On the technical side of the matter, if Russia does invade with vehicles and armor, this sounds like a prime war situation for American sensor-fuzed munitions like CBU-97 (a pity its production was a very limited run.)
If the Russkies just resort to using infantry only, though, it’s trickier, but then also much easier for Ukraine to fend against.
Newton thought that angels existed and were small enough to fit on a pinhead; Mozart was a musical genius who drank himself to death; Pyrrhus was a tactical genius who won every battle he ever fought in and (famously) lost the war; Confucius thought that humanity should be nicely compacted into different class groups, like Hogwarts; Genghis couldn’t be bothered to introduce reading and writing to his people, nor establish a system of government that could continue through the generations; and so on.
Being smart doesn’t mean that you’re immune from dumb.
This whole site is full of smart people. If you ask them, I would guarantee that each one would admit that they’ve done something disastrously stupid at some point in their life - if they’re old enough. And that’s just the things that they’ve realized that they did.
Respectfully, this is a misunderstanding of Russian culture.
Putin has, despite everything, made Russia important again, even if it’s for the wrong reasons.
And his projection of himself as a strong man style leader works very well with Russian history and culture.
I suspect that this mobilization is really just a test, to see how far we are willing to go to back Ukraine, and to see how quickly Ukraine can mobilize what isn’t already active in the East.
The Ukrainian army have done a lot of learning, building, and adapting in the last few years. They are certainly no slouches at this point. Still outgunned, as long as Papa Putin is willing to send Russian men and equipment to get blown up, but the fighting will be much harder this time around if they light the fuse.
Make no mistake, the whole point for Russia, long term, is to keep Ukraine out of NATO, put a bit of an edge on their woefully dulled weapons of war, and create a satellite puppet in Eastern Ukraine they can eventually absorb, when and if they feel like it.
But it seems silly - one might say “dumb” - for people who have no particular expertise or history of accomplishment in a field to assert that someone else who is remarkably accomplished in that very field is being “dumb” and playing the wrong game.
And? Likewise, a kid gets attention by misbehaving. But so does the wunderkind that everyone else longs to be. Ultimately, the wunderkind usually ends up with a good or decent future and the rebel just ends up in jail and unhappy. If the aim is attention, you’d rather be the Japan of the 80s than the North Korea of the last 50 years.
Putin has a family. He’s going to have grandchildren and great grandchildren who have to live in the country that he created; he’s going to be in the history books as a hero or an a-hole with a series of pyrrhic victories, wasting most of what he built on attention craving.
How do you figure? I thought you lost at Monopoly by losing everything — as opposed to losing at chess by typically still having some pieces, and sometimes winning at chess by acquiring, say, more knights and queens than you started with…
The financial gains Putin has gotten, mostly under the table, are rumored to make him a billionaire many times over.
The odds are very good that no matter what happens in Russia proper, the Putin family will be fine, unless things get so bad they go the way of the Romanovs. I don’t see that happening, but if Putin dies unexpectedly with no clear heir, I expect things to go very grim in Russia for a while as the power brokers and oligarchs wage a quiet war amongst themselves for control.
Putin, tbh, is essentially running Russia as it has usually, historically, been run: an Autocratic leadership, with a sole leader calling all the shots, and a fine honed nationalism to keep the people happy or at least content.
So, looks like Russia has all the pieces in place now, and they could pull the trigger on this thing as early as January 2022. They have their supply lines in order, troops are in their staging or drop-off positions…really, at this point, it’s all up to Putin. They have around 175K troops ready to go. The real question is, will he pull the trigger on this thing? Myself, I really have no idea. I thought this was just another mind game from Putin et al, but if so they are really pushing this to the extreme.
I guess another question is…what can/will Ukraine do if Russia pulls the trigger? I’m not sure of their current military capabilities. Oh, I can look at what they have on paper, but that doesn’t really tell you the state of their training, their own logistics, what condition their equipment is in from a readiness perspective, etc. We know Russia just came off of a pretty intensive working-up period, and I assume Ukraine was at least trying to do the same, but I haven’t followed this closely enough to really know. Anyone else who has been following this more closely know what the current state of the Ukraine military is?
Ukraine has a population of 43Million, somewhat similar in size to Iraq at 41Million.
The US reaped a world of pain from the Iraq adventure at huge cost to the US taxpayer.
An invasion of Ukraine would drain Putins cookie jar very quickly, combined with the long term sanctions Russia would face.
It would be a big risk…for how much gain? It is not as if Ukraine has Oil wells. It would introduce a huge drain on the Russian economy that would make him deeply unpopular.
The US probably has a long list of Russian financial assets all around the world that are controlled by those in power in Russia. That kind of soft power can be quite effective. Russia does not want to become the new Iran.
However, I am sure military men around the world will be quite keen so see how those very expensive missiles deal with those very expensive tanks.
Putin did not take over all of Ukraine when he annexed Crimea. Nor did he take over all of Georgia. These adventures were intended to destablise a country leaning towards the West. He will be looking for concessions regarding the missile threat from Ukraine. He is also worried about the Turkish drone sales to Ukraine.
Engineering a crisis and then having top level summit talks to reduce the threat to Russia is probably the name of the game. Arguing over pipelines, missiles and drones may be a lot more productive politically than an unpopular and expensive military adventure.
Yeah, that was my thought, at least for most of this little adventure, though…I’ve kind of had to walk that back, in my own mind, a bit anyway. If this is a bluff…and I still am leaning that way…it’s a major bluff with the Russian military basically all in. It’s a very expensive bluff as well…staging up 175k troops, tanks, artillery, and all of the logistics to support all of that for a few weeks is a major strain on their resources. For a bluff? Maybe. But it will basically mean their military is going to take quite a while to redeploy and they will relatively combat ineffective until they do that.
Kozmo.com and similar companies tried to do a centralized delivery service and proved that it was NOT economical. For years, in the Internet world, it was common wisdom that companies like that simply couldn’t succeed.
Amazon Fresh, Postmates, etc. launched and proved that common knowledge to be wrong. The specifics matter.
History is pretty consistent in saying that conquest can and does work (sometimes) and likewise that it doesn’t work (sometimes). The British held Ireland for hundreds of years and yet never properly created a system where the two became a single group. France had swapped around from being Gaulic to Roman to Germanic to British to French and, largely, just gone along with it at each stage (to my knowledge).
For this case, my expectation would be that he solidifies his hold of the ethnically Russian regions and ignores the rest. I don’t think he will try to go for the whole country. Assuming the locals are largely happy about that, it leaves the Ukrainians looking at a stronger force and asking themselves if they’re going to be able to take it back and - if they do - whether the locals would accept them again.
The deployment part of it is substantially irrelevant. There is nobody on Russia’s border who are immediately prepared to invade them, so they can move around assets pretty much risk free. Finland or Belarus are not going to take advantage. Ukraine is easily Russia’s most troublesome border at the moment.
The financial part is not irrelevant. But considering Ukraine is a long-standing issue at this point some combination of military posturing, training exercise for the troops and maybe a partial permanent re-deployment of assets for potential future conflict might all be part of the thought process.
After Russia occupied Crimea in 2014, there was speculation that Russia would also try to occupy southeastern Ukraine to ensure overland access to Crimea. (It’s possible that the later Donbas offensive was a step in this direction.)
Russia has since built a bridge in the Black Sea to Crimea (the longest in Europe). But for Moscow this may not be enough. Crimea’s energy links and (as @by-tor mentioned) water access are still insecure. (Good article on that here.)
I’m guessing there will be a (new) Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, and I think creating a corridor to Crimea would be the main goal. If that’s correct, the conflict might well be confined to Ukraine’s southeast.
Possibly. The trouble is, miscalculation can lead to catastrophe. As Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm discovered (and I can’t help thinking there are some parallels between both of them and Putin - touchiness, authoritarianism, desperation for “a place in the sun”…)