a small thought on the politics of the Ukraine war

Gary MacLennan

There is no right to conquest as I posted earlier and that determines my approach. Though to be frank I also interpret revolutionary defeatism as meaning that I do not want NATO to win.

To get some balance I follow a range of pro-Russian sources, Alexander Mercouris, the Duran, Andrei Martyanov, Scott Ritter, Colonel McGregor and a few others. Some of them are so far to the right that they'd make Attila the Hun sound like a Bolshevik.

Yet they constitute something of a corrective to the universal "Ukraine is winning" line while still retreating. But the price of the balance is very high. Martyanov is a particular plague. He is a vicious anti-social liberal. Today he quoted with approval the Putin line that the war was against the evils of transgenderism and paedophilia.

So Bakhmut and other cities are reduced to rubble, thousands are killed and maimed; millions displaced - all so those damn trannies can be kept away from our children.

I should not be surprised, I suppose, that the intellectual grandchildren and great grandchildren of Ioseb Jughashvili should turn out to be such ass holes

comradely regards



On Sat, Mar 18, 2023 at 07:51 PM, Gary MacLennan wrote:
I follow a range of pro-Russian sources,... Scott Ritter,...
Apart from political view, Scott Ritter is an unreliable source of information. For example, he insisted the Chinese balloon that entered U.S. airspace was a weather balloon, mocking the very thought that this balloon with a rudder and propeller and powerful solar array could be a surveillance ("spy") balloon. Also, he has flip-flopped without explanation on his assessment of who has the upper military hand in Ukraine.

Basically, Ritter is a Youtube self-promoter. He also picks up exposure (and money?) serving as a pliant commentator for the LaRouchite organization (still going, headed by Lyndon's widow Helga Zepp-LaRouche) and China's state tabloid Global Times.

David Walters

Charlie, I wanted to respond to this "Ukraine is winning" thing you threw out there. I almost never see this anymore except by U.S. ex-army types who say it only in the long term that Ukraine *will* win. That's about it. Almost *all* commentary these days, including the recent Washington Post piece, casts doubt on the whole thing about Ukraine "winning". Yes, in October and later Ukraine had some stunning victories even if the Kherson one was basically a repositioning of Russian troops to the left bank of the Dnieper river. No one is "winning". Every offensive and counter offensive is stopped cold as of now. Almost all commentators in the West have noted this. The static fighting is recognized by military bloggers on both sides (by that I mean actual Ukrainian and Russian commentators). It is truly a meat grinder.



On Sat, Mar 18, 2023 at 08:17 PM, David Walters wrote:
this "Ukraine is winning" thing you threw out there
Nope. David, I do not know a thing about the current military situation in Ukraine. My point was that during the year of war, Ritter has flip-flopped suddenly without significant new information and without self-criticism. For example,
And Ritter always presents his current assessment in a sensationalistic tone.

Duane Filan

- "No one is "winning". Every. offensive and counteroffensive is stopped cold as of now"
"Napoleon's army trudged slowly across Russia's vast open spaces. He hoped to annihilate his enemy quickly but the Russians would not give battle. At  last with summer ending the Russians turned and faced their enemy at the crossroads village of Borodino.

The battle began at 6:30 in the morning and lasted until 3 in the afternoon. At that point both armies were exhausted. The Russians fought the Emperor's army to a standstill. The next day they withdrew leaving  Napoleon to proclaim victory"


Nobody can know who is winning...yet. However, if and when Ukraine launches its expected counteroffensive, then we will all have a better idea. Russia's spring counteroffensive so far has been a resounding failure for all of the Russian forces. The regular military was chewed up in its attacks on Vuhledar, and the Wagner Group has nearly destroyed itself trying to take Bakhmut. The number and intensity of Russian attacks is declining, and they have already deployed the 300,000 men drafted at the end of last year. That draft and deployment has not paid off yet and is unlikely to. Materially, Russia is much worse off than it was at the beginning of its invasion. 

However, Ukraine has also suffered serious losses although we do not have very reliable figures on their casualties.

While I nobody can predict where and when the Ukrainian's are going to attack, and even less predict the outcome, there are some factors that are important. First of all, Ukraine could isolate Crimea from Russian supplies by successfully cutting through from the Zaporizhzhia region to Melitopol and on to the Sea of Azov. This would be a disaster for the entire Russian war effort, and despite their demonstrated stupidity on the battlefield so far, the Russians are clearly aware of the danger and have been busy fortifying the area.  An offensive further north either around the contested city of Bakhmut or farther north is a possibility but has less to offer in terms of potential strategic gains for Ukraine. 

The weather is clearly a factor. So far, the Russians have really failed to include it in their calculations which was one of the main reasons their armored columns stayed on the roads in the first disaster at the beginning of the invasion. Russia will not be able to recover from those losses and now relies on previously mothballed vehicles. Recent Russian losses of armor around Vuhledar show how well they have learned that lesson. So far, the Ukrainians have been careful about General Mud and are likely to hold off any offensive action until the average temperatures reach about 20 degrees Celsius (when the mud should dry up). According to long range forecasts this will not happen until sometime in May. 

Waiting until May has one big advantage, and one big disadvantage. The advantage is that it gives Ukraine more time to receive weaponry from the west, and to train its soldiers to use that weaponry. The disadvantage is that it gives the Russians more time to build up their defenses.

Western aid to Ukraine remains a great unknown. This is probably due partly to deliberate obfuscation, but it is also due to at least two other reasons: real political opposition to arming Ukraine by politicians in the west who do not want Ukraine to win for one reason or another, and the fact that western armories are not full to the brim with everything Ukraine wants and needs. How much weaponry will Ukraine receive in the next month or two? How much of it will Ukraine be able to use in its offensive? These questions cannot be easily answered, but there answers will be very important to the outcome of the Ukrainian offensive.

Last, but not least by any means, is the factor of morale. Reports have begun to pop up in the Washington Post and elsewhere about morale problems among Ukrainian soldiers. (Whether they should be taken at face value is an open question.) Nevertheless, those reports are dwarfed by the many, many reports of Russian morale problems up to and including mutinies and gunfights between Russian units. Ho will the Ukrainian forces stand up to an offensive against a well fortified enemy? How will the entrenched Russians stand up to constant artillery shelling and to tank onslaughts, attacks by drones, and even possibly strafing and bombing by aircraft? 

Much will depend on this factor which we cannot know for sure from this distance in time and space.



Anthony,  this is a great analysis.  Could you tell us what sources we should be reading to follow events in such depth? Thanks. 

David Walters

I generally agree with Anthony and he wrote in another form essentially what I had written earlier above in the thread where he wrote:

Waiting until May has one big advantage, and one big disadvantage. The advantage is that it gives Ukraine more time to receive weaponry from the west, and to train its soldiers to use that weaponry. The disadvantage is that it gives the Russians more time to build up their defenses.

So this is the time frame we are talking about, basically the next month or two for this long awaited offensive. Like the Ukrainian offensive in October that drove the Russians out of Kharkiv oblast, this one will not be announced but we will know about it as soon as it happens, if it happens.

There are morale problems among Ukrainian troops. How can there not be? The logistical problems suffered on the AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine) are of a different kind than that suffered by their Russian opponents. For the AFU, it is the lack of weapons/ammunition, especially artillery and HIMAR rockets that has hindered their strength, for the Russians it is because of distance and the AFU that keeps blowing up their stuff with precision and accurate rocket artillery. And corruptions which appears to be similar in nature to the corruption and "corruption culture" inflicted onto the Russian military. Some of the pro-Ukrainian military bloggers acknowledge this.

I used to think that the 300,000 new Russian conscripts wasn't as big an issue as some made it out to be. I no longer believe that. Despite the cannon fodder many of them (30,000?) have been subject to in the Balkmut area, they have clearly strengthened every other sector of the front lines and allowed the Russian to deepen and build up their heavy equipment constructed reinforced trenches. Mixing veterans with conscripts is exactly how an army should deal with this influx. Such conscripts quickly become veterans which is how wars like this were in fact fought in the past. Every day that passes adds strength to the Russia forces and weakens, in effect, much of the AFU.

None of this discounts the incompetent nature of Russia's use of not-quite-human-wave assaults on AFU lines. The willingness of the Russian General Staff to sacrifice, literally, 10s of thousands of Wagner and other PCM and Russian soldiers hearkens back to WWI and to some extend, WWII. it is quite scary and it is even more so...sad to see the waste Putin is throwing away in order to achieve his goal of a new Russian empire.

As of now, it can only be "Western weapons" that give Ukraine the offensive ability to counter act the Russia occupation of their territory. Or at least that "edge" that is needed. I still doubt as I've written in the past that the F-16s and western main battle tanks will be that significant. I think they will basically simply be targets. But that is another debate. Artillery shells primiarily, artillery itself, HIMARs, older NLOS rocket artillery (unguided but massive) and Infantry fighting vehicles will be the key weapons needed by the AFU, IMHO.



Anthony Boynton

Watch Denys Davidov on YouTube and Read the ISW updates on Ukraine as starting points. 

On Tue, Mar 21, 2023 at 5:56 AM <stevencolatrella@...> wrote:
Anthony,  this is a great analysis.  Could you tell us what sources we should be reading to follow events in such depth? Thanks. 

David Walters

Davidov, who I don't watch as much anymore as he really projects too much wishful thinking onto his sometimes informative videos (he DOES call out Ukrainian military/gov't corruption issues which is a good thing) is absolutely correct about the depleted uranium shells. He misses the issue with DU ammunition however, which is about ingestion not the radio-toxicity (via alpha radiation for those wannabe health physicists out there) issues. Nevertheless generally it appears leftists who support Ukraine are downplaying the issue of DU ammunition. They were not doing this 20 years ago during the Iraq war where radiophobia was all the rage. The operative word in DU is "depleted" that is, it has less radiation than ore it was extracted from to manufacture the ammo. The danger of this ammunition to human health is 99.999% based on it killing you when it hits you, not to the chemical toxicity from the DU (the actual "uranium" part is 100% U238, not the not the more fissionable U235) it leaves behind.

The U.S. and NATO countries replaced their DU ammo with tungsten as the heavy material. Like DU, tungsten can be chemically (not radioactively) toxic. Much of older DU ammo was unloaded to developing countries and those that really, really wanted it, like Israel.