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Sam Sky
Sam Sky
1 year ago

I seem to remember a lot of cynical guffawing about Ukraine, its desire for self-determination and nationalistic identity. And yet seeing Ukrainian men return home to put their lives at risk to die for that whilst Russian men seem to be fleeing conscription en masse makes me think that these concepts of patriotic nationalism and desire for self-rule and preservation of culture that are not merely idealistic fantasies but a very real and powerful force in history. (Which should have been obvious to anyone who studied the last 250 years of European history, but anyway.)

A. M.
A. M.
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Sky

Thats still cynical. Its true, idealistic fantasies are a powerful force in history. They are a great way to buy human lives for cheap. Before, you needed to actually pay your soldiers, give them share of the loot or land. Now, people are just choosing to die for abstractions. That`s sad. Human lives should be more expensive, then nothing.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  A. M.

A Ukrainian’s home is not an abstraction.
As long as Putin threatens them, he can’t win.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Over 2000 words just to claim “Because to hope for Putin’s fall is not a strategy.
A complete waste of space.
Not helped by a load of rubbish about WWII history which just reveals Luttwak’s staggering ignorance in that area:
1) “misadventures in North Africa” ??? Does he mean serious war fighting ?
2) South Africans were not drafted : About 334,000 men volunteered for full-time service in the South African Army during the war. New Zealanders and Australians were conscripted and fought in North Africa. As did Poles, Czechs, Free French and doubtless others. I see no evidence that Indian troops were drafted either.
3) Absurd statements that the US troops hardly suffered. I suggest Luttwak pays a visit to the US Military Cemetry in Madingley (just outside Cambridge).
I could go on, but I think this makes the point.
The title suggesting that this is a “gentlemanly war” is utterly sick.
Come on UnHerd: you’re better than this. Or at least you used to be.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You are right, South African and Indian troops were all volunteers

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Thanks. Great we finally agree on something !
And thanks to all those brave South Africans and Indians whose efforts are remembered and valued as far more than “misadventures”.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

All you had to do was say something factually correct for us to agree!
(Just kidding. The best thing about this comment forum is you learn a lot even from people you don’t 100% agree with)

Last edited 1 year ago by Samir Iker
Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Yes…. the volunteering was not their choice though.

Last edited 1 year ago by Christo R
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Christo R

To be fair, most soldiers in WW1 and WW2 seemed to be rather willing to die for their country, whether volunteer or conscript. I doubt if today’s generation could absorb the same level of slaughter.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

The Ukrainians certainly can.
Before the tide turned, they were suffering very large casualties.

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

True but that is not the case for SA, that was volunteering in defense of people you hate in favour of people that had never done you any wrong and never had shown any indication that they would….. if you ignore the religious conflict of a few generations before. People often ignore how much hate there was at times between Brit and Afrikaner in the past. During WW1 the conscription of SA on the side of the British caused a minor civil war and during WW2 it’s repetition caused civil unrest. Most people I would wager in fact are completely unaware that the whites of SA were ethnically diverse at that time already and that most actual volunteers that had no economic incentive were either of British or Anglicized Cape Colony extraction. The figures of volunteers by themselves don’t tell the whole story.

The Afrikaner never loved the Germans, they just hated the British and many would have fought on the side of almost any side that fought the British.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
1 year ago
Reply to  Christo R

Much like the Irish

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Apologies to the Canadians – some of them also served in North Africa.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I suspect the “misadventures in North Africa quote maybe a reference to the trouble we had in bringing a certain Johannes Erwin Eugen ROMMEL to heel!
Even Churchill was a great admirer of his, as I am certain you know.

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

It’s funny how this keeps coming up with complete ignorance of the history of SA at the time. Most of the “volunteers” were either drafted but told they had volunteered or were facing starvation due to previous British wars of oppression (and what would today be called war crimes) in the area and had to join to feed their families. Very very few SA troops were there because of personal morality.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Christo R

As the Germans loved to point out back then, it was the British who had invented concentration camps during the Boer War, and with deadly results too.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

I thought the Spanish got there first in Cuba, circa 1898?
Either way there is quite a difference between a Concentration Camp and that forte of German ingenuity the Extermination Camp, complete with Zyclon B.

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago

Sometimes the problem is the curse of victory, the Germans were fast learners but they went too fast and it backfired. They always are too cocky for their own good really. The Russians are still the real masters of the extermination camp, all they did is make normal concentration camps so deadly that most people would not survive be it physically or mentally…. and sometimes let them out temporarily.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
1 year ago

Not really. The British did not have poison gas but still managed to kill more women and children in their concentration camps than they did men on the battlefield.
By some estimates they killed about a third of the Boer population, another one of the many genocides perpetrated by the empire on which the sun never set.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

Yes agreed, but by neglect rather than design. There is a difference.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
1 year ago

We shall have to disagree. Scorched earth to starve people, forced internment, poisoning, inadequate food, healthcare, and sanitation, one can go on. Not sure what is gained by saying “very sorry they didn’t mean to murder”. The fact is they did in the tens of thousands.

And how do you imagine the ignorance played out? Perhaps you think they did not notice the graves of babies and women increasing month after month?

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

Gross incompetence born out of hubris is still a possibility. I find this very similar to how the British handled the Irish famine…. many of the deaths happened because of incompetant central planning…. whether the incompetence was on purpose or just born of self righteous stupidity based on a flawed economic ideology is an open question.

Still….. the elites had a troublesome poverty stricken underclass which after the famine did not exist to trouble them anymore. It raises questions but gives no concrete answers. It’s much more practical to instead of intention focus on how it proves the uselessness of central planning and forgive any potential ill intent…. but never forgetting the potential ill intent. Not an easy dance to do.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

I do not disagree with much of what you say, however Germany never produced an Emily Hobhouse, and that is the difference, albeit rather late in the day.
What is far more reprehensible (if that is possible) is what went on with Mau Mau in the 50’s, well after Auschwitz, for which there can be no excuse.

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago

Germany did however produce a lot of people that in secret tried to help as much as they could. Britain was oppressive at home during it’s empire era but not to the degree the Russians or Germans were…. for that you need socialism. The degree of domestic oppression does a lot to help or hamper how public the actions of humanitarians are.
When it comes to that it’s interesting to watch the Russian resonses to detractors of the current war, the current proto-technocratic socialism in power there still seems a bit of a mystery.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Christo R

“for that you need socialism.”Sadly not always.
Surely Belgium must “take the biscuit “ for outright barbarism, and for that you can thank the savage known as King Leopold II of the illustrious House of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha.
Neither was there much socialism on show from the Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese, as they plundered their way across the planet.

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago

Apples and oranges, yes Belgum went bonkers in it’s colonies but there was no comparable barbarism at home.

What I am speaking of is total civil oppression where the bars are there but invisible and people just disappear and no one even mentions the disappearance for fear that they are next because it will make them stand out. There is a big difference between this and simply clubbing resistence openly out of everyone.

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

True but it’s still debated whether or not they intended Genocide itself as a weapon rather than accidentally bungling into it by using the camps as intimidation. I am just glad that the death toll was arrested by the efforts of a British woman because her ethnicity by itself helped do a lot to softer Afrikaner attitudes towards the British on a personal level leaving only hate for the Monarchy.

On the other hand you must remember that in both WW’s everyone was spreading all sorts of propaganda, the Germans were just as guilty of everything they rightly accused others of and the other way around. Many still don’t know that the Germans barely scratched the surface of what the Russians did and they think that 6m is an exceptionally large figure in comparison.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
1 year ago
Reply to  Christo R

We’ve really hijacked this article, sorry, but here goes:
“The British woman”, you mean Emily Hobhouse? She was an important voice of conscience but had no influence on the British government.

Just googled the following from the History Press: “she was unable to get the Government to listen to her and even her writing was turned against her. She was not imprisoned – or worse – as some hoped, but she had no opportunity to rebut the stigma that remained with her till her death.”

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

Yes I mean her. She had by accident a pivotal role in the propaganda role between the liberals and conservatives in Britain, the propaganda war was a sideshow to the real war true but it meant the fall of the conservatives due to their publicized misdeeds that came to light because of her. In the end she was an important spear in their side that helped politically kill them. It must be said though the propaganda war was entirely selfish in nature and the sole real reason the liberals pounced on her and used her as a weapon was to kill the conservatives as a political force.

It is forgotten how fierce the conservatives and liberals fought at the time…. and that the two terms meant something different at the time than they do now.

In her life she was essentially adopted into the volk and at her death her ashes were interned in SA in a monument. I do not hesitate to say that if she did not do what she did there would have been no chance of reconciliiation between the Afrikaners and British on a personal level. She essentially proved “they are not all like that” and lessened a lot of suffering in the camps. Many though to this day still seethe with hate for all things British and go as far as to assault you for speaking English, the wounds have not all been healed yet.

Bringing it back to the current war…. I am sure a lot of it is still being fought because of old wounds and hate. Rus and Slav might be related but they still cannot live under the same roof…. and I don’t know of any cross ethnic conciliatory figures that would help ease reconciliation.

On the other hand it is also true that the current propaganda war is exactly the same as the one back then: almost no one actually cares about the Russians or Ukrainians, they just use them as proxy weapons in wars against opponents at home and they will try to destroy anyone that points out anything inconvenient about them as they did with EH. It’s really quite disgusting but should not be surprising.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
1 year ago
Reply to  Christo R

Where on earth do you get this rubbish from? References please.

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

You will have to be more specific?

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You’ve saved me the trouble of posting. Luttwak’s knowledge of events in N Africa is pitiful.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Australians were not conscripted to fight overseas. The AIF were volunteers.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

It persisted for 80 years because the Spanish kept losing.”
Great line.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Close parallels to Israel.
Multiple wars, and conflict for close to 80 years now.
And only because Israel keeps winning.
If they lost once, their surrounding countries would “fix” the problem and all those human rights activists crying about Palestine, couldn’t care less, just like they couldn’t care about Jews made refugees from Arab countries since 1948, Coptic Christians, Hindus in Pakistan, Armenians….

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

You’re on planet zorg if you seriously can characterise Israel’s super-power backed and bankrolled corralling of a bunch of defeated, underequipped and impoverished Palestinians as a “war”. And Palestine’s Arab neighbours don’t give a stuff about Palestine, as you well know. But keep hyping up the threat mate, there’s good money in it.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

You are right, the Arab neighbours don’t care about Palestine. But they do care about Israel, really strongly.

And Israel’s wars were never against just Palestinians. Superpower support was really a factor from the 70s, and they were massively outnumbered in men, materials (and often quality of materials).

Ironically, if Israel treated Palestine the way the Arabs would have treated Israel if Israel had lost….Israel wouldn’t have a Palestine problem anymore.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Isnt that why Begin threw out the Palestinians?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

It persisted for 80 years because the Spanish silver mines in Bolivia kept paying, and the plunder from the East Indies kept the Dutch afloat.

Francisco Javier Bernal
Francisco Javier Bernal
1 year ago

The Spanish Tercios were the first modern army. They developed pretty much everything about modern warfare, from formations to field hospitals and barracks. Make no mistake, the 80 years war was not just fought between Superpower Spain and the Dutch minion, it was a Spain versus France war, then with the opportunistic English joining in against Spain. The Dutch were happy with the Twelve Years’ Truce they signed. It was only external agents, read France, that ensured the war continued. I see a parallel here with Ukraine being emboldened to reject the Minsk Agreements and renege on their deals before the ink was dry.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Yes the ‘war’ might well be scored a ‘draw’, as you did retain half of the Netherlands (now Belgium) did you not?
I completely agree the Tercios were the finest infantry force since the Roman Legions, and were virtually unbeaten in the field from Pavia 1525, to Rocroi 1643, and that included giving the fabled Swedes a damned good thrashing at Nordlingen in 1634.
If they had landed in 1588 we would probably be a Bullfighting nation rather than a football one.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

And the Dutch came out of that war as Europe’s leading empire, not to be defeated by the British until the mid-18th century.
Oh, and I plumb forgot: they stole at least one of those Spanish silver fleets sailing from the Caribbean. But maybe they did that for Spain’s own good, since all that silver was as inflationary as Joe Biden’s policies.

Last edited 1 year ago by Wim de Vriend
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

They also gave up being German in 1648, and indulged in an unparalleled piece of savagery in 1672 with murder of the De Witt brothers, beautifully ‘captured’ on canvas by Jan de Baen.
However you failed to mention that they did successfully invade and conquer England in 1688, thus succeeding where the Spanish had so famously failed, exactly a century before.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

Who cares? Can’t we just enjoy a beautifully written line.

Chris Whybrow
Chris Whybrow
1 year ago

I think the author overlooks just how utterly impoverished most of Russia actually is. The vast majority of Russians won’t be going on holiday anywhere anytime soon, nor buying a lot of luxury goods either.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Whybrow

Who, exactly, are the people we’re told are leaving Russia to avoid conscription or the consequences of war? Not the impoverished ones, I would guess.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

They are exactly the same class of people who in Britain refuse to accept Brexit after six years or argue in favour of mass immigration (and comprise most of the civil services etc and subvert legal attempts to block the boats). And then stay in posh communities, entirely White + sprinkling of educated Asians.

These people are leaving Russia not because they are cowards or peaceniks. And it wouldn’t matter whether you think Russian actions are justified or outrageous aggression. They are “world citizens” who couldn’t care less about their country or its interests.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

They are reservists not conscripts. They will have been on retainers attending weekend military training and a summer camp.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

They will soon be any warm Russian body.
This is a stealth mobilization of every able-bodied Russian.
Vova wants to halt the Ukrainian offensive with massed infantry.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

Yes. Sorry, casual and lazy use of language.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

“Ukraine itself imports and pays for Russian gas every day.”
Some war.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

In Catch 22′ they (Milo’s cartel) bomb their own side because it is just business and he needs to get rid of supplies so he can sell some he got stuck with. He believes war should be privatized so at least the guys fighting get something out of it. Anyone killed on their side is just fate, because it is war after all.

Europe pays Russia for the gas – then sanctions everything else, and gives billions to Ukraine – so Europe is funding Both Sides of the War!!!

This is 100% Milo’s Cartel in ‘Catch 22’.
This all makes no sense.

The biggest shocker is, as I have been 100% against any interfering in this by the West from day one – I got banned for it back in March – but almost 100% of the sheep posting here are Gung-Ho. I always get down votes for being against this war. The Agenda has captured all of you.

I know the ME and know what the 40 years of war we were in in Afghanistan, and 20 years in Iraq did – Absolutely NO GOOD!!!! cost $Trillions – enough to have rebuilt USA, cost huge loss of life – wrecked so many lives – made a lot of people really rich though, but was about agenda – …..I knew this war was bad news to get into – a Bad War – Keep Away! No War. Say no to the Neo-Cons!!!

Biden could force Zalenski to the treaty table tomorrow –

Turn the volume up to 10 – play this old song – – War! (what is it good for) Absolutely Nothing! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztZI2aLQ9Sw

Edwin Starr – War Lyrics


War, huh yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, oh hoh, oh
War huh yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again y’all
War, huh good God
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

Oh, war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tear to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go off to fight and lose their lives

I said
War, huh good God y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, just say it again
War whoa Lord
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker

Oh war, is an enemy to all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest within the younger generation
Induction, then destruction who wants to die

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

You may redmark him, but he has a point.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

War (as Luttwak writes) is good for one thing. When two sides have vital and incompatible goals, war can force them to dial down their demands (even to what they would see as totally unacceptable concessions), because the war shows that they cannot get what they want and the cost of trying is too high. Ultimately you can to get a peace where both sides are willing to live with the status quo. If mutually acceptable compromise is not on offer and neither side is willing to simply surrender and give up, war may be the only way to a reality that both sides will accept.

In the specific case Russia demands Russian control of the neighbouring countries to protect it from potential military threat from foreign powers, Ukraine demands independence and the freedom to decide their policies without giving Russia a veto – and Europe (and indirectly the US) have a strong interest in keeping the threat of the Russian army far enough away from their capitals. As long as all sides think they can get most of what they want, it does not seem possible to settle this peacefully.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

“Russia demands Russian control of the neighbouring countries to protect it from potential military threat from foreign powers.” I know this is a concern based on historical invasions of Russian territory, but the most recent one occurred 81 years ago, and the world has changed, conquest no longer pays, and I’m baffled to say which foreign powers would be dumb enough to invade today. Except maybe China, but that would be at Russia’s other end.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

You’re naive. It all makes perfect sense.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

You seem to forget that this was an invasion by Putin.
And if Russia doesn’t suffer horrendosly for it, Vova will do it again.
We have to insure that Russia can never invade again. Most of Russia’s regular army is already destroyed, which is a very good start.
And if it destroys Russia, well, China has already taken over most of Central Asia.
They will fill Russia’s power vacuum.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

I don’t think I’ll listen to it, on the reasonable assumption that these primitively dismal lyrics predict terrible music.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

We are told that there is now a leak somewhere in the pipeline which crosses Ukraine to Europe. If this leak is within Ukraine, then Nord Stream 2 (avoiding Ukraine) will need to be opened up to supply the necessary oil to Europe. Yes?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

I don’t know what you’re referring to.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Had we kept the French sugar islands in 1763 and returned French Canada,as many contemporaries advocated, it is very unlikely that that pestilential menace (to the British Empire) the United Sates would ever have been born, at least not in 1776.

The threat of a French Canada would have kept those greedy American colonists in check, as they undoubtedly would have expected Great Britain to defend them ( at vast expense) as we had done before.

Sadly the British ‘Sugar Plantocracy’ won the day.

N T
N T
1 year ago

Who would have thought that we colonists now hold a particular affinity for you and yours?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  N T

Do you?

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

Had you kept Pitt the Younger as PM and taken his advice to seize Cuba and the Spanish treasure fleet, you could have kept French Canada, would not have to had imposed a tea monopoly on the American colonists to cover Clive’s losses in India, as the Spanish gold would have more than done that, and might, with the little more time to consider the matter you would have had without having made that mistake, have decided on a settlement akin to the later British North America Act, which would have granted independence under the Crown to the America colonies, as they did have a just claim that they were being taxed by the Parliament in Westminster in which they had no representation..

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  David Yetter

Don’t you mean Pitt the Elder? But otherwise yes there much sense in his proposal, although I’m not certain there was much ‘Spanish gold’ in Cuba.
I agree why a Kingdom of America was not established, very much along the lines of the contemporary Kingdom of Ireland with its own Parliament, Houses of Commons and Lords, Military establishment etc is puzzling.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

Perhaps I do. It was not gold in Cuba, but the seizure of the Spanish treasure fleet that would have rendered unnecessary some of the impositions on the American colonists that triggered our War of Independence. (It is odd to call a war fought on behalf of the American colonists chiefly to vindicate their claim to the traditional rights of Englishmen, which the Crown had been denying them, a “revolution” even if in the end it was decided that a republic was a better way of securing those rights.)

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  David Yetter

“Perhaps I do”? Admit it you were wrong! Pitt the Elder not Younger. QED?

As to your second point I thought it was ‘you’ who call it the Revolutionary War not us. We are quite happy with The American War of Independence.
The ‘Spanish treasure fleet’ gold would certainly have helped, even after the deduction of Prize Money, however there were other major costs.

Prior to 1754 no British Infantry Battalions were permanently stationed in the American Colonies. Post 1763, despite the elimination of French Canada ‘we’ decided to garrison the place with ten Infantry Battalions, and these had to be paid for. Hence the problem.
Incidentally where was that ‘treasure fleet’? Certainly not in Havana when we captured the place, so where?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

The last chance to avoid the Iron Heel of American oppression?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

No, that didn’t come until 1916, thanks to that old pervert Asquith and his cronies.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

So, no hope then?
Looks like Putin loses then.

KM
KM
1 year ago

Very interesting essay indeed!
I am no expert but would still like to add a couple of comments in my non-expert understanding:

  1. On paper, at least, the Russians can still bring massive firepower on Ukraine though in an indiscriminate manner and they could ‘win’ if ‘victory’ is defined in Chechnya terms, i.e. flatten cities and towns and cause massive civilian casualties. This would place Putin beyond the pale even with the likes of China and India and shed any figleaf of ‘we are helping our misguided Ukranian brethren’. But who is to say that if indeed societal reaction to mobilization is strengthened and he feels cornered he will not go ‘full scale’ and what would the implications of that be?
  2. Even in a protracted ‘gentlemanly’ war, Russian casualties will mount. And these casualties will now be comprised of youths ‘next door’, not the professionals who could be the dregs of society but youths from the Russian societal fabric itself. How can Putin maintain internal calm in the face of that and would that lead him to point 1. above?
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  KM

There is nothing “gentlemanly” about mass graves and forced deportation of people from their homes. The Russians are doing it again. No surprise. It’s been going on for well over 100 years now.

Christo R
Christo R
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Gentlemanly describes how you do something, not what you do. You can have the kindest torturers and the rudest doctors.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I think it is rather premature to describe this war as an 18th century conflict.

What we do know, as Neville Chamberlain so eloquently put it, is that this is “ a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing”.

Have we learnt anything over the last century or so? In 1914 we blundered into a completely unnecessary war with the result that we were bankrupt by 1916. The US kindly suspended our debit repayments in 1934, only for us to blunder into a second disastrous conflict in 1939, with the same dreadful result.

Off course a national sense of denial has allowed us to pretend that we have the moral authority to lecture the world, which has inevitably led to even further humiliation.

It is about time we recalled the old adage “charity begins at home” and started acting accordingly, as the forthcoming winter will undoubtedly demonstrate.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Nonsense.
Ukraine may be a “faraway country”, but to suggest that we “know nothing” is baloney. We are in fact – certainly those who choose to be – far better informed than most Russians about the true history and context of the Ukraine dispute. Remember that Russia has lived under continuous state censorship for well over 100 years (with possibly one small interlude of press freedom during the 1990s). All countries in Eastern Europe lied to their people about their own and world history after WWII.
Neither did Chamberlain “know nothing” about Czechoslovakia in 1938. He was lying. We had helped to create this country only 20 years earlier. He knew perfectly well about the Sudetenland dispute and that the Germans actually had some legitimate grievances. He had to. He had an ally – France – that was a military ally of Czechoslovakia.
I do not see how support for Ukraine involves or requires any “moral authority” or “lecturing the world”. It is in our own interests to do so. Not everyone will ever agree. But I’m certain a majority in the UK do. Just as they did in 1914 and 1939. Some things are more important than short term profit and loss.
Finally, for better or worse, the history of the UK over the past 400 years was one of intervening in “faraway countries”. I would suggest that some at least are on balance far better off for that. But at least we surrendered our empire gracefully. Rather than indulge in futile attempts to restore it like Russia. What you are witnessing is the final breakup of the Russian empire.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

on balance far better off for that” – quiet true as time reveals but certainly not allowed to say so today.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Well, and in reverse order, yes we surrendered our Empire fairly ‘gracefully’, with the possible exception of Mau Mau.
However from its very beginnings our Empire was quite correctly founded on Profit and Plunder. The fact that it later morphed into a sanctimonious aunt sally was, and is,
a true sign of decadence.

It was not in ‘our interest’ to intervene in 1914, and certainly not to compound that error again in 1914. Off course Chamberlain ‘knew’ Czechoslovakia, and rather like Belgium had been created in 1830 to annoy France, ‘he’ knew that Czechoslovakia been created in 1919 to irritate Germany, but it certainly was not worth a World War and the destruction of the British Empire for, and nor for that matter was Poland.

Incidentally whilst you pride yourself on your knowledge of current affairs, most of the country are quite correctly blissfully ignorant such distractions. In the ‘font of all wisdom’, my local pub, here in Arcadia, nobody gives a ‘tinkers cuss’ about the Ukraine, or for that matter about Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact most would be hard pushed to point any of them out on a map! I suspect outside Quislington and perhaps a few University towns the same thing appertains for the whole country.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Czechoslovakia was not founded to “irritate Germany”. Where do you get this from ? It was the result of the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian empire. In fact, all the territory came from Austria-Hungary. The Sudeten Germans had been Austrian citizens before 1919. Taken to its logical conclusion, you almost seem to be arguing that Czechoslovakia hads no right to exist … not unlike Putin’s attitute to Ukraine perhaps.
You seem to be forgetting that we had treaty commitments to defend Belgium in 1914 and Poland in 1939. Perhaps that doesn’t matter to you. Fortunately it does to most of us – as here from 1982:
When he was asked if retaking the islands was possible, he replied “Yes we can recover the islands.” He then added “and we must!” Thatcher replied “Why?” Leach exclaimed “Because if we do not, or if we pussyfoot in our actions and do not achieve complete success, in another few months we shall be living in a different country whose word counts for little.
This isn’t about “pride”. It’s about facts and reality. The boring stuff.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The idea of creating a series of nano-states on Germany’s eastern border was border was bound to annoy her, not constrain her as some maintain. None of them had been independent for at least a century, Poland not since 1793-5, Lithuania 1773, Bohemia( Czechoslovakia) 1621, and Latvia and Estonia never.

The 1837 Treaty we used as pretext for WWI was not honoured by the Netherlands, one of the other signatories, and we should have followed their example.

As for the idiotic ‘blank cheque’ Chamberlain was forced to give to Poland, plus its secret cypher, absolute lunacy, which ultimately‘ finished us off’, did it not?

Finally and let’s not delude ourselves the splendid Falklands adventure was only possible thanks to the generosity of Ronald Reagan. If he had said “down boy!” as his predecessor Eisenhower had at Suez we would have supinely obeyed would we not?

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago

‘If we hadnt’ history is mere fiction

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Pigache

A substantial amount of so called ‘history’ is fiction.
Or as the late Professor John Mann put it “lies about crimes”.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago

Something I believe about Chamberlain and his Appeasement policy was he knew exactly what was coming, and by playing the fool and going along the fighter aircraft factories were churning out the thousands of spitfires and Hurricanes – which saved Britain in its darkest hour. He was not stupid – but given a stupid situation acted stupid so time could be wasted wile the vital machines were produced.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Chamberlain has been defended by some who point out that at the time of the Munich ‘appeasement’ Britain was still woefully unprepared for war — and as it turned out, it was a damned close-run thing, with England’s real savior in the spring of 1940 being the Channel.

Last edited 1 year ago by Wim de Vriend
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

Precisely.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

He didn’t enter Parliament until he was 50, having previously followed a ‘business’ career.

Thus unlike most of his Tory cretinous compatriots, including Winston Churchill, he understood finance and debt, and realised that we simply just couldn’t afford major war. (We still hadn’t recovered from the previous one.)

Fortunately he died in November 1940, and thus missed the catastrophic collapse of Great Britain that inevitably followed the calamitous declaration of war in September 1939.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

And yet we’re still here …
On the one hand, you deride pre-1945 Britain and the Empire … on the other you claim your alleged “catastrophic collapses” in 1914 and 1945 which accelerated the collapse of the Empire were a bad thing.
Do make your mind up !

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Calm down! Your powers of comprehension seem to have deserted you.

I have derided the fact that due to rank incompetence (to put it mildly) we fought two major wars that resulted in national bankruptcy and destroyed the British Empire.

Incidentally I believe the British Empire was one of the greatest human achievements ever and only exceeded by the Roman Empire.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Wilson invented Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, after lobbying by its activists. Poland joined with Germany in annexing the former, while the Soviet Union dismembered Poland in 1939, jointly with Germany.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago

Arrant nonsense – you flatter yourself, with your odd and rather sad claim about your personal Arcadia. Over here in the rural pubs of S*f*o*k we peasants spend all the time we can spare from astrophysics and The New Agriculture on fervent discussions over tactical issues in the present war as compared with the blundering assaults in Iraq and Afghanistan. We ignore the mad old buffer in the corner mumbling about Profit and Plunder and the Treaty of Kutchuk Kainardji.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

A Scotchman in Suffolk, can that be true?
If so, you have followed the good Doctor’s advice, “the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever see is the high road that leads him to England “.
Well done indeed sir!

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago

Scotsman, scotch is the alcoholic beverage.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

I prefer Dr Johnson’s usage, and off course there is Scotch Corner (on the A1) and Scotch Egg, and perhaps a few more.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

Ugggh, I still remember Scotch Egg giving me unprecedented indigestion.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

You should try their national dish, Haggis!

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago

Born in Sri Lanka, so alas, your nominative assumptions have led you astray. And quoting Dr Johnson’s tawdry banality is of course the last refuge of the uninspired.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Born in Ceylon to Scotch parents or did you just ‘make up’ the name?
I would say the somewhat derogatory remark about yourself and Suffolk was very uninspired to say the least.
Incidentally what happened to the Suffolk of ‘Akenfield’, or are you perhaps one of the arriviste who have sadly so changed the place?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Surely it has been British policy for centuries to avoid having a single power dominate the continent? One would assume that this was equally in British interest in 1807, 1914, 1939, and 2022.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not by 1914, that was a mistake, to put it mildly.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago

How do you know it was a mistake. History is not a double blind experiment with some alternative World you can point to as evidence. Pure idle speculation

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Pigache

Well it couldn’t have been worse. Three hundred years of Imperial booty tossed away in twenty three months, and we have never recovered from it.
So at best a Pyrrhic Victory, thus to have avoided the conflict would have been the sane option.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Sorry, letting France be overrun by Germany would have placed Britain in precisely the same position as 1940. Germany and its ally Austria-Hungary would have dominated the continent.
Indeed, also very much like Europe post-Austerlitz.
Europe stops being Europe if one power dominates.
That is a cold, unavoidable fact of history

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

“letting France be overrun by Germany”. Not if they bungled the Schlieffen Plan as they actually did in 1914.

Even if they did ‘overrun’ France, there was still Imperial Russia to be dealt with, and being “shackled to the corpse” of Austria-Hungary wouldn’t have helped.

All we can say is that as the British Empire was the great creditor nation since Ancient Rome, ‘we’ were in a very strong position to influence events even if we weren’t directly involved.

Unfortunately then as now, a plethora of armchair warriors such as Peter B (of this site) were only too willing to advocate belligerence rather than pragmatism, with the result that ‘we’ bankrupted ourselves to no purpose.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

“there was still Imperial Russia to be dealt with” What do you mean by that, given that at that time the non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia gave Hitler carte blanche in western Europe?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

I was referring to 1914.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago

Sorry, what response to German aggression in 1939 would have been better for the UK?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Guy Pigache

Again, nihil facere.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago

Again “coniecetura”

Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
1 year ago

Disappointing.

I lost Luttwak when he wrote so inaccurately about the campaign in Italy; it would appear that the myth of ‘D-Day dodgers’ has lodged in his mind. After that, I’m afraid I lost interest.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

Wars ‘happen’ when wicked men decide to steal other men’s land by force. They end when the theft is accomplished or when it is thwarted.

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
1 year ago

So many negative comments about small things. This is a lovely funny piece casting things in a new light. Much appreciated.

Gary Cruse
Gary Cruse
1 year ago

Napoleon’s dictum, “If you’re going to take Vienna, take Vienna,” would carry the addendum,”unless it hurts cash flow.”

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary Cruse

Do you know Europe shut most of its steel, Zinc, Aluminum smelters because the cost of Russian energy is too high so the metal costs more than it is worth to produce- sent the workers home with some pay to sit in the cold.

Then because they cannot afford to make the metal – they buy the Metal from China!! Because China has cheap Russian energy so still makes it cheaply hahaaa…

A scheme only Milo could have come up with. Here is what your Geniuses in Brussels and DC and Number 10 have going on…..not to mention sending Billions of ÂŁ to Ukraine of Borrowed Money which is greatly needed at home because energy is so high every ÂŁ is needed at home – because they keep sending money to Ukraine which makes the energy really high….haha, madness….

N T
N T
1 year ago

That was thought-provoking.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
1 year ago

Luttwak is right, at least I hope he is. A limited “cabinet war” (as I believe they were called) that continues until both sides conclude that there is little more to be gained and so reach and accommodation. Of course if Putin starts exploding nuclear weapons the cabinet war will end.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Not impressed with Luttwak’s meandering piece. But it does highlight a radical change in the world.
After a decades-long hiatus, war is affecting, or will affect, every aspect of our lives.
And the choice, as always in war, is stark.
Either Putin gains a decisive hold over Europe–or Russia ceases to be a great power. His plan was to gain a stranglehold over not only the world’s oil and gas, but much of the world’s food supply. The one area where Putin’s economy went all in was in agriculture–for reasons that are now obvious.
There is thus little room for compromise–and Putin is the last person to accept compromise anyway. Russia must return to the days of Petrine glory. Russia cannot–and will not–remain a relatively poor, mid-sized state in the shade of a much wealthier Europe.
So, like Dostoevsky’s hero in “The Gambler,” Vova will keep upping the stakes–until he loses everything. Indeed, anything less is a betrayal of the nation’s imperial destiny
That’s very Russian.
And in 2022–very Putin.

David Archibald
David Archibald
1 year ago

In your April article you said that you ate at the McDonalds in Omsk at 6.00 am. This one says Tomsk.Is this like history under the communists? It keeps changing. What I am trying to say is that every word you utter is assayed for meaning.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago

Is this a war between Putin and Ukraine? It does not seem that anymore.

And if it is not – than what it this war about. My guess is it began with an amount of bear poking, couple banderillas of joining the EU and NATO were stuck in – Biden made his cryptic musings on him not getting involved…

And then it was war between Ukraine and Putin when Putin invaded.

I talked to a guy who was in the Russian army and he said the stalled invasion did not surprise him because none of the gear he used worked and they had broken down for some reason. That is possible – or was there another reason they stalled till the West had time to get stuck in? That is really getting WEF Great Reset happy…. but I would not discount it….

Anyway – the the $100 Billion of armaments and money to Ukraine – no telling how are used, or where it even ended up. The real time super battlefield Intelligence from USA. The top military people in USA working out the planning?…. This dies not seem amateurish.

It seems at some point this was not a Ukraine/Russia war, it was something else. The UK destroying Boris was neck deep, the EU dabbling a lot, USA in big time. Why? It was none of our business. The world was totally crippled after the self harming Plandemic, which had pretty well wrecked the economies of most nations, and the world. Who thought stopping Europe from getting Fertilizers, foods, gas, oil, metals from the Eurasian semi-continent would not be a death knell.

Trump had told the Germans this would happen to Germany if they became dependent on Russia for gas – Sept 25, 2018 – if you have not seen this you must – the German representatives are all sniggering and laughing – it is just astounding – and all came true https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfJv9QYrlwg it is just 28 seconds and there is the fact that this result of sanctioning Russia would cause exactly this – here it is – they knew this would be the result by the getting in this war which was none of our business.

So one could believe this was what was wanted – that causing a global depression was the plans. The Plandemic, then the Russia war and global energy causing a huge depression (be here by 2025, this is just the deed which causes it to happen – well, and the QE since 2008, and zero interest, making it all ready)

So anyway – the writer is an expert – who exactly is this a war between? And what is it about? Because the thing I do know is it is not about protecting democracy, or such. This is a WWIII essentially. Allies UK, EU,and USA. Axis – Russia, China, (the BRICKS), Iran, the Gulf, and all commodity producers who use the $ as the Global Reserve Currency (they are reputed to be planning a commodities based Reserve Currency to take it from USA (see – this guy on that – an excellent program https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyVYQzW_MNU )- the world is divided up on a war footing – economic war, but using this one incident, these Sanctions, shutting SWTFT for Russia. So why? Why – QE, zero interest,lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and money printing insanely, Inflation, Military Industrial and Bio/Pharma industrial complex, and this energy chaos, and now the fight for Global reserve Currency? Seems like a domino lineup. Seems too intentional.

Covid caused no social. economic, it was the response to it. This war did not cause the energy chaos – it was the response to it. weird how it worked.