactical situation on the ground. It just makes us feel better.
Unless NATO adopts the suicidal tactic of entering the battle on the ground, the United States and NATO will watch helplessly over the coming weeks (and possibly months) as the Ukrainian military capability bleeds out. At the same time, Ukraine’s economic situation will grow worse. What do I mean? Scarce fuel, limited hospital care and food shortages. The only avenue for imports and exports is over the western border with Poland. Assuming that some imports and exports could find their way over that border, it represents only a fraction of what Ukraine moved through its southern ports on the Black Sea. Normal life in Ukraine is kaput.
Scott Ritter correctly observes that the Ukrainian army pinned down in the east (i.e. Donbas) are entrenched in underground bunkers. While this offers the Ukrainian soldiers some measure of protection, it also means that these soldiers are not mobile and lack the armor and other motorized vehicles to mount a counter-offensive. In fact, any column of trucks or tanks is highly vulnerable to attack from Russian air assets, artillery and cruise missiles and would likely be quickly eradicated.
While the political class in Washington is engorged with desire to ratchet up support for Ukraine and take stronger action, the majority of the American public is not demanding action. Yes, there is sadness and anger about the suffering of the Ukrainian people, but the American public is not lining up to join a new war in a distant country. Instead, inflation, illegal immigrants flooding across the southern border and rising crime in urban areas is their worry and focus. In short, the propaganda war is failing.
I am both amused and sickened by the spectacle of the pundit Generals populating the cable news channels. They offer a harsh, delusional criticism of Russia’s lack of progress on the ground in Ukraine without conceding their own failures to pacify Iraq and Afghanistan. Notwithstanding an 800 billion dollar defense budget, the U.S. military failed to defeat the Taliban and failed to secure Iraq. Spending lots of money does not guarantee military success. And the good Lord knows we spent a ton. To what end?
I would hope that our nation will engage in some serious reflection and re-think the failed policies we have pursued for forty years. For example, sanctions do not work. If severe economic sanctions sufficed to cause regime change Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Syria failed to understand that message. Imposing sanctions may play well politically in the States, but they have not worked to produce the political changes U.S. politicians hoped would occur.
The sanctions the United States have imposed on Russia have exposed the limits of U.S. power. The once almighty dollar’s dominance in the international economy is now in question. Russia did not curl up in a fetal position and die. It is forging new economic ties with the two largest countries in the world–China and India. We cannot ignore the new emerging economic order that is likely to constrain severely the ability of the United States to throw its weight around on the world stage.
It is time for the American people to put their own house in order. Rather than chase shiny objects in foreign lands, we should be rebuilding our infrastructure, securing our borders, reforming our justice system so that all Americans are treated equally and fairly, and demanding that the children who are imprisoned in dysfunctional urban centers are actually given a chance to be properly educated. Worrying about the welfare of Ukraine is insane when our own abode is on fire and rotted through with corrupt politicians who go to Washington and become wealthy. Those who insist we are still the most free country in the world should ask the political prisoners being held in American jails for daring to protest a stolen election what they think.