Global Research, May 17, 2022
As you may know, some organizations, including SouthFront are talking about UAF “successes” in the Karkhov region as the RF pulls back and re-positions to strengthen itself in the Izyum area.
SouthFront has generally taken the position that the Russians are fighting with one hand tied behind their collective back, and need to devote more resources to the Ukraine — and just get it over with.
Theirs is a more conventional military view than mine, although I admire their commitment to honest reporting, which they do very well.
Still, they tend to focus on Russian losses, since they think them unnecessary. SF has been accused of being pro-Russian and is banned in lots of places such as Facebook, but they report on military matters globally and they try to be objective as possible — in the end with much less bias than the Western media or Western intelligence services.
SF has a good video about Kharkov that illustrates this.
My interpretation of this video is that SouthFront sees successful UAF “counteroffensives” in the Kharkov region directed towards the Russian border, which the Banderites have also shelled. In other words, the so-called “war” is not over for the Ukraine.
War on? War off? There are lots of different points of view. It’s kinda like discussion about whether a TV series will be cancelled or not.
Gonzalo Lira says the Ukraine is finished and cites Lloyd Austin’s call to Shoigu asking for a ceasefire, a tactic that the West used in Syria to gain time to arm up jihadist forces, when they were losing. The jihadists still lost. And the Russians know better than to trust the Americans.
Scott Ritter seems to partially agree with Lira. But he still sees the West as keeping the conflict going. He is also a Marine. He sees this conflict as the kind of war he was taught to fight, the kind of war Americans fight — and not as Putin does—as a conflict, which is only partly military.
Ritter appears to think that Russia needs to just declare a hot war on the Ukraine, now effectively a rump state, and just steam roll Kiev and take Galicia. That would require another 100,000 men, leaving the RF with 80% reserves.
Given Putin’s very legalistic approach to conflict and his efforts to bolster the established framework of international law that the US continually flouts, not to mention his emphasis on a moral victory, Russia would need a real cassus belli for “war” according to the Ritter’s and the Western definition, which means “total war” — the shock & awe stuff for which the US is famous for.
Putin, by contrast, knows that WWIII started a long time ago, and is in essence economic since “total war” would mean the end of all mankind, defeat for everyone. He’s been planning for a long time.
As far as the conflict in Ukraine, I agree with both Gonzalo and Ritter. I do not think the main elements of their arguments are really opposed.
Despite the Ukraine having the third largest army in Europe at the start of the conflict, it lost air supremacy and mobility in the first week, which finished it as a fighting force as effectively as Japan’s loss of its carrier fleet in 1944.
The Japanese, of course, kept on fighting and the Americans suffered losses, but their goals and the results were never in doubt. Now, it is the Ukrainians fighting a lost war and the Russians taking some but not devastating losses. Again, goals and results are not in doubt.
Despite what SF implies, there are no “successful” UAF counteroffensives — if you understand “offensive” to imply a strategic operation, as opposed to local tactical operations such as taking a village here or there, or a bridge — attacks using a tiny fraction of available forces.
A good example is that recent Russian push across the Seversky Donetsk River, which the Russians tried first with a small force, which was opposed by an unexpectedly and much larger Ukrainian force. Let us keep in mind that river crossings are risky — giving an advantage to defenders and attackers normally need an advantage in numbers. Outnumbered they may still prevail but they will take some losses.
The UK Ministry of defense published “intelligence” claiming the Russians failed to cross the river and suffered heavy losses. The UK seems to be relying on UAF reports including photographic evidence, half of which show destroyed or abandoned vehicles, labelled “Russian” but which are actually Ukrainian. They are Russian-designed but no longer used by the RF — only by the Ukrainians. The giveaway is the small turret.
OK. UK intelligence is a LOT less reliable than SouthFront which tries to report facts, rather than spread propaganda.
What we do know from river crossing incident is that Russian troops were initially outnumbered by at least 2:1, perhaps 3:1. But crossed anyway.
While the RF probably needed to secure the river crossing for future operations, they have otherwise redeployed in the Kharkov Oblast, giving up positions in villages where there is no strategic advantage, the UAF attacks, knowing there is minimal resistance. This strategy allows more effective use of RF forces, while sparing civilian lives.
Still, despite reclaiming villages, the UAF is losing. Although claiming to be winning, as the Japanese did until the Emperor surrendered.
Unfortunately, that means ever more attempts at false flags. For example, the SBU blew up a fertilizer storage facility near the village of Dolgenkoye in the Kharkiv region, hoping to poison the local population and blame the Russian army.
There were warnings about the possibility of this kind of atrocity published earlier, which undermines its propaganda value if it happens — so the attack merely confirmed Russian intelligence and Ukrainian duplicity.
Proof of Ukrainian atrocities, which have been available for a long time, is suddenly appearing in the Western press imparts credibility to the Russian version of events.
Russian progress is slow but it establishes realities on the ground that are hard to deny.
The Russians are actually seen as the “Good Guys”, handing out humanitarian aid, treating POWs with respect and overall pretty honest.
The Banderites are monsters. killing and raping, and getting caught in lies and huge exaggerations.
Whatever the facts, the Public is tired of the old story and wants something new, even if that means role reversal where the Good Guys turn out to be the Bad Guys.
The UAF was initially a very capable foe. And it is still armed and dangerous — perhaps more so — if you have lost — you have nothing to lose. The worst atrocities often come from desperation.
SouthFront sees the UAF as heading towards the Russian border in Kharkov, and shelling Russian villages.
But, as the Banderites roll East, their supply lines extend and become increasingly exposed, along with the possibility of encirclement and destruction should the Russians decide to attack with a few BTGS from the East, and simultaneously from Izyum once that area is secure. Are the Russians setting up another “cauldron”?
In addition, the strikes on civilian targets in Russia, is a casus belli. The Russians have already threatened precision missile strikes against “decision-making centers” which presumably means government offices in Kiev.
Of course, Zelensky says he has not attacked Russian villages.
The Russians just need a wee bit more provocation, more ammunition from the Banderite crazies, as it were. They are cautious. For them, it’s strategy — goals, roles, and poles — the poles indicating course and boundaries.
However, the Ukrainians, like the Japanese at the end of WWII, have no viable strategy — they are just tactically reactive.
They do not think ahead — maybe because they have had no “ahead” — no future —not since the few weeks of the “operation” . But since they cannot see the road ahead, there are no boundaries.
The Russians, by contrast, have strategy and they can take their time, aware that their economic counteroffensive against the Empire is paying off. Russia is doing fine??; the West is heading for recession.
Biden started a war to cover up the cumulative effects of failed neoliberal economic policies, while doubling down on those policies. but polls indicate that Americans are slowly but surely tired of banging the drums for a war that sucks money out of the national budget. Oh sure, they all wave the flag, but their arms are getting tired — and they want beer and pizza — -only they can’t afford it.
Even the NYT is coming around, with an op-ed admitting — more or less — that Russia holds all the cards — and it is time to negotiate. They say the fear nuclear war. But what they fear is economic collapse: Putin’s decision to insist on payment in rubles for all exports is an economic atomic bomb. The US faces a huge recession — which will ultimately affect semi-autarkic economies like Russia and China much less.
As Bill Clinton’s former campaign once put it, “It’s the economy, stupid”. He should have said, “It’s always the economy, stupid”.
Since people see Empty now when they open their wallets or turn on the engine of their cars, the Democrats could very well lose Congress in the Fall, especially if the Supreme Court delays sending abortion rights back to the States, or the Republicans are equivocal on the issue.
After that, the aging, witless Lameduck, the US calls President, will be a sitting duck for just about anyone, even the Donald.
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Julian Macfarlane is a Canadian media analyst / writer. 40 years in Japan. Worked for every major Japanese company including Toyota as media advisor in the Middle East and also most government ministries including the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office. More than 200 articles on political events and propaganda. Other of “Ageing Young: You’re Never Too Old To Rock ‘n Roll”, a seminal study of evolutionary psychology. https://julianmacfarlane.substack.com/
Featured image: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 6, 2021. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha]
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Copyright © Julian Macfarlane, Global Research, 2022