I’m not one to engage with the tedious discourse of geopolitics often, but even among those of us curious enough to try and piece together both sides of the conflict I notice a few key take aways that don’t seem to be mentioned which I’ve written down here.
Despite the constant victories Ukraine seems to be winning on social media they are losing the actual war.
For all the exaggerated claims of killed Russian combatants that often suspiciously exceed the number of American killed in the Normandy landings, Ukraine has lost an astronomically higher amount of troops than the Russians. No reserves, mercenaries or militias can replace their legacy technology, bases and NATO drilled veterans.
If there is to be a post war insurgency, as many in the West callously imply- not accounting for how these insurgencies ruin nations- there won’t be many remants of the Ukrainian armed forces to fight it, unlike the disbanded and excluded Ba’ath party members in Iraq who made up the ranks and beuracracy of ISIS.
Considering how the war has progressed I think with hindsight we can say that the campaign wasn’t going to be shock and awe like the US in Iraq, rather it’s the deliberate advance like the Russian adopted in Syria. This time with even less bombing in the big cities. A fairly far sighted compramise since they don’t have the means or the delusions of grandeur that made the US think they could build a nation like Iraq or Afghanistan up from ruins.
This makes me think this will be a long war – probably one that extends beyond Ukraine if Poland & Belarus get involved.
This might also be Putin’s way of calling the economic bluff since there is no one who can replace Russian energy. All exaggerated claims of replacing Russian energy does not account for the fact that no one has the capacity or will to increase and supply production to that extent. Why would they do that and tank gas prices? OPEC has done so many times in the past and fairly see that they have not been rewarded. While Europe puts on a fig leaf with swap deals to hide purchase of Russian energy Putin is now going to force them to prop up the Ruble.
Many often dismiss Russia as a Gas Station mascarading as a country, quoting the plane crasher and war monger John McCain. The problem with this analogy is that gas stations are among the corner stones of modern civilization so it isn’t much of an insult. With the wheat fields that Russia now has access to, the gas station now has a farm attached -another cornerstone of civilization.
Secondly I think Putin was trying to break with the West before they were ready. This makes the many Western initiated talks before the war make a lot more sense, the attempts at deterrence meant that the West wasn’t ready yet – way to show your hand!
It also paints everything from Syria to Libya to Armenia to Georgia to Kazakhstan in a much different light- the plans to hemn in Russia were already underway. All of them have floundered so far, especially in Georgia and Armenia where Western aligned regimes have had to change their minds.
While Polish intervention might be a fantasy and Belorussian troops might only be massing on the border as a distraction – the real coup is how this imprisons all Russian Oligarchs & Europhiles within Russia to Putin’s nationalist vision. This fifth column has resisted for a long time, but now with a war their views have no currency and they can’t flee the country with their cash cows (stolen public assets) either. A true victory considering how much sway and influence these King Makers had in the 90’s – they were the ones who killed the Soviet Union and handed Putin the crown in the first place.