X Close

Why Ukraine’s offensive has stalled There is only one route forward

A Ukrainian serviceman near the town of Siversk, Donetsk region (ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

A Ukrainian serviceman near the town of Siversk, Donetsk region (ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images)


August 10, 2023   5 mins

Whenever Russian missiles strike a Ukrainian city, or Kyiv’s drones target a building in Moscow, the attacks are inevitably followed by the sort of media coverage worthy of a Blitz raid. Yet generating headlines is just about their only achievement: precision missiles cannot deliver much explosive, and drones even less. As for their great accuracy, it is only effective when valuable targets can be identified — something which is hard to do except against tanks on the battlefield and warships floating on open water.

Against buildings, small missile warheads and puny drone charges can certainly inflict damage, but not of any real consequence. And this is a key aspect of the entire war, especially when compared to the last great conflict on the European continent.

From March 1942, the RAF’s Bomber Command was flying Lancaster bombers with a typical individual bombload of 6,400kg, so that the first Lancaster raid to feature 400 bombers dropped 2,560 metric tons — more than the total tonnage dropped on Ukraine by Russian cruise missiles since the war started. True, British night bombing was notoriously inaccurate and much criticised in the aftermath. But by 1945, cities such as Hamburg and Cologne were burnt out, while others including Berlin were devastated. Nothing equivalent has happened to Kyiv, nor could it, because Russia only has a small strategic bomber force while Ukraine has none. All the military drones now operational across the globe cannot deliver as much explosive as the Bomber Command could drop in a couple of nights.

Thus the first serious war of the third millennium must be fought on the ground — quite a comedown from the “post-kinetic” cyber and information warfare that had been confidently predicted by both Western and Russian generals. This is a war that must be fought by sheer, grinding, attrition, just like the First World War on the Western Front, with almost none of the “manoeuvre warfare” exploits that made celebrities of Guderian, Rommel, Patton and Rokossovsky in the Second World War, and Arik Sharon in 1967 and 1973.

All those masters of war won disproportionate victories with surprise offensives. Arriving in fast-moving columns, their forces greatly outnumbered and overwhelmed a specific sector, while the bulk of the enemy, distributed across an entire front, could not intervene in time.

In other words, “manoeuvre warfare” depends entirely on surprise. Even in the Second World War, there was reliable aerial photography, so that pre-battle concentrations of tanks, trucks and artillery tractors could not escape detection as they gathered over a period of weeks. But once the offensive columns moved, it was hard to keep them under observation, let alone predict their destination. Photography was impeded by night, clouds and enemy fighters, leaving more than enough uncertainty to deceive enemies with decoys, simulated radio traffic, and the false tales of double agents.

This is how it came to be that on D-Day, 6 June 1944, the strongest German Panzer columns ended up being massed behind Calais to face Patton’s fictional First United States Army Group, while the Allies were landing in Normandy 230 miles away. Douglas MacArthur’s Inchon landings in September 1950, which nullified a string of North Korean victories in the preceding months, likewise achieved total surprise by very elaborately simulating a landing at Kunsan, 100 miles to the south.

None of this could happen now. The Americans, Russians and other military powers have observation satellites equipped with synthetic-aperture radars, capable of revealing single tanks, let alone any large grouping of forces, regardless of visibility, while their returns are refreshed often enough to detect troop movements in hours if not in minutes. Any other information drawn from intercepts, aerial reconnaissance or ground observation merely supplements this reliable intelligence. It is enough to make the battlefield transparent and operational surprise impossible, killing off the manoeuvre warfare that can win battles quickly and without mounds of casualties.

In early summer, when the Ukrainians deployed the precious “operational reserve” they had built up, there was no great mystery as to what they would do with it: attack somewhere south of Zaporizhzhia and fight their way down to the Black Sea. This would cut off all the east-west roads and rail lines that supply the Russian forces strung out to the west below the Dnipro river. It would set the stage for a great victory, with Putin forced to choose between continuing the war or negotiating a cease-fire to rescue his stranded troops.

There were three possible vectors for the offensive. First, Kyiv could launch a straight assault on Melitopol, which would involve an ambitious penetration offensive over 90-miles deep. Alternatively, it could aim for Berdyans’k with a 125-mile offensive that would cut off more Russians and take more territory. Or, even more daringly, it could march the full 150 miles to Mariupol, a movement that would have to be Napoleonic in speed and concentration to reach the Black Sea shore before the Russians could counter.

None of those options has proved to be workable. While the Ukrainians were training and deploying, the Russians south of the Dnipro were digging trench lines shielded by  minefields that stretch roughly 625 miles — 185 miles longer than the Western Front at its greatest extent. Napoleon called this style of linear defence a “cordon”, a thick rope made of infantry to hold the enemy along a long front. And, in his own time, he rightly explained why cordons were the stupidest way of defending a front: the enemy would arrive in columns and easily cut through the few troops holding the particular sector they attacked.

But once again the transparent battlefield has changed everything. Watching the Ukrainians advance in real time, the Russians could send their forces to intercept them in equal if not greater numbers. And even if the numbers were equal, the combat would be unequal because the Russians would be shielded by their minefields and by their trenches.

It was also unfortunate that the Ukrainians had greatly overestimated the combat value of the huge 66-ton Leopard tanks they had asked for, begged for, and finally practically demanded from the Germans. The Leopard is comparable to the US M1 and Israeli Merkava IV (all three have some 60 tons of layered armour and high-velocity 120mm guns). But it lacks one thing that the M1 and Merkava both rely on when facing the Russian-equipped forces: Trophy, an Israeli active defence with radar to detect incoming anti-tank missiles, and miniature guns to smash their warheads.

The Germans are acquiring the device but insisted on testing it themselves, delaying its shipment to Ukraine. Without Trophy’s protection, the Leopards fell prey to Russian tank-hunters armed with Kornet anti-tank missiles. While much simpler, less versatile and much cheaper than the US Javelin, the Kornet is all too effective with its double warhead that defeats reactive armour. When Ukraine’s long-awaited offensive started, it demonstrated this most unfortunately, with the destruction of some of the precious Leopards that were supposed to lead the way.

One might have hoped for a better outcome from the geo-economic confrontation between the heavily-sanctioned Russian economy and the much richer Western coalition that supports Ukraine — especially because things started so well. Early fears that Germany and Italy would not tolerate the loss of their Russian markets and Russian natural gas supplies proved unfounded. Instead of defections, the coalition that economically supports Ukraine has expanded across Europe and now includes Japan and even South Korea, which sent a token $150 million this year.

But initial hopes that Russia could be seriously pressured, perhaps all the way to the negotiating table, by stalling both their oil exports and their imports of Western goods soon faded. Unlike China, Russia is self-sufficient in both food and fuel, and can manufacture all it needs, except for micro-processors and other high-tech items that are easily smuggled.

Turkey, while ostensibly a close American ally, is still the transit point for many high-technology exports to Russia, and Turkey’s traders and traffickers have plenty of competition in other countries. As for the Russian economy, the news is gloomy but not gloomy enough. A meagre 1.5% growth will be achieved this year, but that still exceeds the German growth rate (which is expected to be zero). Russia’s inflation rate of 3.3% is also around half the Euro average. The war will not end because of Russia’s economic capitulation.

There is, then, only one route forward: to fight the war in earnest, as befits a struggle of national liberation. Ukraine’s population has declined but still exceeds 30 million, so that the total number in uniform could be as much as 3 million (Israel’s 10% ratio in 1948) or at least 2 million (Finland’s reservists as a percentage of the population). With those troops, Ukraine could win its battles and liberate its territory in the same way as most of Europe’s wars of independence — by gruelling, attritional warfare.


Professor Edward Luttwak is a strategist and historian known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations.

ELuttwak

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

128 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago

“With those troops, Ukraine could win its battles and liberate its territory in the same way as most of Europe’s wars of independence — by gruelling, attritional warfare.”
Such a dramatic and romantic thought. Meanwhile in the real world, having a functional industrial base is a necessity for such a thing to even happen. Ukraine does not have one and the West’s is a joke. Right now the United States is rapidly onshoring its industrial and defense capability as much as possible due to rising tensions with China. They will also need to replenish many of those stocks for a possible conflict. Combined with changing public opinion, US aid is going probably going to drop like a rock. European NATO powers are in little position to pick up the slack due to slacking on their industrial capacity and defense spending. Russia on the other hand, has a functional industrial base with good natural resources and a massive population to recruit from. The problem Ukraine is facing right now is more fundamental than grand strategy or localized tactics. They are on the losing side of a mathematical equation.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

He doesn’t even know tgst Ukraine dies not have thirty million ..he is more in touch with rebirth than most western commentators but not enough to see that Ukraine has a population below 20 million.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You haven’t considered the diaspora? they need to be integrated into the struggle for Ukraine to be successful.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

37 million. I don’t know why so many people in here simply invent stuff to bolster their arguments.

https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ukraine-population/

Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

37 million minus all those fit males who have left Ukraine.

Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

37 million minus all those fit males who have left Ukraine.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You haven’t considered the diaspora? they need to be integrated into the struggle for Ukraine to be successful.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

37 million. I don’t know why so many people in here simply invent stuff to bolster their arguments.

https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ukraine-population/

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

That’s actually what people were saying on 25 Feb 2022.
The problem with that argument is that Biden cannot afford to lose another war. Moreover, Europe knows exactly what a Russian victory would entail: dominating and threatening the rest of Europe. Like it or not, they will have to continue supporting Ukraine.
And with Trump’s likely conviction on several different counts, any threat from the GOP is unlikely. Once Trump is out of the running, no GOP alternate candidate is likely to defeat Biden.
Looks like a long war.
And 50% of the world’s economy is supporting Ukraine.
(Never thought I’d see the Ruble down 97 to the dollar! An alternate source for bathroom tissue)

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
harry storm
harry storm
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Should trump exit the equation, DeSantis would utterly crush doddering Biden in an election.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

If he can’t defeat Trump, it doesn’t matter.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  harry storm

If he can’t defeat Trump, it doesn’t matter.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Nonsense !
Of course that ossified moron Biden can afford to ‘lose’ another war. America had made losing wars something of an art form in recent years.

I am afraid you will have to face the facts that the ‘Demos’ both here and in the US, is tired of this war and that an 18th century style* compromise peace is the only viable solution.

(* A Peace where both sides can claim Victory.)

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago

The war will end when Russia takes all the Russian speaking parts of Ukraine, which is almost half its pre American intervention area. Ukraine joins the long list of countries absolutely wrecked by the USA.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Precisely, a most equitable solution, and one which even the brilliant Otto von Bismarck would have approved of.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago

So you ignored results of Ukrainian independence referendum in 1991?
83% for being part of Ukraine in Donbas and Luhansk.
Even Crimea voted 54% for the same.
All this nonsense about Russian speaking part of Ukraine wanted to be part of Russia is just Russian propaganda.
Should UK invade Ireland? They speak English.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

“Should UK invade Ireland?”(sic).
No, we’ve had our fun, and mustn’t be greedy.
In fact now that you pose that question, we should really be shot of Northern Ireland as soon as is humanly possible.
It is a national embarrassment as I am sure you will agree?

As to the Ukraine I am getting a trifle bored by this idea of Ukrainian exceptionalism, just as I am, and no doubt you to are to, by the idea of Irish exceptionalism?

Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago

Come now, Ireland has very few troops. Even we could successfuly invade them, strip that nation of anything worth having, and leave again.

Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago

Come now, Ireland has very few troops. Even we could successfuly invade them, strip that nation of anything worth having, and leave again.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

“Should UK invade Ireland?”(sic).
No, we’ve had our fun, and mustn’t be greedy.
In fact now that you pose that question, we should really be shot of Northern Ireland as soon as is humanly possible.
It is a national embarrassment as I am sure you will agree?

As to the Ukraine I am getting a trifle bored by this idea of Ukrainian exceptionalism, just as I am, and no doubt you to are to, by the idea of Irish exceptionalism?

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago

So you ignored results of Ukrainian independence referendum in 1991?
83% for being part of Ukraine in Donbas and Luhansk.
Even Crimea voted 54% for the same.
All this nonsense about Russian speaking part of Ukraine wanted to be part of Russia is just Russian propaganda.
Should UK invade Ireland? They speak English.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Sorry, did the USA invade? Spare us your bleeding heart leftie logic

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

By proxy?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

By proxy?

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

The two rebel involved form about 6% of Ukraine’s territory. Dont forget, former frontier town Kiev is now in the centre of the country. Of course there are many native Russian speakers outside there, after all they voted in Yanukovich twice, but they are disbursed across the population. If I were Putin I would have offered to buy Lugansk and the Donbass, plus land giving access to Crimea.

Liam Brady
Liam Brady
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

What you mean Russian speakers like Zelensky ?
All Ukrainians DESPISE Russia not just the non-Russian speakers.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Er, pardon me, but isn’t Russia wrecking Ukraine just now?;-)

Bryn 0
Bryn 0
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Wrecked just like Libya, Syria, Irak, Afghanistan. Vietnam has somehow raised again after 65 years. Congrats to neocons and modern colonialism among US leaders; politicians as well as MEGA finance and business CEOs.

Stan Zorin
Stan Zorin
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

There are NO “Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine”.  
Devote your time to self-educating yourself about Ukraine.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Precisely, a most equitable solution, and one which even the brilliant Otto von Bismarck would have approved of.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Sorry, did the USA invade? Spare us your bleeding heart leftie logic

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

The two rebel involved form about 6% of Ukraine’s territory. Dont forget, former frontier town Kiev is now in the centre of the country. Of course there are many native Russian speakers outside there, after all they voted in Yanukovich twice, but they are disbursed across the population. If I were Putin I would have offered to buy Lugansk and the Donbass, plus land giving access to Crimea.

Liam Brady
Liam Brady
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

What you mean Russian speakers like Zelensky ?
All Ukrainians DESPISE Russia not just the non-Russian speakers.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Er, pardon me, but isn’t Russia wrecking Ukraine just now?;-)

Bryn 0
Bryn 0
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

Wrecked just like Libya, Syria, Irak, Afghanistan. Vietnam has somehow raised again after 65 years. Congrats to neocons and modern colonialism among US leaders; politicians as well as MEGA finance and business CEOs.

Stan Zorin
Stan Zorin
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Bocho

There are NO “Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine”.  
Devote your time to self-educating yourself about Ukraine.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago

Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. If my kid was fighting on the front for a couple years it would be a priority.

Jim Bocho
Jim Bocho
11 months ago

The war will end when Russia takes all the Russian speaking parts of Ukraine, which is almost half its pre American intervention area. Ukraine joins the long list of countries absolutely wrecked by the USA.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago

Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. If my kid was fighting on the front for a couple years it would be a priority.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Trump’s “likely” conviction is only likely if the juries are almost all Democrats, which is possible in a few locals like DC, but unlikely. Such biased juries would be among many possible grounds for valid conviction appeals – don’t expect Trump behind bars by 11/24. Besides, much to the dismay of many of us non-Trump conservatives, each piled on ridiculous charge such as “conspiracy to defraud the government” (apparently Trump knowingly and illegally canceled a Trillion $ in student debt) has made Trump stronger.
Your comment that once he is out Biden wins easily is exactly backward. Any R other than Trump would likely beat Biden – hence the absurd MSM and D attacks on the best alternative, DeSantis.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Guess you missed his phone call to Raffensperger askign him to give him 11,000 votes.
That will send him to prison.

Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

When did asking for votes constitute a crime? I do that every time I stand for election…..

Stan Zorin
Stan Zorin
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Fake news.
There was no such a call.

Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

When did asking for votes constitute a crime? I do that every time I stand for election…..

Stan Zorin
Stan Zorin
10 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Fake news.
There was no such a call.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Guess you missed his phone call to Raffensperger askign him to give him 11,000 votes.
That will send him to prison.

harry storm
harry storm
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Should trump exit the equation, DeSantis would utterly crush doddering Biden in an election.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Nonsense !
Of course that ossified moron Biden can afford to ‘lose’ another war. America had made losing wars something of an art form in recent years.

I am afraid you will have to face the facts that the ‘Demos’ both here and in the US, is tired of this war and that an 18th century style* compromise peace is the only viable solution.

(* A Peace where both sides can claim Victory.)

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Trump’s “likely” conviction is only likely if the juries are almost all Democrats, which is possible in a few locals like DC, but unlikely. Such biased juries would be among many possible grounds for valid conviction appeals – don’t expect Trump behind bars by 11/24. Besides, much to the dismay of many of us non-Trump conservatives, each piled on ridiculous charge such as “conspiracy to defraud the government” (apparently Trump knowingly and illegally canceled a Trillion $ in student debt) has made Trump stronger.
Your comment that once he is out Biden wins easily is exactly backward. Any R other than Trump would likely beat Biden – hence the absurd MSM and D attacks on the best alternative, DeSantis.

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Spot on.

Quantity has a quality all of its own.

And Ukraine/NATO doesn’t have it – for the reasons you outline above.

Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Russian population is 150 million. It’s large, but it’s not massive.

Zirrus VanDevere
Zirrus VanDevere
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

And although America is struggling to do its damndest to propigate propaganda, Russia is actually wayyyy better at it. Yet even still, I guarantee you there are plenty of Russians who disagree with what Putin is doing. Sadly, we all lose, save for the Industrial Military Complex which reaps huge financial gain while citizens of more than a few countries lose their lives, and inflation hurts all but the greedy

Retan King
Retan King
10 months ago

Military Industrial Complex? Yes! It should be a cottage industry so that no company can make a profit to pay for the capital, technology, and losses of previous years. Got it!

Retan King
Retan King
10 months ago

Military Industrial Complex? Yes! It should be a cottage industry so that no company can make a profit to pay for the capital, technology, and losses of previous years. Got it!

Zirrus VanDevere
Zirrus VanDevere
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

And although America is struggling to do its damndest to propigate propaganda, Russia is actually wayyyy better at it. Yet even still, I guarantee you there are plenty of Russians who disagree with what Putin is doing. Sadly, we all lose, save for the Industrial Military Complex which reaps huge financial gain while citizens of more than a few countries lose their lives, and inflation hurts all but the greedy

tom j
tom j
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I thought the conclusion totally out of synch with the rest of the article. Perhaps he decided he need to finish with some optimism.

Malcolm Robbins
Malcolm Robbins
11 months ago
Reply to  tom j

I’m not sure it was that – I thought the article was reasonable until the last paragraph, when after portraying the problems resorted to double done and keep fighting with the fantasy that it could still be successful…

Malcolm Robbins
Malcolm Robbins
11 months ago
Reply to  tom j

I’m not sure it was that – I thought the article was reasonable until the last paragraph, when after portraying the problems resorted to double done and keep fighting with the fantasy that it could still be successful…

Bryn 0
Bryn 0
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Defenitely so.
How crazy of NATOs Stoltenberg to imagine Ukraine will win against Russia. And then also at the same time, insist that the reason for NATO to support is the threat Russia represents to NATO. A real oxymoron.

Peter Hardcastle
Peter Hardcastle
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Do any of you rely think the EU wants Putin on its door step, the answerer is no, so most of the comments I read are inaccurate as they fail to understand that. The same goes for uncle Sam the Americans do not want Putin in their back yard similar to ww2
.I could also say we find ourselves in this situation because NATO failed to understand what Putin’s aim was when he invaded Crimea, Had NATO allowed Ukraine to join the “club” in 2015 we would not be in this situation we find ourselves now, I sometimes think Trump was correct when he said the “club” was passed it’s sell by date or at least those running the thing are.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The West’s industrial base (which fod goodness sake includes the United States) is vastly more productive than Russia’s. Whether we wish to up the ante on supporting Ukraine is another matter.

And there is the small matter that the Russian population really do not want their kids to be ill treated and equipped conscript cannon fodder in this war. There are more if them, but they are vastly less motivated than the Ukrainians.
They might even think perhaps ‘isn’t Russia big enough’?

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Significant numbers of those eligible for conscription have left Ukraine, and turned up in such places as southwest London (not sure how they can afford it though…)

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

He doesn’t even know tgst Ukraine dies not have thirty million ..he is more in touch with rebirth than most western commentators but not enough to see that Ukraine has a population below 20 million.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

That’s actually what people were saying on 25 Feb 2022.
The problem with that argument is that Biden cannot afford to lose another war. Moreover, Europe knows exactly what a Russian victory would entail: dominating and threatening the rest of Europe. Like it or not, they will have to continue supporting Ukraine.
And with Trump’s likely conviction on several different counts, any threat from the GOP is unlikely. Once Trump is out of the running, no GOP alternate candidate is likely to defeat Biden.
Looks like a long war.
And 50% of the world’s economy is supporting Ukraine.
(Never thought I’d see the Ruble down 97 to the dollar! An alternate source for bathroom tissue)

Last edited 11 months ago by martin logan
Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Spot on.

Quantity has a quality all of its own.

And Ukraine/NATO doesn’t have it – for the reasons you outline above.

Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Russian population is 150 million. It’s large, but it’s not massive.

tom j
tom j
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I thought the conclusion totally out of synch with the rest of the article. Perhaps he decided he need to finish with some optimism.

Bryn 0
Bryn 0
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Defenitely so.
How crazy of NATOs Stoltenberg to imagine Ukraine will win against Russia. And then also at the same time, insist that the reason for NATO to support is the threat Russia represents to NATO. A real oxymoron.

Peter Hardcastle
Peter Hardcastle
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Do any of you rely think the EU wants Putin on its door step, the answerer is no, so most of the comments I read are inaccurate as they fail to understand that. The same goes for uncle Sam the Americans do not want Putin in their back yard similar to ww2
.I could also say we find ourselves in this situation because NATO failed to understand what Putin’s aim was when he invaded Crimea, Had NATO allowed Ukraine to join the “club” in 2015 we would not be in this situation we find ourselves now, I sometimes think Trump was correct when he said the “club” was passed it’s sell by date or at least those running the thing are.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The West’s industrial base (which fod goodness sake includes the United States) is vastly more productive than Russia’s. Whether we wish to up the ante on supporting Ukraine is another matter.

And there is the small matter that the Russian population really do not want their kids to be ill treated and equipped conscript cannon fodder in this war. There are more if them, but they are vastly less motivated than the Ukrainians.
They might even think perhaps ‘isn’t Russia big enough’?

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Dominic S
Dominic S
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Significant numbers of those eligible for conscription have left Ukraine, and turned up in such places as southwest London (not sure how they can afford it though…)

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago

“With those troops, Ukraine could win its battles and liberate its territory in the same way as most of Europe’s wars of independence — by gruelling, attritional warfare.”
Such a dramatic and romantic thought. Meanwhile in the real world, having a functional industrial base is a necessity for such a thing to even happen. Ukraine does not have one and the West’s is a joke. Right now the United States is rapidly onshoring its industrial and defense capability as much as possible due to rising tensions with China. They will also need to replenish many of those stocks for a possible conflict. Combined with changing public opinion, US aid is going probably going to drop like a rock. European NATO powers are in little position to pick up the slack due to slacking on their industrial capacity and defense spending. Russia on the other hand, has a functional industrial base with good natural resources and a massive population to recruit from. The problem Ukraine is facing right now is more fundamental than grand strategy or localized tactics. They are on the losing side of a mathematical equation.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
11 months ago

Nice to see some pragmatic comments on this war for a change. The West – especially the media – has been mired in outrage inflation as if moral superiority would carry the day but that seems to be the way the West sees everything these days.
Pointing out the reality that Ukraine only has the weapons that we give them while Russia makes their own (or sources their own friends) or the obvious evidence that Russia’s economy has not been decimated will often as not solicit accusations of “defeatist” or “Putin apologist!”.
As the article states, the Western economies have probably suffered more than Russia. Russia now has closer ties to China (the acknowledged bigger threat) which goes against decades-old doctrine. In my view the most sensible appraisal of this conflict has been presented repeatedly by John Mearsheimer. Opinions he offered years ago seem to have been uncannily accurate. He now predicts a drawn-out conflict that will likely end in an uneasy “cold peace” where Russia occupies the Russian portion of Ukraine – almost half – and the other portion will be a dysfunctional failed state of competing factions. Likely a never-ending cycle of negotiated truces and cease-fire violations. Of course his gloomy outlook may be wrong but given the circumstances it makes as much sense as anything because the US can’t be the lead supporter of this war forever and be adequately prepared to deal with a Chinese conflict. Even the US doesn’t have those kind of resources.
Meanwhile the West is now outraged that the Russians have apparently been able to scoop Niger (and it’s uranium resources) away from France although the dust hasn’t settled on that yet.
The West is also outraged that the Taliban are busy doing what the Taliban do in Afghanistan. While we denounce their treatment of women China is working out mining deals to extract resources such as lithium and copper which are critical to the West’s government-imposed EV revolution.
The World Bank has officially announced that Uganda’s anti-Alphabet laws do not align with their values. Meanwhile Uganda is signing trade deals with China.
OK. We get it. You’re outraged. Got anything else?

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

John Mearsheimer ? Really ? That so called realist is a russia shill and all of his predictions are wrong. He now predicts a drawn out conflict ? Ofc he does as does Luttwak because it is in their and Putins interest. Netanyahu’s gov and other players fear russia’s collapse and the execution of Putin
Ukraine is winning the war and advancing, regardless of what spin pro russians put on it. It is a matter of time until russia runs out of modern artillery and air defence systems. Recruiting prisoners and throwing mobik meat and penal units like they’re doing atm isn’t a winning or sustainable tactic

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Why are you so selective in quoting Mearsheimer?
Just watch his interview on this website.
While he disagrees with the USA policy on Ukraine, he admits that both parties see defeat of Russia in Ukraine as critical to USA global interests.
Especially in context of China.

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

John Mearsheimer ? Really ? That so called realist is a russia shill and all of his predictions are wrong. He now predicts a drawn out conflict ? Ofc he does as does Luttwak because it is in their and Putins interest. Netanyahu’s gov and other players fear russia’s collapse and the execution of Putin
Ukraine is winning the war and advancing, regardless of what spin pro russians put on it. It is a matter of time until russia runs out of modern artillery and air defence systems. Recruiting prisoners and throwing mobik meat and penal units like they’re doing atm isn’t a winning or sustainable tactic

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Why are you so selective in quoting Mearsheimer?
Just watch his interview on this website.
While he disagrees with the USA policy on Ukraine, he admits that both parties see defeat of Russia in Ukraine as critical to USA global interests.
Especially in context of China.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
11 months ago

Nice to see some pragmatic comments on this war for a change. The West – especially the media – has been mired in outrage inflation as if moral superiority would carry the day but that seems to be the way the West sees everything these days.
Pointing out the reality that Ukraine only has the weapons that we give them while Russia makes their own (or sources their own friends) or the obvious evidence that Russia’s economy has not been decimated will often as not solicit accusations of “defeatist” or “Putin apologist!”.
As the article states, the Western economies have probably suffered more than Russia. Russia now has closer ties to China (the acknowledged bigger threat) which goes against decades-old doctrine. In my view the most sensible appraisal of this conflict has been presented repeatedly by John Mearsheimer. Opinions he offered years ago seem to have been uncannily accurate. He now predicts a drawn-out conflict that will likely end in an uneasy “cold peace” where Russia occupies the Russian portion of Ukraine – almost half – and the other portion will be a dysfunctional failed state of competing factions. Likely a never-ending cycle of negotiated truces and cease-fire violations. Of course his gloomy outlook may be wrong but given the circumstances it makes as much sense as anything because the US can’t be the lead supporter of this war forever and be adequately prepared to deal with a Chinese conflict. Even the US doesn’t have those kind of resources.
Meanwhile the West is now outraged that the Russians have apparently been able to scoop Niger (and it’s uranium resources) away from France although the dust hasn’t settled on that yet.
The West is also outraged that the Taliban are busy doing what the Taliban do in Afghanistan. While we denounce their treatment of women China is working out mining deals to extract resources such as lithium and copper which are critical to the West’s government-imposed EV revolution.
The World Bank has officially announced that Uganda’s anti-Alphabet laws do not align with their values. Meanwhile Uganda is signing trade deals with China.
OK. We get it. You’re outraged. Got anything else?

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
11 months ago

I agreed right up to the last paragraph. Historically the advantage has swung between defence (e.g, WW1) and offence (e.g.WW2). For the reasons explained by Luttwak, it has now swung back in favour of the defensive. The Ukrainian War is now a stalemate (unless one or other of the combatants implodes for reasons of morale or politics).

Cold War rules apply. Proxy wars between nuclear powers require pragmatism. The best parallel is with the Korean War. A ceasefire or peace – not mass mobilisation as recommended in the last paragraph – is the sensible if disagreeable way forward. The West has demonstrated resolve and discouraged further aggression. Winding down the fighting would reduce pointless slaughter, allow America to focus on China, permit munition stocks to be rebuilt and reduce the risk of escalation. A longer war risks eroding western support. It would have been great if the southern offensive had worked but now it is time to accept current reality and draw the logical conclusions.

The US military appear to have done so some time ago. Behind the public bellicosity, I suspect that Kiev has also worked it out but needs an escalation in the short term in order to create a crisis that means they can claim – to their more extreme supporters in West Ukraine – that they are being forced to make peace. Putin may fear the internal stresses created by continued fighting and be content with his limited gains. I hope the War will end within months.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alex Carnegie
martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Sorry, you misunderstand Putin–and this war. Right now he’s pressing both the gas and the brakes at the same time.
He is preparing for a long war. HIs “gains” are laughable, and he would fall from power if the border were drawn where the front is now.
Putin only stays in power due to the “vision” that most of Urkaine will fall under Russian control. But in order to do that, he would need to fully mobilize, and expand the army many times.
But he cannot do that, if he wants to stay in power.
So he will continue to muddle through.
He certainly won’t make peace.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I accept that Putin’s reaction is the hardest part of the situation to assess. He has repeatedly wrong footed supposedly knowledgeable observers. Maybe it will be like the Korean War when the West came to accept partition as the pragmatic solution after a year’s fighting but it took another two years of military stalemate (and the threat of nuclear weapons by Eisenhower) before there was a deal. Objectively, however, Putin must be tempted to bank his gains and declare victory. His prestige – and therefore security – would be boosted since he would have taken on America and not only survived but gained territory.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Poor ol’ Logan – he believes in his own propaganda and on the righteousness of the Western cause – ‘FREEDOM’ and ‘DEMOCRACY’.

However, the West is not a grouping of democracies – it is a grouping of hypocracies, whose members are now in a moral sewer of their own making, and slowly drowning in their own moral effluent.

P. C. Roberts puts it rather well:
“How much evidence is required before it is clear that Western Civilization is empty of integrity, judgment, reason, morality, empathy, compassion, self-awareness, truth, empty of everything that Western Civilization once respected?
All that is left of the West is insouciance and unrestrained evil.”
~Dr Paul Craig Roberts, former Undersecretary Of Treasury, Reagan Administration

And Oh, by the way, the West hasn’t the industrial capacity to win a war against either Russia or China – never mind the two of them together.
It’s time the West accepts that it’s days as hegemon are well and truly over. It’s time the West cleaned out it’s own augean stables and stopped fomenting hatred and bloodshed across the globe. It’s time the West accepted it’s position as just one pole of power in a multipolar world and ‘live and let live’.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Your poor naive sod

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Since a good part of the Russian army has been inadvertently obliterated by poor old Biden, Russia isn’t going to start another war for at least a decade.
Dreams of World Empire (!!) are simply the delusions of Putin and the bottom half of Russian society.
Russian greatness sailed away in 1991. This war has sealed the deal on that.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

“Unrestrained evil”.What a load of extremist ranting nonsense. The West has many faults, but it didn’t start the war. Russia did. Nor do the Americans want it, despite a load of lazy evidence free opinion mongering by Far Right musers.

In any case, Russia hasn’t invaded ‘the decadent West’ but a neighbouring Slavic country which it thought it would crush in short order.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Your poor naive sod

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Since a good part of the Russian army has been inadvertently obliterated by poor old Biden, Russia isn’t going to start another war for at least a decade.
Dreams of World Empire (!!) are simply the delusions of Putin and the bottom half of Russian society.
Russian greatness sailed away in 1991. This war has sealed the deal on that.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

“Unrestrained evil”.What a load of extremist ranting nonsense. The West has many faults, but it didn’t start the war. Russia did. Nor do the Americans want it, despite a load of lazy evidence free opinion mongering by Far Right musers.

In any case, Russia hasn’t invaded ‘the decadent West’ but a neighbouring Slavic country which it thought it would crush in short order.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Then he declares victory. He has all the media at his disposal to broadcast this message and I’m not sure there will be too many dissenters, not least because only a small proportion of either the ruling oligarchy or even more so the people actually want to be in this war.

Apart from anything else it’s a long term route to becoming little more than a Chinese puppet state.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I accept that Putin’s reaction is the hardest part of the situation to assess. He has repeatedly wrong footed supposedly knowledgeable observers. Maybe it will be like the Korean War when the West came to accept partition as the pragmatic solution after a year’s fighting but it took another two years of military stalemate (and the threat of nuclear weapons by Eisenhower) before there was a deal. Objectively, however, Putin must be tempted to bank his gains and declare victory. His prestige – and therefore security – would be boosted since he would have taken on America and not only survived but gained territory.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Poor ol’ Logan – he believes in his own propaganda and on the righteousness of the Western cause – ‘FREEDOM’ and ‘DEMOCRACY’.

However, the West is not a grouping of democracies – it is a grouping of hypocracies, whose members are now in a moral sewer of their own making, and slowly drowning in their own moral effluent.

P. C. Roberts puts it rather well:
“How much evidence is required before it is clear that Western Civilization is empty of integrity, judgment, reason, morality, empathy, compassion, self-awareness, truth, empty of everything that Western Civilization once respected?
All that is left of the West is insouciance and unrestrained evil.”
~Dr Paul Craig Roberts, former Undersecretary Of Treasury, Reagan Administration

And Oh, by the way, the West hasn’t the industrial capacity to win a war against either Russia or China – never mind the two of them together.
It’s time the West accepts that it’s days as hegemon are well and truly over. It’s time the West cleaned out it’s own augean stables and stopped fomenting hatred and bloodshed across the globe. It’s time the West accepted it’s position as just one pole of power in a multipolar world and ‘live and let live’.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Then he declares victory. He has all the media at his disposal to broadcast this message and I’m not sure there will be too many dissenters, not least because only a small proportion of either the ruling oligarchy or even more so the people actually want to be in this war.

Apart from anything else it’s a long term route to becoming little more than a Chinese puppet state.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Excellent measured comments – thanks!

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Sorry, you misunderstand Putin–and this war. Right now he’s pressing both the gas and the brakes at the same time.
He is preparing for a long war. HIs “gains” are laughable, and he would fall from power if the border were drawn where the front is now.
Putin only stays in power due to the “vision” that most of Urkaine will fall under Russian control. But in order to do that, he would need to fully mobilize, and expand the army many times.
But he cannot do that, if he wants to stay in power.
So he will continue to muddle through.
He certainly won’t make peace.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Excellent measured comments – thanks!

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
11 months ago

I agreed right up to the last paragraph. Historically the advantage has swung between defence (e.g, WW1) and offence (e.g.WW2). For the reasons explained by Luttwak, it has now swung back in favour of the defensive. The Ukrainian War is now a stalemate (unless one or other of the combatants implodes for reasons of morale or politics).

Cold War rules apply. Proxy wars between nuclear powers require pragmatism. The best parallel is with the Korean War. A ceasefire or peace – not mass mobilisation as recommended in the last paragraph – is the sensible if disagreeable way forward. The West has demonstrated resolve and discouraged further aggression. Winding down the fighting would reduce pointless slaughter, allow America to focus on China, permit munition stocks to be rebuilt and reduce the risk of escalation. A longer war risks eroding western support. It would have been great if the southern offensive had worked but now it is time to accept current reality and draw the logical conclusions.

The US military appear to have done so some time ago. Behind the public bellicosity, I suspect that Kiev has also worked it out but needs an escalation in the short term in order to create a crisis that means they can claim – to their more extreme supporters in West Ukraine – that they are being forced to make peace. Putin may fear the internal stresses created by continued fighting and be content with his limited gains. I hope the War will end within months.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago

The fact that the whole article, or most western “news” fails to even touch upon the key cornerstone of Russia’s military strategy in this war, and has been since WW2 – points out how non serious and complacent the West has become. Or how oblivious to the fact that leaving aside the US block members, the rest of the world is fed up of their bullying, aggression and hypocrisy.
The flippant way in which they talk about using up Ukraine’s population or “gruelling, attritional warfare” is chilling.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

No alternative when the Russians are homicidal ethnic cleansers.

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Western news is arguably better than what they show in russia or what RT puts out for the international audience. As to the russian strategy, what russian strategy ? Throwing human meat waves ww2 Georgi Zhukov style ? Russia isn’t 1940’s USSR and doesnt have the demographics to do that. Or are you taking about the good ol strategy of making penal units ? How’s wagner group doing btw ?

Last edited 10 months ago by Tony Testosteroni
martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

No alternative when the Russians are homicidal ethnic cleansers.

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Western news is arguably better than what they show in russia or what RT puts out for the international audience. As to the russian strategy, what russian strategy ? Throwing human meat waves ww2 Georgi Zhukov style ? Russia isn’t 1940’s USSR and doesnt have the demographics to do that. Or are you taking about the good ol strategy of making penal units ? How’s wagner group doing btw ?

Last edited 10 months ago by Tony Testosteroni
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
11 months ago

The fact that the whole article, or most western “news” fails to even touch upon the key cornerstone of Russia’s military strategy in this war, and has been since WW2 – points out how non serious and complacent the West has become. Or how oblivious to the fact that leaving aside the US block members, the rest of the world is fed up of their bullying, aggression and hypocrisy.
The flippant way in which they talk about using up Ukraine’s population or “gruelling, attritional warfare” is chilling.

Steve White
Steve White
11 months ago

So, the conclusion of this essay is that someone needs to send Zelenskyy the message that they need to finally get earnest about all of this, ramp up the press-gangs to round up and send millions of remaining Ukrainian bodies like lemmings onward to victory or death to the East.
This is what happens with too much screen time. Real human lives become abstract concepts to armchair generals.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve White
Steve White
Steve White
11 months ago

So, the conclusion of this essay is that someone needs to send Zelenskyy the message that they need to finally get earnest about all of this, ramp up the press-gangs to round up and send millions of remaining Ukrainian bodies like lemmings onward to victory or death to the East.
This is what happens with too much screen time. Real human lives become abstract concepts to armchair generals.

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve White
JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
11 months ago

I’m not quite sure where Mr. Luttwak pins the reason why Ukraine’s offensive has stalled – is it the transparency of the battlefield? If so, not only does that cut both ways, but intelligence is, I gather, the one area where Ukraine and NATO have an advantage over Russia.
According to doctrine, static defences such as the Russians have installed are vulnerable precisely because they are static, and so easily targeted.
Ukraine’s unmitigated disasters in their attacks over the last two months have little to do with the transparency of the battlefield. It is more that they are an inexperienced, cobbled-together force lacking crucial elements necessary for modern combined-arms operations (battlefield air defence, close air support, operative air support, sufficient counterbattery). Mr. Luttwak’s levĂ©e en masse cannot overcome those deficiencies. Nor can NATO send more stuff – NATO’s cupboards are bare, and even if they send a few more Wunderwaffen, they do not add up to an integrated whole.
At some point, a war is lost. Sending troops to die when there is no longer any military rationale is not acceptable under the laws of war. It is a war crime.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
11 months ago

What happened to their armaments industry? Up to 2014 i5 was the fourth largest in the workd. Not bad for a country with no developed industrial economy, as somebody claims.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
11 months ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

True, but Ukraine’s industry was closely tied into Russia’s industry. After the 2014 coup, Ukraine signed the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which obliged Ukraine to decouple its trade from Russia. The consequence was a collapse of Ukrainian industry (which was to a very large extent based in Eastern Ukraine).

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

“Coup”
The dead giveaway…

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

“Coup”
The dead giveaway…

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
11 months ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

True, but Ukraine’s industry was closely tied into Russia’s industry. After the 2014 coup, Ukraine signed the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which obliged Ukraine to decouple its trade from Russia. The consequence was a collapse of Ukrainian industry (which was to a very large extent based in Eastern Ukraine).

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
11 months ago

What happened to their armaments industry? Up to 2014 i5 was the fourth largest in the workd. Not bad for a country with no developed industrial economy, as somebody claims.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
11 months ago

I’m not quite sure where Mr. Luttwak pins the reason why Ukraine’s offensive has stalled – is it the transparency of the battlefield? If so, not only does that cut both ways, but intelligence is, I gather, the one area where Ukraine and NATO have an advantage over Russia.
According to doctrine, static defences such as the Russians have installed are vulnerable precisely because they are static, and so easily targeted.
Ukraine’s unmitigated disasters in their attacks over the last two months have little to do with the transparency of the battlefield. It is more that they are an inexperienced, cobbled-together force lacking crucial elements necessary for modern combined-arms operations (battlefield air defence, close air support, operative air support, sufficient counterbattery). Mr. Luttwak’s levĂ©e en masse cannot overcome those deficiencies. Nor can NATO send more stuff – NATO’s cupboards are bare, and even if they send a few more Wunderwaffen, they do not add up to an integrated whole.
At some point, a war is lost. Sending troops to die when there is no longer any military rationale is not acceptable under the laws of war. It is a war crime.

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
11 months ago

Excellent article until the end. Why would Ukraine want to sacrifice 3 million to the meat grinder when it has a very limited chance of success? We have devolved to trench warfare with the possibility of a tactical nuclear option. Great. The Media has so much blood on their heads for the rah rah reporting and a lot of Ukrainian and Russian wives, children, and mothers are paying the price. This “war’ has been a goat rope from the start and the ONLY ones benefitting are the weapon manufacturers. You can never underestimate the Russian folk’s capacity for taking one for their country. This is indicative of the totally inept Western political leadership that has been bought by the mega-money boys and girls. It is not going to end well.

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark epperson

>You can never underestimate the Russian folk’s capacity for taking one for their country
You can never underestimate the ruski’s capacity to be cattle and support ethnic cleansing. You’re correct but russia isn’t USSR and throwing mobik meat waves against modern NATO weapons is a losing strategy

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark epperson

>You can never underestimate the Russian folk’s capacity for taking one for their country
You can never underestimate the ruski’s capacity to be cattle and support ethnic cleansing. You’re correct but russia isn’t USSR and throwing mobik meat waves against modern NATO weapons is a losing strategy

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
11 months ago

Excellent article until the end. Why would Ukraine want to sacrifice 3 million to the meat grinder when it has a very limited chance of success? We have devolved to trench warfare with the possibility of a tactical nuclear option. Great. The Media has so much blood on their heads for the rah rah reporting and a lot of Ukrainian and Russian wives, children, and mothers are paying the price. This “war’ has been a goat rope from the start and the ONLY ones benefitting are the weapon manufacturers. You can never underestimate the Russian folk’s capacity for taking one for their country. This is indicative of the totally inept Western political leadership that has been bought by the mega-money boys and girls. It is not going to end well.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
11 months ago

The Ukraine war is an atrocity perpetrated by the USA NeoCons. The war in Ukraine has divided the world and shown the West, led by US NeoCons, to be the liars and trouble makers. I am a retired American serviceman with 22 years military service, plus four years as a contractor in Iraq, and Afghanistan. The USA needs a regime change.

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Did USA neo cons take Crimea in 2014 ? Did US neocons blow up apartment buildings in 1999 in russia ? I like how russia and putin aren’t a part of this equation from your pov

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

Did USA neo cons take Crimea in 2014 ? Did US neocons blow up apartment buildings in 1999 in russia ? I like how russia and putin aren’t a part of this equation from your pov

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
11 months ago

The Ukraine war is an atrocity perpetrated by the USA NeoCons. The war in Ukraine has divided the world and shown the West, led by US NeoCons, to be the liars and trouble makers. I am a retired American serviceman with 22 years military service, plus four years as a contractor in Iraq, and Afghanistan. The USA needs a regime change.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago

Winning a long-term ground war is a function of only a few variables: population, industrial production, and weapon casualty rates.
The first favors Russia enormously. Their population may be aging but is vastly larger than Ukraine.
The second favors Russia. They are capable of producing their own armaments. Ukraine is 100% dependent on Western arms which it can’t even pay for.
The third is generally even. As this article says, the Ukrainians have better weapons, but aren’t particularly skilled at using them and being on the offense, are likely experiencing higher casualty rates despite their technological edge.
Once Ukraine exhausts it’s modern weaponry on moving the front a mile or two eastward and regaining a few flattened villages… Russia will launch its own offensive. Ukraine and NATO need to find a way to make peace and give Putin an offramp (which he clearly wants) before that happens.
To illustrate how little this conflict has changed in the last year, this is a great interactive map: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/36a7f6a6f5a9448496de641cf64bd375
Bottom line: Ukraine can not win short of direct NATO involvement (disastrous and existential for Russia) or a Russian coup (equally disastrous — imagine Russia run by the likes of Prigozhin). Make peace. Find a way. Now.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago

Winning a long-term ground war is a function of only a few variables: population, industrial production, and weapon casualty rates.
The first favors Russia enormously. Their population may be aging but is vastly larger than Ukraine.
The second favors Russia. They are capable of producing their own armaments. Ukraine is 100% dependent on Western arms which it can’t even pay for.
The third is generally even. As this article says, the Ukrainians have better weapons, but aren’t particularly skilled at using them and being on the offense, are likely experiencing higher casualty rates despite their technological edge.
Once Ukraine exhausts it’s modern weaponry on moving the front a mile or two eastward and regaining a few flattened villages… Russia will launch its own offensive. Ukraine and NATO need to find a way to make peace and give Putin an offramp (which he clearly wants) before that happens.
To illustrate how little this conflict has changed in the last year, this is a great interactive map: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/36a7f6a6f5a9448496de641cf64bd375
Bottom line: Ukraine can not win short of direct NATO involvement (disastrous and existential for Russia) or a Russian coup (equally disastrous — imagine Russia run by the likes of Prigozhin). Make peace. Find a way. Now.

Jim McDonnell
Jim McDonnell
11 months ago

Also worth mentioning, we’ve been expecting the Ukrainians to achieve a breakthrough we wouldn’t dare try without a massive aerial bombardment as a preliminary step. The Ukrainians, tragically, lack the means to conduct such an operation.

Bruce V
Bruce V
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim McDonnell

Bingo. I’ve been wondering (in my admitted ignorance) if that might make the cluster munitions, as a poor man’s alternative to aerial bombardment, the key element going forward.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bruce V
Bruce V
Bruce V
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim McDonnell

Bingo. I’ve been wondering (in my admitted ignorance) if that might make the cluster munitions, as a poor man’s alternative to aerial bombardment, the key element going forward.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bruce V
Jim McDonnell
Jim McDonnell
11 months ago

Also worth mentioning, we’ve been expecting the Ukrainians to achieve a breakthrough we wouldn’t dare try without a massive aerial bombardment as a preliminary step. The Ukrainians, tragically, lack the means to conduct such an operation.

Rob C
Rob C
11 months ago

If the U.S. goes ahead with reparations for African-Americans, even a modest $10,000/yr. is $400 billion/yr. On top of $100 billion/yr. for Ukraine, you are talking a figure on the order of the defense budget. The ONLY way to “pay” for this is through inflation. People will start to grumble (but may not do anything about it).

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

Why should USA pay any compensation to African-Americans?
They are free to go back to Africa.
Remember Liberia?
What a success that was and is.
Reality is these low IQ savages won a lottery ticket to be in USA.
Any many billions of others would happily swap places with them.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

Why should USA pay any compensation to African-Americans?
They are free to go back to Africa.
Remember Liberia?
What a success that was and is.
Reality is these low IQ savages won a lottery ticket to be in USA.
Any many billions of others would happily swap places with them.

Rob C
Rob C
11 months ago

If the U.S. goes ahead with reparations for African-Americans, even a modest $10,000/yr. is $400 billion/yr. On top of $100 billion/yr. for Ukraine, you are talking a figure on the order of the defense budget. The ONLY way to “pay” for this is through inflation. People will start to grumble (but may not do anything about it).

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago

Mr Luttwak was last saying that the two sides wanted to talk,listing a couple of indicators of attempts to reach out – on both sides. What happened there?

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

He now understands Putin.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I think he understood him better than a lot of people anyway.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I think he understood him better than a lot of people anyway.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

‘He’ makes it up as he goes along.

Normal journalistic procedure, one might say.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Do you know anything about Russians? You do not deal with Russians, unless you’re very simple-minded. There are only 2 ways to deal with Russians: (i) ignore them; (ii) crush them. Anything else is a liberal delusion

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Gosh, just what people said about Germany during the war. Dont forget to refe4 to Putin’s syphilis, and maybe the funny shaped heads Russian had, a la C Day-Lewis, referring to Prussians.. Let me think. What did AJP Taylor say about international agreements in diplomacy, referring to Russia and Turkey post the Crimean War

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

Er, we DID crush Germany during the war.
Worked like a treat…

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

Er, we DID crush Germany during the war.
Worked like a treat…

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Gosh, just what people said about Germany during the war. Dont forget to refe4 to Putin’s syphilis, and maybe the funny shaped heads Russian had, a la C Day-Lewis, referring to Prussians.. Let me think. What did AJP Taylor say about international agreements in diplomacy, referring to Russia and Turkey post the Crimean War

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

He now understands Putin.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

‘He’ makes it up as he goes along.

Normal journalistic procedure, one might say.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Do you know anything about Russians? You do not deal with Russians, unless you’re very simple-minded. There are only 2 ways to deal with Russians: (i) ignore them; (ii) crush them. Anything else is a liberal delusion

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago

Mr Luttwak was last saying that the two sides wanted to talk,listing a couple of indicators of attempts to reach out – on both sides. What happened there?

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
11 months ago

Cope and delusion from start to finish.

You sound like Times Radio.

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
11 months ago

Cope and delusion from start to finish.

You sound like Times Radio.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

What happens if Euro collapses with regard to support for Ukraine? What happens if China makes move towards Taiwan ?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

What happens if Euro collapses with regard to support for Ukraine? What happens if China makes move towards Taiwan ?

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
11 months ago

When was not stalled?

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
11 months ago

When was not stalled?

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago

Attrition goes both ways. The Ukraine mistake is to go on the offensive at all.
They could have achieved their grand surprise by setting up for an offensive and never doing it.
What a missed opportunity.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago

Attrition goes both ways. The Ukraine mistake is to go on the offensive at all.
They could have achieved their grand surprise by setting up for an offensive and never doing it.
What a missed opportunity.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago

The history of war has ever swung between ‘offensive’ and ‘defensive’ conflicts. WWI was, as the author points out, the last war where defense was paramount, and attrition the only method of breaking the stalemate. From WWII up through Iraq and Afghanistan, blitz assaults that gobble up territory at the speed of mechanized infantry have been the rule. Now it has swung again the defensive, because as the author mentions, the preponderance of satellite surveillance leaves the element of surprise nigh impossible to achieve. This is the first conflict in which both sides have access to satellite intelligence, Russia its own and Ukraine through its NATO backers. This does not bode well for any proposed invasion of Taiwan by China, as the buildup of ships and troops necessary for such an operation would be apparent not just to military intelligence, but to anyone with an internet connection through Google Earth. There is no conceivable scenario where China faces anything but a dug-in Taiwan with weeks if not months of preparation time and a global diplomatic backlash that would precede the actual act.

Jake Dee
Jake Dee
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I have plenty of highly plausible scenarios for a Taiwan conflict that don’t look anything like that. The only scenario that the western media is willing to contemplate is one that looks like D-Day Mk2, with Blue R.O. China playing the role of Northern France and Red P.R China playing the role of Eastern England.
With the same ethnicity, language and a shared culture going back millennia, hundreds of thousands of people born on one side of the straits living and working on the other side and with hundreds of billions invested in each other’s businesses, isn’t a more likely scenario for a Taipei Beijing conflict something more like Maidan 2014 rather than Normandy 1944?
What reason is there to suggest that the Taiwanese born Chinese, who are already treated very well on the mainland won’t also be treated very well after a reunification? The tens of thousands of students from Blue China currently studying in Red Chinese universities and the tens of thousands of businessmen in a similar position are already well placed for top jobs on the mainland. What can America and the West realistically offer that can top that ? We both know in which direction the western arrow is pointing in. There are many who wish an American vs China war but the Chinese are smart people, they won’t blow up Taipei for the sake of Washington.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Jake Dee

The Ukrainians threw out the Russian puppet in 2014, not the other way round. Obviously, if the Taiwanese themselves vote to reunite with China, nobody is going to stop them, but popular election results and public opinion trends have been moving in exactly the opposite direction for several years now. I assume then you mean some kind of covert coups with Chinese sympathizers infiltrating the Taiwanese government or manipulating an election, like the Russians did with Yanukovych in 2014, but again, he got ousted pretty quickly. Operations like that are difficult to pull off and if one side can organize a coups, why couldn’t the Americans or others organize another, which is what Putin thinks happened in Maidan, he stole the election and the west stole it back. Unless you’re saying the current Taiwanese president is a western puppet who the Taiwanese will rise up and overthrow, which I suppose is possible, but again seems to disregard pretty much every bit of evidence we have that the Taiwanese people by and large do NOT want reunification, at least not right now.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Jake Dee

The Ukrainians threw out the Russian puppet in 2014, not the other way round. Obviously, if the Taiwanese themselves vote to reunite with China, nobody is going to stop them, but popular election results and public opinion trends have been moving in exactly the opposite direction for several years now. I assume then you mean some kind of covert coups with Chinese sympathizers infiltrating the Taiwanese government or manipulating an election, like the Russians did with Yanukovych in 2014, but again, he got ousted pretty quickly. Operations like that are difficult to pull off and if one side can organize a coups, why couldn’t the Americans or others organize another, which is what Putin thinks happened in Maidan, he stole the election and the west stole it back. Unless you’re saying the current Taiwanese president is a western puppet who the Taiwanese will rise up and overthrow, which I suppose is possible, but again seems to disregard pretty much every bit of evidence we have that the Taiwanese people by and large do NOT want reunification, at least not right now.

Jake Dee
Jake Dee
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I have plenty of highly plausible scenarios for a Taiwan conflict that don’t look anything like that. The only scenario that the western media is willing to contemplate is one that looks like D-Day Mk2, with Blue R.O. China playing the role of Northern France and Red P.R China playing the role of Eastern England.
With the same ethnicity, language and a shared culture going back millennia, hundreds of thousands of people born on one side of the straits living and working on the other side and with hundreds of billions invested in each other’s businesses, isn’t a more likely scenario for a Taipei Beijing conflict something more like Maidan 2014 rather than Normandy 1944?
What reason is there to suggest that the Taiwanese born Chinese, who are already treated very well on the mainland won’t also be treated very well after a reunification? The tens of thousands of students from Blue China currently studying in Red Chinese universities and the tens of thousands of businessmen in a similar position are already well placed for top jobs on the mainland. What can America and the West realistically offer that can top that ? We both know in which direction the western arrow is pointing in. There are many who wish an American vs China war but the Chinese are smart people, they won’t blow up Taipei for the sake of Washington.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago

The history of war has ever swung between ‘offensive’ and ‘defensive’ conflicts. WWI was, as the author points out, the last war where defense was paramount, and attrition the only method of breaking the stalemate. From WWII up through Iraq and Afghanistan, blitz assaults that gobble up territory at the speed of mechanized infantry have been the rule. Now it has swung again the defensive, because as the author mentions, the preponderance of satellite surveillance leaves the element of surprise nigh impossible to achieve. This is the first conflict in which both sides have access to satellite intelligence, Russia its own and Ukraine through its NATO backers. This does not bode well for any proposed invasion of Taiwan by China, as the buildup of ships and troops necessary for such an operation would be apparent not just to military intelligence, but to anyone with an internet connection through Google Earth. There is no conceivable scenario where China faces anything but a dug-in Taiwan with weeks if not months of preparation time and a global diplomatic backlash that would precede the actual act.

Ira Perman
Ira Perman
11 months ago

As this war goes, so go Joe Biden’s prospects for a second term. Second only perhaps to Putin, Biden is responsible for the way this war is playing out.

Ira Perman
Ira Perman
11 months ago

As this war goes, so go Joe Biden’s prospects for a second term. Second only perhaps to Putin, Biden is responsible for the way this war is playing out.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
11 months ago

Ukraine appears to be stuck in the 1916 – 17 era of warfare, with no easy answers, for either side. The problem, as I see it, is that most of the ‘developments’ that allowed for he dynamism of 1918 have, one by one, been neutered by the commodification of ‘cheap’ throw away man portable (infantry) weapons. Lest some ‘new’ technology, or repurposing of old appears, the chances of a breakout seem slim indeed.(personally my bet, tech wise, is on hovercraft) Ultimately though the British campaign of late 1918 might be instructive (The last 100 days) m good planning and staff work, an army getting to grips with it’s profession, and ‘bite and hold’ tactics, constantly changing focus as the enemy reacts and stiffens in one place, only to find that the assault is now elsewhere. Still costly in lives, certainly. Given their success in WW2, it seems as if ‘maybe’ the wrong lessons have been learn’t, with too much emphasis on the initial success of the German Operation Michael blitzkrieg tactics in the spring of 1918.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
11 months ago

Ukraine appears to be stuck in the 1916 – 17 era of warfare, with no easy answers, for either side. The problem, as I see it, is that most of the ‘developments’ that allowed for he dynamism of 1918 have, one by one, been neutered by the commodification of ‘cheap’ throw away man portable (infantry) weapons. Lest some ‘new’ technology, or repurposing of old appears, the chances of a breakout seem slim indeed.(personally my bet, tech wise, is on hovercraft) Ultimately though the British campaign of late 1918 might be instructive (The last 100 days) m good planning and staff work, an army getting to grips with it’s profession, and ‘bite and hold’ tactics, constantly changing focus as the enemy reacts and stiffens in one place, only to find that the assault is now elsewhere. Still costly in lives, certainly. Given their success in WW2, it seems as if ‘maybe’ the wrong lessons have been learn’t, with too much emphasis on the initial success of the German Operation Michael blitzkrieg tactics in the spring of 1918.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
11 months ago

At the end of WW1 the British Army was 3.8 million strong from a population of around 47 million which fits Luttwak’s figures

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
11 months ago

At the end of WW1 the British Army was 3.8 million strong from a population of around 47 million which fits Luttwak’s figures

Arthur G
Arthur G
11 months ago

Ukraine can’t break through because NATO has slow walked aid. If they had 200 F-16s the Russian attack helos couldn’t operate. If they had 500 Abrams and Leopard-2s they could take the losses to breach the line. The West has given Ukraine enough support not to lose, but not enough to win. I’m not sure if that is intentional, or a product of incompetence.

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I’m guessing it’s intentional. I think Mr. Lutwak’s main point in the current article is Ukraine is now a war of attrition–likely a stalemate–unless the West sends massive supplies of the most advanced equipment, and even then a Ukrainian victory would involve heavy losses.
My guess is the US wants to tie Russia up in Ukraine. A stalemate suits the US fine while it turns its attention to China.

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

The Russians will have no problem shooting down F16s, and if the US give 500 Abrams, they will end up destroyed just like the Leopards and Bradleys

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Probably. The big problem I see is even though the F16 is a great fighter and the Abrams is an excellent tank (if also a massive gas guzzler) is that you need highly trained pilots and crews to get the most out of them as well as established doctrine in employing them. Fancy next gen anything is still useless without someone who knows how to use it effectively.

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The F-16 is a 50 year old Aircraft, its not fancy or next gen, added to that, unlike the Soviet era Jets the Ukraine started the war with, the F-16 needs well maintained runways, Migs of the same vintage can take off and land on improvised runways

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

You misunderstand. I was not claiming the F16 or the Abrams were next gen. I was merely throwing cold water on this idea going around that all we have to do is give the Ukrainian military hardware the US and UK take for granted and things will all the sudden turn around. Usually, the more high tech something is, the more training is required to use it effectively.

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

And ideological motivation.

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

And ideological motivation.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

You misunderstand. I was not claiming the F16 or the Abrams were next gen. I was merely throwing cold water on this idea going around that all we have to do is give the Ukrainian military hardware the US and UK take for granted and things will all the sudden turn around. Usually, the more high tech something is, the more training is required to use it effectively.

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Not a bunch of turnip heads.

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The F-16 is a 50 year old Aircraft, its not fancy or next gen, added to that, unlike the Soviet era Jets the Ukraine started the war with, the F-16 needs well maintained runways, Migs of the same vintage can take off and land on improvised runways

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Not a bunch of turnip heads.

Lexus Hampton
Lexus Hampton
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

you read false information, read the truth, because kremlin propaganda is already in your brains,Slava Ukraini, you will see moskow in fire)

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Probably. The big problem I see is even though the F16 is a great fighter and the Abrams is an excellent tank (if also a massive gas guzzler) is that you need highly trained pilots and crews to get the most out of them as well as established doctrine in employing them. Fancy next gen anything is still useless without someone who knows how to use it effectively.

Lexus Hampton
Lexus Hampton
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

you read false information, read the truth, because kremlin propaganda is already in your brains,Slava Ukraini, you will see moskow in fire)

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

You’d never get the training, logistics and infrastructure in place in time to get anywhere near those numbers. Even just making a start, you’d throw away millions away on something you’d never be able to bring to fruition.

Yes there maybe an element of intentionally holding back a certain amount of equipment. NATO doesn’t want to reveal the performance of more cutting edge weapons systems due to a potential future conflict with China but also the West needs to take into account that inventories might be needed elsewhere at a future date.

Ukraine might be the current hot spot but sadly in an increasingly destabilised world it may not be the last. It would be unwise to devote too many resources to a single conflict.

Sean McGabriel
Sean McGabriel
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Reality check : The USA and the West are not “slow – walking” anything. The hollowed out industrial infrastructure of the USA and the West makes the increasing of military materiel supplies extremely difficult. Russia has retained a large industrial infrastructure. Much popular commentary on this war is distorted by a serious underestimation of Russian capability fuelled by the near deranged, and ubiquitous Russophobic, pro-Ukraine fanboy brigade found on the parallel universe of your chosen section of the interweb.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Sean McGabriel

Of course I’m Russophobic –  they’re a bunch of cnuts. Have you ever dealt with Russians in business? Worst shower of sour-faced, deceitful gangsters on the planet

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Steady on Frank, you’re giving Ulster a bad name!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Steady on Frank, you’re giving Ulster a bad name!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Sean McGabriel

Of course I’m Russophobic –  they’re a bunch of cnuts. Have you ever dealt with Russians in business? Worst shower of sour-faced, deceitful gangsters on the planet

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Hard to figure out why you’ve been down-voted, given how measured and accurate your comment is. Oh wait …

David FĂŒlöp
David FĂŒlöp
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

NATO does not really have that many jets or tanks to give away and even if they did training and logistics would be an enormous challenge.
The biggest issue is that NATO countries simply do not have the manufacturing capabilities to supply those numbers on a short notice. There are no production lines to ramp up. The UK, for example does not have the capability to produce tanks, armoured vehicles or even small arms on a large scale by itself.

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

It’s intentional. I don’t understand it but it’s a profitable situation all round and it’s not golden goose killing time yet. And by the way,we (Europeans) are all buying Russian oil,that’s why the lights are still on. There are people who know how to do these things

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I’m guessing it’s intentional. I think Mr. Lutwak’s main point in the current article is Ukraine is now a war of attrition–likely a stalemate–unless the West sends massive supplies of the most advanced equipment, and even then a Ukrainian victory would involve heavy losses.
My guess is the US wants to tie Russia up in Ukraine. A stalemate suits the US fine while it turns its attention to China.

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

The Russians will have no problem shooting down F16s, and if the US give 500 Abrams, they will end up destroyed just like the Leopards and Bradleys

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

You’d never get the training, logistics and infrastructure in place in time to get anywhere near those numbers. Even just making a start, you’d throw away millions away on something you’d never be able to bring to fruition.

Yes there maybe an element of intentionally holding back a certain amount of equipment. NATO doesn’t want to reveal the performance of more cutting edge weapons systems due to a potential future conflict with China but also the West needs to take into account that inventories might be needed elsewhere at a future date.

Ukraine might be the current hot spot but sadly in an increasingly destabilised world it may not be the last. It would be unwise to devote too many resources to a single conflict.

Sean McGabriel
Sean McGabriel
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Reality check : The USA and the West are not “slow – walking” anything. The hollowed out industrial infrastructure of the USA and the West makes the increasing of military materiel supplies extremely difficult. Russia has retained a large industrial infrastructure. Much popular commentary on this war is distorted by a serious underestimation of Russian capability fuelled by the near deranged, and ubiquitous Russophobic, pro-Ukraine fanboy brigade found on the parallel universe of your chosen section of the interweb.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Hard to figure out why you’ve been down-voted, given how measured and accurate your comment is. Oh wait …

David FĂŒlöp
David FĂŒlöp
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

NATO does not really have that many jets or tanks to give away and even if they did training and logistics would be an enormous challenge.
The biggest issue is that NATO countries simply do not have the manufacturing capabilities to supply those numbers on a short notice. There are no production lines to ramp up. The UK, for example does not have the capability to produce tanks, armoured vehicles or even small arms on a large scale by itself.

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

It’s intentional. I don’t understand it but it’s a profitable situation all round and it’s not golden goose killing time yet. And by the way,we (Europeans) are all buying Russian oil,that’s why the lights are still on. There are people who know how to do these things

Arthur G
Arthur G
11 months ago

Ukraine can’t break through because NATO has slow walked aid. If they had 200 F-16s the Russian attack helos couldn’t operate. If they had 500 Abrams and Leopard-2s they could take the losses to breach the line. The West has given Ukraine enough support not to lose, but not enough to win. I’m not sure if that is intentional, or a product of incompetence.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Does seem chances of a messy 38th parallel equivalent have recently increased. Neither China/N Korea or the US/UN could claim to have won that conflict 70 yrs ago although both sides developed narratives to suggest otherwise. So history may yet repeat itself. A ceasefire in Ukraine may also still require NATO guarantees and one would be surprised if somewhere discretely and deniably such a settlement isn’t being tested. Both sides will need an off-ramp.
Ukraine hasn’t blasted through the lines of developed defences in large part because they don’t have the means to do this with airpower to carpet bomb Russian trenches to smithereens followed behind by the sort of demolition support vehicles US Tank brigades have ready for just such scenario. It may already be too late to provide this support.
The chance of a moral collapse in Russian forces still exists but not sufficiently triggered yet.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

Does seem chances of a messy 38th parallel equivalent have recently increased. Neither China/N Korea or the US/UN could claim to have won that conflict 70 yrs ago although both sides developed narratives to suggest otherwise. So history may yet repeat itself. A ceasefire in Ukraine may also still require NATO guarantees and one would be surprised if somewhere discretely and deniably such a settlement isn’t being tested. Both sides will need an off-ramp.
Ukraine hasn’t blasted through the lines of developed defences in large part because they don’t have the means to do this with airpower to carpet bomb Russian trenches to smithereens followed behind by the sort of demolition support vehicles US Tank brigades have ready for just such scenario. It may already be too late to provide this support.
The chance of a moral collapse in Russian forces still exists but not sufficiently triggered yet.

Yan Chernyak
Yan Chernyak
10 months ago

Small, but important side note: you cannot meaningfully compare GDP of mobilized war economy to that of peace economy (due to massively oversized state expenditure in quickly disposed things). To understand the state of Russia’s economy you need to look deeper, and it’s definitely not pretty (not going kaboom anytime soon, but very convulsing with very serious problems in coming months). Read serious economists’ analysis, if you’re really interested (https://re-russia.net/en/ would be a good starting point)

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Sorry.
Delusional.
No Ukrainian will now ever voluntarily submit to Moscow. Any more than they would let in a homicidal maniac to their home, however cold and starving they were.
Russia might get a ceasefire in 2024 or 2025.
But that’s the most Ukraine will ever accept.
Anything else is suicide–both for the nation and for every individual.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Sorry.
Delusional.
No Ukrainian will now ever voluntarily submit to Moscow. Any more than they would let in a homicidal maniac to their home, however cold and starving they were.
Russia might get a ceasefire in 2024 or 2025.
But that’s the most Ukraine will ever accept.
Anything else is suicide–both for the nation and for every individual.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Looks like another one of Moscow’s fabled “steamroller offensives.”
Didn’t work in Kyiv or Khrakiv at the beginning.
Didn’t work in Lysychansk (Kramatorks still Urkainain)
Didn’t work over teh winter–just wasted troops.
Now an offensive on…Kupyansk (?) is supposed to gain Russian victory??
Russians may swallow that.
But nobody else.

Bernard Davis
Bernard Davis
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I think you are losing it pal. Your spelling is chaotic and your logic worse. I know you had such hopes for the counter-offensive, and it must be shattering for you to see it being drowned in blood. My commiserations, but it ‘s seldom a good idea to take sides in someone else’s war.

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Bernard Davis

Did Colonel McGregor tell you that or is it Donbass Devushka that you’re regurgitating ?

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  Bernard Davis

Did Colonel McGregor tell you that or is it Donbass Devushka that you’re regurgitating ?

Bernard Davis
Bernard Davis
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I think you are losing it pal. Your spelling is chaotic and your logic worse. I know you had such hopes for the counter-offensive, and it must be shattering for you to see it being drowned in blood. My commiserations, but it ‘s seldom a good idea to take sides in someone else’s war.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

Looks like another one of Moscow’s fabled “steamroller offensives.”
Didn’t work in Kyiv or Khrakiv at the beginning.
Didn’t work in Lysychansk (Kramatorks still Urkainain)
Didn’t work over teh winter–just wasted troops.
Now an offensive on…Kupyansk (?) is supposed to gain Russian victory??
Russians may swallow that.
But nobody else.

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago

A fair assessment of the current situation. This forgets however, Ukraine’s main advantage: Putin.
To win, Russia would have needed to fully mobilize both its economy and its army over a year ago. Instead, most of his regular army units have been decimated, and–even more than the Ukrainian army–the new formations are underequipped and lacking in both training and morale.
More importantly, Putin has failed to create a sense of national purpose WRT the war. This isn’t about defending Russia itself. Indeed, he cannot afford to give any coherent vision of victory–because if he did, Russia might well fall short. It would then threaten his regime.
So he will continue to believe that Russia’s victory is “just around the corner.”
And not one of his advisers dare tell him any different.

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Delusional

The Russians are winning

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

No – neither side is winning. The Russians are hiding behind minefields, unable to move. How you view that as “winning” is comical-Ali territory

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Goal no 1 for the Russians is to destroy the Ukrainian army, and they are. Over the last 2 months the Ukrainians suffered over 40K KIA and lost a large number of tanks and Bradley’s ect

Once the Ukrainian army is broken the Russians will take what they want

The Russians are winning

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Should have said “40 million.”
Fact is, Russia has had at least 50,000 KIAs, and most came from their foolish offensives in Kyiv, Kharkiv and during the winter.
And now they are attacking Kupyansk, using the same failed tactics…

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

But in the last 2 months the Ukraine has lost over 40K, they may have lost the same in Bakhmut, so that a minimum of 80K dead, there are now up to 50K Ukrainians who have lost one or more limbs to artillery, its a total disaster for the Ukraine, the sooner its end the better. if this was a boxing match the referee would have stopped it by now

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

At Kursk, the USSR suffered more losses than Germany but they advanced and the latter retreated. So we may have the situation as to which side can endure greater losses. If we look at European wars, Pre 20 th century, The Napoleonic lasted twenty two years the Thirty Years, thirty years. Could we be for some something similar ?

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

40K lol keep consuming russian propaganda

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

At Kursk, the USSR suffered more losses than Germany but they advanced and the latter retreated. So we may have the situation as to which side can endure greater losses. If we look at European wars, Pre 20 th century, The Napoleonic lasted twenty two years the Thirty Years, thirty years. Could we be for some something similar ?

Tony Testosteroni
Tony Testosteroni
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

40K lol keep consuming russian propaganda

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

But in the last 2 months the Ukraine has lost over 40K, they may have lost the same in Bakhmut, so that a minimum of 80K dead, there are now up to 50K Ukrainians who have lost one or more limbs to artillery, its a total disaster for the Ukraine, the sooner its end the better. if this was a boxing match the referee would have stopped it by now

martin logan
martin logan
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Should have said “40 million.”
Fact is, Russia has had at least 50,000 KIAs, and most came from their foolish offensives in Kyiv, Kharkiv and during the winter.
And now they are attacking Kupyansk, using the same failed tactics…

D Walsh
D Walsh
11 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Goal no 1 for the Russians is to destroy the Ukrainian army, and they are. Over the last 2 months the Ukrainians suffered over 40K KIA and lost a large number of tanks and Bradley’s ect

Once the Ukrainian army is broken the Russians will take what they want

The Russians are winning

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
11 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

No – neither side is winning. The Russians are hiding behind minefields, unable to move. How you view that as “winning” is comical-Ali territory

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
11 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

I think you’re living in cloud-cuckoo land. Maybe listen a bit to Col. MacGregor on the subject. Right now the Ukrainians are certainly not winning and they are losing big in their so-called counter-offensive with many many casualties. This war is a war of the US’ making that could have been entirely avoided had the US kept out of Ukraine’s business (e.g. by instigating the 2014 coup). Plus, Logan, there is absolutely no evidence that Russia wants to invade any other European countries. And as for Ukraine, it was historically part of Imperial Russia for a very very long time, never mind the birthplace of Russian culture and civilization. It is time to stop looking at Russia through the lens of the Soviet Union and Communism. That’s long dead. Russia is just another strong European power and culturally is clearly part of the West (e.g. music, ballet, literature, science, etc. etc.)

Rob C