Until recent, few people outside of the Kagan cult and the Pentagon thought about fighting a war with Russia. The former has thought of nothing but such a war since the Roman legions crossed the Alps, while the latter is tasked with wargaming every imaginable scenario, no matter how unlikely. Otherwise, war with Russia stopped being a concern with the end of the Cold War. The only wars anyone needed to think about were the wars against pipsqueak countries in the Middle East.
Of course, the West now finds itself in a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine which could easily tip into a direct war. Former Vice President and current 2024 candidate Mike Pence is promoting the idea of sending American troops to Ukraine. Other than Trump and Ramaswamy, all of the candidates for 2024 want a hot war. The Kagan cult, which runs Biden’s Ukraine policy, is doing all it can to provoke the Russians into something they can use to trigger Article 5.
Assuming war happens, could the West actually win such a war? Until this year, no one thought about this question, outside of the Pentagon. The United States had the world’s best military by far. It has been assumed that a war with Russia would mean certain defeat for the Russian army. The real question was whether the United States could beat both Russia and China at the same time. After eighteen months of war, the answer to the question of war with Russia is not so simple.
For starters you have to deal with the nuclear issue. Russia has 6,257 nuclear warheads and the United States has 5,550. Both sides have more than enough to obliterate the other side. Given the performance of the Russian missile fleet in Ukraine, we can assume that their ICBM’s are in good working order. This means that any conflict that reached the nuclear level would end in both sides being reduced to a premodern state at best.
Both sides know this and both sides know the other side’s process for readying a nuclear launch. Both sides have short-range nukes, but the real county killers are the ICBM’s, so as long as both sides maintain current protocols, neither side would have a reason to pull the trigger on total nuclear war. That leaves some room for using tactical nukes on the battlefield without triggering the end of the world. In fact, both sides would assume all aircraft are nuclear capable.
This is the issue with putting F-16’s into Ukraine. The Russians would have to assume they are flown by NATO crews because they would have to be flown from NATO bases and use NATO communications networks. Further, the F-16 is capable of carrying nuclear weapons, so their appearance over Ukraine will be assumed by the Russians to be NATO seeking to deliver nuclear weapons to the battlefield. The Russians would then be allowed to do the same thing.
If we assume both sides understand the risks of nuclear weapons, a big assumption given the behavior of the Kagan cult, it is possible for NATO to send troops into Ukraine to directly confront the Russian army. Both sides managed many proxy wars and some direct wars with the other side’s proxies during the Cold War, so it is not unthinkable that they could have a direct war without it going nuclear. Both sides could see an advantage in agreeing to such terms.
If we put the nuclear issue to one side for now, we are back to that original question about beating the Russian army. What the last eighteen months has proven is that the Russian army is not the Iraqi army. Washington spent close to ten years training and equipping the Ukrainian army for this war. They have poured untold billions into Ukraine over the course of the war. The West has levied massive sanctions on Russia and yet it is becoming clear that the Russians are winning the war.
One reason for this is the way in which the American military wants to fight is not how this war is being fought. This is a land war between peer armies. NATO would run into the same problems that Ukraine has experienced. They would be sucked into a war of attrition that is conducted from entrenched positions. This is the lesson the US Army War College has drawn from the war. In this paper released last week, they explain some of the realities of a war with Russia in the Ukraine.
The first thing the authors note is the human cost to the American army would be nothing like it has ever experienced. According to their analysis, the United States would suffer more losses in two weeks than it has suffered in twenty years of war in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. They estimate at least three thousand dead and wounded per day. Note they are using Ukraine as an example, which gives a hint as to the real losses Ukraine has suffered in this war.
They also note that NATO would quickly have to tap into its reserves, but this is a bit of a problem as those reserves do not exist. They estimate that NATO would need a reserve force of about 450-thousand men to start the war. The current number is less than 100-thousand men. Attrition war need lots of men, but modern armies need lots of trained men, so the West would need time to build their reserves. Of course, Russia has been doing this for over a year now.
Then you get into material factors. The West has run out of weapons to send to the Ukrainians after eighteen months of war. Granted, the United States still has lots of tanks and fighting vehicles in its inventory for use in a war with Russia, but the lesson so far is those stocks are not enough. Ukraine has burned through thousands of tanks and fighting vehicles. They have used millions of artillery rounds and lost hundreds of Western supplied artillery pieces.
This article in the New York Times gets to the heart of the issue. The economic sanctions have done nothing to limit Russia’s ability to wage this war. More important is the fact that Russian has a greater military industrial capacity than the West. She also has unused capacity that can be quickly converted to making weapons. Russia can make more of the stuff she needs to fight than the West can make, which means the West will have to ramp up production.
Therein lies the problem. There are no factories that can be quickly converted to military use like the Second World War. That means building new, but that also means massive new costs to the West. In that Times article it notes that it costs the West $5,000 to $6,000 to make a 155-millimeter artillery round, but it costs Russia about $600 to produce a comparable 152-millimeter artillery shell. Now apply this math to tanks, and fighting vehicles and you see the problem.
Obviously, war with Russia would mean the West would have to reorganize to fight a war of this scale, but is it possible? Would the populations tolerate the necessary changes to the economy and society? Reorganizing America for total war when most of the country hates the rest of the country is a tall order. Is such a scheme even possible in Europe? Even if we brush aside the internal problems, could the West manage to pull it off in time to avoid defeat?
Thirty years ago, Pat Buchanan ran for president, campaigning, in part, against the de-industrialization of America. One of his points was that nations win wars on their industrial capacity, not their service industry. The same people demanding war with Russia today were gleefully auctioning off the industrial base thirty years ago, telling the working men that they needed to flip burgers. Now that the warmongers need those working men, they are in China, not Pittsburgh.
This is the reality dawning on the world as the Global American Empire flounders in its war against Russia. The Global American Empire is now in decline and the rest of the world is seeing what the Army War College is trying to tell the ruling class. The empire no longer has the capacity to maintain the empire. This is why the endless bluffs from Washington now fall on deaf ears. The question now is not what happens in a war with Russia, but what happens after this war with Russia.
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