Thursday, February 24, 2022

Russia v Ukraine: Day 1


Obviously, I am working on an article on the origin, lead up and implications of this war. But for now, I'll just give some updates on what is likely happening. Due to the Fog of War, mass propaganda in Western nations and by Russia itself, it is impossible to verify most information. However, there is no doubt that Russia will win this war, the only question is how much resistance the Ukrainians are prepared to mount. Russia is targeting military installations at the moment, has achieved air superiority and the attack is not limited to the Donbass but Kiev also (which means everything east of the Dnieper but possibly all of Ukraine.

   It is quite clear that NATO will do nothing militarily to stop this.

Probable Russian gains after Day One.

 The following assessment is by Strelkov Igor Ivanovich, who is a Russian Army artillery officer who has fought in Ukraine and is an expert. Obviously. This information is to be taken with a grain of salt.  (Italics are mine)

1) Southern Offensive: Russian Armed Forces launched an offensive north from the Crimean isthmuses, supporting it with a naval landing near Genichesk and tactical helicopter landings on Kherson and Novaya Kakhovka. The AFU front collapsed and allowed the Russians to break through into open ground, reaching the lower course of the river Dnieper. (This would be a significant advance, but I would be amazed if the Russians had made the crossing as shown in the map) The river crossing has been reached and bridgeheads have been created on the east bank for further advancement Attempts by Ukrainian General Ukrov to rally troops and create a front were thwarted by air strikes. By nightfall. Russian troops reached outskirts of Melitopol from the south (probable). 

The prospects:

It seems the main strike groups at night and tomorrow will continue their offensive along both banks of the Dnieper to the north - to Zapororzhye and Dnepropetrovsk and also thrust westerly - to Nikolaev and in the northeast - the rear of the Ukrainian army defending the Donbass. (This all sounds perfectly reasonable as far as Russian planning goes. The main Ukrainian force of 60,000 men is located here and encirclement may lead to a quick surrender and less loss of life. Again, get out your saltshaker)

2) Donetsk Frontal attack: The fighting here is "emphatically "chilling" in nature. (I presume this is a Russian's way of saying that the Ukrainians are putting up stiff resistance and inflicting casualties on the Russians here.) A limited offensive on Volnovakha is designed to pose a threat to Mariupol (in fact, its capture now has no strategic significance, since it will almost certainly surrender when troops from the 1st theater reach Berdyansk and Zaporozhye (speculation), but more importantly, a breakthrough here will allow a rapid advance to link up with the Crimean forces rapidly advancing from the west. This threat will prevent the Ukrainian forces from releasing troops that would otherwise be thrown at the advancing "Crimean front". (This is logical but again, impossible to confirm if these Russian objectives are being achieved. However, it does indicate that the Russians do intend encirclement of the main Ukrainian Army and cutting it off from Kiev.)

    Similarly, attacks from the territory of Luhansk to the north (through the Seversky Donets), which have no strategic prospects look the same, their task is to bind the Ukrainian Forces and prevent them from being sent north to blockade and defend Kharkov. (Kharkov being a major Russian speaking city and the site a a very bloody battle v the Germans in WWII. This also confirms the Russians, if we didn't already know it, to take everything east of the Dnieper) And also to detain them until the "big cauldron" to the west closes somewhere in the Dnepropetrovsk area. According to the fierceness of the fighting and losses, this is the bloodiest direction right now (this is undoubtedly an admission of significant losses on both sides) since the enemy is defending a deep-echeloned and fortified strip where its most combat ready and experienced units are located (another admission of probable significant Russian casualties). Tomorrow, the fighting will continue with the main task: not to all the enemy to remove or transfer and unit to the west (i.e. thus preventing encirclement).

Chernihiv region top center.

3) The third strategic theater: the front from the northern part of the LPR to the Chernihiv region. The greatest success was achieved in what was assumed to be the least promising theater, the northern sector, where the Ukrainian Army either did not intend to defend at all or had insufficient forces. Sumy, Konotop, almost the entire Sumy region have been taken with no resistance. There is some progress in the Chernihiv region. It is assumed the Ukrainian Army will put up stiff resistance with "chilling battles" here (another tacit admission the Russians are experiencing difficulty here which is logical as this would delay any advance on the capital Kiev). 

    The main reserves are concentrated here. At the same time, the deeper Russian troops advance, the stubbornly resistance around Kharkov falls into "operational shadow" (an interesting term), which was expecting a strike and is well equipped with well-trained troops. In turn, Russian Federation troops cannot advance and leave Kharkov and Chuguev not taken to the rear (an honest admission) both for logistical reasons and "left alone" Ukrainian troops may try to deliver counter strikes to the flank and rear of the units advancing on Kiev and may even strike into Russia itself which does not pose any military danger but is unacceptable for political reasons. (I find this a remarkable admission and makes the account all the more plausible strategic wise although all gains are to be again treated as "possible" only). Therefore, fierce battles will continue tomorrow in the Kharkov Region with the aim of speedy capture of the city. (I find it highly optimistic for the Russians to capture a city the size of Kharkov if it has significant Ukrainian troops entrenched in the city. This is where I could see a large civilian body count although the Russians will be reluctant to bomb it or use artillery on a city that was Russian 31 years ago and is full of ethnic Russians)

    In further news it is generally being reported by mainstream news that the Russians have captured Chernobyl (lol) and Pripyat which must be like a game of Stalker. Pripyat two has been taken. The significance of this besides the radiation is that puts a medium sized force 100 miles north of Kiev. All airports have been bombed or been subject to missile attack.

   One thing I cannot confirm as of this writing is the airborne assault on Kiev airport. It seems like it was attempted but is a tough hold for light infantry. Both sides are claiming victory here, so the truth is somewhere in the middle. If the Russians have made the gains as depicted in map 1, then much will depend on the speed and availability of pushing in reserves which will be needed to secure the territory captured.

   It seems the Russians are playing a somewhat risky gambit here which involves encircling the main Ukrainian army fronted at Luhansk and Donetsk and capturing Kiev (a huge psychological target for both sides). The Russians are counting on a capture of Kiev resulting in mass surrender of the Ukranian troops. The Azov divisions probably will not surrender as if they are captured the Russians will probably mass execute them (de Nazification) as Putin put it in his speech just two days ago.

   This is certainly the most interesting war in my lifetime but most definitely, this war is a decisive turn in the global order and sets a new course for the 21st century.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Afghanistan: The necessary defeat?

Your tax dollars at work.

   Who won this war? The longest war the US has ever fought on paper (20 years). It even beats out Vietnam for long drawn out attrition against an enemy, despite modern weaponry, against an enemy that resisted defeat. For the Taliban 'resist' is the operative word. Hide. Use forbidding terrain. Manipulate the local population. It was a very Viet Cong and NVA strategy and it somehow worked in the rocky moonscape desert of Afghanistan just as successfully as the jungles of South East Asia. All that 5th generation drone tech, satellite surveillance, state of the the art air support did not win the war for US forces.

   And now the retreat is humiliating not because The United States military displays weakness to its enemies but because the US has now demonstrated weakness to its friends. A defeat and a surrender (which in good faith Trump signed in February in 2020 in Doha) was at least an end to conflict. A conflict that could not be won. Biden tore it up.

  Yet this is not a red v blue situation. The US government is a monolith. Voting is a nice idea for the plebs but if it ever changed anything then they'd... do something else so long as it was saleable as "freedom". And when there is only one opinion you fall into a black hole of opinion...

  • A) Because the cost of such a victory was too high for the attacking force.
  • B) There was no support from the indigenous population.
  • C) In warfare, time is as valuable as weaponry, and if your side has time and no weaponry, you wait. 

   Probably with an agenda in mind, the craven US media accidently  conducted a recent interview with a Taliban spokesman. One look in his eyes and you could see that this person was a high IQ individual and the US interviewer a mere shill for AP and Reuters news wires. But his answers and demeanor spoke volumes for those with eyes to see.

That look in his eyes when Bin Laden was mentioned.

  What he knows and the world knows is that Bin Laden was a CIA Asset working with the CIA and the Mujahedeen against the Soviets when they invaded Afghanistan is the 1980s. He was their boy. Like Colonel Trautman in First Blood, the local police in the hick town didn't know what they were dealing with. In warfare, I'm a big believer in leaving people the fuck alone. Even if they treat their women like shit and throw gays off whatever their version of the Tarpeian Rock is; at the end of the day, it's none of the West's business. I'm sorry you were born in a shithole but sometimes, you've got to play the hand you get dealt.

Bin Laden was a CIA asset. This is known.

  How it became the West's business was in the wake of 9/11 when US neocons were given carte blanche to do whatever they wanted is interesting. And boy, did they want a lot. Here we are twenty years later and still watching a shit show that should have ended by January 2002 after a few million tonnes of B-52 payload. But it didn't happen that way. The opium trade was just too juicy for black ops cash. Next time you're in the ER after breaking your arm watching Porn Hub, just know that pain shot came from the miserable moonscape of Afghanistan. And yet 2 trillion dollars later and 4000 US soldiers lost and who knows how many Afghan's dead, what has been gained? The problem with fighting in "the gravetard of empires" is that it continues to be, no matter how much tech you throw at it, a graveyard of empires. The Russians tried it in the 1980s and left with a very bloody nose that soon later lead to collapse of the USSR. The British tried it and failed as Kipling said not so eloquently in a poem more than one hundred years ago...
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,

But really that's not the point anymore is it? You can read this opinion in just about every US
newspaper op-ed piece in the country. If there were a real media apparatus in the US, or in fact, if there
a media apparatus at all anywhere in what's left of Western Civilization, there would be honest reporting
on what is really happening in the world. My favorite line of bullshit was the complete failure to evacuate
Kabul and Bagram Airbase. I'm no fan of authorities left or right but Trump did at least project a kind of
will to power. Not that he understands Nietzsche or anything so profound but through his mouth and
narcissism, through his bravado naivety and hard capitalism, he was willing to make a deal. And as
simplistic as it sounds, he made that deal.

Trump was always an idiot and accidental genius at the same time. He was a type of phenomenon
that divided the US so spectacularly that the audience lost a view of the big picture. And for all his failings,
he did make a deal. A deal with the enemy. And deals are how wars end. Of course the newspapers went
insane but fortunately nobody reads them anymore.

Either way, the new geriatric in chief tore it all up.

Not because it was bad but because the orange man had negotiated it. I am no fan of either but you know
what I am a fan of?


Watching the politicians holding and passing the bag for the whole debacle is probably worth a cable TV
subscription but I've endured enough CNN in airport bars to last a lifetime. So I'll stick to clips on
YouTube. And by god were they selling the general public a narrative. After the truck bomb and by the
sudden entrance of Player 3, named ISIS K you knew US foreign policy had fully decoupled from reality.
The new enemy sounded like a Covid Variant in keeping with the Zeitgeist and was so stage managed that
any thinking person was reaching for the drinks cabinet even if they didn't have one.

Just imagine if you're the Taliban sitting back and watching America via satellite TV. They are not even
laughing because humor requires a degree or irony and tact. Major Steuber in the following vid means the
US tried to "nation build" but it local reality's could never be overcome. Especially the kid fucking.

Google fu has hit this link. Drag the timer to 23:55 to meet Major Steuber.

Do I have to quote Sun Tzu here? Maybe I do.

Country in which there are precipitous cliffs with torrents running between,
deep natural hollows, confined places, tangled thickets, quagmires and crevasses,
should be left with all possible speed and no approach.

The real question is, what's next geopolitically now that the US has lost Afghanistan and Bagram AFB
which was there ostensibly to threaten Iran? There is the obvious loss of international prestige but not a loss
of military dominance. But, the Taliban have proven just like the Viet Cong before them, that disparate
forces armed with small arms, RPGs and roadside bombs can win.

All you need is intent, balls and patience.

China has already made a deal with the Taliban. (Not officially but you know it is in place).

Their belt and road initiative (with the evacuation of the Americans) just opened a fresh square on the
chessboard that they will fill or have already filled. The Chinese aim is to recreate the Silk Road
(the most profitable trade route in history) but this time with two lane highways in each direction and
high speed rail.

We're talking something US military planners have feared for at least a century.

Never fight a land war in Asia
Never fight a land war in Asia...

The unity of the European and Asian (and African) landmass in one continuous travel route.

When China's belt and road initiative is complete, you'll be able to drive from Paris to Beijing so long as
you've got enough meth to stay awake. And this highlights the difference between US and China's foreign
policy. The Chinese are mercantile. They see the world as a transaction. If they want a road through
Afghanistan, they're just going to pay the Taliban 20 billion dollars not to fuck with it. The US could make the
same deal but their home population would riot for making a deal with the bad guys who make women
wash dishes and throw gays off mountains. The Chinese don't give a fuck so long as they get their road. The
US, on the other hand, is zip tied by "democracy".

And because of this, the US and the Europeans who spawned it, are in decline.

The belt and road initiative makes the US an island on the fringe of a world economy where dollar
hegemony is gone. The question is, "is this the necessary defeat" to set US foreign strategic policy on a new
realpolitick based track? Just by the blow back alone the US public, both left and right, are so against the
idea of foreign desert excursions, or foreign intervention of any kind, that it leaves neocons and hawks
in a tough position as far as their geopolitical aims are concerned. Does it mean a step backward for
Western power in terms a force projection? Are we entering the multi polar world beyond the dual
superpower paradigm that lasted until 1990 and, for the last thirty years has been a litany of made up bad
guys, amorphous terrorists somewhere in a desert and dictators that don't like Israel and ISIS "K".

For this writer, this black eye to US force projection, inflicted by goat herders in a formidable land is a
defeat no matter how you frame it. The question now is... what happens next?

And just like the insanity of the last 18 months, like most, I have no answer.

Usually I can sift through the geopolitical bullshit and spot the shot. But this time, I got nothing.
All I got is that Afghanistan is not the loss of American Empire but it is a major breach in the wall.