Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck, A/K/A Dolt-45,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset., A/K/A P01135809

Monday, March 14, 2022

Russian Hubris and Putin's War

Francis Fukuyama added a new data point to support the notion that Putin has badly bungled his war:

Russia is heading for an outright defeat in Ukraine. Russian planning was incompetent, based on a flawed assumption that Ukrainians were favorable to Russia and that their military would collapse immediately following an invasion. Russian soldiers were evidently carrying dress uniforms for their victory parade in Kyiv rather than extra ammo and rations. Putin at this point has committed the bulk of his entire military to this operation—there are no vast reserves of forces he can call up to add to the battle. Russian troops are stuck outside various Ukrainian cities where they face huge supply problems and constant Ukrainian attacks.

"We will be welcomed as liberators." Where have we heard that before? The difference between 2003 and 2022 is that in Ukraine, the people put being Ukrainian above whatever political viewpoints they held. Russia is reaping a legacy of hatred in eastern Europe and a legacy of distrust in the rest of Europe that will not soon evaporate.

If the Ukrainians can keep attacking Russian supply lines, then Fukuyama opines that the Russian army will collapse. Which leads me to wonder if the Chinese might choose to supply stuff to Russia to prevent that happening.

On the other hand, if the Russians collapse militarily, that may give China a chance to assert itself in its own neighborhood. Those countries who have been relying on Russian support to counter China may find themselves in a rough situation.

The dangerous thing is that, given Putin may have a non-zero chance of being removed in a coup, he could choose to try to bring down the entire world with him.

These are interesting times.


Doug T. said...

I have to think that he is winning militarily, gaining territory, but losing on expectations and the long war task.

BadTux said...

There's also the problem that Ukraine is larger than can be secured by the forces available to Putin without calling up the reserves. Right now they're heading off in various columns to secure various areas, and the columns are getting ambushed and either forced to retreat or forced to call in massive air support that in turn is running into Stinger problems. Russia doesn't have infinite supplies of planes, bombs, nor pilots. At some point the Russians are going to have to retreat for lack of supplies and lack of air support.

And even calling up the reserves is not going to help in the short term, because their equipment has been moldering in warehouses since the fall of the Soviet Union and would take months to get serviceable, plus most of the reserves are 1 year draftees who served out their commitment and both their training and motivation are suspect, they would need months to get trained back into anything resembling competence. Four months from now the Ukrainians might have managed to push the Russians back into compact enclaves and obtained enough weapons to hold off the reserves too.

Then add in that the Russians are having fuel problems. Russia has nine refineries producing jet fuel but they are apparently unable to keep up with current demand by the military, which fuels everything with aviation kerosene. I mean, *everything* -- tanks, fighter jets, the works. KAL (Korean Air Lines) had to quit flying into Moscow not because they support Ukraine, but, rather, because they couldn't get their airliners refueled there. One KAL airliner was stranded for three days in Moscow before they finally scrounged enough fuel to get it back to Korea. Virtually every drop of aviation kerosene has been diverted to the military and sooner or later the military is going to have to cut back on missions because they are burning fuel faster than the refineries can put it out.

So: The Russians are pretty fucked right now. But they do have such an advantage in equipment and manpower that (eventually) they can prevail. For some definition of "prevail" that entails horrifying atrocities on their part, and horrifying casualties both of Ukrainian civilians and of raw Russian reservists sent into battle. Whether Putin can survive that and the inevitable sanctions on what is now a pariah state is unclear. But it *is* clear that his goal of creating fissures in NATO is failing. Heck, even *Finland* is talking about joining NATO now. Finland. Which sees Putin talking about "re-uniting Imperial Russia" and remembering, uhm, "hey, we used to be part of imperial Russia!".

Comrade Misfit said...

Badtux, you are right about KAL's fueling problems in Moscow.