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Stormtrooper Syndrome has seduced the West We have turned the Ukraine War into a fairy tale

“Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise...” (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

“Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise...” (Leon Neal/Getty Images)


August 14, 2023   9 mins

Do you remember the Imperial Stormtroopers from the Star Wars movies, lurching around in their white plastic armour? When Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original movie said that no one else was as precise as Imperial Stormtroopers, he was clearly making a joke that Luke Skywalker was too wet behind the ears to catch. The one thing those movies make plain about Imperial Stormtroopers is that they couldn’t hit the broad side of a Death Star even if they were standing the length of one womp-rat away from it. Their job is to fill the air with blaster fire and miss. They do that job very effectively.

Anyone who knows anything about actual firefights involving professional soldiers will know that this isn’t what happens. (First-timers in combat, sure, but Stormtroopers are supposed to be competent.) In other words, Stormtroopers aren’t there to do anything useful. They’re there to provide the illusion of deadly peril so that the fake heroics of the protagonists look a little less unconvincing to movie audiences. 

There’s a reason for this kind of absurdity, of course. Popular entertainment in Western industrial nations today is as thickly larded with moral posturing of this sort as anything Victorian parents inflicted on their children. In most popular genres, the basic premise is that the Good People always win, and the Bad People always lose.

That colossus of the modern imagination, J.R.R. Tolkien, has some responsibility for all this. In his programmatic essay “On Fairy-Stories”, he discussed one of the central plot schemes of fairy tales, which he called “eucatastrophe”: in plainer English, a sudden improbable turn for the better that saves the day when all is lost. As you’d expect from a devout conservative Christian like Tolkien, this theme is ultimately religious in nature — he described the resurrection of Jesus as the ultimate eucatastrophe — and it provided the frame for his two gargantuan fairy tales, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

To give him due credit, Tolkien went out of his way to make his eucatastrophes as plausible as he could. Most of the ninth-rate Tolkien imitators whose fetid output bathes the brains of today’s mass-media consumers stopped worrying about such petty concerns a long time ago. It doesn’t matter how much stronger and smarter and better armed the Bad People are; they have to lose because they’re the Bad People. Nor does it matter how idiotic the plan the Good People decide on, the Bad People are required to make the mistakes that will enable it to succeed. When the chips are down, you know that Harry Potter will always manage to drop the One Ring from his X-wing into the cooling port of Mount Doom.

This sort of silliness makes for dreary storytelling, but I’m convinced that it can also cause serious cognitive disabilities. Children who are raised on a steady diet of this kind of schlock are apt to end up thinking that this is how the world works. If they get out into the real world and bloody their noses a few times, they generally learn better, but if they live in a society that doesn’t let them fail, they may well reach adulthood without ever encountering that salutary lesson. Instead, they are seduced by Stormtrooper Syndrome: the conviction that no matter what, you’ll inevitably win because you think you’re morally superior to your enemies.

There’s no shortage of examples of Stormtrooper Syndrome these days, but I’m going to focus on the most important of the lot, the one that bids fair to transform the world’s political and economic landscape in the years immediately ahead. Yes, we need to talk about Ukraine. Now, this emphatically does not mean that we need to talk about who gets to claim the roles of Good People and Bad People. The unwelcome truth is that the outcome of this war does not depend on which side is morally better than the other. In the real world, in terms of military victory and defeat, who’s right and who’s wrong don’t matter once the cannon start to roar. 

The roots of the Russo-Ukrainian war go back a very long time, but for present purposes we can begin in 2014 — when a coup overthrew Ukraine’s pro-Russian government and replaced it with a pro-Nato one. With the new regime in place, and following the Russian military incursion into eastern Ukraine, the US and its allies began funding a build-up that gave Ukraine the second-largest army in Europe. That army was armed and trained with an eye toward a massive shift in military affairs that was then underway.

In 2006, the Israelis launched one of their periodic incursions into Lebanon. To the surprise of many, the Hezbollah militia dealt the Israelis a bloody nose and forced them to withdraw with their main goals unachieved. The Israelis, like every other modern army at that time, used the tactics that had been pioneered by the Wehrmacht in 1939 and 1940, and perfected by Soviet and US militaries in the years immediately following: massive assaults by tanks and mobile infantry supported by air superiority, driving deep into enemy territory to get behind the defenders’ lines. 

What Hezbollah demonstrated is that those tactics had passed their sell-by date. Having built a network of underground shelters and urban strongholds, they lay low while the Israeli vanguard moved past, then popped up and started clobbering Israeli units with sudden ambushes using state-of-the-art weapons. A decade later, the Ukrainian military imitated these tactics, building a massive network of defensive works just west of the Russian-held areas of the Donbas.

These defences were useful when the full-scale invasion came, denying Russia a swift victory and tying them into a gruelling stalemate. As strategies go, this was fairly good, but it had two serious weak points. The first was that it needed to be twinned with an economic sanctions package from the West that would succeed in breaking Russia’s domestic economy and forcing them to withdraw. The second was that it assumed the Russians would stick to pre-2006 military doctrine no matter how badly things went. That’s where Stormtrooper Syndrome first showed up. The decision-makers in Washington, Brussels, and Kyiv had convinced themselves that those weak points didn’t matter because the Ukrainians were the Good People and the Russians were the Bad People.

Then, last February, war broke out. At first, events seemed to play into the West’s hands. The Russians launched a classic Blitzkrieg operation, driving deep into Ukrainian territory, only to find that the Ukrainians fell back on prepared defences and urban strongholds. Some Russian units suffered embarrassing defeats; others found themselves overextended in hostile territory and retreated. Meanwhile, the US and the EU slapped sanctions on the Russian economy. 

But that’s when the plan ran straight off the rails. The first difficulty was that most of the world’s nations didn’t cooperate with the sanctions. Some, such as Iran and China, that are hostile to the US saw the situation as an opportunity to extend a middle finger to their enemies. Others, such as India and Brazil that are non-aligned powers, saw the situation as a chance to demonstrate their independence. Still other nations wanted Russian oil and grain and weren’t willing to forgo them, so they acted in accordance with their interests rather than ours.

Yet there was another difficulty with the sanctions’ efficacy. Do you remember all those big corporations that loudly announced that they were leaving the Russian market? They couldn’t take their outlets and infrastructure with them, and so the Russians simply rebranded those and kept going. A soft-drink bottling company partially owned by Coca-Cola, for example, now produces something called Dobry-Cola in Russia. It tastes very similar to Coca-Cola, and it’s in a very slightly different red can. The crucial point is that the profits from sales of Dobry-Cola and similar products and services aren’t flowing out to stockholders in the US, they’re staying in Russia, where they’ve given a timely boost to the Russian economy. This presumably wasn’t what US and Nato elites had in mind.

But the worst news for Nato came from the battlefields. What happened there has an odd personal dimension for me. Some years ago I wrote an essay, “Asymmetric tactical shock: a first reconnaissance”, about what happens when an army becomes too dependent on complex technologies and its enemies figure out how to monkey-wrench those. The example I used came from the end of the Bronze Age, but the lesson applies more broadly: the monkey-wrenched army faces total disaster unless it does something most people these days can’t even conceive of doing. My essay circulated quietly among people interested in such things, and I have no reason to think that anybody in the Russian General Staff pays the least attention to obscure American fringe intellectuals like me. Yet the fact remains that when the Ukrainians monkey-wrenched the Russian version of Blitzkrieg, the Russians did exactly what I suggested an army in that situation should do: they fell back on an older form of warfare that wasn’t vulnerable to the monkey-wrenching tactics.

This is why the Russians abandoned their deep thrusts into Ukrainian territory, retreated from vulnerable areas around Kharkiv and Kherson, launched a mass-mobilisation of troops and a major expansion of their already large munitions industry, and got to work building entrenched defensive lines to guard the territory they had seized. Meanwhile, the Russian government strengthened ties with Iran and North Korea — two nations that have large munitions industries autonomous from Western technology and capital. 

That is to say, since the new Ukrainian tactics made it impossible for the Russians to refight the Second World War, the Russians switched to First World War tactics. The defensive lines and urban strongholds on which the Ukrainians relied to defeat Russian tank columns didn’t provide anything like the same defence against massed Russian artillery bombardment. While the Russian Army was retooling for the new (or rather old) mode of war, mercenary units — Wagner PMC most famously, but there were others — took over the brunt of the fighting, tested out First World War tactics against entrenched Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut, and won.

This put Ukraine and its Nato backers into a very difficult position. In First World War-style combat, the winner is the side with the largest munitions industry and the biggest pool of recruits to draw on. Russia has a huge advantage on both counts. First, Nato countries no longer have a political consensus supporting mass military conscription, while Russia does. Second, while the US and its allies dismantled most of their munitions factories at the end of the Cold War, Russia did not, and it also has those good friends in Tehran and Pyongyang. All these give the Russians an edge the Nato nations can’t match in the near term.

This wasn’t a message that Nato was willing to hear. To a very real extent, it was a message they weren’t capable of hearing. It’s been 70 years — since the end of the Korean War — since the United States and its allies last fought a land war against a major power. The entire Nato officer corps got its training and experience in an era when they had overwhelming superiority over their enemies, and they have no idea how to fight without it. (Even then — Afghanistan comes to mind — they aren’t too good at winning.) That’s when Stormtrooper Syndrome really came into play, because it never occurred to Nato that Ukraine could lose — defined as they were as the war’s Good People.

And so the elites in Washington, Brussels, and Kyiv convinced themselves that the Russians couldn’t possibly ramp up their munitions industry to a pitch that would permit them to carry on trench warfare for years at a time. (Remember all those confident reports that insisted the Russians were about to run out of shells and rockets?) They told themselves that the Russians were using mercenaries because their army was too demoralised and brittle to stand up to the rigours of combat. They drew up plans for a grand Ukrainian offensive to turn the tide of the war, and funnelled more arms to Ukraine..

The counteroffensive began on 4 June. Two months on, it is clear that it has failed. A successful assault against fortified positions in modern war requires a three-to-one advantage in soldiers on that region of the battlefield, a large advantage in artillery, and air superiority. Ukraine has none of these things, and somehow or other no eucatastrophe showed up to save the day. 

The Russo-Ukraine war isn’t over yet, and the fortunes of war may yet favour the Ukrainian side — though this looks very improbable just now. Meanwhile, history is not waiting around for the details to be settled. Towards the end of last month, the heads of state of 40 African nations gathered in St. Petersburg to sign agreements giving Russia a leading position in the economic and military affairs of the world’s second largest continent, while Russia’s defence minister was in North Korea negotiating further arms deals. It seems the Russians know better than to wait for miracles to save them from the consequences of their own actions.

None of this is to say that the mess in Ukraine is the only way that Stormtrooper Syndrome has shaped recent history; it’s just the most obvious example right now. It was because of Stormtrooper Syndrome, for instance, that so many people suffered nervous breakdowns when Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, their reaction amounting to: “He’s a Bad Person, he’s not supposed to win!”. Afterwards, the same factor also kept them from wondering why so many disillusioned voters were willing to settle for Trump, of all people, as an alternative. Nor, to be fair, is Stormtrooper Syndrome in short supply on the Right, where shrill moral dualism is far more common than thoughtful discussion about how to deal constructively with the cascading crises overwhelming America today.

Really, it’s hard to name anything in contemporary Western life that hasn’t been twisted bizarrely out of shape by the efforts of our privileged classes to pretend to be the heroes of their own Star Wars sequels. Yet the lesson being whispered by the winds from Ukraine is that nobody and nothing else is required to play along. That lesson may end up costing a great many people bitterly in the not too distant future.


John Michael Greer is the author of over thirty books. He served twelve years as Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America.


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Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago

This is why I love reading and watching things about history. It keeps you grounded because every time someone says something will happen or cannot happen, you remember another time when under similar circumstances the opposite occurred. The thing that annoys me the most about this Star Wars/Marvel Movie/Harry Potter view of the world is how it removes complexity. Motivations, geopolitics, warfare, economics, systems, they are all reduced to bland plot devices instead of the complex forces of our world. Side note, when was the last time you saw modern sci-fi/fantasy anything conflict where things like logistics or even basic tactics came into play? My current antidote to being surrounded by this garbage has been TimeGhost’s World War II Week by Week. If you want, I would suggest checking out their Between Two Wars. It is probably the best history program I have ever seen.

Last edited 11 months ago by Matt Hindman
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I agree. Though history does not provide a crystal ball, it can give one a degree of detachment and perspective, a sense for the odds, a useful nose for BS and a cynical awareness of the complexity behind the simplistic public moralising. One recent UnHerd essay concluded that the Ukrainian War was “just that simple”; it rarely is. 

To be fair, if western public discussion of foreign policy tends to be cast in moralising terms, US policy makers privately tend to frame their thinking more with hard nosed “realism” albeit blended with hubris. If the realist school rests on other simplifications, it does at least provide a balance. Actual US policy lurches in between.

Which strand predominates may determine how the new Cold War plays out. I suspect it will be resolved primarily by alliance building and diplomatic manoeuvring and not military clashes. The Chinese prefer Go to Chess. For the West to “contain” China, it will need to ally not only with the liberal democracies but with regimes that currently are often seen in the West as morally unacceptable. To defend freedom we will have to make friends with tyrants – and other imperfect individuals – just as Churchill allied with Stalin to defeat Hitler. If one side can win over Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, India, Russia, etc it may checkmate the other without a shot being fired (or not many). At the end of the day, it will be better for the West to have MBS, Erdogan, Khamenei, Modi and even Putin – or their successors – inside the tent p*ssing out and not outside p*ssing in even if this causes many in the West to choke on their cornflakes.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

That arch-Realist, John Mearsheimer spoke in Budapest a couple of months ago.

He made the point that the obvious course of action for a hegemon to stall the rise of a potential peer was to make nice with the strongest of the non-hegemons – ie the US, to forestall China, make nice with Russia.

For whatever reason, the US did the exact opposite, encouraging all the way, the rise of the Dragon Bear.

Inexplicable, hubristic, dangerous.

Anyway, as this excellent essay says, real life doesn’t care about morals.

“Rules are for children. This is war, and in war the only war crime is to lose.”

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

Ingenious.
Allying with Japan while they were destroying China and taking Indochina would have been even smarter.
Meersheimer is a genius!

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Japan and Germany were the equivalent of China today.
And the US did ally with Russia, even though the regime was very unpalatable, much more so than Putin.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I’d say about equally unpalatable.
Putin is already well on his way to full-blown Stalinism. And it can only get worse as national paranoia increases, just as in Stalin’s time.
The difference between now & WW2, of course, is that we only allied with Stalin when we ourselves were forced into the war.
And of course, allying with him subjected Eastern Europe to Stalinism.
Not worth the price now.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Can you say how ‘you’ were “forced into WW2”? Is it like ‘you’ were forced into the war in Ukraine? Surely nobody “forced” you into either of those wars.. you chose to do so?

Gruppa Of
Gruppa Of
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I don’t know why you decided that in Russia, something similar to Stalinism. Putin’s ratings are higher than ever. Those who talk about a “terrible bloody regime” would at best gain 3% in the most honest and transparent elections. Yes, and most of them left the Russian Federation in 2022. They are just very noisy. And that’s what Western propaganda loves to publish. But for the majority of Russians they are perceived as traitors, which they 

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Can you say how ‘you’ were “forced into WW2”? Is it like ‘you’ were forced into the war in Ukraine? Surely nobody “forced” you into either of those wars.. you chose to do so?

Gruppa Of
Gruppa Of
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I don’t know why you decided that in Russia, something similar to Stalinism. Putin’s ratings are higher than ever. Those who talk about a “terrible bloody regime” would at best gain 3% in the most honest and transparent elections. Yes, and most of them left the Russian Federation in 2022. They are just very noisy. And that’s what Western propaganda loves to publish. But for the majority of Russians they are perceived as traitors, which they 

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

The US only allied with Russia after they were attacked by the Axis.
And the alliance was a disaster for all of Eastern Europe, and for the world. The Cold War lasted for decades, and cost untold amounts of money for all sides.
We must never make the mistake of allying with a Fascist nation like Russia again..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Surely it was AFTER WW2 and after the alliance, that the problems arose? The allying itself bought nothing but good, ie the defeat of monstrous N¤z¡ Germany?? ..a feat brought about largely BY that same Russia? A little twisting of history is okay I guess to push a propagandist view but you go too far. To say Russia today is fascist suggests your fig leaf is slipping!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Surely it was AFTER WW2 and after the alliance, that the problems arose? The allying itself bought nothing but good, ie the defeat of monstrous N¤z¡ Germany?? ..a feat brought about largely BY that same Russia? A little twisting of history is okay I guess to push a propagandist view but you go too far. To say Russia today is fascist suggests your fig leaf is slipping!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

You say “Japan and Germany were the equivalent of China today” ..I hope you mean economically rather than in militaristic, expansionist and exploitative terms? In that regard, those two greedy, vicious regimes were far closer to the US of today? One only has to count the no. of invasions, bombings, coups, assassinations, resource thefts and the estimated 8 million dead over the last 30 years to see that!

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The US might have launched a few wars if aggression and imo are the guilty party in Ukraine, where they instigated the war.

But they are still a much better proposition than WW2 Germany or Japan and today’s China .

For instance, they could not stomach open torture and massacres of civilians in the same scale and as openly.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The US might have launched a few wars if aggression and imo are the guilty party in Ukraine, where they instigated the war.

But they are still a much better proposition than WW2 Germany or Japan and today’s China .

For instance, they could not stomach open torture and massacres of civilians in the same scale and as openly.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I’d say about equally unpalatable.
Putin is already well on his way to full-blown Stalinism. And it can only get worse as national paranoia increases, just as in Stalin’s time.
The difference between now & WW2, of course, is that we only allied with Stalin when we ourselves were forced into the war.
And of course, allying with him subjected Eastern Europe to Stalinism.
Not worth the price now.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

The US only allied with Russia after they were attacked by the Axis.
And the alliance was a disaster for all of Eastern Europe, and for the world. The Cold War lasted for decades, and cost untold amounts of money for all sides.
We must never make the mistake of allying with a Fascist nation like Russia again..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

You say “Japan and Germany were the equivalent of China today” ..I hope you mean economically rather than in militaristic, expansionist and exploitative terms? In that regard, those two greedy, vicious regimes were far closer to the US of today? One only has to count the no. of invasions, bombings, coups, assassinations, resource thefts and the estimated 8 million dead over the last 30 years to see that!

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Japan and Germany were the equivalent of China today.
And the US did ally with Russia, even though the regime was very unpalatable, much more so than Putin.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

By what measure is Russia the strongest non-hegemon? Surely India fits the bill far more neatly. I was overly-pessimistic of Russia’s capabilities before the war. Not any more. Russian military power (the only thing giving it first-rank status) has been shown to be a sham. Ukraine was a poor country even by the standards of the region with a 3rd rate military and Russia had almost beem forced to concede all the territory it had attempted to take at th start of the war.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

It is indeed a “Potemkin military”. That’s what decades of corruption and promoting yes men does for you.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

I think you may be roughly 12 months out of date on your facts. Granted your swallowing of Western propaganda is bang on up to date!

Gruppa Of
Gruppa Of
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

It should be understood that the Russian Federation uses only a small part of its military power. Limited to only one wave of mobilization. Doesn’t even involve conscripts, only contract soldiers. It does not transfer its economy to a military footing, while maintaining the 5th place in the world in terms of GDP according to PPP, and this is all under the sanctions. How long do you think the Indian economy would have lasted under the same conditions?
At the same time, Ukraine, catching future drivers of leopards on the streets, brought the size of its armed forces to 1 million. and is fully maintained by Western countries. I doubt that India, and indeed any other country, would have looked better.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

It is indeed a “Potemkin military”. That’s what decades of corruption and promoting yes men does for you.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

I think you may be roughly 12 months out of date on your facts. Granted your swallowing of Western propaganda is bang on up to date!

Gruppa Of
Gruppa Of
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

It should be understood that the Russian Federation uses only a small part of its military power. Limited to only one wave of mobilization. Doesn’t even involve conscripts, only contract soldiers. It does not transfer its economy to a military footing, while maintaining the 5th place in the world in terms of GDP according to PPP, and this is all under the sanctions. How long do you think the Indian economy would have lasted under the same conditions?
At the same time, Ukraine, catching future drivers of leopards on the streets, brought the size of its armed forces to 1 million. and is fully maintained by Western countries. I doubt that India, and indeed any other country, would have looked better.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

John Mearsheimer may well self-identify as a “realist”, but he’s nothing other than a deluded fantasist. His opinions and understanding of the Russia-Ukraine conflict have not changed at all over the past two years. Clear evidence that he has learnt nothing at all and has an essentially closed mind.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

If this (war) is realism then it’s a very poor reflection on the human species.. some of us think there really is another way.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

Ingenious.
Allying with Japan while they were destroying China and taking Indochina would have been even smarter.
Meersheimer is a genius!

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

By what measure is Russia the strongest non-hegemon? Surely India fits the bill far more neatly. I was overly-pessimistic of Russia’s capabilities before the war. Not any more. Russian military power (the only thing giving it first-rank status) has been shown to be a sham. Ukraine was a poor country even by the standards of the region with a 3rd rate military and Russia had almost beem forced to concede all the territory it had attempted to take at th start of the war.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

John Mearsheimer may well self-identify as a “realist”, but he’s nothing other than a deluded fantasist. His opinions and understanding of the Russia-Ukraine conflict have not changed at all over the past two years. Clear evidence that he has learnt nothing at all and has an essentially closed mind.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian Johnston

If this (war) is realism then it’s a very poor reflection on the human species.. some of us think there really is another way.

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

The cynic in me would hope that Western officials’ apparent Stormtrooper Syndrome is just a facade to keep the credulous public onside while MICIMATT makes a killing out of this conflict. Everything they say lends credence to this thesis, it seems to me.
Is Ukraine doing well on the battlefield? Send more weapon!
Is Ukraine doing badly on the battlefield? Send more weapons!
Ker-ching!
It’s hard to know for sure, but what I think they hoped for was Russia to try to occupy far more of the pro-Western Ukrainian regions, and Ukrainian partisans – who’d been training in Guerilla tactics for the previous 8 years with various Western special forces types – would drive a long dagger into Russia’s side for years.
Instead, after it was clear that Ukraine wasn’t just going to collapse, and BoJo stymied the peace agreement – Russia withdrew to the more politically ambivalent (or even friendly) Eastern regions, and now Ukraine is throwing vast numbers of men (and quantities of kerchng! materiel) into a meatgrinder attempting to seize back “their” territory.
It’s hard to see how this ends well for the West. It’s certainly been an utter disaster for the average Ukrainian.
Most voters who support their politicians sending aid to Ukraine would cheerfully admit that they know those same politicians don’t really care about the citizens in their own country, but somehow swallow the notion these same “leaders” care deeply about Ukrainians’ “freedom” and “democracy”.
If the results weren’t so utterly monstrous it would be quite funny.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

The battel cry of the Russian troll.
“Stop sending weapons to Ukraine!”

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

Spot on! Await the accusations of being a Russian Troll.. oops there’s one! ..and who better than the single-minded, drunk on propaganda ML.

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

I gather that first, you don’t live in the Ukraine, and second, for consistency ‘s sake, you wouldn’t object should Russia take a major slice of where you live.

In contrast to your thesis that the arms industry drives foreign policy, I’ve seen in the US a rapid contraction of that industry since the end of the last Cold War. It has been diminished to the point that supplying Ukraine with munitions has been a stretch, raising legitimate fears of a disastrous failure if it comes to war with China.

While doubtless, the remainder of the industry is not loath to sell and profit, I place the basis for the orders on China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. Plausible threats require a plausible response.

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

If I were living Ukraine, I’d prefer to be ruled by Moscow than Kiev, yes. Crimeans have done well since 2014 (and have a look at the median household income of Russians vs Ukrainians).
As for the idea that there’s been a rapid contraction in US arms funding since the cold war, even if that’s true, they still spend almost as much as the rest of the world put together, and their lobbyists have a vise-like grip on both Houses of Congress.
The fact they’re finding it hard to supply Ukraine with munitions is more of a reflection of Western corruption and incompetence, I suspect, than lack of funding.

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

If I were living Ukraine, I’d prefer to be ruled by Moscow than Kiev, yes. Crimeans have done well since 2014 (and have a look at the median household income of Russians vs Ukrainians).
As for the idea that there’s been a rapid contraction in US arms funding since the cold war, even if that’s true, they still spend almost as much as the rest of the world put together, and their lobbyists have a vise-like grip on both Houses of Congress.
The fact they’re finding it hard to supply Ukraine with munitions is more of a reflection of Western corruption and incompetence, I suspect, than lack of funding.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

The battel cry of the Russian troll.
“Stop sending weapons to Ukraine!”

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

Spot on! Await the accusations of being a Russian Troll.. oops there’s one! ..and who better than the single-minded, drunk on propaganda ML.

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

I gather that first, you don’t live in the Ukraine, and second, for consistency ‘s sake, you wouldn’t object should Russia take a major slice of where you live.

In contrast to your thesis that the arms industry drives foreign policy, I’ve seen in the US a rapid contraction of that industry since the end of the last Cold War. It has been diminished to the point that supplying Ukraine with munitions has been a stretch, raising legitimate fears of a disastrous failure if it comes to war with China.

While doubtless, the remainder of the industry is not loath to sell and profit, I place the basis for the orders on China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. Plausible threats require a plausible response.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I suspect Russia, or what’s left of it, will eventually be in the alliance.
It only gained Khabarovsk and other areas from China in the mid-19th C.
Eventually Xi is gong to want it back.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Delusion..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Delusion..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Surely (at the risk of being simplistic!) if you set out the scores on exploitation, invasions, bombings, assassinations, coups, theft of resources etc. one side looks at lot more dangerous, more exploitative, more murderous – in short, more evil – than the other; though, to be fair, it’s easier to see that if you’re non-White, non-Christian, resource rich etc. So, why the great fear of Reds under the bed?

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

That arch-Realist, John Mearsheimer spoke in Budapest a couple of months ago.

He made the point that the obvious course of action for a hegemon to stall the rise of a potential peer was to make nice with the strongest of the non-hegemons – ie the US, to forestall China, make nice with Russia.

For whatever reason, the US did the exact opposite, encouraging all the way, the rise of the Dragon Bear.

Inexplicable, hubristic, dangerous.

Anyway, as this excellent essay says, real life doesn’t care about morals.

“Rules are for children. This is war, and in war the only war crime is to lose.”

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

The cynic in me would hope that Western officials’ apparent Stormtrooper Syndrome is just a facade to keep the credulous public onside while MICIMATT makes a killing out of this conflict. Everything they say lends credence to this thesis, it seems to me.
Is Ukraine doing well on the battlefield? Send more weapon!
Is Ukraine doing badly on the battlefield? Send more weapons!
Ker-ching!
It’s hard to know for sure, but what I think they hoped for was Russia to try to occupy far more of the pro-Western Ukrainian regions, and Ukrainian partisans – who’d been training in Guerilla tactics for the previous 8 years with various Western special forces types – would drive a long dagger into Russia’s side for years.
Instead, after it was clear that Ukraine wasn’t just going to collapse, and BoJo stymied the peace agreement – Russia withdrew to the more politically ambivalent (or even friendly) Eastern regions, and now Ukraine is throwing vast numbers of men (and quantities of kerchng! materiel) into a meatgrinder attempting to seize back “their” territory.
It’s hard to see how this ends well for the West. It’s certainly been an utter disaster for the average Ukrainian.
Most voters who support their politicians sending aid to Ukraine would cheerfully admit that they know those same politicians don’t really care about the citizens in their own country, but somehow swallow the notion these same “leaders” care deeply about Ukrainians’ “freedom” and “democracy”.
If the results weren’t so utterly monstrous it would be quite funny.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I suspect Russia, or what’s left of it, will eventually be in the alliance.
It only gained Khabarovsk and other areas from China in the mid-19th C.
Eventually Xi is gong to want it back.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Surely (at the risk of being simplistic!) if you set out the scores on exploitation, invasions, bombings, assassinations, coups, theft of resources etc. one side looks at lot more dangerous, more exploitative, more murderous – in short, more evil – than the other; though, to be fair, it’s easier to see that if you’re non-White, non-Christian, resource rich etc. So, why the great fear of Reds under the bed?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

TimeGhost is indeed a fantastic channel. All the best history is on YouTube now.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I agree. Though history does not provide a crystal ball, it can give one a degree of detachment and perspective, a sense for the odds, a useful nose for BS and a cynical awareness of the complexity behind the simplistic public moralising. One recent UnHerd essay concluded that the Ukrainian War was “just that simple”; it rarely is. 

To be fair, if western public discussion of foreign policy tends to be cast in moralising terms, US policy makers privately tend to frame their thinking more with hard nosed “realism” albeit blended with hubris. If the realist school rests on other simplifications, it does at least provide a balance. Actual US policy lurches in between.

Which strand predominates may determine how the new Cold War plays out. I suspect it will be resolved primarily by alliance building and diplomatic manoeuvring and not military clashes. The Chinese prefer Go to Chess. For the West to “contain” China, it will need to ally not only with the liberal democracies but with regimes that currently are often seen in the West as morally unacceptable. To defend freedom we will have to make friends with tyrants – and other imperfect individuals – just as Churchill allied with Stalin to defeat Hitler. If one side can win over Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, India, Russia, etc it may checkmate the other without a shot being fired (or not many). At the end of the day, it will be better for the West to have MBS, Erdogan, Khamenei, Modi and even Putin – or their successors – inside the tent p*ssing out and not outside p*ssing in even if this causes many in the West to choke on their cornflakes.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

TimeGhost is indeed a fantastic channel. All the best history is on YouTube now.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago

This is why I love reading and watching things about history. It keeps you grounded because every time someone says something will happen or cannot happen, you remember another time when under similar circumstances the opposite occurred. The thing that annoys me the most about this Star Wars/Marvel Movie/Harry Potter view of the world is how it removes complexity. Motivations, geopolitics, warfare, economics, systems, they are all reduced to bland plot devices instead of the complex forces of our world. Side note, when was the last time you saw modern sci-fi/fantasy anything conflict where things like logistics or even basic tactics came into play? My current antidote to being surrounded by this garbage has been TimeGhost’s World War II Week by Week. If you want, I would suggest checking out their Between Two Wars. It is probably the best history program I have ever seen.

Last edited 11 months ago by Matt Hindman
Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago

Ukraine is only the latest in the long list of countries completely wrecked by American interference in its affairs. I hope Taiwan can avoid becoming the next country in America’s trail of destruction.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

The Phillipines, Haiti, the Central American Banana Republics (literally – see Dulles and his stake in the United Fruit Company) Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and, now, steadily, Germany too. The same cartel that runs US foreign policy now seems to be directing German Federal Republic domestic policy and they do not like popular dissent.

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter Joy
martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

IOW, “stop sending weapons to Ukraine!”

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I would stop digging now if I were you.. you’re giving naivety a bad name!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I would stop digging now if I were you.. you’re giving naivety a bad name!

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

IOW, “stop sending weapons to Ukraine!”

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Oh, you see right through them!
By defending Ukraine they are actually invading them!

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The US isn’t defending Ukraine. The US is using Ukraine in its geopolitical power games and Zelenksy has allowed his country to be used, and consequently destroyed. But he isn’t the first and I doubt he’ll be the last.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

And Ukraine isn’t using the US and Europe in its “power games” to remain independent?
Sorry, the weapons will keep coming, if not from the US, from Europe.
Just too frightened by Russia not to.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Frightened by Russia? Why? ..because they defeated fascism? ..and are doing so again? What is it about fascism you find so appealing? What is it about NATOs agression, illegal invasions, bombings and assassinations you find to attractive? Reds under the bed is it?

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You need to read more history. Russia was just fine with fascism; Stalin’s methods were much like Hitler’s, except on steroids, with bigger numbers. The two dictators also had a Mutual Admiration Society. You prattle as if you’d never heard of Stalin’s non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that enabled WWII to erupt; as his henchman Molotov said when asked about fascism, that was just “a matter of taste.”

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You need to read more history. Russia was just fine with fascism; Stalin’s methods were much like Hitler’s, except on steroids, with bigger numbers. The two dictators also had a Mutual Admiration Society. You prattle as if you’d never heard of Stalin’s non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that enabled WWII to erupt; as his henchman Molotov said when asked about fascism, that was just “a matter of taste.”

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Frightened by Russia? Why? ..because they defeated fascism? ..and are doing so again? What is it about fascism you find so appealing? What is it about NATOs agression, illegal invasions, bombings and assassinations you find to attractive? Reds under the bed is it?

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

And Ukraine isn’t using the US and Europe in its “power games” to remain independent?
Sorry, the weapons will keep coming, if not from the US, from Europe.
Just too frightened by Russia not to.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

For once you (nearly) got the hang of it! Blackrock and the other vultures are already salivating at the prospect..

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The US isn’t defending Ukraine. The US is using Ukraine in its geopolitical power games and Zelenksy has allowed his country to be used, and consequently destroyed. But he isn’t the first and I doubt he’ll be the last.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

For once you (nearly) got the hang of it! Blackrock and the other vultures are already salivating at the prospect..

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

I rather thought it was Russian shells that were wrecking Ukraine.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

Trying to join an aggressive anti-Russian military alliance and allowing itself to be used as a US proxy against Russia is what is wrecking Ukraine.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

You’re correct but you forget the Azov battalion had an 8 year run at destroying the Donbas (Ukraine) with a death toll of 14,000 before the Russians invaded. Had NATO not encroached Eastwards, threatened Russia and orchestrated the Maidan coup NONE of this would have occurred! Not one life lost, not one building damaged..

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

Trying to join an aggressive anti-Russian military alliance and allowing itself to be used as a US proxy against Russia is what is wrecking Ukraine.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

You’re correct but you forget the Azov battalion had an 8 year run at destroying the Donbas (Ukraine) with a death toll of 14,000 before the Russians invaded. Had NATO not encroached Eastwards, threatened Russia and orchestrated the Maidan coup NONE of this would have occurred! Not one life lost, not one building damaged..

STEPHEN EDWARDS
STEPHEN EDWARDS
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

And Russia interferes in no one else’s affairs, right? Russia is a minor regional power. Ultimately might will defeat Russia,, and might is with the west. It just so happens to be right also, fortunately.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago

What happened to might in Afghanistan when it ran from the place with its tail in between its legs?

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Uh, we didn’t “run with our tail between our legs.”
Just a Russian troll meme.
We foolishly withdrew all troops and support, and then had to go back in to evacuate people from Kabul.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Delusional. Utterly delusional.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

No, not the comic book version.. the reality!

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Delusional. Utterly delusional.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

No, not the comic book version.. the reality!

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Uh, we didn’t “run with our tail between our legs.”
Just a Russian troll meme.
We foolishly withdrew all troops and support, and then had to go back in to evacuate people from Kabul.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

Tell that to your average Vietnamese, Afghan, Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan or anyone from Central or South America and see if they agree with you! The might of the West is in serious decline not least the US, UK and EU: all bankrupt, or almost; all with major unrest and lawlessness.. a cold winter and a “hot” rebellion is what the West is looking forward to.. I’m not happy about it. I live in the West. But we only have ourselves to blame, our colonialism, exploitation, warmongering and greed is finally catching up with us. We sowed the grapes of wrath and are about to reap the whirlwind in the form BRICS through our windows thanks yo our wicked past!

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago

What happened to might in Afghanistan when it ran from the place with its tail in between its legs?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago

Tell that to your average Vietnamese, Afghan, Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan or anyone from Central or South America and see if they agree with you! The might of the West is in serious decline not least the US, UK and EU: all bankrupt, or almost; all with major unrest and lawlessness.. a cold winter and a “hot” rebellion is what the West is looking forward to.. I’m not happy about it. I live in the West. But we only have ourselves to blame, our colonialism, exploitation, warmongering and greed is finally catching up with us. We sowed the grapes of wrath and are about to reap the whirlwind in the form BRICS through our windows thanks yo our wicked past!

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Maybe Ukrainians who remember the holodomor have a different opinion then you do.
“One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.”

I dont think Id want to go back there?

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Oh, quite a few Russians do!

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

The Ukraine was as much a part of the USSR as Russia at the time, and the Holodomor was supervised by… Ukrainians.
Stalin was Georgian, let’s not forget.

Gruppa Of
Gruppa Of
10 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

In the same period, there was a famine in the Volga region and in the Kuban. So the Holodomor is what unites Russians and Ukrainians.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Oh, quite a few Russians do!

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

The Ukraine was as much a part of the USSR as Russia at the time, and the Holodomor was supervised by… Ukrainians.
Stalin was Georgian, let’s not forget.

Gruppa Of
Gruppa Of
10 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

In the same period, there was a famine in the Volga region and in the Kuban. So the Holodomor is what unites Russians and Ukrainians.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

For sure! Who needs enemies when you’ve got the US for a friend!

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

The Phillipines, Haiti, the Central American Banana Republics (literally – see Dulles and his stake in the United Fruit Company) Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and, now, steadily, Germany too. The same cartel that runs US foreign policy now seems to be directing German Federal Republic domestic policy and they do not like popular dissent.

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter Joy
martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Oh, you see right through them!
By defending Ukraine they are actually invading them!

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

I rather thought it was Russian shells that were wrecking Ukraine.

STEPHEN EDWARDS
STEPHEN EDWARDS
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

And Russia interferes in no one else’s affairs, right? Russia is a minor regional power. Ultimately might will defeat Russia,, and might is with the west. It just so happens to be right also, fortunately.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Maybe Ukrainians who remember the holodomor have a different opinion then you do.
“One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.”

I dont think Id want to go back there?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

For sure! Who needs enemies when you’ve got the US for a friend!

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago

Ukraine is only the latest in the long list of countries completely wrecked by American interference in its affairs. I hope Taiwan can avoid becoming the next country in America’s trail of destruction.

Chris Bradshaw
Chris Bradshaw
11 months ago

I was disabused of the notion that the Bad Guys didn’t succeed in my mid-teens when Chelsea started winning trophies.

Last edited 11 months ago by Chris Bradshaw
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Bradshaw

Thanks for making the point of the article, even better, albeit jokingly with football.
The “good guys” in your story are Arsenal and ManU. Two teams whose owners bought third rate teams, bought their way to the top, often by buying out the best players from rivals (in case of ManU, City’s title winning team. Also gained an unfair advantage thanks to their owners building fancy new stadiums.
In Arsenal’s case, famously, in a different part of London, shoving in on Spurs territory. And then they managed to take Spurs place in the top league as well, despite finishing behind them, because they were so “nice”.

And then they banded together to form the EPL, and squeezed all the money flowing in.

And then they put in place FFP, meant purely to protect their cartel..

Makes the US foreign policymakers look like saints in comparison.

Last edited 11 months ago by Samir Iker
Mike Keohane
Mike Keohane
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Fair enough, except City didn’t have a title winning team, they had won the FA Cup (beating a certain Woolwich Arsenal on the way to that victory) but only finished as runners up in the League.

Mike Keohane
Mike Keohane
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Fair enough, except City didn’t have a title winning team, they had won the FA Cup (beating a certain Woolwich Arsenal on the way to that victory) but only finished as runners up in the League.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Bradshaw

Thanks for making the point of the article, even better, albeit jokingly with football.
The “good guys” in your story are Arsenal and ManU. Two teams whose owners bought third rate teams, bought their way to the top, often by buying out the best players from rivals (in case of ManU, City’s title winning team. Also gained an unfair advantage thanks to their owners building fancy new stadiums.
In Arsenal’s case, famously, in a different part of London, shoving in on Spurs territory. And then they managed to take Spurs place in the top league as well, despite finishing behind them, because they were so “nice”.

And then they banded together to form the EPL, and squeezed all the money flowing in.

And then they put in place FFP, meant purely to protect their cartel..

Makes the US foreign policymakers look like saints in comparison.

Last edited 11 months ago by Samir Iker
Chris Bradshaw
Chris Bradshaw
11 months ago

I was disabused of the notion that the Bad Guys didn’t succeed in my mid-teens when Chelsea started winning trophies.

Last edited 11 months ago by Chris Bradshaw
Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
11 months ago

The article does not expose the common thread to Ukraine and most all the other trouble spots in the World. No mention of the USA hegemonic Neo-Cons! There in fact is nor “Russo-Ukraine” war going on. There is a USA Neo-Con instigated proxy war. The Neo-Cons intend to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian. These Neo-Cons are despicable human beings.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Either:
1) Poor Ukraine is being used by the US (really the Military Industrial Complex!),
SO STOP SENDING WEAPONS!
Or:
2) Ukraine is run by Nazis–to include that arch-Nazi Zelensky,
SO STOP SENDING WEAPONS!

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
Bernard Davis
Bernard Davis
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Right on both counts, for once. Stop sending weapons to the Ukraine.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Is there any way we can stop your childish, simplistic, blind-to-the-facts and really silly remarks? Btw do you have shares in the weapons industry and are you desperate to make a killing on those shares?

Bernard Davis
Bernard Davis
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Right on both counts, for once. Stop sending weapons to the Ukraine.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Is there any way we can stop your childish, simplistic, blind-to-the-facts and really silly remarks? Btw do you have shares in the weapons industry and are you desperate to make a killing on those shares?

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
10 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Neo-cons didn’t invade Ukraine.

Gruppa Of
Gruppa Of
10 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Agree. Their list of countries is much longer.

Gruppa Of
Gruppa Of
10 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Agree. Their list of countries is much longer.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Either:
1) Poor Ukraine is being used by the US (really the Military Industrial Complex!),
SO STOP SENDING WEAPONS!
Or:
2) Ukraine is run by Nazis–to include that arch-Nazi Zelensky,
SO STOP SENDING WEAPONS!

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
10 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Neo-cons didn’t invade Ukraine.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
11 months ago

The article does not expose the common thread to Ukraine and most all the other trouble spots in the World. No mention of the USA hegemonic Neo-Cons! There in fact is nor “Russo-Ukraine” war going on. There is a USA Neo-Con instigated proxy war. The Neo-Cons intend to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian. These Neo-Cons are despicable human beings.

Rob C
Rob C
11 months ago

How many times have you watched a movie in which the hero is beaten to a pulp by his more powerful evil opponent, only for the good guy to get up off the floor and destroy the villain, presumably because of, what, his moral goodness? This can’t but have a subconscious effect on the minds of most who identify as being moral.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

Oh, yes, I’m sure they watch those movies in the pentagon all the time.

Rob C
Rob C
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Forget the Pentagon. I am speaking of SJWs and self-styled “good people”. They must have developed, from watching dozens, if not hundreds, of movies like this the subconscious belief that the good will, somehow, always win.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

Oh, yes “musta…”

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

Oh, yes “musta…”

Rob C
Rob C
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Forget the Pentagon. I am speaking of SJWs and self-styled “good people”. They must have developed, from watching dozens, if not hundreds, of movies like this the subconscious belief that the good will, somehow, always win.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

No, the idea is, you succeed when you get off the mat.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

Oh, yes, I’m sure they watch those movies in the pentagon all the time.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

No, the idea is, you succeed when you get off the mat.

Rob C
Rob C
11 months ago

How many times have you watched a movie in which the hero is beaten to a pulp by his more powerful evil opponent, only for the good guy to get up off the floor and destroy the villain, presumably because of, what, his moral goodness? This can’t but have a subconscious effect on the minds of most who identify as being moral.

Ben Dhonau
Ben Dhonau
11 months ago

Edward Luttwak wrote a far more authoritative article recently without the flim flam and pseudo-philosophising, However, his conclusion was similar: trench warfare is now the order of the day because neither side has the means for blitzkrieg, Another frozen conflict look all too likely.

Ben Dhonau
Ben Dhonau
11 months ago

Edward Luttwak wrote a far more authoritative article recently without the flim flam and pseudo-philosophising, However, his conclusion was similar: trench warfare is now the order of the day because neither side has the means for blitzkrieg, Another frozen conflict look all too likely.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
11 months ago

Thin argument. Blitzkrieg was never as described. Much of WW2 was about attrition and air/ artillery superiority, rather than fast and vast tank advances. Ukraine has been a mixed bag from the start but i never sensed any “Ukraine is bound to win because theyre good” feel from the West. Far from it, germany and france as usual were trying to prevent serious reinforcing of Ukraine’s military (still are) and Biden has had to be led kicking and screaming in to promising then delivering weapons, always behind the actual curve.
Lebanon 2006 is a long time ago and Israeli and western military thinking has advanced a long way since then. in fact Lebanon was no different to early experiences in ramadi and falujah, and the US developed very effective and innovative responses – pile through/ bypass defences, set up in the heart of enemy territory and let them come to you while artillery and air support hammers them, cut off their supplies, etc. The israeli combined arms approach with integrated battlefield engineers and highly specialised engineer armoured vehicles, has spread into western thinking and the US urban combat doctrine developers especially. all of this is something that Russia isnt equipped to cope with. Western air superiority would annihilate the under trained under resourced Russian airforce, incapable as it is of large scale combined operations of the sort the yanks excel at.
I really dont see the point to the article. Russia hasnt got the capacity to move on the western powers, even backed by the mighty Iran. It never did, but now theyve wasted 100K+ soldiers and shedloads of equipment, they certainly never will.
And fiction is fiction. its a bit sh*t if the bad guys win. we all grow up a bit quicker than the author seems to assume.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
11 months ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

‘Thin argument. Blitzkrieg was never as described.’
Tell that to Lord Gort, Heinz Guderian and Hasso von Manteuffel. It certainly was in 1940.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

The actual term ‘Blitzkrieg’ is usually accredited to The Daily Mail, but obviously NOT the concept, as you so rightly say.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Just as in 1916 with the tank, the initial use of any new weapon or technique can yield great results.
But if the opponent has time to adapt and use the same tactic or weapon, it’s rarely a game changer in a long war.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The other guys ate in 1940, you’re back in 1916! ..any chance of you dodos making it into the 21st century?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The other guys ate in 1940, you’re back in 1916! ..any chance of you dodos making it into the 21st century?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

The actual term ‘Blitzkrieg’ is usually accredited to The Daily Mail, but obviously NOT the concept, as you so rightly say.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Just as in 1916 with the tank, the initial use of any new weapon or technique can yield great results.
But if the opponent has time to adapt and use the same tactic or weapon, it’s rarely a game changer in a long war.

James S.
James S.
10 months ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

Good post, thanks for avoiding the ad hominems and sticking to a critique based on current military doctrine.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
11 months ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

‘Thin argument. Blitzkrieg was never as described.’
Tell that to Lord Gort, Heinz Guderian and Hasso von Manteuffel. It certainly was in 1940.

James S.
James S.
10 months ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

Good post, thanks for avoiding the ad hominems and sticking to a critique based on current military doctrine.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
11 months ago

Thin argument. Blitzkrieg was never as described. Much of WW2 was about attrition and air/ artillery superiority, rather than fast and vast tank advances. Ukraine has been a mixed bag from the start but i never sensed any “Ukraine is bound to win because theyre good” feel from the West. Far from it, germany and france as usual were trying to prevent serious reinforcing of Ukraine’s military (still are) and Biden has had to be led kicking and screaming in to promising then delivering weapons, always behind the actual curve.
Lebanon 2006 is a long time ago and Israeli and western military thinking has advanced a long way since then. in fact Lebanon was no different to early experiences in ramadi and falujah, and the US developed very effective and innovative responses – pile through/ bypass defences, set up in the heart of enemy territory and let them come to you while artillery and air support hammers them, cut off their supplies, etc. The israeli combined arms approach with integrated battlefield engineers and highly specialised engineer armoured vehicles, has spread into western thinking and the US urban combat doctrine developers especially. all of this is something that Russia isnt equipped to cope with. Western air superiority would annihilate the under trained under resourced Russian airforce, incapable as it is of large scale combined operations of the sort the yanks excel at.
I really dont see the point to the article. Russia hasnt got the capacity to move on the western powers, even backed by the mighty Iran. It never did, but now theyve wasted 100K+ soldiers and shedloads of equipment, they certainly never will.
And fiction is fiction. its a bit sh*t if the bad guys win. we all grow up a bit quicker than the author seems to assume.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

I enjoyed this article because it does highlight the magical thinking that seems to have overtaken society. As long as you start with the premise that you are one of the good guys then everything you do is justified and an improvement. High inflation, uncontrolled immigration, people camping in the streets, random acts of murder? No problem – we mean well – we are the good guys – so our policies are good as well. The opposition has its own tool – the magical pendulum that always swings back. Governments and Big Tech creating a censorship society – no problem the pendulum will swing back. Little children being taught to hate our society in public schools – no problem the pendulum will swing back. Just like ‘we are the good guys’ the magic pendulum removes any obligation for you to do anything to improve your society – fight for your freedoms – or even care about what is happening.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago

I enjoyed this article because it does highlight the magical thinking that seems to have overtaken society. As long as you start with the premise that you are one of the good guys then everything you do is justified and an improvement. High inflation, uncontrolled immigration, people camping in the streets, random acts of murder? No problem – we mean well – we are the good guys – so our policies are good as well. The opposition has its own tool – the magical pendulum that always swings back. Governments and Big Tech creating a censorship society – no problem the pendulum will swing back. Little children being taught to hate our society in public schools – no problem the pendulum will swing back. Just like ‘we are the good guys’ the magic pendulum removes any obligation for you to do anything to improve your society – fight for your freedoms – or even care about what is happening.

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
11 months ago

Excellent, an article that actually is realistic and counters the rah rah propaganda that the Western politicians, in concert, with the propaganda sites, er Media, have been spewing since the beginning of the war. It is not only the politicians, who are probably the most inept folks the world has ever known, but the “elites” who have brought this suffering to both Ukraine and Russia. They are getting their Butts handed to them, again, by Putin. Also, MONEY has been particularly effective in the continuance, as the Military/Industrial complex is alive and well and making a ton of money, as are the countries Russia is buying munitions from as well as forming new relationships. This is not going to end well for the “good guys”.

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
11 months ago

Excellent, an article that actually is realistic and counters the rah rah propaganda that the Western politicians, in concert, with the propaganda sites, er Media, have been spewing since the beginning of the war. It is not only the politicians, who are probably the most inept folks the world has ever known, but the “elites” who have brought this suffering to both Ukraine and Russia. They are getting their Butts handed to them, again, by Putin. Also, MONEY has been particularly effective in the continuance, as the Military/Industrial complex is alive and well and making a ton of money, as are the countries Russia is buying munitions from as well as forming new relationships. This is not going to end well for the “good guys”.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago

I think there are a number of people in the American military and its accompanying industrial complex who actually do not suffer from the delusional syndrome the author mentions. Unlike in Europe, the US has an abundance of people with actual experience in warfare. Seeing actual combat and being around people who have tends to disillusion the most idealistic soul. They can and certainly do make mistakes, but they have a firm grip on the realities of warfare. America’s recent actions towards China have been sensible, if belated, and leadership has actually moved toward closer alliances with India, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, etc. The CHIPS act and some of the targeted sanctions against China make me believe somebody in Washington actually still knows what they’re doing. The Stormtrooper syndrome the author describes is far more prevalent among the other factions that compose America’s ruling class, the corporate board rooms of big tech, who seem to think every human failing can be abrogated by one of their gadgets or algorithms, academia, who sit in judgement of western civilization and pronounce truth with moral certitude, quite safe within their ivory towers from most of the practical consequences of their foolish ideals, and the political class, mostly old money aristocrats, the product of generations of lesser sons of greater fathers who are either deluded by the empty promises of utopian globalism, seduced by the anti-western progressive doctrines of academia, or both, or just hopelessly incompetent. When 3/4 of any ruling class are delusional, incompetent, or both, that’s not good, but it’s better than 4/4. I find myself in the awkward position of being a libertarian but feeling more positive about America’s military leaders and military establishment than any of its civilian ones.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

What is beyond doubt is that the percentage of the ruling class who are “delusional, incompetent or both” is far higher in Russia than the US right now. The US isn’t perfect, but it is at least possible to remove the “delusional, incompetent or both” and promotion is sometimes based on competence and integrity rather than simply loyalty.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I’m not sure that the share of the ruling class who are “delusional, incompetent or both” actually is higher in Russia than the US. If you read Farida Rustamova’s enlightening column, “”Now we’re going to f*ck them all”, lot of the people in the Kremlin were doing major face-palms after Putin’s brain embolism.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I’m not sure that the share of the ruling class who are “delusional, incompetent or both” actually is higher in Russia than the US. If you read Farida Rustamova’s enlightening column, “”Now we’re going to f*ck them all”, lot of the people in the Kremlin were doing major face-palms after Putin’s brain embolism.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Hear, hear – very well put.
The military does though have a lot of David Hackworth’s ‘Perfumed Princes’, though – all the leaders who are currently pushing woke stupidity. (I am reminded of the diplomats in the US Embassy in Kabul, who were flying ‘pride’ flags 2 months before the whole thing collapsed.)

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

What is beyond doubt is that the percentage of the ruling class who are “delusional, incompetent or both” is far higher in Russia than the US right now. The US isn’t perfect, but it is at least possible to remove the “delusional, incompetent or both” and promotion is sometimes based on competence and integrity rather than simply loyalty.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Hear, hear – very well put.
The military does though have a lot of David Hackworth’s ‘Perfumed Princes’, though – all the leaders who are currently pushing woke stupidity. (I am reminded of the diplomats in the US Embassy in Kabul, who were flying ‘pride’ flags 2 months before the whole thing collapsed.)

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago

I think there are a number of people in the American military and its accompanying industrial complex who actually do not suffer from the delusional syndrome the author mentions. Unlike in Europe, the US has an abundance of people with actual experience in warfare. Seeing actual combat and being around people who have tends to disillusion the most idealistic soul. They can and certainly do make mistakes, but they have a firm grip on the realities of warfare. America’s recent actions towards China have been sensible, if belated, and leadership has actually moved toward closer alliances with India, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, etc. The CHIPS act and some of the targeted sanctions against China make me believe somebody in Washington actually still knows what they’re doing. The Stormtrooper syndrome the author describes is far more prevalent among the other factions that compose America’s ruling class, the corporate board rooms of big tech, who seem to think every human failing can be abrogated by one of their gadgets or algorithms, academia, who sit in judgement of western civilization and pronounce truth with moral certitude, quite safe within their ivory towers from most of the practical consequences of their foolish ideals, and the political class, mostly old money aristocrats, the product of generations of lesser sons of greater fathers who are either deluded by the empty promises of utopian globalism, seduced by the anti-western progressive doctrines of academia, or both, or just hopelessly incompetent. When 3/4 of any ruling class are delusional, incompetent, or both, that’s not good, but it’s better than 4/4. I find myself in the awkward position of being a libertarian but feeling more positive about America’s military leaders and military establishment than any of its civilian ones.

Will K
Will K
11 months ago

The argument goes back hundreds of years. But the current evil actors are the USA and Russia, who are both willing to destroy Ukraine rather than lose face. The likely result will be a Korea-like armistice, and the world divided into two inimical blocs for a hundred years, to the sorrow of both. I doubt the Eastern bloc will be the Pariah, as Mr Biden seems to expect.

Last edited 11 months ago by Will K
martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Will K

Dunno.
The Ruble just hit 100 to the dollar, so the price of a “double tap” is going way up.
All those washing machines and computers Russia has to buy for the chips inside are now much more expensive. You can’t build Russian missiles any other way.
So killing civilans, and then civilian rescue workers, is going to cost Russia a lot more.
Hope you can find room in your heart for poor Mister Putin…

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Problem is, they’re still running a current account surplus whilst the US and UK continue to accrue debt upon debt, and now the behaviour of the west is leading a tidal wave of de-dollarisation, at which point things may (economically, hopefully not militarily) start getting very real very fast.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andy Iddon
martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

That’s because Russia can’t accrue debt–particularly with a ruble at 1.01 to the dollar…and falling.
Russia’s bad credit rating in the Russo-Japanese War was what forced Nikolai II to sue for peace.
Same here.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

The “tidal wave of de-dollarisation” exists only in your imagination. It’s not happening and not going to happen.
The reason that the US and UK can accumulate large debts is that they are trusted to repay them and not to default. Unlike Russia.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

That’s because Russia can’t accrue debt–particularly with a ruble at 1.01 to the dollar…and falling.
Russia’s bad credit rating in the Russo-Japanese War was what forced Nikolai II to sue for peace.
Same here.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

The “tidal wave of de-dollarisation” exists only in your imagination. It’s not happening and not going to happen.
The reason that the US and UK can accumulate large debts is that they are trusted to repay them and not to default. Unlike Russia.

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Russians are winning

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Oh, laddie, you got it all covered…

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Oh, laddie, you got it all covered…

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Russia has its own chip fabs.
And although they may not have the latest 4nm tech, what they produce is good enough for their missiles and other weaponry.
This is why, despite endless predictions of them running out of xyz… they haven’t.
As for killing civilians, so far the Russians have shown far greater concern for collateral damage than NATO does when it goes to war. Arestovich recently had to resign as Zelenskyy’s advisor after he admitted that apartment blocks were being hit by Ukraine’s own AA weapons that were failing to hit incoming Russian ordnance aimed at military targets.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

This is the equivqlent of Hitler’s Blitz in 1944: too little too late.
All eight missiles today were shot down.
And we’ve never seen attacks of 50-100 missiles, as we saw in Kyiv since the winter.
And the Ukrainians just keep nibbling away at a line held by clueless conscripts and a few shell-shocked veterans.
And still Putin refuses to mobilize.
The End of Russia.

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

“Ukrainians just keep nibbling away at a line held by clueless conscripts and a few shell-shocked veterans.”
Dear God.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Alternate reality.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

That’s what the mobiks say before they run or die.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Alternate reality.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

That’s what the mobiks say before they run or die.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Of all the utter nonsense you’ve banged into your keyboard today, this is the utterest.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

“Ukrainians just keep nibbling away at a line held by clueless conscripts and a few shell-shocked veterans.”
Dear God.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Of all the utter nonsense you’ve banged into your keyboard today, this is the utterest.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

You must be seeing a different war than I do. If Russian missiles are indeed, as you claim, only aimed at Ukrainian military installations then it would seem that restricting their access to chips is working as they don’t seem to be capable of hotting them, only apartment blocks – must be those washing machine chips being attracted to other washing machine chips.

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

So they’re running out of the chips necessary to guide missiles, but are wasting their diminishing stock of missiles on apartment blocks?

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

So they’re running out of the chips necessary to guide missiles, but are wasting their diminishing stock of missiles on apartment blocks?

Niels Georg Bach Christensen
Niels Georg Bach Christensen
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

How come you find western + chinese produced chips in russian grenades and rockets .

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago

Because they have stocks of them to use up?

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago

Because they have stocks of them to use up?

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

I’ve worked in the semiconductor (chip) industry all my career and what you claim here is complete rubbish. Russia has no meaningful domestic chip industry and no meaningful capability to meet its military chip supply needs. I suggest you do more research before posting such obvious nonsense.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

This is the equivqlent of Hitler’s Blitz in 1944: too little too late.
All eight missiles today were shot down.
And we’ve never seen attacks of 50-100 missiles, as we saw in Kyiv since the winter.
And the Ukrainians just keep nibbling away at a line held by clueless conscripts and a few shell-shocked veterans.
And still Putin refuses to mobilize.
The End of Russia.

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

You must be seeing a different war than I do. If Russian missiles are indeed, as you claim, only aimed at Ukrainian military installations then it would seem that restricting their access to chips is working as they don’t seem to be capable of hotting them, only apartment blocks – must be those washing machine chips being attracted to other washing machine chips.

Niels Georg Bach Christensen
Niels Georg Bach Christensen
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

How come you find western + chinese produced chips in russian grenades and rockets .

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim C

I’ve worked in the semiconductor (chip) industry all my career and what you claim here is complete rubbish. Russia has no meaningful domestic chip industry and no meaningful capability to meet its military chip supply needs. I suggest you do more research before posting such obvious nonsense.

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Problem is, they’re still running a current account surplus whilst the US and UK continue to accrue debt upon debt, and now the behaviour of the west is leading a tidal wave of de-dollarisation, at which point things may (economically, hopefully not militarily) start getting very real very fast.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andy Iddon
D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Russians are winning

Jim C
Jim C
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Russia has its own chip fabs.
And although they may not have the latest 4nm tech, what they produce is good enough for their missiles and other weaponry.
This is why, despite endless predictions of them running out of xyz… they haven’t.
As for killing civilians, so far the Russians have shown far greater concern for collateral damage than NATO does when it goes to war. Arestovich recently had to resign as Zelenskyy’s advisor after he admitted that apartment blocks were being hit by Ukraine’s own AA weapons that were failing to hit incoming Russian ordnance aimed at military targets.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago
Reply to  Will K

There are 30 countries in NATO. What makes you think Biden is dictating how NATO countries respond to Putin’s invasion of their European neighbour when the US is 5,000 miles away ? We absolutely are not led by American strategy.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Hypnotism, obviously.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Hypnotism, obviously.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Will K

Dunno.
The Ruble just hit 100 to the dollar, so the price of a “double tap” is going way up.
All those washing machines and computers Russia has to buy for the chips inside are now much more expensive. You can’t build Russian missiles any other way.
So killing civilans, and then civilian rescue workers, is going to cost Russia a lot more.
Hope you can find room in your heart for poor Mister Putin…

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago
Reply to  Will K

There are 30 countries in NATO. What makes you think Biden is dictating how NATO countries respond to Putin’s invasion of their European neighbour when the US is 5,000 miles away ? We absolutely are not led by American strategy.

Will K
Will K
11 months ago

The argument goes back hundreds of years. But the current evil actors are the USA and Russia, who are both willing to destroy Ukraine rather than lose face. The likely result will be a Korea-like armistice, and the world divided into two inimical blocs for a hundred years, to the sorrow of both. I doubt the Eastern bloc will be the Pariah, as Mr Biden seems to expect.

Last edited 11 months ago by Will K
Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago

I take exception to the use of Tolkien as an example. He may have wrote about, “eucatastrophe” and sundry, but its clear from the books that there is no silver bullet. Frodo, and his ilk, need to pay the price to give themselves a chance to win.
And its clear from history, if you keep on giving yourself a chance too win, sooner or later you will achieve your best result.

Currently in the Ukraine, that means everybody loses.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

That is a good point. In the books Saruman went to the Shire and intentionally wrecked it so it was a mess when they got home.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Indeed, despite the deus ex machina of the eagles saving the protagonist physically in both books, each is changed forever by the experience and by the one ring, and not for the better. In LOTR, by the time the eagles showed up, the ring was already destroyed and the greater war decided, regardless of whether the people fighting at the Black Gate, or indeed Frodo and Sam, survived the experience. Frodo survived, but in a spiritually broken state. I’ve always thought Tolkien did that because he wanted Sam to get his happy ending knowing Frodo couldn’t and wouldn’t, regardless of whether he lived or died on Mount Doom. Much of Tolkien’s work was metaphorical, with the one ring being a metaphor for how power corrupts even the purest soul regardless of how good their intentions.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Indeed, despite the deus ex machina of the eagles saving the protagonist physically in both books, each is changed forever by the experience and by the one ring, and not for the better. In LOTR, by the time the eagles showed up, the ring was already destroyed and the greater war decided, regardless of whether the people fighting at the Black Gate, or indeed Frodo and Sam, survived the experience. Frodo survived, but in a spiritually broken state. I’ve always thought Tolkien did that because he wanted Sam to get his happy ending knowing Frodo couldn’t and wouldn’t, regardless of whether he lived or died on Mount Doom. Much of Tolkien’s work was metaphorical, with the one ring being a metaphor for how power corrupts even the purest soul regardless of how good their intentions.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

That is a good point. In the books Saruman went to the Shire and intentionally wrecked it so it was a mess when they got home.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago

I take exception to the use of Tolkien as an example. He may have wrote about, “eucatastrophe” and sundry, but its clear from the books that there is no silver bullet. Frodo, and his ilk, need to pay the price to give themselves a chance to win.
And its clear from history, if you keep on giving yourself a chance too win, sooner or later you will achieve your best result.

Currently in the Ukraine, that means everybody loses.

Douglas Hainline
Douglas Hainline
11 months ago

I don’t think the American ‘Good Guys Always Win’ worldview comes from Star Wars. In fact, it’s the other way around.
I recall, growing up in Texas in the 1950s, having the very definite belief that America always won all of its wars, because we were the Good Guys. (which I framed as “God was on our side,” until at the age of 14 I became an atheist without changing my views on our wars.)
After all … we won the Revolution, (we’ll pass over the War of 1812), we got back the land which Mexico had wrongly taken when it should have been ours, we beat the Southern Secessionists, we beat the Spanish and were rewarded with exotic territories and peoples to civilize, we saved the French/British bacon in WWI, we defeated Pure Evil in WWII (with a wee bit of help from the Russians), we fought our previous Allies — now suddenly become Pure Evil themselves — at least to a draw in Korea …. so surely Vietnam would go the same way …
Okay, by then, I had changed my views, as many of my generation/social layer did under the impact of events in the American South, things like My Lai in Vietnam, growing knowledge about our Latin American client states and their Death Squads … but despite Vietnam most Americans still saw their country — rightly — as the bulwark of liberal democracy in the world, still the Good Guys who (almost) always win. Hollywood worked both sides of the street, not only giving us the Star Wars series, but also The Deerhunter, Apocalypse Now, and Full Metal Jacket.
Note that the latter films are about actual Americans, whereas Star Wars is set in some distant future.
On another topic: Greer’s weird religious views are indeed anomalous, when compared with his sophisticated writing about world events. He should have believed in some normal religion, where angels impregnate women who give birth to a god-human who can rise from the dead … and we can drink his blood when we drink wine which has been subjected to a special magic ceremony …something rational, like that.

Douglas Hainline
Douglas Hainline
11 months ago

I don’t think the American ‘Good Guys Always Win’ worldview comes from Star Wars. In fact, it’s the other way around.
I recall, growing up in Texas in the 1950s, having the very definite belief that America always won all of its wars, because we were the Good Guys. (which I framed as “God was on our side,” until at the age of 14 I became an atheist without changing my views on our wars.)
After all … we won the Revolution, (we’ll pass over the War of 1812), we got back the land which Mexico had wrongly taken when it should have been ours, we beat the Southern Secessionists, we beat the Spanish and were rewarded with exotic territories and peoples to civilize, we saved the French/British bacon in WWI, we defeated Pure Evil in WWII (with a wee bit of help from the Russians), we fought our previous Allies — now suddenly become Pure Evil themselves — at least to a draw in Korea …. so surely Vietnam would go the same way …
Okay, by then, I had changed my views, as many of my generation/social layer did under the impact of events in the American South, things like My Lai in Vietnam, growing knowledge about our Latin American client states and their Death Squads … but despite Vietnam most Americans still saw their country — rightly — as the bulwark of liberal democracy in the world, still the Good Guys who (almost) always win. Hollywood worked both sides of the street, not only giving us the Star Wars series, but also The Deerhunter, Apocalypse Now, and Full Metal Jacket.
Note that the latter films are about actual Americans, whereas Star Wars is set in some distant future.
On another topic: Greer’s weird religious views are indeed anomalous, when compared with his sophisticated writing about world events. He should have believed in some normal religion, where angels impregnate women who give birth to a god-human who can rise from the dead … and we can drink his blood when we drink wine which has been subjected to a special magic ceremony …something rational, like that.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
11 months ago

“The crucial point is that the profits from sales of Dobry-Cola and similar products and services aren’t flowing out to stockholders in the US, they’re staying in Russia, where they’ve given a timely boost to the Russian economy.”

Which is a hilarious things to write, given it was published in Unherd the day after the Ruble fell to 1  = US 1¢

The counteroffensive began on 4 June. Two months on, it is clear that it has failed. A successful assault against fortified positions in modern war requires a three-to-one advantage in soldiers on that region

No.Three-to-one in combat power, not numbers of soldiers, which is something quite different. Someone needs to read “Number Prediction & War” or “Attrition” by Dupuy.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
11 months ago

“The crucial point is that the profits from sales of Dobry-Cola and similar products and services aren’t flowing out to stockholders in the US, they’re staying in Russia, where they’ve given a timely boost to the Russian economy.”

Which is a hilarious things to write, given it was published in Unherd the day after the Ruble fell to 1  = US 1¢

The counteroffensive began on 4 June. Two months on, it is clear that it has failed. A successful assault against fortified positions in modern war requires a three-to-one advantage in soldiers on that region

No.Three-to-one in combat power, not numbers of soldiers, which is something quite different. Someone needs to read “Number Prediction & War” or “Attrition” by Dupuy.

simon lamb
simon lamb
11 months ago

An interesting perspective. Brought down to its bare essentials it reiterates the old aphorism – “might is right”. But then the entire might of the German army – vastly superior to anything it faced – was still not enough to defeat the Allies. To understand this you have to look for its internal weakness rather than its material strength. It was a war that simply could not be lost by the Allies – the consequences were unimaginable, just as it is for Ukraine. And gradually those weakness (mainly the bare-toothed infighting typical of government without conscience) exposed itself under duress (and despite the support of allies far more powerful than relatively puny Iran and North Korea) and imploded. That weakness manifested iteself in (and yes – storm-troopers – not the holywood type but flesh and blood soldiers willing to lay down their lives for freedom and democracy, were core players) the essential lunacy that values human life and freedoms as mere political indulgences to be granted and withdrawn at will. Eventually, as the Soviet Union, Albania, Romania, Maoist China, Cambodia and the rest fell one by one to the “stormtroopers” of democracy and yes – that often sneered at attribute – “human decency” (a sequence reiterated going back as far as recorded history allows), we have developed a broadly if not yet universally compassionate, democratic world arisen from the ashes of the crass brutality of the medieval world.
History shows that, despite bleak setbacks, the trajectory of world political development over thousands of years is upwards, and that over time winning is not the prerogative of the mighty, but of civilization, compassion and human rights.
Call the forces of compassionate, advanced civilization whatever you like, but don’t predict the end of this particular episode of history based on armaments without accounting for that precious thing that tyrants the world over have unerringly underrated – the human spirit.

Last edited 11 months ago by simon lamb
Douglas Hainline
Douglas Hainline
11 months ago
Reply to  simon lamb

Let us hope this is true. But this “Whig theory of history” needs a materialist basis: why has ‘compassionate’ (ie democratic, individualist) civilization advanced over time? As the economic ‘base’ — ‘technique’ as applied to our ways of getting a living, ie the growth of the productive forces — has changed, so has, in uneven leaps, the political ‘superstructure’.
Not in a deterministic way — the growth of the base — a literate population not tied to the land — allows the possibility of a liberal-democratic superstructure, but does not guarantee it — inclines, but does not compel. How to consciously intervene in the process to push that inclination is the big question: ‘Soft Power’ alone, or something more?
I suspect more than a few of us here, twenty-five years ago, were more eager than we are today, to put American military power actively into play in that process. But we have learned something from Iraq and Afghanistan. However, knowing what NOT to do is not to know WHAT to do.
The war in Ukraine is ambiguous, because while the two sides looked at statically, in terms of their political regimes, can more or less be seen in Good Guy vs Bad Guy terms, an acquaintance with the history here — the “not one inch eastwards” promise was made by people who knew something about Russia’s attitude to being repeatedly invaded from the West — shows the complexity of the issue.
Now, as that promise was broken, we have been asked to take over the chess game at the tenth move.
The reality is, the West — following the USA — would still be supporting Ukraine, even if its political regime were identical to Russia’s, as we did Yugoslavia and Romania during the Cold War. The democratic issue is an overlay on top of standard Big Power competition: the Crimean War recidivus.

Douglas Hainline
Douglas Hainline
11 months ago
Reply to  simon lamb

Let us hope this is true. But this “Whig theory of history” needs a materialist basis: why has ‘compassionate’ (ie democratic, individualist) civilization advanced over time? As the economic ‘base’ — ‘technique’ as applied to our ways of getting a living, ie the growth of the productive forces — has changed, so has, in uneven leaps, the political ‘superstructure’.
Not in a deterministic way — the growth of the base — a literate population not tied to the land — allows the possibility of a liberal-democratic superstructure, but does not guarantee it — inclines, but does not compel. How to consciously intervene in the process to push that inclination is the big question: ‘Soft Power’ alone, or something more?
I suspect more than a few of us here, twenty-five years ago, were more eager than we are today, to put American military power actively into play in that process. But we have learned something from Iraq and Afghanistan. However, knowing what NOT to do is not to know WHAT to do.
The war in Ukraine is ambiguous, because while the two sides looked at statically, in terms of their political regimes, can more or less be seen in Good Guy vs Bad Guy terms, an acquaintance with the history here — the “not one inch eastwards” promise was made by people who knew something about Russia’s attitude to being repeatedly invaded from the West — shows the complexity of the issue.
Now, as that promise was broken, we have been asked to take over the chess game at the tenth move.
The reality is, the West — following the USA — would still be supporting Ukraine, even if its political regime were identical to Russia’s, as we did Yugoslavia and Romania during the Cold War. The democratic issue is an overlay on top of standard Big Power competition: the Crimean War recidivus.

simon lamb
simon lamb
11 months ago

An interesting perspective. Brought down to its bare essentials it reiterates the old aphorism – “might is right”. But then the entire might of the German army – vastly superior to anything it faced – was still not enough to defeat the Allies. To understand this you have to look for its internal weakness rather than its material strength. It was a war that simply could not be lost by the Allies – the consequences were unimaginable, just as it is for Ukraine. And gradually those weakness (mainly the bare-toothed infighting typical of government without conscience) exposed itself under duress (and despite the support of allies far more powerful than relatively puny Iran and North Korea) and imploded. That weakness manifested iteself in (and yes – storm-troopers – not the holywood type but flesh and blood soldiers willing to lay down their lives for freedom and democracy, were core players) the essential lunacy that values human life and freedoms as mere political indulgences to be granted and withdrawn at will. Eventually, as the Soviet Union, Albania, Romania, Maoist China, Cambodia and the rest fell one by one to the “stormtroopers” of democracy and yes – that often sneered at attribute – “human decency” (a sequence reiterated going back as far as recorded history allows), we have developed a broadly if not yet universally compassionate, democratic world arisen from the ashes of the crass brutality of the medieval world.
History shows that, despite bleak setbacks, the trajectory of world political development over thousands of years is upwards, and that over time winning is not the prerogative of the mighty, but of civilization, compassion and human rights.
Call the forces of compassionate, advanced civilization whatever you like, but don’t predict the end of this particular episode of history based on armaments without accounting for that precious thing that tyrants the world over have unerringly underrated – the human spirit.

Last edited 11 months ago by simon lamb
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago

I sense it’s a Year Zero problem of political tribalims and belief similar to what you find with gender ideology. Before the creed of gender self-identification emerged, for instance, nothing else existed in terms of sexuality and psychoanalysis and no such debate should impinge upon this simple question of human rights today.
With the Ukraine, the liberal position is that no politics or geopolitics at all were at play between Washington and Moscow before the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and then their military adventure into the Ukraine a year or so ago.
And even further now, support for the ‘right’ side in the Ukraine-Russia war of regional nationalism and pan-Russian separatism can now be simplified tribally to the point that if you are on the liberal-left, you simply must support the Democrats in maintaining a proxy war against Moscow. Otherwise, you’re on the Dark Side and predestined to burn for Eternity.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago

I sense it’s a Year Zero problem of political tribalims and belief similar to what you find with gender ideology. Before the creed of gender self-identification emerged, for instance, nothing else existed in terms of sexuality and psychoanalysis and no such debate should impinge upon this simple question of human rights today.
With the Ukraine, the liberal position is that no politics or geopolitics at all were at play between Washington and Moscow before the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and then their military adventure into the Ukraine a year or so ago.
And even further now, support for the ‘right’ side in the Ukraine-Russia war of regional nationalism and pan-Russian separatism can now be simplified tribally to the point that if you are on the liberal-left, you simply must support the Democrats in maintaining a proxy war against Moscow. Otherwise, you’re on the Dark Side and predestined to burn for Eternity.

Charles Levett-Scrivener
Charles Levett-Scrivener
11 months ago

This is simply untrue:
“we can begin in 2014 — when a coup overthrew Ukraine’s pro-Russian government and replaced it with a pro-Nato one”

The Ukrainian President broke a campaign pledge, leading to demonstrations and sit ins. This president conspired so snipers killed some of the demonstrators.

This President was impeached constitutionally by the democratically elected parliament including his own party.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

It’s a typically deceitful technique to start an argument from an unsound assumption like this. Russia’s intentions in Ukraine were clear and malign well before 2014. Putin has clearly never accepted that Ukraine was a free and independent country. Indeed, for him, no country directly bordering Russia can be allowed to be free and independent.
Which is precisely why there can never be peace and stability in Europe while Putin and his cronies remain in power. And we must do whatever it takes to see them off.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Thanks for dealing with the Russobot.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Thanks for dealing with the Russobot.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago