Six Things to Keep in Mind Concerning Ukraine and Russia

Posted: February 28, 2022 by datechguy in war
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Getting invaded doesn’t confer sainthood:

As noted at the Tablet (via Instapundit) Ukraine is knee deep in corruption of both the Biden and Obama administrations (the latter who put it in power. Being corrupt in financial and other matters does not preclude being brave and patriotic in others so keep this in mind when you react.

A Nation fighting for it’s life isn’t going to prioritize facts over survival

As I noted two days ago both Russia and the Ukraine have a vested interest in spreading a message favorable to their cause. Depriving Russia of that ability in the west or in Europe does not mean Ukraine is not going to do it’s best to spin news. This of course is a perfectly legitimate tactic in a war, particularly when a nation is fighting for it’s life against one of the world great powers but we should be very careful about simply believing everything we hear over the next few days.

The Media has Suddenly not become Honest or credible

A second thing to consider concerning the War in Ukraine is the media. There is no reason to suddenly attribute credibility and/or honesty to US or international media when they have spend decades demonstrating their dishonesty and lack of credibility. American media in particular are going to do their best to protect this administration for any responsibility for it’s failures of diplomacy and helping to create the conditions for this war. That’s been their primary concern for years and I see no reason why a war would change this, in fact I suspect they will do their best to not: “let this crisis go to waste.”

The End of the War will not be the end of it:

As Ukraine was a part of the Russian Empire for a century before anyone heard of the Soviet Union the problems there will remain no matter how this ends. There is a large Russian minority in Ukraine and short of them migrating out it is going to remain there. How that minority is treated after the war is over if the Ukrainian government stands or how that minority treats ethnic Ukrainians if the Russians win will be a significant human rights issue that is going to be a real problem when it’s all over. (Side note to a lesser degree this is a common problem in former eastern bloc nations and likely drives Russia’s policy more than we in the west understand).

Both Europe and Russia will look at this differently than folks in the US

There is a famous exchange in the US Senate last century where someone noted to Richard Russell (D-GA) a hawk on defense hat the south was very military minded. Russell replied to the effect that if Sherman had marched through your state you’d be military minded too. This is in play both in Putin’s Moves and in Europe’s sudden willingness to make a unified response. In each of the last two centuries Russia has been invaded by the premiere military power of the day with the intent to conquer it. Meanwhile while there are very few left in Europe who served in World War two there are still plenty who remember living in the rubble of it trying to survive and the memory of being under the Soviet’s thumb during the cold war is very much in the living memory of those in Poland, the Baltic States and the other unwilling client states of the old Soviet Union. Dealing with Russia without taking that history into account would is a grave error with a competent administration, with this load of idiots it could be fatal, likewise Putin failure to take into account the reaction of a Europe suddenly facing a war without strong leadership from the US might actually undo all the subtle moves he has made for decades to emasculate the European West.

In the end it will all come down to will

No amount of writing, opinions, speeches or seeds brought to embassies is going to change the bottom line military facts on the ground and those facts depend on military reality not speeches by pols and Pundits and the two key realities have been pointed out by Stacy McCain who as usual has gotten to the the heart of the matter:

  1. If the Russians can fly in reinforcements rather than having to go in on the ground the entire game changes:

What I eventually concluded was that Russians were still in control at Gostomel or, at least, that the Ukrainian counterattack had not “destroyed” the Russian paratrooper force (as had been claimed), and when I woke up Friday, it was clear that not only had the Russian paratroopers held on, but that they were being reinforced, as helicopters were seen flying in low over the area. The most definitive report I found was from the Wall Street Journal:

Russian forces pouring in from neighboring Belarus through the Chernobyl nuclear disaster exclusion zone reached the outskirts of Kyiv. They took over the Hostomel airfield following an airborne assault on Thursday, and by Friday morning Russian armored forces reached the area. Heavy combat continued through the day, and Ukrainian troops blew up several bridges leading into Kyiv from the northwest.

If this is correct, then a Russian armored column has now reached Gostomel, so it’s no longer just paratroopers holding the airfield, which means that soon the Russians will be flying in all kinds of equipment, and this is less than 20 miles from downtown Kyiv.

2. If Kyiv (or Kiev as I’ve always known it) is encircled then it’s only a matter of time

Ukrainian resistance is still fierce and effective, and the Russians have failed to take Kyiv. On the other hand, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, the city is now “encircled” by Russian forces — i.e., the invaders control all the routes into the city. Kyiv is now besieged, in other words, and such affairs do not usually end well for the defenders. Western talk of sending military aid to Ukraine is thus rather belated, if there is no feasible way to deliver these materials to the Ukrainians now holed up in their capital.

I find it highly unlikely that Polish armor will suddenly appear to relieve the city nor do I think that the moves in place will be enough to change Putin’s mind. It comes down to this. If Putin has encircled Kyiv he can starve out the city which means it falls. That’s not going to stop resistance in fact it could become Afghanistan on steroids meaning that a Russian military victory followed by the installation of a pro-Putin government, while hell for Ukrainians might bleed Russia for years in a way a defeat might not

The real question is who will blink first Putin or the West. Presuming the City doesn’t fall this week that’s what it really comes down to and unlike the West Putin has a built in out but that’s a post for tomorrow.

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