For about six months, starting last winter, Western media talked about a Ukrainian counter-offensive that was supposed to change the direction of the war. These stories coincided with stories about the delivery of various types of equipment, along with expert opinions from retired generals. Late in the spring Washington sent reliable toadies over to Kiev to see the plans and then talk to the media about how the Ukrainians were preparing to deal a death blow to Moscow.
As we get into the heart of August and the third month of the offensive, it is clear to most everyone that it has been a disaster. First came the images of Western armored vehicles trapped in minefields. Images of burning tanks were then followed by video of Ukrainian soldiers struggling to escape the same minefields after their armored vehicles were disabled by mines. Then came weeks of reports in the West about revised tactics that achieved nothing along the front.
As things stand, the most enthusiastic Ukraine supporters say that the counter-offensive has managed to capture about ten square miles. In reality, the Ukrainians failed to make it through the security zone of Russian defenses. This is the area in front of the first defensive lines that are used to slow an attack. In the south, Ukraine managed to capture a few abandoned villages, but relentless Russian attacks from artillery and airpower turned those into Ukrainian cemeteries.
At the start of the offensive, independent observers and Russian sources said the Ukrainians had enough resources to continue their offensive into August. At that point they will have exhausted men and material. At that point, they would have no choice but to stop offensive operations and fall back into defensive positions. Otherwise, they would be forced to cannibalize their lines and leave themselves open to Russian attacks in other areas along the line of contact.
That may have been a generous assessment. Over the last couple of weeks Russian forces in the north have steadily pushed the Ukrainians back. Ukraine has just moved their northern headquarters west to get clear of the Russian advance. They have also ordered the evacuation of Kupyansk, an important town located on the bank of the Oskil River in the Kharkiv Oblast. Reports suggest the Ukrainians simply lack the manpower and equipment to defend the area.
Washington is in a panic because they promised everyone that the Ukrainians would easily smash through Russian lines in the south. The plan was to rush through to the Sea of Azov, thus severing the land bridge between Russia and Crimea. Once that happened, attacks would begin on Crimea. The Russian army would either revolt after the humiliation or simply collapse, causing political chao in Moscow. It is hard to believe, but this was the official narrative.
Interestingly, the narrative was not just another pack of lies from the Kagan cult, but an official assessment from the Pentagon. It has been Western military doctrine that the way to defeat the Russians in a land war is with a rapid, concentrated attack on their defensive lines using armor and infantry. Here is a paper on the topic from 2017 and here is a recent video discussing it in connection with this war. This strategy actually goes back to the Cold War days.
The short version is that Russia organized its army around groups of 800 to 1000 men that operate independently within the defensive formation. These units have, tanks armored personnel carriers and artillery. The NATO strategy was to send overwhelming force at these units, forcing them to retreat in order to preserve their equipment. Russia is known for trading land for resources. They did this in the Kharkiv region last year and in the Kherson region last spring.
What Washington did not notice is that the Russians have moved away from the Battalion Tactical Group to more flexible arrangements based on the situation, terrain, and their own resources. In the south when Ukraine launched its main attack, they did not face battalions, but divisions. Further, the Russians had prepared complex defensive positions designed to trap advancing armored columns. In other words, the Russians read that paper and were ready for it.
Another thing Washington did not notice is that the Russian army has changed in other ways since the Cold War. They have a wide range of electronic warfare systems that work well against modern weapons. They also have incorporated drones in massive numbers that are highly effective against Western armor. The internet is full of videos where a Lancet drone takes out a Ukrainian armored vehicle. The Russians have quickly become the masters of drone warfare.
The main reason the Ukrainian offensive is a catastrophe is the side with the trillion-dollar annual budget has not updated their understanding of the Russian army since the last century. They have not bothered to notice what has been happening on the battlefields over the last eighteen months. Instead, the world’s most expensive military has gone along with the crackpot plans of the Kagan cult, either not understanding what is happening or indifferent to the inevitable results.
The Ukraine war is becoming a microcosm of the crisis of competence. It is not just the scarcity of talented people in the ranks. They still exist in sufficient numbers to keep the system operating reasonably well. The issue is the selection pressure at the top is for true believers and sycophants. The only way to get in the room to discuss the Ukraine war is to be fully on board with the dream of destroying Russia or be willing to humiliate yourself by telling these people what they want to hear.
Imagine the tag team of Victoria Nuland and General Milley replicated throughout the managerial system. Nuland is the maniacal imbecile in charge for no other reason than zealotry, while Milley is the oleaginous flunky with the credentials to provide legitimacy to the rantings of Nuland. The competent are driven from the room, leaving this combination to chart public policy. The general decline in competence that is driving demographics, is driven by this combination at the top.
In the movie Braveheart, Longshanks returns from France to confront his son who was charged with putting down the Scottish revolt. His son has his “advisor” with him, who makes the mistake of speaking out of turn. This is what has happened in the West, except Longshanks died of a heart attack and his son is in charge. The advisor now busies himself telling the son what he wants to hear. Meanwhile, outside the castle walls, the kingdom rattles toward collapse.
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