Published November 18, 2023
This week’s “No Shit Analysis” award goes to Eugene B. Rumer for his Wall Street Journal op-ed, It’s Time to End Magical Thinking About Russia’s Defeat. Only took him 22 months to figure this out. He may be a slow learner but give him some credit, he finally awakened from his dream world and is beginning to grasp that the Ukraine project is swirling down the toilet.
Eugene B. Rumer is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Washington DC. Previously, he served at the State Department, on the staff of the National Security Council and at RAND.
Despite his pedigree, he is struggling to acknowledge reality and still feels the need to spin nonsense. Here is an example:
Putin has reason to believe that time is on his side. At the front line, there are no indications that Russia is losing what has become a war of attrition. The Russian economy has been buffeted, but it is not in tatters. Putin’s hold on power was, paradoxically, strengthened following Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed rebellion in June. Popular support for the war remains solid, and elite backing for Putin has not fractured.
Yep. Russia’s economy is so battered that it is headed toward 4% growth, its defense industry is out-producing Europe and the United States combined, it is manufacturing new, more deadly drones and the stores across Russia are filled to the brim. If that is “battered” give me some.
Poor Rumer just cannot admit that Russia is winning, which is why he opts for the awkward phrase, “no indications that Russia is losing.” Nope. Just the opposite. Plenty of indications Russia is winning. Moscow’s air defense system has thwarted Ukraine’s multiple, feckless attempts to inflict serious damage on Russian military assets and the Russian Army is in the process of carving up Ukrainian defenders trying to hang on to Avdeeka.
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RELATED: If the West Cuts Aid to Ukraine, Russia Will Win. If the West Leans in, Ukraine can win.
Published November 16, 2023
The positional war in Ukraine is not a stable stalemate. It is not the result of fundamental realities in modern warfare that can only be changed with a technological or tactical revolution, as was the First World War’s stalemate. Neither does it rest on a permanent parity in military capacity between Russia and Ukraine that will continue indefinitely regardless of Western support to Kyiv. It results, on the contrary, from self-imposed limitations on the technologies the West has been willing to provide Ukraine and constraints on the Russian defense industrial base largely stemming from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unwillingness so far to commit Russia fully to this war. The current balance is thus, in fact, highly unstable, and could readily be tipped in either direction by decisions made in the West.
Ukrainian Commander in Chief General Valery Zaluzhnyi recently articulated the main factors that have brought positional war to the conflict and made mechanized maneuver difficult or impossible. The recent Russian offensive operations around Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast, among others, have shown that the Russians are suffering equally from these problems. Zaluzhnyi’s assessment tracks with what many other observers of the war have also seen. The most salient of these factors include:
- The pervasiveness of reconnaissance drones makes large-scale surprise impossible, and the effective creation by both sides of reconnaissance-strike complexes that merge reconnaissance and strike drones with artillery and other long-range systems makes visible concentrations of vehicles prohibitively dangerous;
- Russian electronic warfare, particularly jamming of GPS signals and drone communications, on an unprecedented scale severely hinders Ukraine’s ability to make full use of Western-provided precision munitions that rely on GPS and undermines the effectiveness of Ukraine’s own drone systems;
- Russian defensive works prepared over the course of many months and supported by extremely deep and dense minefields preclude rapid mechanized maneuver;
- Limited Ukrainian air defenses and Ukraine’s lack of a modern air force allows Russian manned aircraft to operate in close support of front line units and to target Ukrainian tactical reserves and logistics nodes;
- Limited Ukrainian long-range strike capabilities preclude the effective operational-level interdiction necessary to isolate the battlefield from Russian operational and strategic reserves; and
- Inadequate numbers of tanks and armored vehicles, coupled with uncertainty about the future availability of replacements, require Ukraine to husband its mechanized forces rather than accepting the losses inherent in concentrated assaults in the current state of the battlefield.
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RELATED: Russia suffers ‘significant losses’, Orban says Ukraine ‘can’t win’, Belarus calls for peace talks
Published October 27, 2023
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has insisted Ukraine cannot defeat Russia, and that the EU should therefore prepare a plan B for dealing with the conflict.
In an interview with Hungarian state radio, the nationalist leader said the EU’s strategy towards the Ukraine war had “failed”.
“Today everyone knows, but does not dare to say it out loud, that this strategy has failed. Obviously, this won’t work. The Ukrainians will not win on the battlefield,” he said, declaring that there is no reason to spend Hungarian taxpayers’ money on helping Ukraine.
Aid from the West is widely seen as crucial to Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against the Russian invasion, though some politicians in Europe and the US are growing weary of providing more support.
Hungary’s Oxford-educated leader is considered an ally of Putin. He has blocked the release of EU funds to Ukraine since Kyiv put the Hungarian OTP Bank on its list of international sponsors of war.
Earlier today, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda said Orban needed to stop “flirting” with Russia, pointing to his meeting with Putin in mid-October.
“It’s really more than strange to see that we start to flirt with the regime which is committing […] very cruel atrocities in the territory of Ukraine,” he said in Brussels.
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