Friday, May 5, 2023

Counteroffensive? Killing Putin? - by Julian Macfarlane

The Shuai-jan

The skillful tactician may be likened to the shuai-jan. Now the shuai-jan is a snake that is found in the Chung mountains. Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.

Sun Tzu

A common mistake in judging the modern Russian army is to look at the Soviet army in WWII.

But today’s is not Stalin’s army. It is Putin’s— a martial artist, tactician and strategist. If you like— a shuai-jan.

Russian Operational Art

To understand modern Russian military strategy as applied by Putin and his commanders, one has to look at the debate between the Russian Clauswitz — Alexander Andreyevich Svechin— and Soviet theorist, Mikhail N. Tukhachevsky back in the 1920s and later. Both Svechin and Tukhachevsky recognized that the Industrial Revolution had brought with it a new concept of war — total war, in which technology, logistics and industrial capacity were as important as boots on the ground.

In the West, Svechin is mischaracterized as advocating defensive war and wars of attrition, as opposed to Tukhachevsky’s concept of fast shock & awe wars of annihilation, which appeal to the Western Hooyah Hollywood mind.

Tukhachevsky smeared Svechin as an old Czarist hack. Stalin executed them both. But Svechin was rehabilitated in 1956 and his theories were revisited with the fall of the Soviet Union.

In his book Strategy, Svechin argues that :

a.) every war is different and there is no “one size fits all” strategy. Adaptation is the key. Sun Tzu would have said “shuai jan”.

b) modern wars can be won by attrition— or annihilation— or a combination of the two —it all depends on circumstances and environment.

In the Ukraine, the Ghost of Svechin is laughing at the West. Putin started the SMO with a bold, if somewhat costly assault, which destroyed much of the UAF’s mobility, along with essential materiel. A fast strike to the vitals.

Then, when negotiations in Istanbul collapsed and the Empire intensified its hybrid war on Russia, Putin opted for a less flashy ground game — a long war of attrition, which was successful. Tactics aside, the Russians have destroyed the equivalent of three Ukrainian armies since February 2022.

They are now ready to destroy a fourth if the UAF launches a counteroffensive.

Shuai jan. Just do what works.

The Ukrainians consistently do what doesn’t work.

Hooyah Hollywoodism

As I wrote in my last article, the West watches too much TV. And that includes the Pentagon. It’s Hooyah Hollywoodism. That didn’t work in Korea. Vietnam. Or the Middle East. It definitely won’t work now.

As Cpt Nicolas Fiore writes, the only way for NATO brigades to overcome Russian BTGs would be a fast, devastating attack using overwhelming superiority in numbers—and equipment. That assumes open combat, as on the steppes of Donbass, with an advantage in armor and artillery. And SEAD.

The UAF is said to be preparing 12 to 13 brigades of 4000 to 6000 men each, certainly less than 100,000 total— but let’s assume 100,000 anyway, with mercenaries. The Ukraine expects to get approximately 140 tanks from European countries, including 12 Challengers with DU ammunition. This armor includes a lot of obsolete Leopard 1s. Ukraine has no functional air force, and its air defense and logistics systems are severely degraded. It also doesn’t have much ammunition and has dubious and rapidly diminishing support for men and materiel.

The Russians. by contrast, have air superiority and have fortified all areas where the UAF might attack, not jut the towns of Donbass themselves. Therefore, while Ukrainians would try to bypass large cities like Mariupol and in fact any urban centers of any size to avoid getting bogged down—that won’t help them much. They still must travel mostly by road and rail or maybe rivers, attempting to do what CPT. Fiore advocates.

“Fortifications” —so-called— are various. The Russian versions are not really designed to stop an attack, passively protective. They are active protection — mostly traps which slow down and direct attacking forces into kill zones.

At the beginning of the SMO, the Russians were outnumbered. That situation has been reversed—they have a force of 300,000 re-trained reservists and 100,000 volunteers with good logistics support. They have bombers, fighters, and helicopters in large numbers — and hundreds of modernized T72, T90M, and even Armata tanks. Not to mention new BMP3s.

They have new weapons—drones, glide bombs, among them. Not to mention upgraded realtime battlefield ISR and EW—and a 10:1 advantage in artillery. Every day now, they blow up UAF command centers and depots.

In an interview with Larry Johnson, Alastair Crooke has pointed out that, in military circles, it is axiomatic that one cannot succeed in attacking well-fortified positions without a 3 to 5 times advantage in numbers of both men and materiel.

So what are they thinking?

What indeed?

The UAF obviously don’t even have the element of surprise.

Still, Secretary of Defense Austin and Chief of Staff Milley say an offensive will succeed, as I wrote in my last article.

Hooyah! Kill, Kill, Kill!

This is just bullshit—more correctly, an attempt at mass fecal transplantation.

However, it must be obvious, even bent over, that the US and NATO are not supplying what is necessary for any successful operation—other than fecal —because of course — they can’t. They simply don’t have the resources.

\Don’t question. Just bend over.

The only reasonable conclusion is that the “counteroffensive” is being set up to fail. This is America’s Off Ramp. An excuse to get out of the embarrassment of military dysfunction.

Americans don’t do “strategy”. They just salute. And march in one direction. Never looking behind—and only able to see the ass of the guy in front.

Why the war won’t widen under Biden

The US needs to get out of this failed proxy war and just pretend it didn’t happen, like a drunken one night stand that left you with gonorrhea.

For one thing —Russia has been restrained in its reactions to Western provocations till now— but that can change.

The Russians sent a message when they used Kinzhal hypersonic weapons against a NATO bunker in Ukraine. People argue about how many NATO people died, if any — that’s not the point: the bunker was supposed to protect against atomic weapons!

Hypersonic weapons have changed the game since they confer immense destructive power without the need for nuclear warheads—as a result of kinetic force — hence, the term “hit-to-kill” weapons.

Russia can use such weapons with impunity. The West is years from getting any, much less defense against them. Are you listening London?

All the talk about Poland intervening or Romania or the 101st Airborne is just propaganda. Russia is still using just 10 to 15% of its total military assets—clearly preparing for a larger war if necessary. Its military is now far stronger than it was a year ago. as is the Russian economy and industry.

By contrast, the NATO and the US are weaker and facing immense socio-economic problems.

Newsweek, not exactly a pro-Russkie rag writes…

If Europe were to fight Russia, some countries would run out of ammunition in days.

The Russians, like the Chinese have the advantage— they think long-term. Americans and Europeans are cognitively impaired.

They apparently do not “think” at all— but rather “react”—according to media stories.

In TV, we always need a Big Bad. But people get tired of same-old. Russia will still be evil next year. Putin will still be the Devil. But since the Russkies are winning now, they just don’t fit the storyline—which makes them sooooooooooo ‘last season”. That show just has to be cancelled.

We need a new show— and a new Big Bad —China.

Unless it starts winning, too. In which case, we go back to Grenada.

Joe Biden is just another made-by-TV president. So for him, the most important thing is not the future of his country —or the world —or you or me — it is the election season. And it’s coming— with the media chanting (all together now) ….China, China, China!

83% of Americans, don’t like the Chinese. Dragons are bigger and badder than Bears— they breathe fire and have scales. But Eagles get beaten up by seagulls, even flocks of sparrows. Imagine what a dragon would do? Kentucky Fried Eagle anyone?

Is the Ukrainian “Counteroffensive” being set up to fail? 

Ukraine is between a rock and a hard place.

The upsurge in terrorist attacks and sabotage on Russian territory, including assassination attacks are signs of desperation, but have no military significance. They are just PR. Negative PR in the case of the Russians— since they solidify Russian public opinion behind Vladimir Putin.

Larry Johnson writes:

Russia is going to play this to the hilt. Note that it waited almost 24 hours before announcing the attack. However, Putin and his General staff are not going to be driven by emotion. They have a war plan and will continue to follow it until circumstances on the ground require a change.

Some believe that Russia will now take off the gloves and attack the Ukrainian Executive, Legislative and military headquarters in Kiev. I believe that the Russians are not in a hurry to do this. Why? I believe they have intelligence assets, i.e., human spies, embedded in the Ukrainian General Staff and in Zelensky’s cabinet. Hitting those key Ukrainian government facilities when they are filled with workers would run the risk of destroying critical human sources.

The Russians could take out Zelensky any time they wanted. They won’t.

a.) Putin has promised publicly he wouldn’t. And he keeps his promises.

b.) Far better to have a moron running the Ukraine than someone intelligent.

c.) Russians get to look rational; the Ukrainians, crazy.

The “assassination” attempt is the gift that doesn’t stop giving.

Skin in the Game

Russians are skeptical about their leaders, thanks to the chaos following that brief period of misguided optimism known as “Glasnost”. Their trust is not easily won and they seek proofs such as their leaders having skin in the game.

That is why Russian generals have died in the Donbass. They cannot ask their men to put their lives on the line unless they do the same. The Western media make a big thing whenever a Russian general is killed, as though this was a defeat for Russia. But it is nothing of the kind - it is rather a reflection of the superiority of the Russian command system. When was the last time, an American general died in the line of duty?

Skin in the game is therefore important in the Slavic culture to which Ukrainians and Russians belong, although not in the West.

While the Western media yearn for Putin’s death, it won’t happen anytime soon.

Be careful about touching foreign objects like desktops — it might kill you.

Failure has its upsides.

The “counteroffensive” may or may not happen. Most likely it will happen since the media apparently wholly owned by the US State Department has spent billions promoting it and it will be hard to cancel it.

The spectacle of burning Leopard tanks will not be good for the Germany arms industry— but very good for the US and its vampiric military companies, who will get to hawk Abrams M1 tanks to the Europeans, plus lots of other junk. Note that the US has been careful not to supply in any quantity weapons systems it wants to sell—Abrams or F16s.

It has supplied about a hundred obsolete Bradley AFVs, which will ensure that the Pentagon gets the $43 billion requested for its replacement — the OMFC —this year.

In war , timing is everything. War profiteering too.

So, failure of the counteroffensive means money, money, money. Not for you, of course. For you, it’s taxes, taxes, taxes.

While most average Americans at this point just want the war to go away - it won’t. Like taxes.

For one thing, the Counteroffensive’s failure will open new opportunities for the Russians in all the various theatres of war that Aleks at Black Mountain has explained so well. but that just means that the war will spread to other areas of the Ukraine.

The Banderites are extremists. They teach children to honor murderers and torturers like Petro Diachenko and Stepan Bandera. They will fight on. Vladimir Zelensky, as a Jew, should be regarded as a Kapo. There is no reforming such people. Nor is negotiation an option.

In the end, “Western Ukraine” will just be four oblasts of Galicia, a land-locked rump state.

The Russians know now that they can never be safe unless they root out the evil of Nazism. This is an ugly conflict. It could get uglier.

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return. W H Auden

So far, the Russians have not returned evil with evil.

In the end, most of Ukraine will return to Russia and children will be taught the truth, hopefully to love their brothers and sisters, not hate them. ]

The Nazis will do as their predecessors did at the end of WWII and go to Canada and the US.