Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 18, 2022

Ukraine - The West's Response As It Meets With Reality

This morning I watched an hour long discussion (vid) by 'experts' at the Center for Strategic & International Studies about assessing Russia's war in Ukraine. I have to say that these folks know nothing that is relevant. They seem to have never heard of Sun Tsu's dictum 'Know your enemy':

Sun Tzu says, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy,” but how do you become your enemy? You need to put yourself in the place of your enemy so you can predict his actions.

Not once did the CSIS people consider the view of Russia or its real intent. They talk about this or that U.S. option but do not even once consider how the other side would react to it.

One of the CSIS 'experts' says that Russia had planned to take Kiev but failed. Take Kiev with what? There were some 20-30.000 Russian soldiers near Kiev which has some 3 million inhabitants. Historically one needs one soldier for every 40 civilians to occupy a city or country after the fighting is mostly over. Russia would have needed more than two and a half times the number of troops it had around Kiev to take and hold the city.

Several of the CSIS 'experts' have previously held high government positions in the security state. With folks like them it is no wonder to see how badly the U.S. plan to drag Russia into a long war in Ukraine is playing out.

As Daniel Larson correctly writes: We should’ve known sanctions on Russia wouldn’t work as intended

The other side of the game is much more conscious of the real situation and it does consider and correctly predicts U.S. reactions.

On Thursday the Foreign Minister of the Russian federation Sergey Lavrov gave three interviews to different news outlets.

The first one with TASS was quite short.
 Transcript: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with TASS news agency, St Petersburg, June 16, 2022

The second one with BBC shows an acerbic Lavrov who several times reminds the interviewer that many cruel things had happened in Ukraine before the "Special Military Operation" started on February 24, that negotiations had failed and that Ukrainian duties under the Minsk agreements were not carried out. The interviewer tries again and again to neglect that historical context and to put the blame for the war on Russia. Lavrov calls that a form of 'chancel culture'.
 BBC: Video with English subtitles
 Transcript: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the BBC TV channel, St Petersburg, June 16, 2022

Question: But the situation changed four months ago …

Sergey Lavrov: The situation has not changed. We are going back to what the Minsk agreements were coordinated for: protecting Russians in Donbass, who have been betrayed by the French and Germans. The British also played a leading role. All our Western colleagues kept saying they were unable to make Kiev honour the Minsk agreements.
...
Question: In the eyes of the West, Russia is responsible for these people. Do you think the death sentence …

Sergey Lavrov: I am not interested in the “eyes of the West” at all. I am only interested in international law, according to which mercenaries are not combatants. So nothing in your eyes matters.

The last Lavrov interview is with a Russian TV station. It is the longest but also the best. It explains Russia's position quite well and is easy to understand.
 Transcript: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the NTV network, St Petersburg, June 16, 2022

A day after Lavrov's interviews president Vladimir Putin held a speech at the 25th St.Petersburg economic forum. The transcript is here:
 Full text of Vladimir Putin’s speech at SPIEF June 17, 2022

The speech is long but the second part is about domestic economic measures in Russia and not of much interest. I recommend to read the fist part in full but here are a few bits:

A direct result of the European politicians’ actions and events this year will be the further growth of inequality in these countries, which will, in turn, split their societies still more, and the point at issue is not only the well-being but also the value orientation of various groups in these societies.

Indeed, these differences are being suppressed and swept under the rug. Frankly, the democratic procedures and elections in Europe and the forces that come to power look like a front, because almost identical political parties come and go, while deep down things remain the same. The real interests of people and national businesses are being pushed further and further to the periphery.

Such a disconnect from reality and the demands of society will inevitably lead to a surge in populism and extremist and radical movements, major socioeconomic changes, degradation and a change of elites in the short term. As you can see, traditional parties lose all the time. New entities are coming to the surface, but they have little chance for survival if they are not much different from the existing ones.
...
Incidentally, the Americans have adopted sanctions on our fertilisers, and the Europeans followed suit. Later, the Americans lifted them because they saw what this could lead to. But the Europeans have not backed off. Their bureaucracy is as slow as a flour mill in the 18th century. In other words, everyone knows that they have done a stupid thing, but they find it difficult to retrace their steps for bureaucratic reasons.
...
The very structure of Western sanctions rested on the false premise that economically Russia is not sovereign and is critically vulnerable. They got so carried away spreading the myth of Russia’s backwardness and its weak positions in the global economy and trade that apparently, they started believing it themselves.

While planning their economic blitzkrieg, they did not notice, simply ignored the real facts of how much our country had changed in the past few years.

Exactly.

---

National Defense Magazine had an interview with the logistic commander of the Ukrainian land forces which includes some revealing details.

BREAKING: Ukraine to U.S. Defense Industry: We Need Long-Range, Precision Weapons (UPDATED)

First, you have to understand that the frontline is 2,500 kilometers long. The frontline where there is active combat in more than 1,000 kilometers long. That’s like from Kyiv to Berlin.
...
Think about this: one brigade occupies around 40 kilometers of the fence line. That means that to cover the active combat conflict we need 40 brigades. Every brigade is 100 infantry fighting vehicles, 30 tanks, 54 artillery systems — just for one brigade, and we have 40 of them.

I'm not going to talk about the anti-tank guided missiles or anti-tank guided weapons for now. I’m just talking about heavy weapons. As of today,we have approximately 30 to 40, sometimes up to 50 percent of losses of equipment as a result of active combat. So, we have lost approximately 50 percent. … Approximately 1,300 infantry fighting vehicles have been lost, 400 tanks, 700 artillery systems.

I believe that those loss numbers are too low. The daily Russian clobber list counts more than double of those numbers as destroyed. While that list is very likely off (as any such lists inevitably are) I doubt that it is off by that much.

Colonel Markus Reisner of the military academy of Austria provides a presentation (vid) about the 'heavy metal' the Ukraine has lost and for which some replacement is now coming from the 'west'.

According to him Ukraine started the war with 2416 tanks and other armored vehicles, 1509 field artillery and mortars, 535 MRLS and so on. (Ukraine like had additional depots with more rusty weapons in various states of (dis)repair.) It has additionally receive 250 tanks and other armored vehicles, and some 200 field artillery pieces and 50 MLRS.

It had in total 21 active brigades with 14 more in reserve plus various support units. That is less than the 40 the Ukrainian commander says are needed to cover the frontline and no reserves. The newly delivered stuff could provide for one or two more brigades. But with a 50% loss rate at least half of all that is likely already gone.

The Ukraine is not building reserves that could launch a counterattack but seems to send anything that comes from the 'west' directly to the frontline. It is in total far too little to replace the daily losses and certainly not enough to create forces for counterattacks.

The Ukrainian logistic commander also mentions that the U.S. delivered howitzer are very vulnerable:

Unfortunately, we don't have an opportunity today to have foreign supplied equipment sent back to a restoration facility simply because of time constraints. That is why we are discussing spare parts here so that we can maintain and repair that equipment right in the field.

For example, the M777 artillery systems are really prone to being damaged by enemy artillery. For every battery of M777, there are six pieces.

After every artillery contact, we have to take two artillery pieces and take them back to the rear to maintain them because some of the subsystems are damaged by shrapnel. This happens every day.

I bet that Soviet era equipment is much less prone to break under fire.

---

Last but not least let me point you to a fine essay by Aurelian about the future of the 'west' as the new reality sets in.

The Hinges of History Creak.
The future will develop not necessarily to the West’s advantage

However, western nations continue to act as though they were economically and militarily superior, and to try to coerce nations on which they are economically dependent, as well as fighting a proxy war against a nation which has more combat capability in Europe than they have.
...
In this sense, Ukraine is a test to destruction of both NATO and the EU, and the wider, western-dominated multilateral system they are both part of. NATO, in particular, has just been confronted by exactly the kind of situation that its founders expected—the exercise of Russian military power—and it did effectively nothing. No amount of hand-waving, no amount of sanctions or arms deliveries, can change that fact, which in turn changes everything. NATO and the EU can prolong the war, cause more suffering, and destroy many economies, including their own. But they can’t fundamentally affect the result, and the nature of their responses, beneath the surface posturing, demonstrates that they know this.
...
There is another new normal now: a Europe in which Russia is the largest military power, and where the West as a whole is dependent on Russia, China and India for its economic prosperity. This is not new, of course, but it’s a shame that nobody noticed it before.

And the reason for that is that the 'west' in its arrogance has for far too long listened to fake 'experts' like those at the CSIS.

Posted by b on June 18, 2022 at 17:26 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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The war is becoming a tragic version of Arthur vs the Black Knight in Search For The Holy Grail.
The more Ukrainian men die and the more towns lost, the bigger the boasts. Now, they talk of seizing Crimea and overthrowing Russia. It would be hilarious if hundreds weren't dying.

Posted by: Eighthman | Jun 18 2022 17:32 utc | 1

Boris wants Ukraine to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year. Respect! What a game changer.

Posted by: Merkin Scot | Jun 18 2022 17:33 utc | 2

The US financial economy is involved in a daily churning of vast amounts of dollars created solely by the banks as credit to billionaires and their businesses. It's a big part of GDP. The government then taxes this turnover of fake money and spends it on weapons that produce absolutely nothing of value. But the system does float the service/consumer economy. But now the system is inflating exponentially even as the Federal Reserve tightens the credit that feeds it. Guess what happens next.

Posted by: Richard | Jun 18 2022 17:41 utc | 3

"Know your enemy" is Clift's Note. Among other pragmatic observations applied to terrain, morale, and manpower, Sun sez in the very first chapter, "Laying Plans", Pt.6

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away;when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

Posted by: sln2002 | Jun 18 2022 17:44 utc | 4

thanks b... hubris is a dangerous thing.... maybe the ukrainians would settle for some ''heavy metal'' music instead?? that can be more easily gotten...

Posted by: james | Jun 18 2022 17:50 utc | 5

Ukraine is not a tragedy. It passed through that stage long ago. Ukraine is a comedy. It has a clown President and a vaudeville show in Kiev/Lviv. It's theme is Nazism. It's leitmotif is Russophobia.

Each city, the major ones, has junior mafiosi running the shows, entrenched in corruption, selling off weapons as soon as they arrive, grain shipped away while millions don't get a loaf from the harvest, and teroborona armed with guns turning every citizen into a target of internal enforcement of their loyalty.

It's all packaged and produced by buffoons like Johnson of UK and Blinken-Biden-Austin of USA.

Tell me it's not a comedy.

Blood, rape and mayhem, war crimes and inhumanity are ignored by the West, except in feeble attempts to cast blame for those evils on Russia.

It's travesty gone psycho. The bitter fruit of the degeneracy of the West, the end of a civilization.

Russia is just the cleaner doing a dirty job that humanity needs done.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 18 2022 17:53 utc | 6

BBC Lavrov/Rosenberg interview Link.

Youtube: the uploader has chosen not to make this video available in your country.

Uploader = BBC, my city/country = London, UK.

That's censorship in the Empire of Lies

Posted by: Kaiama | Jun 18 2022 17:56 utc | 7

Agree with b: the CSIS conference was of a « cafe of commerce » (French expression, meaning, very low level), as if it was a street survey,
Very embarrassing to realize that those are sort of « the cream of cream » within DC circles.
But quite consistent with how we French see US people, armed cow boys playing poker ( and lying constantly) without any understanding or interest of other countries inhabitants and cultures

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 18 2022 17:59 utc | 8

The Third World is not poor.
The Third World is rich in resources.
The People of the Third World are poor at the point of a gun, and those guns are provided, either directly or through loan guarantees, by the American taxpayer.

American fascists insist on making the entire world's workforce poor at the point of a gun so that New York and Washington DC can be the wealthy cities on a hill. Nebraska, Ukraine, Angola, Sri Lanka, all must be poor so that the few can be satiated 'til they're sick with power.

Posted by: Linda Wood | Jun 18 2022 18:00 utc | 9

A Ukrainian heavy weight boxer says that there will be no peace talks at all until all territories lost in battle are returned to him first!

Talk of punch drunk. Guy must have suffered a lot of concussions in his battles - sad but true.

Meanwhile an old geezer who doesn’t know who, where or what he is talking about falls off his bicycle because he has forgotten how to stop. When did he take so many punches to his head? Or is that a side effect of sniffing too many little girl’s’ hair?

At least we know for a fact what shelenski has been sniffing lots of for him to be a total twat.
The Collective Waste is better than watching the Roman Circuses with Christians being fed to lions.
Nazis being fed to gladiators is certainly better.

Posted by: DunGroanin | Jun 18 2022 18:01 utc | 10

I notice that the BBC News Youtube channel is blocking the Lavrov interview in the UK - "The uploader has not made the video available in your country".

Bizarre.

Posted by: Frank | Jun 18 2022 18:02 utc | 11

I disagree to some extent with B's analysis of US intelligence -
Clearly the US is well familiar with the concept of "become your enemy" - it's only that the mis-understood the objective. To be fair.

Posted by: jared | Jun 18 2022 18:05 utc | 12

Oksana Boyko has a nice interview with Victor Gao (head of China's Center for Globalization) on the latest Worlds Apart

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 18 2022 18:08 utc | 13

b. Lavrov calls that a form of 'chancel culture'.

he said "Your question makes it sound like you want to cancel everything, cancel culture"

Posted by: annie | Jun 18 2022 18:08 utc | 14

how we French see US people, armed cow boys playing poker ( and lying constantly) without any understanding or interest of other countries inhabitants and cultures

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 18 2022 17:59 utc | 8

You don't say!?

Just you french?? 😂

Whomever doesn't, simply hasn't been able to shake off americanist weaponized ignorance.

Posted by: Arganthonios | Jun 18 2022 18:09 utc | 15

Superb info. Thank you MoA. Allow me to offer up a video which sheds light on the dark shadows behind this war. That is, Ukraine as a unique platform for opaque corruption, a venue for lawless enterprise. A place where anything is permissible in the realm of financial theft, biological experimentation and social manipulation. In short the quintessential mafia state--very useful to certain powers in the West. Be patient with the blather of the first 10 minutes. https://www.bitchute.com/embed/IFamRBMa534X/

Posted by: Rodrogo | Jun 18 2022 18:10 utc | 16

"The information war for Ukraine" - Satirical German program "Die Anstalt" (Eng Subs)

I am sure this has been posted before but I think it's good for a light hearted moment in these dark times.

Posted by: eyeswideopen | Jun 18 2022 18:17 utc | 17

@Red Ryder, #6:

Agreed 100% with your assessment. It's travesty gone psycho in the West indeed!

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jun 18 2022 18:19 utc | 18

Gonzalo talks about a Lithuanian provocation of Russia He is convinced it is going to lead to nukes.

The story is confirmed here: Lithuania to block rail cargo to Kaliningrad

Posted by: Kauai John | Jun 18 2022 18:21 utc | 19

Kaiama | Jun 18 2022 17:56 utc | 7

All you are missing is the perverse ignorance of someone talking at Lavrov; it's not an interview.

Posted by: donten | Jun 18 2022 18:22 utc | 20

B> I bet that Soviet era equipment is much less prone to break under fire.

It is not about "Soviet era", it is about goals of making M777.

As far as i understood, M777 was made to be ultra-light, so that it could be transporteed by/to air-borne rangers. Which necessarily made it much less rugged, than "common" field army howtzer would had been.

As for "Soviet era", would anyone be surprized, that BMD-1 was less armed and armored than BMP1, and they both lacked comparing to T-64? Same about M777 - it just was not designed for combined arms operations. Of course it performance is mediocre in Ukraine - it use using wrong tool for wrong goal.

Posted by: Arioch | Jun 18 2022 18:28 utc | 21

Every form of attack causes some collateral damage. It inspires an offsetting form of defense. It also inspires counter-attack to do some of the same back at them, now the method has been demonstrated. Usually we see some of both.

US economic attacks were presented as all going one way, seen only for their effect on a target and not collateral damage.

No thought was given to others who would suffer, or how to mitigate that, as in providing more fuel or food from somewhere else for those who would lose out.

Arrogant assumptions ignored potential defensive moves, which have proven to be somewhat effective. Likely they work better for not having been foreseen.

Economic attack comes back at us too. Today Lithuania cuts off rail connections to Russian exclave. Soon enough, road and rail travel for Lithuania will disappear, leaving it a NATO exclave on the far side of the Baltic. Of course.

The blindness is lazy, it is arrogant, and most of all it is ignorant.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Jun 18 2022 18:37 utc | 22

Kauai John @#@!.

I seem to remember fairly recently Lithunia jumped to the U.S.’s demands and upset China.
That didn’t work out well for them at all, if I remember correctly, it resulted in a massive container ship hub being cancelled resulting in a loss of around 8% of Lithuania’s GDP.
This won’t have gone unoticed in Moscow, I’d wager it has probably been discussed at certain inter governmental levels between China and Russia.
All in good time Russia will give Lituania a real reason for it’s Russophobia and like the rest of the ‘ Cosmic Cretins ‘ of European politics, it will be Lithania who shoots itself in the foot at the behest of the U.S.A.

Posted by: Beibdnn. | Jun 18 2022 18:42 utc | 23

Aaron Maté
@aaronjmate
WaPost casually acknowledges that we are ruled by sociopaths. Biden admin "is willing to countenance even a global recession and mounting hunger" to deny Russia a victory in Ukraine. Will anyone ask those who will endure this countenanced recession and hunger what they think?

Tweet

Posted by: Down South | Jun 18 2022 18:42 utc | 24

Aaron Maté
@aaronjmate
WaPost casually acknowledges that we are ruled by sociopaths. Biden admin "is willing to countenance even a global recession and mounting hunger" to deny Russia a victory in Ukraine. Will anyone ask those who will endure this countenanced recession and hunger what they think?

Tweet

Posted by: Down South | Jun 18 2022 18:42 utc | 25

Rail/Underground Strikes and Cost of Living Demonstrations across UK now and planned for the weeks ahead.

Here Comes The Summer!

The best laid plans of the political mice have gone awry.

Posted by: WTFUD | Jun 18 2022 18:47 utc | 26

Clearly the US is well familiar with the concept of "become your enemy"
Posted by: jared | Jun 18 2022 18:05 utc | 12

IF so, why is Team MoA so easily persuaded by MSM press corpse that US, EU appropriators and strategists project their institutional knowledge, mania, and prejudices into the minds of their enemy?

Posted by: sln2002 | Jun 18 2022 18:51 utc | 27

At the beginning of the interview Oksana asks Victor what possible outcomes of the SMO he foresees. His response (paraphrased) "First possibility is the absence of human life on earth, second, Ukraine is one of the most prosperous countries on earth." If anyone is interested in what China is thinking I recommend a listen.

Link posted above @the pessimist | Jun 18 2022 18:08 utc | 13

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 18 2022 18:52 utc | 28

"There were some 20-30.000 Russian soldiers near Kiev which has some 3 million inhabitants. Historically one needs one soldier for every 40 civilians to occupy a city or country after the fighting is mostly over. Russia would have needed more than two and a half times the number of troops it had around Kiev to take and hold the city."

From a Washington Post opinion piece I found:

When Germany surrendered in May 1945, the U.S. Army had more than 1.6 million men within the borders of the defeated Nazi state. Overnight they became occupation troops: Their orders were to spread out over every square mile of German territory and demonstrate without a doubt that they were in charge. U.S. troops secured every road junction, bridge, border post, government building, factory, bank, warehouse; anything of the slightest conceivable importance had a guard of GIs around it, and so did a good many things of little or no importance, too. Army plans called for an occupation force of some 400,000 in the American zone for the first 18 months -- or one U.S. soldier for every 40 Germans.

Interesting numbers. That means Russia could take Kiev with the forces it now has on the field - just as I've been saying. Russia currently has at least 100-120,000 (according to Lavrov - some put the current figure at 300,000, which I doubt) troops, plus the 20-30,000 of the DPR/LDR plus 15,000 Chechens - or somewhere between 135,000 and 150,000. Once the Donbass reduction is done, Ukraine is likely to have at most 100,000 troops scattered across Ukraine or concentrated around Kiev or in echelons between Kiev and eastern Ukraine. Once all the troops between the Russians and Kiev are destroyed - an inevitability - how many will be left in Kiev to defend the city? One thing appears obvious - not enough.

In May, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said the city's population was back to two-thirds of its pre-war level. That would put the current population at 2 million, not 3 million. According to b's figures, the city could be held with 50,000 Russian troops. So Russia has at least 3 times the forces it would need to hold Kiev.

Kiev (and possibly Lviv) are really the only two centers that need to be "held" long enough to effect a change of government. Most of Ukraine's larger cities are in the pro-Russian east. Towns and hamlets across the center of Ukraine will be no threat to the Russian military. There are 457 cities, of which 176 are designated as oblast-class, 279 smaller cities, 886 urban-type settlements and 28,552 villages.

Kiev itself supports a skewed population. Females make up over 53% of the city’s total population, while males make up over 46% of the population. And that's before an unknown number of males either left to avoid conscription or were conscripted and sent to the front to die. The majority of the population – over 82% -- are Ukrainian. There is also a large number of Russians, at over 13% of the total population.

As for the rest of Ukraine, aside from some strategic points which have not been enumerated by anyone that I'm aware of, Russia has no need to put any troops there, other than perhaps the ports, once the Ukrainian army has been eliminated from most of the country. Some small units could be tasked with supporting the SVR/FSB forces which will follow the Russian army to insure pacification of the areas where Ukraine military and government have been replaced by local administrations chosen from pro-Russian or neutral factions of the population.

Once the Ukrainian army is destroyed, Russia will have no problems seizing and holding Kiev and the rest of Ukraine with the forces it has now, possibly increased by another 100,000 if necessary.

Scott Ritter absurdly claims it would take several hundred thousand to half a million troops to take Kiev, forcing Russia to "mobilize". Dmitry Peskov has explicitly stated that Russia will not mobilize. Former Deputy Head of the Russian Academy of Rocket and Artillery Sciences Konstantin Sivkov stated that in Russia there is no need to conduct mobilization since the joint army of the Russian Federation and the LDNR has enough forces to carry out the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 18:55 utc | 29

Thanks for this hugely far-reaching post, b -- I will just take issue, not with you but with Daniel Larson, your first link, as although as you correctly state, the headline to that link is correct, the analysis it leads to leaves much to be desired. I'll just quote one section I think is just plain wrong:

...In every case, the people made to suffer for a given policy are in no position to change it, and sanctions tend to tighten the grip that authoritarian leaders have while the leaders’ domestic opponents are forced to scramble just to survive.

Were this being stated about what is happening in the US as a result of the sanctions, I'd say 'possibly yes'. We here in the US are being made to scramble. It has no relationship to the effect the sanctions have had on Russia.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 18 2022 19:01 utc | 30

@ Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 18:55 utc | 31

Delusional, as usual.

Before it can reach Kiev Russia must take and hold the the territory to the east and south. The most likely and reasonable scenario is to help provide security in Kiev following a capitulation having been invited to do so.

We will see what happens as the situation develops.

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 18 2022 19:03 utc | 31

From the article cited by b:

For example, the M777 artillery systems are really prone to being damaged by enemy artillery. For every battery of M777, there are six pieces.

After every artillery contact, we have to take two artillery pieces and take them back to the rear to maintain them because some of the subsystems are damaged by shrapnel. This happens every day.>BLOCKQUOTE>

So much for the "effectiveness" of the M777 howitzers. Ritter complains they are "killing Russians". Well, Ukrainian artillery was "killing Russians" before the arrival of those howitzers, with the artillery that they have lost to the Russians. Now Ukraine complains they are outgunned 40-to-1 in artillery. How are 100 howitzers, thirty percent of which are broken every day, plus another paltry 18 sent in the latest aid package, going to change the rate of Russian casualties sufficient to be a "game-changer"?

Ritter complains no one "knows what they are talking about". Well, it appears he doesn't, either. He can't cite any figures indicating either an enhanced number of Russian casualties or equipment destroyed by the addition of the M777 and French Caesars, nor can he give any evidence of an enhanced rate of Russian casualties. Nor can be provide any evidence that Russia has changed its operations in any way as a result of the deployment of these weapons.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 19:05 utc | 32

@Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 18:55 utc | 31

Scott Ritter absurdly claims it would take several hundred thousand to half a million troops to take Kiev, forcing Russia to "mobilize".

That was months ago when the press was full of stories about Russia trying to occupy Kiev with 30,000 troops. The situation has obviously changed.

Posted by: Kauai John | Jun 18 2022 19:10 utc | 33

In response to Arioch@23,

I've also heard rumors about Ukrainians themselves having damaged these systems, by exceeding the recommended rate of fire, causing the barrels to deform from overheating. Arguably, "ruggedness" does factor into the calculation, when a weapons system is being used by people who aren't trained in how to use it, unaware of its limitations and, in particular, have experience of comparable systems which nonetheless have different characteristics.

Not commenting on the utility or quality of one system or another, but Soviet equipment does have the reputation of being lenient on poorly prepared conscripts.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jun 18 2022 19:11 utc | 34

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 18 2022 19:03 utc | 33

And you didn't read anything I said. Typical.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 19:12 utc | 35

Yes, Ritter - the Judas - is a complete fool.

Thank you RSH for showing us again the depths of his treachery.

Hopefully as soon as the Tsars armies reach the shores of Normandy the cowering yankees will hand him over to be tortured on live TV for us, where he will cry, begging for our forgiveness.

I predict the Allied armies at their current rate to take over Odessa by August.

(Don’t be a concern troll by asking which year!!)

Posted by: Moabeobachter | Jun 18 2022 19:13 utc | 36

Posted by: Kauai John | Jun 18 2022 19:10 utc | 35

He repeats it still. That's why he claims Russia has to mobilize - because it cannot take the rest of Ukraine with the forces it has. This has been directly refuted by the Russians themselves, as I quoted.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 19:14 utc | 37

Posted by: Moabeobachter | Jun 18 2022 19:13 utc | 38

I tend to agree with Gonzalo Lira, who says Russia is likely to surround and bypass Odessa on the way to Transnistria. Not because they can't take Odessa, but because they're prefer not to damage the city to the same degree as Mariupol. They can bypass it, form a solid defensive line around it, then push north to Kiev, while waiting for Odessa to fall. It's 310 miles from Odessa to Kiev, probably with few Ukrainian forces in between. A lot of the remaining Ukrainian army is probably building echelons of defense between Donbass and Kiev. Russia can flank them in the south and push north as well as from the east.

We'll see.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 19:21 utc | 38

Recently one reads more and more posts of a 'triumphal' vein -- elated about RF successes and slighting about UAF problems and losses -- while losing sight of certain harsh realities ... the entrenched heavy defences of Kiev, Kharkiv and the Donetsk area that have made them very difficult to overcome.

Asssuming the Lugansk and Donetsk areas are eventually quelled, it would seem logical that the 'freed-up' BTG's would be moved to assist in the overpowering of the Kharkiv area ... because of its close proximity to the Russian border much effort was made since 2014 to heavily fortify and entrench the defences and even with the additional RF forces, it will take a Mariupol-type assault to subdue the area.

Further assuming the preceding occurs, the next targets would probably be Mykolaiv and Odessa. Again, one can expect very heavy defences that were built up over the years, but additionally since February, much more military equipment will have been delivered -- running out of armaments or ammunition will not be factors.

The going will be very tough in the next months -- no 'trumphalism', please.

Posted by: chet380 | Jun 18 2022 19:23 utc | 39

Skiffer @ 36

There also was a (maybe fake) photo of Ukrainian soldier smartphone, full of googling in different languages how to remove search history, how to make Javelin work and why Javelin buzzes and squeaks.

However i think some American military (?) indeed reported that Javelins given to Ukraine often comes with no manual, and even if they did, the Ukrainians can not call 24x7 tech support service, which is always accessible to US Army soldiers.

So it *might* happen this abuse of M-777 is not even fault of Ukrainians.

Posted by: Arioch | Jun 18 2022 19:25 utc | 40

RSH:

S. Ritter = bad
A. Martyanov = good
Everyone else = morons.

Did I miss anything?

Posted by: Zed | Jun 18 2022 19:27 utc | 41

Posted by: Zed | Jun 18 2022 19:27 utc | 43

Nope. You pretty much proved my point - especially the last part.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 19:32 utc | 42

#21 & #25

Most important posts so far today. Mentioned in previous thread as well. Barflies aren't discussing until it becomes clear which way the wind blows.

Different topic. We just keep reading about Ukrainian forces fortifying and digging in for years. No video evidence whatsoever. We see narrow shallow trenches and nothing else. Fortification seems to mean kindergartens and hospitals.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jun 18 2022 19:38 utc | 43

Reading this blog along with the observatons/analysis of The Duran, The Vineyard, The New Atlas and SouthFront........................what is striking to me that perhaps we should take solace in the fact that Messr. Putin and Lavrov and likely many more in the Russian leadership/brain trust are as sober, deliberate and wise as their actions in Ukraine are proving to be.

The west is and will suffer at the hands of their own inept leadership and brain-less trust.

For one, I am happy that the Russians are proving to the world that they are perhaps better suited for a global leadership role than, well...............Biden falling off his bike! Fool!

Just perhaps, the Russians will find a way for all of this chaos to end in a soft-ish landing and a better future. Pray!

Posted by: James Cook | Jun 18 2022 19:40 utc | 44

@ Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 19:14 utc | 39

WRT mobilization, why all of Ritter's critics seem to miss this point...

Ritter is assuming further provocation from the US that will expand the war beyond Ukraine.

This task would become virtually impossible if the Ukrainian conflict were to spread to Poland, Transnistria, Finland and Sweden.

Consider the blockade of Kaliningrad by Lithuania this morning. Gonzalo is quite perturbed by this new provocation. Even seeing a pathway to nukes.

Ritter has been very consistent in saying NATO will lose to Russia.

I find Ritter critics to totally overlook the nuance and the additional factors he talks about, basing their analysis on only the events inside of Ukraine and never considering what might happen elsewhere. Kind of like WWI where this group would only focus on the Duke's assassination and not the escalation that might happen elsewhere -- which is a primary reason things did escalate. B even described the path to escalation here in his post!

WRT the extra artillery not having an effect, Ritter consistently points out that Russia is using 10-15x the number of shells per day. His argument isn't that Russia isn't winning, rather that with real-time US intel, even the mere 6000 rounds that Ukraine uses are having an effect. I would find it hard to believe that Russia is advancing just as fast as it would have without that extra artillery.

For some really obscure reason, Ritter's critics seem to think that means he's declaring that Ukraine is going to win. Ritter has never once declared that -- quite the opposite. He did say Russia will have to develop a Phase 3 justification. Perhaps Lithuania is giving it to them.


Posted by: Kauai John | Jun 18 2022 19:45 utc | 45

Incredible BBC is censoring its own interview right after okaying shipping Assange to Gitmo.

Richard @3 uncovers one of the important missing aspects of this entire affair--the Neoliberal Plan that's behind it all--it's a Financial and Information War because those are the only real weapons possessed by the Outlaw US Empire aside from its nukes as proven by the Heritage Foundation's report I posted again 10 or so days ago.

And for the record, Putin's ideas about what must be done to improve Russia's economy has great relevance, far that's part of the societal cohesion he spoke of that's critical for national sovereignty. And when you read the transcript past Putin, you'll read President Tokayev talking about doing similar things to bolster Kazakhstan. He was followed by Egypt's Sisi who wants to sing the same tune. Xi's short video appearance also stressed development along multilateral lines. Then there's the second half of the discussion where it really becomes one. Yes, the transcript is very long. Along the way you'll read Putin discussing the issue of Russia's "Deep State" and the ruination of people inside and outside Russia because of the illegal sanctions theft of property without due process or any form of recourse. Then there's the competition between EAEU nations where Putin provides some revelations about that reality.

I note the English transcript remains incomplete while the Russian is finished. The Conversation then shifts to Ukraine and concludes with some interesting observations about AI and the future.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 19:45 utc | 46

Posted by: James Cook | Jun 18 2022 19:40 utc | 46

Why do you assume the world needs "global leadership"?

Posted by: sln2002 | Jun 18 2022 19:46 utc | 47

Someone tweeted that the Russian clobber list was reporting that more Ukrainian aircraft had been shot down than Ukraine had.
Looking at Wikipedia's info for Ukraine's current inventory it looked remarkably low.

MiG-29 - 51
Su-24 - 12
Su-25 - 17
Su-27 - 32

So I checked the numbers for operators of specific aircraft which reveals very different figures.

MiG-29 - 37-70
Su-24 - 120
Su-25 - 92 (3 sold off)
Su -27 - 70

These numbers include aircraft that are in reserve or storage but which can be returned to service.
These numbers do not include any extra aircraft Ukraine might have received from other CEE countries.

So Ukraine had 316 - 349 attack aircraft but air force page has 112.
Russia claims 206 aircraft shot down in RF MoD briefing so well within numbers operated by Ukraine.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 18 2022 19:51 utc | 48

b: I have to say that these folks know nothing that is relevant. They seem to have never heard of Sun Tsu's dictum 'Know your enemy'

I don't doubt that that knowing nothing relevant is true for most of the thinkers in this think-tank, but some of them might have known why Russia is doing what it's doing but they wouldn't dare say it. Any such consideration to Russia would relegate them into the category of "Putin-lover" spouting "disinformation" which would threaten their job security in US think-tanks that require the right kind of thinking.

It's American Exceptionalism, a concept that ought to have passed, given all the government's failures, but persists nevertheless. It results in behavior where 'we'll do the thinking around here' and it doesn't matter what you think, because we're exceptional don't you know. This right-thinking think-tank behavior will continue to hobble US foreign policy, no doubt. At least they're consistent, i.e. always wrong.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2022 19:58 utc | 49

Global Times today has what appears to be an Asian-centric article that is global in its content, "Asians should say no to Washington's efforts to destabilize, divide region":

"With US' economy entering a perplexing period of stagflation in which the federal government could do little to tame across-the-board price rises and at the same time revitalize a sputtering economy, the capability of the superpower to pose its nose into other countries' affairs, or freely wield its club to suppress smaller nations that refuse to kowtow to Washington, is seriously weakened. And, this will help the world to build a fairer and more equitable international order." [My Emphasis]

"The World", not just Asia. Indeed, as you read, just substitute world for Asia. For example, here's the third paragraph the content of which applies globally, not just to Asia:

"But politicians in Washington are not willing to witness Asian countries develop their economies in a tranquil environment, and they even loath the idea of Asian people one day enjoying a high living standard just like Americans. And, they are determined to do more harm to the region to disrupt economic integration of Asia."

Eventually, the article does become China specific, but in a curious manner as the Outlaw US Empire's attempts to contain and decouple from China has damaged the Empire's domestic economy and that of the larger world's far more than China's. The failure to damage Russia differs little from the failure to damage China. In both instances, blowback has occurred that's more powerful than the author indicates. For example, inflation is double what's written since he uncritically echoes USG lies about its economic performance.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 20:00 utc | 50

A tragic farce..

Given the foolish Yankees living in "La La Land" behavior. Were it not for the the "Chernobyl Incident"....

Clearly , the western media has deluded themselves in the mythical fake belief the "west is superior".

These fake western experts only deserve one fate. To save the world we need to lock them all up in the nearest "State Mental Home". Their collective make believe delusions would fire the first and final round of mass destruction. One the that would literally destroy 98% of humanity in the first wave...............

Choose your experts wisely.........

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | Jun 18 2022 20:01 utc | 51

Excellent Lavrov interview with the so obviously politically motivated and disrespectful BBC interviewer, really slapped him back a few times. I can understand why the BBC don't want their British viewers seeing this, Lavrov directly called them out for lying about Bucha.

I watched the Center for Strategic & International Studies discussion for about 15 minutes and then couldn't stomach the incredible ideological blindness, pettiness and stupidity of those involved. B is right about the sheer incompetence and mediocrity of what is supposed to be the US "intelligence" and foreign policy making community. They certainly seem to believe their own bullshit and fake news.

I disagree with the Aurelian piece, the problem with the West after 1989 was not inertia. Since at least 1945, the US has been on a mission to be the sovereign ruler of the world so that its elites can profiteer with impunity. In 1989-1992 they got their wet dream, the opening of the Warsaw Pact to Western exploitation followed by the opening of China. So, of course they got carried away while they attempted to subdue the world that was no longer protected by the Warsaw Pact countries. Losing focus, while China became a world power and Russia managed to reestablish its sovereignty.

The real problem for the Western elites is that when the US (and West) lose their power, their ability to steal from the rest of the world diminishes. With the deindustrialization and general destruction of the US economy and society, and much of Europe's (being accelerated by the sanctions), they have become like the Roman Empire during its decline. Each loss in power, and therefore ability to steal from other territories, reduces the wealth and power of the West. Without the enforced tribute from the rest of the world, the West will become a shadow of its former self. The cessation of cheap Russian energy is already showing how much Europe was dependent on just one source of external wealth. As the US$ becomes dethroned, the US will also no longer be able to buy foreign goods and fund its armed forces just by creating new entries in a US$ ledger at the Federal Reserve, and it won't be able to use US$ debts to blackmail other nations.

We are sitting on the edge of a period of relatively fast change, one Russia and China are attempting to speed-bump so that the West goes down quietly rather than reacts emotionally and dysfunctionally (for the whole world) in a crisis. Unfortunately the Western elite's utter stupidity, obstinacy, and greed seems to know no bounds.

Posted by: Roger | Jun 18 2022 20:06 utc | 52

Don Bacon @51--

Yes, Group-Think is deadly for its practitioners. IMO, the rise of such an attitude came along with the implementation of Neoliberalism on steroids with Reagan/Bush, although it was certainly building before then. Look at the revelations in response to the publishing of the Pentagon Papers--there was no real attempt at a critical reexamination. Sure, we had the Watergate and Church hearings, but absolutely zero was learned from them aside from to do a better job at covering-up and not getting caught. And such idiocy permeates all areas of the federal government, but most critically in economic and defense related policy discussions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 20:09 utc | 53

oopsie UPDATE

Boeing's titanium fab CRISIS and Aeroflot fleet RE-PO scare
China offers lifeline to Russian airlines

“We are ready to supply spare parts to Russia, we will set up the cooperation. Now, [airlines] are working [on this], they have certain channels, there are no restrictions on the part of China,” the ambassador told TASS.
[..ICYMI...]
In February, the EU and the US imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia, banning the leasing and supply of aircraft to the country, and prohibiting exports to Russia of goods and parts for the aviation industry. Boeing and Airbus stopped servicing planes operated by Russian airlines, sparking fears that the majority of the country’s fleet would be grounded within months.
Nord Stream 1 shareholder ACTIVISTS
France no longer receiving Russian pipeline gas
Gas flow from Germany to France [ENGIE] has been halted, French gas transmission system operator GRTgaz reported on Friday, adding that the nation hadn’t received any natural gas from Russia via the pipeline since June 15.

Earlier this week, Russian energy giant Gazprom warned that it would sharply cut its gas deliveries to Europe over ["]technical issues["] arising from Western sanctions. The company said that German energy equipment operator Siemens Energy failed to return repaired gas pumping units for the North Stream pipeline from a maintenance facility in Canada due to the country’s embargo on Russia.

UA "grains" stolen from the mouths of starving MY 2021/2022 AFRICA!1!!
Russia to export agricultural products to ‘friendly countries’ only

Patrushev said on Thursday that the country’s grain harvest could reach 130 million tons this year [MY 2022/2023], which would be enough to cover both domestic needs and ensure export potential.

Speaking on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), he pointed to numerous challenges including broken supply chains and difficulties with financial calculations [soverign maritime insurance].

Posted by: sln2002 | Jun 18 2022 20:11 utc | 54

Posted by: sln2002 | Jun 18 2022 17:44 utc | 4
---------------------------------
😃👍

Posted by: ostro | Jun 18 2022 20:11 utc | 55

In the previous thread uncle tungsten @279 provided a link to a Scott Ritter discussion that really clarified a lot of things for me with respect to "dealing with reality". In many prior threads Ritter has taken a great deal of heat for his doomcasting, particularly from Richard Steven Hack, and my impulse is to not take that flack from Hack very seriously. After witnessing Ritter's angry outburst, though, I think RSH has a point.

Basically, Ritter is fixated on the dollar figures of that $53 ($54?) billion handout for the empire's proxy war in the Ukraine, and points out that about $8 billion is actually going to military support for the Ukraine.

For sure, $8 billion is an impressive chunk of change! Overwhelming, really, but how does that translate to kinetic action? Does the US even have $8 billion in wunderwaffen to hand over to the Ukrainians? Sure, that's only what, 32 F-35s? 11 Littoral Combat Ships? Half of a Ford class aircraft carrier?

But what about stuff that the Ukrainians can actually use? Guaranteed the US only sent four HIMARS rocket launchers to the Ukraine because that is all they could spare.

The US MIC is geared towards producing big ticket, high profit margin weapon systems like the aircraft and ships mentioned above. This is a business in the US and businesses get optimized for profits. That is capitalism's chief selling point in the glossy brochures. If you have excess capacity for producing some product (and weapons are products) then a proper capitalist will "rationalize" that product line and reduce capacity to meet demand. Keeping excess capacity idling and unused is a big hit to profit margins.

With that said, tooling up for a sudden spike in demand is also expensive, but in the context of the conflict in the Ukraine it takes time, and that is a decisive issue. The businessmen in the MIC will want to ramp up production slowly, and draw out the production process as long as possible. You can buy faster production with more cash, but the businessman will still sandbag because that maximizes his profits.

The point here is that the US military is very much "optimized" for continuous low-level conflict against primitive opponents. The US simply does not have $8 billion in useful armaments to hand over to a proxy force fighting a peer adversary. The dollar figure that the US committed to the Ukraine conflict sure is impressive, but in practical terms it may as well have been $100 billion, or a cool $trillion. It is just a number until America ships the hardware, and manufacturing has long ago ceased being America's forte.

There is, however, something that America truly excels at, and that is marketing. You can safely bet that a substantial chunk of that $53 ($54?) billion has gone into marketing the American narratives of the Ukraine conflict, and nowadays no mass marketing campaign is complete without buying off some social media "influencers" to help sell your product, and hiring up an army of astroturfing trolls and bots to fill the Internet's social spaces with echoes of the sounds from salesmen.

Back in the real world America's $53 billion commitment to its proxy war in the Ukraine will not defeat the Russians because that commitment exists largely within the western media consumers' headspace. Marketing cannot stop Russian artillery. That marketing's only effect is to give the Ukrainians an empty sense of hope for victory and keep them marching to their destruction long past when wiser people would have thrown in the towel.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 18 2022 20:13 utc | 56

b quotes Lavrov as saying:
"The situation has not changed. We are going back to what the Minsk agreements were coordinated for: protecting Russians in Donbass, who have been betrayed by the French and Germans. The British also played a leading role. All our Western colleagues kept saying they were unable to make Kiev honour the Minsk agreements..."

It is being reported that Poroshenko, President of Ukraine at the time of the Minsk negotiations, is boasting that Ukraine was 'playing for time' at Minsk and using the opportunity to build up its military capacity. He said that Ukraine had no intention, at any time, of honouring the Minsk accords.
If this is true then the question arises of the role of France and Germany in this process. Did they understand that they were not involved in serious negotiations? Did they know that they were assisting Ukraine by arranging a truce during which it could strengthen itself and prepare for an attack on the two Peoples Republics?
It seems to me that France and Germany must have had more than an inkling of what Ukraine was planning. And that they, leading members of NATO, were assisting in a process designed to lead to Ukrainian aggression.
The case for the humanitarian basis of the SMO has been growing throughout the past few months. It is now almost impossible to believe the lynchpin of the NATO narrative which is that Russia is engaged in unprovoked aggression. And what Poroshenko is now confessing goes a long way towards proving it.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 18 2022 20:16 utc | 57

Roger @54--

Agreed, the economic destiny of the Outlaw US Empire will mimic that of the UK after WW2 as it was forced to divest itself of its global empire and all the "tribute" claimed by UK 1% as they in-turn no longer had the "income" to maintain their grand estates and castles/manors, which are mostly now tourist attractions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 20:19 utc | 58

No transit - no borders of Lithuania

Dmitry Rogozin, who in 2002-2003 led Russia-EU negotiations on transit to the Kaliningrad region through Lithuania, recalled an important thing: Russia recognized the borders of the Republic of Lithuania in exchange for guarantees of uninterrupted transit of Russian citizens and Russian cargo from Kaliningrad and to Kaliningrad. Thanks to this recognition, Lithuania was able to join the EU and NATO.

If Brussels today withdraws from its part of the agreements, then Moscow withdraws from its own. The implications for Lithuania, the EU and NATO could be very far-reaching. Recall that by the decision of the Potsdam Conference following the results of the Second World War, Memel, like Koenigsberg, was transferred from Germany to the Soviet Union, and not any of its parts. It was only later that Stalin, by his internal decision, transferred Koenigsberg to the RSFSR, and it became Kaliningrad, and Memel was given to the Lithuanian SSR, which then became Klaipeda. Modern Russia is the legal successor of the USSR, that is, the post-Soviet borders of Lithuania are determined by it.

And if the European Union violates the agreements that guarantee these borders, then anything can happen to Lithuania...

Posted by: ostro | Jun 18 2022 20:20 utc | 59

The only stupidity that I do see from the Russians is their insistence on something they call "international law."

Now many here over the years have appealed to this idea of international law and that the empire headed by the western international elites is somehow standing outside of it.

This is total garbage.

Karl Rove was entirely right that empires make their own reality and while many of us sit here breathless over such a silly notion as international law when they, the empire, is perceived to be in violation of, real damage is still being done by these psychopaths. No appeal to the hearts and minds of the empire's subjects wrt "international law" has proven fruitful.

No, the only way to beat them and restore sovereignty (read: the end of empire) is to fight back.

The people in their hearts know this. Our leaders know this. Yet they continue to play their stupid part on our televison media and that is why you can't help but gag when you watch msm on the weekends. It is just so terribly tired these stupid language games. Our entire reality show discourse now is innately Orwellian.

And as I have said many times before, the Russians are giving us at home a chance to mount an effective insurgency to restore some semblance of truthtelling. It will be at great cost, but the result has already been won by the victors.

To me anyway, it feels as though we are indeed entering into a new beginning. We still are without a suitable understanding of what to do with this gift, but we should thank Russia as well as our own domestic terrorists, white supremacists, and deplorables. The fate of both of these parties, it seems, is now intertwined.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jun 18 2022 20:21 utc | 60

Posted by: Kauai John | Jun 18 2022 19:45 utc | 47
"Ritter is assuming further provocation from the US that will expand the war beyond Ukraine."

No, he's not. Primarily he's proclaiming that merely having weapons sent to Ukraine and Ukrainian troops being trained outside the country will cause the war to "last forever". That's a direct quote. At the same time, he claims Russia will win. This in itself is a direct contradiction.

Then, if the war should spread outside the borders of Ukraine, why does he assume that Russia will not mobilize? Why is he making this criticism NOW when the war has not yet spread outside the borders of Ukraine? This is another internally inconsistent argument.

"This task would become virtually impossible if the Ukrainian conflict were to spread to Poland, Transnistria, Finland and Sweden."

Well, it hasn't and there is no evidence that it will as yet.

"Consider the blockade of Kaliningrad by Lithuania this morning. Gonzalo is quite perturbed by this new provocation. Even seeing a pathway to nukes."

I don't agree with Gonzalo about everything. I haven't listened to his current video, so I'll postpone comment until I do. But the point remains: until this becomes an issue that Russia has to respond to militarily, it's a non-issue for the war in Ukraine at this time.

"Ritter has been very consistent in saying NATO will lose to Russia."

Yes, he has. And he's right. I don't say everything Ritter says is wrong. I say his assessment of the current situation and what he alleges is a "game changer" is wrong. Everything else he's said is usually right - and in agreement with Larry Johnson and Andrei Martyanov and Alexander Mercouris and all the other commenters.

"I find Ritter critics to totally overlook the nuance and the additional factors he talks about, basing their analysis on only the events inside of Ukraine and never considering what might happen elsewhere."

I just refuted that by what I said above. "What might happen" has not happened. When it does, Russia will do something different. That is not what I'm criticizing Ritter about. I'm criticizing what he says about Russia having to mobilize to complete the Ukraine operation under current conditions. There's simply no evidence for that assertion.

"even the mere 6000 rounds that Ukraine uses are having an effect."

As I said earlier, what effect? Ritter can not quantify that. He simply assumes that every Ukrainian artillery strike takes out a Russian battery. There is no evidence of that. He also assumes every artillery exchange is one-to-one. It's not - Russia outguns Ukraine by a massive scale. And the replacement weapons are a trickle compared to to 1) what Ukraine had before, and 2) what Russia can replace on its side. Finally, Ukrainian artillery had an effect before any Western weapons were supplied. The question is what degree of effect and has that changed for the worse since the foreign weapons were supplied? There is no evidence of that.

"I would find it hard to believe that Russia is advancing just as fast as it would have without that extra artillery."

Again, no evidence. The pace of Russian advance is based more on the time it takes to reduce the fortifications rather than the artillery duels. Naturally, eliminating Ukrainian artillery takes time as well, but it's almost certain that most of the 60-70,000 Russian artillery rounds Russia fires per day are aimed at fortifications, not Ukrainian artillery. But with a ten-to-1 advantage in number of rounds fired, it has to be assumed that Russia is hitting more Ukrainian artillery than the reverse, regardless of any replacement weapons supplied by the West. That means a steady degradation of Ukrainian artillery effectiveness, which is what we see every day in the Russian MoD briefings and which by definition means a reduction in Russian casualties, not an increase.

It's simply a matter of logic.

"For some really obscure reason, Ritter's critics seem to think that means he's declaring that Ukraine is going to win."

No, I've never said that. What Ritter has said, as I mentioned earlier, that while "Russia will win" the war "will go on forever". How are those two statements reconcilable? He's not talking about a war outside Ukraine. He's talking explicitly about the war in Ukraine, because he explicitly states that for every Ukrainian battalion the Russians destroy a new one will arrive armed with NATO weapons and trained in Europe. This simply isn't the case. As I've noted before, the number of Ukrainians being trained on foreign weapons in Europe is probably less than 1,000, according to General Milley. That's one or two battalions at most. The rest are untrained or poorly trained reserves and Territorial forces. Ritter himself said months ago that these reserves will go to the front and "they will die" (exact quote.)

Yet now he talks about Ukraine having 700,000 men under arms - which is a fiction, a mere claim by Ukrainian officials which then morphed into 900,000 over a couple of days and then 1,000,000. If Ukraine has that many troops, why are they conscripting women from age 16 to 60? It's an absurd claim.

"He did say Russia will have to develop a Phase 3 justification. Perhaps Lithuania is giving it to them."

I disagree that Russia will need any more justification. Ukraine will remain a threat to Russia and Donbass until it is eliminated as such. Denis Pushilin said as much - Ritter even quoted him in his discussion with Larry Johnson. That's all the justification Russia needs - it's the same justification Russia cited at the start of the war. And it also explains why Russia keeps talking about Donbass, while actually intending to take all of Ukraine. Donbass is the justification - not the actual goal of the war, which is also explicitly declared as "de-militarization". You can't "de-militarize Ukraine" without destroying the entire Ukrainian military across all of Ukraine. It's amazing how many morons who think Russia will stop at Donbass can't figure that out. They just parse the Russians' words with a literal meaning.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 20:24 utc | 61

This wrong-thinking from CSIS, supposedly the best in the west, has other dimensions (as Roger noted above). Another CSIS disciple is Gregory Poling, Senior Fellow and Director, Southeast Asia Program and Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, part of CSIS. If we ever get into South China Sea issues, Poling is the anti-China 'expert' that is unable to recognize any China thinking on the subject.

. . .and some trivia from the web:
Coining a new term, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin condemns the “heresy of American exceptionalism” while expelling American communist leader Jay Lovestone and his followers from the Communist International for arguing that U.S. capitalism constitutes an exception to Marxism’s universal laws.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2022 20:26 utc | 62

just substitute world for Asia
Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 20:00 utc | 52

No. For the last 3 months here, the moniker has been "just substitute world fo RUSSIA, and none of you AFAICT are any closer to comprehending the circumfrence of the supply chain that landed boomers on third base with "first world problems".

Do y'all have any idea what kind of realignment has been going on across Latin America and Africa since BRICS and ASEAN were established?

Posted by: sln2002 | Jun 18 2022 20:28 utc | 63

@43 Zed

Ritter's not bad, he's just been got at, knobbled.

Posted by: WTFUD | Jun 18 2022 20:29 utc | 64

@William Gruff #58
I suggest listening to the discussion between Scott Ritter and Larry C Johnson.
The primary point Ritter made before, which he expanded on recently, was that Ukraine's broken up combat battalions (not the infantry, including the Territorial Defense bullet-magnets), are not utterly destroyed. Ritter said specifically that the remainders (75%? 85%?) are sent to UK, Germany, Poland etc and retrained into more modern equipment. And that there is at least some evidence that at least some of this equipment is making it to the Ukraine front lines.
Note again Ritter did not say Russia was going to fail its SMO. He said it was increase Russian casualties and prolong the conflict - and in fact he notes that this is likely a significant factor as to why Ukraine is still fighting. Or in other words, without this support, Ukraine would already have lost.
My primary point of contention is simply that I have yet to see a single piece of evidence backing up Ritter's assertion: Yes, there are Ukrainians training in all of the above European countries.
But how many are there really?
500 here, 500 there adding up to 5000 total is largely irrelevant; 20,000 would be a big difference though.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 18 2022 20:29 utc | 65

The war party in Washington simply applied fhe playbook they’ve been using for 30 some years. Sanctions, bald faced lies, false flags, and feeding weapons to our local junkyard dogs.

They never even considered anyone had gameplanned this playbook.


Posted by: Exile | Jun 18 2022 20:31 utc | 66

I want to remind you that an integral part of the package of joint decisions of the EU-RF-Lithuania in 2002-2003 on guaranteed transit of Russian goods and, of course, citizens of the Russian Federation to and from the Kaliningrad region was a counter commitment of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to ratify the Treaty on the State Border with Republic of Lithuania. I remember this very well, because at that time I headed the State Duma Committee on International Affairs and was the special representative of the President of Russia at these negotiations.

If Brussels and Vilnius proactively and treacherously destroy the package of agreements they signed on the Kaliningrad transit, which came into force on July 1, 2003, then the EU should understand the consequences of their suicidal decision for the legitimacy of their own eastern border.

- Dmitry Rogozin

Posted by: ostro | Jun 18 2022 20:32 utc | 67

And if the European Union violates the agreements that guarantee these borders, then anything can happen to Lithuania...

Posted by: ostro | Jun 18 2022 20:20 utc | 61

It bears repeating that Lithuania owes its capital city to Stalin. During the interwar period, Vilnius (as Wilno) was a part of Poland, and Lithuania had to make do with Kaunas.

Hmm, wonder how Vilnius translates into Russian? -- assuming Poland doesn't make moves to reclaim it.

Posted by: malenkov | Jun 18 2022 20:32 utc | 68

@NemesisCalling #62
The reason Russia and China stress international law is precisely because it is in opposition to what the US "rules-based" order is.
A "rules-based" order as practiced by the US is: we make the rules, you follow them. And we can make new rules or change old ones any time.
This is precisely the practical outcome of the Rove view.

International law - while imperfect - at least arises from the discussion and agreement of nations. And while there will always be gray areas and disputes on precise interpretation, said laws at least can be said to be a product of international agreement.

The focus on international law is thus deliberate, to contrast it with American practices. The audience isn't America - it is the entire rest of the world.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 18 2022 20:33 utc | 69

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 18 2022 20:13 utc | 58

WHATABOUT national league baller advertising budgets? Is Kolomoisky about to set up a UKRAINE MLB franchise?

Posted by: sln2002 | Jun 18 2022 20:35 utc | 70

bevin @59--

Obama was POTUS, Clinton SoS when UNSC 2022 was implemented. Neither opposed its passing because they had no intention of its implementation. Behavior since proves that correct. Trump's fixations were on Iran, Noth Korea, China, Occupied Palestine, and somewhat Syria, not Russia or Ukraine. I recall Merkel being quoted as saying she had no intention of forcing Kiev to implement 2022, but I haven't located where that was published. The UK was certainly in league with Obama on non-implementation as was Macron. How permanent UNSC members could act in the manner they did over 2022 has always bothered me greatly in total contrast to their behavior toward Iran or North Korea. Such actions speaking louder than words were long noted by Lavrov and Putin--they were simply being pissed-on by all those misleaders who were in turn abetting the escalating genocide in Donbass. They differ in no manner from Hitler's adjutants and deserve their fate.

Effectively, UNSCR 2022 is now dead. As Lavrov has stated, the end result will go well beyond what it called for; Kiev and the West had their chance.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 20:38 utc | 71

Hmm, wonder how Vilnius translates into Russian? -- assuming Poland doesn't make moves to reclaim it.

Posted by: malenkov | Jun 18 2022 20:32 utc | 70
------------------------------------------------

Poland has nothing to do with it, as it was Stalin, who agreed to the present borders of Poland too. But, it was Russia, who gave permission for the present borders of Lithuania, which of course, BoJo, or the demented Joe, or VD Leyen has no knowledge at all. Dmitry Rogozin, who headed the Duma delegation signing the agreement, is the present head of Roskosmos.

In other words, no transit, no borders for Lithuania!

Posted by: ostro | Jun 18 2022 20:39 utc | 72

@Richard Steven Hack #63
The problem with Russia unilaterally expanding its SMO to take over all of Ukraine is that there would no longer be any difference between Russia exerting its might to enforce its rights vs. the US doing the same.
At which point there is no differentiation between Russian international practices and American.
Nor are you characterizing Ritter's statements correctly. He specifically noted that while Ukraine says it has 1 million men in the AFU - he sarcastically noted that these men are probably unarmed even with a rifle.

I don't know if you're spending too much time listening to Lira or are getting this from another source, but I would suggest treating people who have demonstrated expertise - with some respect.

There's nothing wrong with disagreeing with anyone's view but there is something wrong if you are coloring future input from such people due solely to disagreement on one issue.

Ritter, to me, has more than demonstrated he is an honest broker. This is not to say he is always right - because he clearly has not been. But whatever he says, he is doing so from a principled and informed viewpoint, unlike some other people.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 18 2022 20:39 utc | 73

re: lend-lease
On May 9 Biden signed the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 whic will make it easier for the U.S. to lend or lease military aid to allies affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden already has some power to lend or lease equipment, but the legislation he will sign into law will ease some of the requirements for doing so. . ..here

from Ukrinform, June 18
Lend-Lease assistance from the United States, aimed at facilitating military aid to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion, has not started yet.
The relevant statement was made by National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Secretary Oleksiy Danilov in an interview with LIGA.net, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“There is a procedure. Lend-Lease assistance has not started yet. But, the approval of the Lend-Lease Act is a very positive decision to us. Lend-Lease assistance will arrive, the question is when. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 18 2022 20:40 utc | 74

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 18 2022 20:33 utc | 71

And yes, errybuddy agreed simply to skip the "international NORMZ" debate during Election2020.

Posted by: sln2002 | Jun 18 2022 20:40 utc | 75

@ William Gruff | Jun 18 2022 20:13 utc | 58

After witnessing Ritter's angry outburst, though,

Yes, I agree with you that Ritter has a predilection for expressing himself in an off-putting manner, much to his own ruin.

I completely acknowledge all the points you make about the MIC and the waste of ramping up US weapons delivery to Ukraine.

But I have to point out, that when I listen to Ritter, he is saying exactly the same thing.

There is a difference between "no effect" and "little affect", and that's where Ritter is concentrating his analysis. Let me ask it this way, "How 'little' is 'little'?"

Ritter has NEVER said Ukraine would win.
Ritter has NEVER said that the Russians don't have an overwhelming advantage.

However, the USA is paying the salaries of all the Ukraine Forces. Isn't that "game changing" in that soldiers not getting paid would be more inclined to surrender?

Let us recall that Ritter initially thought Russia would go in to Ukraine the same way that the USA went into Iraq. Destroy everything and move on. He was predicting Russia would overrun Ukraine very quickly. AFAIK, NO ONE offered predictions as early as Ritter did.

Russia did not do that. At least according to The Saker, they are taking it slow so as to not destroy too much infrastructure or harm too many civilians. I suppose the fact that Gonzalo still provides a youTube every once in a while is evidence that Russia chose the second option.

But having chosen the second option, don't we all agree that Russia thought they'd be much further along with their SMO than they are now? I sure did.

Ritter is pissed off because so many overlook what he is really trying to tell them. His anger may be justified, but is so off-putting that many, like you, fail to hear what he is really predicting.

IMHO, Ritter's predictions are mostly congruent with those of nearly every other pundit who provides analysis. The difference is, he looks beyond the events on the ground and toward a conclusion of hostilities. He doesn't see that conclusion. IMHO, most other pundits have no idea that there might be one.

IOW, RHS is one of those who lacks imagination.

Posted by: John Kauai | Jun 18 2022 20:45 utc | 76

@71 c1ue

It may be true that the Russians envision to midwife the concept of international law into the world, but it is not something that exists today in any way, shape, or form.

Leaders aren't stupid, c1ue. The empire butters their bread until another emerging power can woo them away. It doesn't mean that these leaders are looking out for this silly pie-in-the-sky law for all when they move to Russia and China. It just means the gig is up for the empire.

We will be dangling over a vacuum, an abyss, when the empire falls. It remains to be seen what we can come up with when and if Russia and U.S. domestic terrorists win.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jun 18 2022 20:48 utc | 77

@ sln2002 | Jun 18 2022 19:46 utc | 49

"Why do you assume the world needs "global leadership"?"

Fair enough.......however every society has its' leadership and each country prefers organization as opposed to anarchy.

Is it not a fair assumption organized countries would prefer benign collective leadership on a global level?

Problem always ends up that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Perhaps this time "leadership" could be shared in a multi-polar world view.

Problem here is that cooperation and competition is good until someone gains a monopoly, then cooperation and competition stops.

The conundrums of Humans?

We are a biological experiment on this globe, not the penultimate experimenters for eternity.

Posted by: James Cook | Jun 18 2022 20:49 utc | 78

It appears few have read the entire transcript or watched the entire video of the SPIEF's Plenary Session. Here is the last Q and Putin's A:

My final question is this. When all this is over, they make their predictions about us, and we have a forecast of how much their economies will withstand, how much will their political system withstand, will it withstand or not? And how do you even see – this is certainly a question for both presidents – how do you see this world after that? Who are the "poles" of the multipolar world in this world and who are our friends and associates?

Vladimir Putin: The political elite in the United States looks down on everyone and often treats them with an inflated ego, as I have already said. But that doesn't rule out the possibility that the United States is a great power. This is a country that has become a world leader in a little over 300 years, it deserves respect. This is, without any doubt, a country with a great future, I have no doubt about it. But the internal problems and mistakes of the ruling elites, of course, make themselves felt precisely because internal problems are growing. They are growing in the economy, we see this in inflation, as I said, they are growing in other areas in the economic sphere.

You mentioned energy. Where did the prices come from? Are we raising energy prices? Delirium. There are people here who are engaged in energy, oil all their lives practically. Are we raising prices? The market is up. And who is in charge in the market? Yes they are. And as a result of their activities, prices rise, that's all. And it's the same on gas.

As much as we told them, "Don't pay attention to the spot. If you want a spot, for God's sake, long-term contracts give us the opportunity to invest confidently, and you can confidently receive energy resources at market prices tied to a basket of oil and petroleum products. " - "No, we'll be on the spot." Please go buy 1500 euros per thousand cubic meters. And we sell them five times cheaper, in fact, we subsidize the European economy. And so it is with everything. It's the same in the States.

I said that the contradictions are growing, and if this policy continues, they will grow. It seems to me that the American people (I have great respect for the American people), their respective elites, faced with the problems that are growing through the fault of these elites, will still put in a position in which the political, economic, primarily political, elites, of course, will have to respond to the demands of their population. Ultimately, relations within these countries, including in the United States and in the international arena, will be built properly. I'm still more of an optimist than a pessimist.

Many here will disagree with Putin's optimism, including me. None of the elite-caused financial crises since the 1980s has prompted a change in elites or policy. And we are well aware of the great dysfunctions of our national political system. THE Question IMO becomes: How do we the people drain the swamp so genuine, absolutely required change can occur?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 20:50 utc | 79

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 18 2022 20:29 utc | 67

Precisely. Ritter's claims amount to hand-waving. He has no figures to back them up and he admits that. Yet he claims his opinion is formed by his assessment of "the data". What data? He's never cited any. He's looking at the same media reports and Telegram channels everyone else is. He admitted in his latest with Johnson that it's merely a case of two guys looking at the same "data" and arriving at different conclusions. Except his arguments don't logically follow even from his own premises.

I've made explicit arguments refuting every one of Ritter's points. So have other commenters like Berletic, Mercouris, Martyanov, Johnson, Dreizin, etc. The only response one gets here is dismissal. I get accused of being a Martyanov fanboy while everyone else assumes that whatever Ritter says must be true.

I'll reiterate my view that the people dismissing my arguments are people who don't want Russia to win this for their own reasons. And that includes Ritter.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 20:52 utc | 80

Just a question about air superiority - What does that mean? You are free to bomb? Or are you free to make an airdrop for your troops in any situation? :) - Just asking from a point of view from a survival gamer

Posted by: Macpott | Jun 18 2022 20:55 utc | 81

Very good offering, thanks B.

Posted by: Josh | Jun 18 2022 20:55 utc | 82

There's a decision making group in Moscow, and other than Putin, we don't really know who are the rest of that group. All kinds of bloggers are not in that group. They can make noises all they want.😏

Posted by: ostro | Jun 18 2022 20:59 utc | 83

The chief negotiator from Ukraine considers that it is possible to resume negotiations with Russia from the end of August. Could be so. The question is whether he will talk about what and with whom.

- Dmitry Medvedev (translated)

Posted by: ostro | Jun 18 2022 21:06 utc | 84

I haven't linked to a Caitlin Johnstone essay is quite awhile. IMO, this is one of her best, "Assange is doing his most important work yet: Thanks to him, we know what Western leaders' claimed support of free press is really worth."

Few will likely agree, but I see what Russia is trying to attain beyond Ukraine as similar to what Assange's overall battle's about. Here's Caitlin's conclusion:

Extraditing a foreign journalist for exposing your war crimes is as tyrannical an agenda as you could possibly come up with. The US, UK and Australia colluding toward this end shows us that these are member states of a single empire whose only values are domination and control, and that all its posturing about human rights is pure facade. Assange keeps exposing the true face of power.

There is in fact a strong argument to be made that even all these years after the 2010 leaks for which he is currently being prosecuted, Assange is doing his most important work yet. As important as his WikiLeaks publications were and are, none of them exposed the depravity of the empire as much as forcing them to look us in the eye and tell us they’ll extradite a journalist for telling the truth.

Assange accomplished this by planting his feet and saying “No,” even when every other possible option would have been easier and more pleasant. Even when it was hard. Even when it was terrifying. Even when it meant being locked away, silenced, smeared, hated, unable to fight back against his detractors, unable to live a normal life, unable to hold his children, unable even to feel sunlight on his face. [My Emphasis]

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 21:13 utc | 85

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 18 2022 20:39 utc | 75
"The problem with Russia unilaterally expanding its SMO to take over all of Ukraine is that there would no longer be any difference between Russia exerting its might to enforce its rights vs. the US doing the same. At which point there is no differentiation between Russian international practices and American."

I disagree. OTOH I don't disagree. First, it depends on what Russia ultimately does in Ukraine. If Russia reorganizes the Ukrainian government to be pro-Russian, then relinquishes control and allows free elections, it can't be argued that Russia is acting like the US. Even if it manipulates the population to continue to elect a pro-Russian government over a period of time, that still isn't the same as what the US does.

Also, the existing regime was not elected anyway. It is the result of a coup - and Zelenskyy's election can hardly be considered "free" under the circumstances. And since the existing regime is what it is, it can hardly be considered "legitimate" in any aspect.

Also, Russia is not "enforcing its rights" - it is enforcing international law by removing a corrupt regime which is persecuting its own citizens as well as threatening Russia proper. This was not the case for the US in Afghanistan or Iraq or NATO against Serbia. There is no comparison.

OTOH, frankly, I don't care what Russia does to Ukraine. Russia is acting in its best interests. It's also acting as part of an overall intention to take down NATO and the West's "rules-based order". So whatever Russia does in that effort is "correct". I don't do "right and wrong". I do "correct or incorrect", "effective and not effective."

"He specifically noted that while Ukraine says it has 1 million men in the AFU - he sarcastically noted that these men are probably unarmed even with a rifle."

He has previously mentioned 700,000 men without that qualification. It was Ukraine that upped it first to 900,000 and then a million. Ritter explicitly has said that every battalion Russia destroys will be replaced by another battalion of men trained abroad and equipped with advanced NATO weapons. This was in his previous interviews. I've listened to most of Ritter's interviews over the last three months, I know what he's said.

"I don't know if you're spending too much time listening to Lira or are getting this from another source, but I would suggest treating people who have demonstrated expertise - with some respect."

I respect Ritter's knowledge. I respect almost all of what he's said over the last three months (with some minor quibbles.) I don't respect his current conclusions.

"There's nothing wrong with disagreeing with anyone's view but there is something wrong if you are coloring future input from such people due solely to disagreement on one issue."

He hasn't said anything new in recent interviews other than his changed conclusions. I explicitly said that before. So why should I bother listening to him on this issue until he does say something new? This is why I listened to his previous interview where he claimed that 700,000 figure - because I hadn't heard him say that before. And I listened to this latest video because he was being confronted by Johnson. Until he changes his assessment or brings up something new, I see no reason to pay any more attention.

"Ritter, to me, has more than demonstrated he is an honest broker."

I've never said otherwise. Others have suggested he's been "gotten to". I tend to doubt that because if he were, his attitude would have changed more drastically than his mere incorrect assessment. I've repeatedly said I don't know why he's making these illogical arguments, but I must assume there is some underlying emotional reason, and I suggest that it is because he, as a "patriotic American" who was trained to "kill Russians", as he explicitly says, really can't handle how Russia is dealing with Ukraine.

In other words, he's a victim of some form of cognitive dissonance. He doesn't like Ukraine, he doesn't like Nazis, but in some sense he doesn't like Russia, either. I've seen any number of people commenting on Ukraine from the "antiwar" side (quite a few on Antiwar.com) who seem to feel the same; they denounce NATO expansion but then claim Russia should never have invaded. As Norman Finkelstein has said, "What was Russia supposed to do?" Ritter AFAIK has never made an explicit statement about that. Maybe someone should ask him. He's acknowledged that NATO expansion is the cause, but I don't think he's ever stated whether he personally approves or acknowledges the correctness of Russia's action, even though he has made the legal case for Russia doing so.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 21:15 utc | 86

@ c1ue | Jun 18 2022 20:39 utc | 75
@ c1ue | Jun 18 2022 20:29 utc | 67
@ ostro | Jun 18 2022 20:20 utc | 61
@ Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 20:24 utc | 63

Thank you all for so clearly illustrating the issue

RSH wants to quibble about what Ritter meant rather than think more broadly about Ritter's points. I don't see the advantage here. Let's say future events show Ritter totally wrong -- So What?

I agree that there is no evidence, that I am aware of, of "seasoned" Ukrainian troops being retrained in Poland or other NATO countries -- yet there's no evidence that they aren't. Does it make any sense at all that Ukraine would keep sacrificing thousands for no reason at all? IOW, I'm inclined to believe that "regulars" are being re-trained. In light of the fact that we have no confirmation one way or the other, perhaps we should just consider what it might mean if it is true rather than just declare it false.

Even the Duran has been talking about US efforts to make this a "forever war". Michael Hudson predicted a couple of months ago it was going to last for 30 years. Now this all depends on what your definition of "forever" is and what "war" is, but let's look at the "cold war" for a possible clue.

Ritter won't look foolish for being found out wrong, but the other side of that coin...

I want to note that (I felt) Johnson and Ritter mostly worked out their differences in the podcast offered from ustourofduty. It is Ritter's tendency to take offense (which I totally forgive him for) over repeated slurs against him that work against him. When I shut that out, he and Johnson are very, very congruent.

Posted by: Kauai John | Jun 18 2022 21:16 utc | 87

@b's introductory post, VP's interview

...elections in Europe and the forces that come to power look like a front, because almost identical political parties come and go, while deep down things remain the same. The real interests of people and national businesses are being pushed further and further to the periphery. Such a disconnect from reality and the demands of society will inevitably lead to a surge in populism and extremist and radical movements...

VP gets the causality wrong. Populist and extremist movements/parties are fostered by the 0.1% in order to press neoliberal and antisocial agendas into the "popular" parties and let those unpopular policies not look the worst in the political spectrum. AfD here in Germany is a perfect example for that. The founders were Liberals with the intent to create a platform of "wrecking ball for the welfare state" in order to maximise profits for the big earners. Meanwhile their poison has crept to varying degrees into the platforms of all other parties. Capitalism functions very well without democracy. Even better, as (I think) Tariq Ali remarked. Fascism is not unwelcome on that road. The main recipe to achieve that "ideal" is corruption plus an occasional hint of shock doctrine. Parties, lawmakers and journalists all need money and a career. 25000 lobbyists in Brussels alone know all too well how to buy people. - Extremism and populism are not the effects of the leveling of party agendas (for the 0.1%), but an important vehicle to reach that goal.

Posted by: OttoE | Jun 18 2022 21:18 utc | 88

Macron wants to visit Putin in Russia, but only if certain conditions are met. Macron apparently is not well versed in French history, particularly relations between France and Germany between the wars,

"He did not specify what exactly he wants Russia to do, but added that he would engage with Putin in a 'transparent way' and only when it is 'useful.' The French president also defended his earlier statement that it is vital that Russia is not humiliated over its actions in Ukraine.

"France made this mistake with Germany after WWI, and it led to a situation in which the peace was lost when WWII broke out, he noted." [My Emphasis]

I rather doubt Putin will agree to any preconditions for a meeting as they can easily communicate via telephone. Given Macron's behavior, he's 100% untrustworthy, and I doubt such a meeting will occur.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 21:25 utc | 89

The experts' opinions about future events should not be compared with reality, but with the way chimpanzees play the game of darts.

In fact, according to one study, the predictions of experts are not much lower than the chance that chimpanzees can hit a target by throwing darts.

See: Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner, Superforecasting : The Art and Science of Prediction, Crown ed. 2015.

A report among others (pdf) :

https://tinyurl.com/2s4hndzj

So at first glance, expert’s opinions and predictions seem relatively reliable. It is likely that if they were playing darts, they would be superior to chimpanzees. Well... Perhaps this deserves a new study.

Posted by: Leuk | Jun 18 2022 21:31 utc | 90

Posted by: John Kauai | Jun 18 2022 20:45 utc | 78
"Let me ask it this way, "How 'little' is 'little'?""

Ritter has never said what the actual effect is. He just hand-waves about "they're killing Russians". Like I said, they were "killing Russians" before they got these weapons. So what's the difference? Crickets.

"However, the USA is paying the salaries of all the Ukraine Forces. Isn't that "game changing" in that soldiers not getting paid would be more inclined to surrender?"

I don't think you comprehend what the term "game changing" means. "Game changing" means the outcome of the war (the "game") has changed, or how the war is fought has changed. I see no evidence whatsoever that Russia has changed its mode of operation since Phase 2 started. So where is the "change"?

As for soldiers not getting paid, are you really suggesting that the Ukrainian troops on the front line getting shellacked by Russian artillery care whether they're currently getting paid? In all the videos of Ukrainian troops complaining about the war, I don't recall any of them complaining about their pay rate. They complain about being annihilated, about their commanders abandoning them, about not having effective weapons.

"Let us recall that Ritter initially thought Russia would go in to Ukraine the same way that the USA went into Iraq. Destroy everything and move on. He was predicting Russia would overrun Ukraine very quickly. AFAIK, NO ONE offered predictions as early as Ritter did."

Some people assumed it would go that way. I did, at first. So what? That was then, this is now.

"But having chosen the second option, don't we all agree that Russia thought they'd be much further along with their SMO than they are now? I sure did."

No, we don't agree on that. Russia never said anything like that. Russia has consistently said that they have no time table and that they and they alone would decide when the operation was finished. As Martyanov has repeatedly pointed out, no knows the Russian goals or the Russian operational plan except the General Staff. And no one outside the Russian General Staff is in a position to comment on that, including himself, which is why he doesn't. I'm willing to be an armchair strategist, but you'll notice that the only thing I say about the operation is what I think is LOGICALLY the goal of the operation, not the explicit means Russia will use to achieve them. I speculate on how I think Russia will LOGICALLY do it - but I don't have all the information any more than Ritter or anyone else does outside the General Staff.

"Ritter is pissed off because so many overlook what he is really trying to tell them. His anger may be justified, but is so off-putting that many, like you, fail to hear what he is really predicting."

I've given his direct quotes in many of my posts criticizing him. I know exactly what he's trying to say. He is very clear in his statements. There is next to no ambiguity. What we have are a bunch of people like you who want to parse his statements to show them in a more logical light - unsuccessfully.

"IMHO, Ritter's predictions are mostly congruent with those of nearly every other pundit who provides analysis."

As I've said ad nauseum here, they were - up until his most recent.

"The difference is, he looks beyond the events on the ground and toward a conclusion of hostilities. He doesn't see that conclusion. IMHO, most other pundits have no idea that there might be one."

As I've said repeatedly, there is no evidence of that. All his statements have been explicitly about the conduct of the war inside Ukraine. He has hardly ever mentioned anything outside Ukraine except for the usual discussions of Transnistria and Poland possibly entering western Ukraine. He's never said NATO would enter Ukraine. He's never said Russia would expand the war outside Ukraine except to predict Russia might attack Finland if it joins NATO.

He doesn't see a conclusion to hostilities because he believes the war "will go on forever" because NATO can endlessly "reconstitute the Ukrainian Army" and supply it with advanced weapons "forever". Which is demonstrable bullshit. Ukraine doesn't have the men, NATO is not training any appreciable number of Ukrainian troops, and NATO doesn't have an unlimited supply of weapons. It's risible nonsense.

"IOW, RHS is one of those who lacks imagination."

And you lack logic.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 21:32 utc | 91

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 18 2022 20:13 utc | 58

Surprisingly I found the Tucker Carlson interview linked elsewhere in this thread quite damning and a good explanation for where this money is really going. Ukraine is the "safe space" for organized crime at the highest levels. That's the main reason their entrance into the EU was never really taken seriously. Simply too corrupt and the corruption penetrates every level and ring of the society. The Biden Crime Family, Obama, prominent Republicans, all laundering 'taxpayer' money through Ukraine into personal off-shore accounts, etc. Worth a watch despite some blather about Marxism and China.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jun 18 2022 21:32 utc | 92

OttoE @90--

Populist parties arise from the grassroots quite regularly and are a danger to elite control. Extremist elements are often combined with Divide and Rule tactics by elites to ensure lack of solidarity in such movements. Also historically, extremists have arisen without any elite involvement. Only in the post-WW2 years has the Outlaw US Empire organized a Terrorist Foreign Legion to ensure quasi-fascist governments remain in power, although that ability is diminishing now that it's outed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 21:35 utc | 93

THE Question IMO becomes: How do we the people drain the swamp so genuine, absolutely required change can occur?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 18 2022 20:50 utc | 81

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyA3SWgPOJ8
Two card-carrying MAGA activists (Turley being an Orthodox Christian professor of sorts who has 800,000,000 subscribers on Youtube) have a plan. It involves faith that the Constitutional Republic still exists and can be revived. It believes that by lawfully occupying as many positions as possible from the precinct level on up that they can basically kick the crooks out by simply displacing them. No more apathy! No more moaning about conspiracy theories or letting the bad guys run roughshod over society.

So these two at least believe that the swamp can be drained.

The only problem is: I see an expectation that a genuine MAGA movement can exist in a fundamentally sane way (one assumption) and then they can have honest elections (Assumption 2 though they have plans for how to ensure this by signing up as precinct officers) and then they can elect people who together will make a difference (huge assumption 3) and there is no detailed plan at all for how to drain the swamp. Am not aware of anyone who has articulated anything on this and until they do am assuming that all this stuff is controlled opposition, both witting and unwitting.

That said I believe that if a genuine, well-run push is made for fair elections and the elections are corrupted again that this might usher in a new movement that understands that doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result has not and will never work, and then things might get interesting.

Similar to Russia: they bent over backwards to have sane, diplomatic solutions and tried to create mutually respectful, pragmatic and honorable international modus vivendi in emerging multipolar geopolitical context and were rebuffed; not only rebuffed but with Mink actually lied to. The West has been deemed 'agreement incapable.' In more old-fashioned language they are not an honorable party. No law can be formed with a party without honor because any agreement is worthless.

So now Russia, after doing everything possible in the old framework, has moved onto a new way of doing things.

Americans will have to do the same. If they work extremely hard to have honest, properly monitored, legally conducted elections and cannot do so, then clearly they will have to move onto a new way of doing things. So the next year could mark a major turning point in US politics which in turn could mark a major turning point in the degree to which the corrupt elites still rule the roost and therefore the degree to which America is still pushing it Big Money Empire or turning inwards to become a more honorable, honest and normal country again.

Posted by: Scorpion | Jun 18 2022 21:37 utc | 94

NemesisCalling @ 62

Sorry, international law as used by RF and China isn't "international law" as is "rules based law" both uttered with air quotes, the latter which doesn't exist without air quotes. IOW these aren't two sides of the same bullshit coin, where both are invented, expedient terms for whatever powerful nations define them to be. Russia and China define international law very clearly as mutually agreed upon treaties commercial and political declared and singed in front of the world community, as in the UN, but a real UN not the one we have now compromised by corruption and beholden to the USA that just ignores one side breaking treaties w/o consequence or even censure.

Certainly you can be skeptical that international law can ever prevail, at least for long, when there can never be an ultimate enforcer, mostly it'll be back to the pre-world WW2 world anarchy and self intrest, of large power abuse and treachery. But any attempt to build a functioning stable multipolar order will have to have respect for international law at it's core, at least for a while... maybe a century of stability and prosperity? I'll take half a century at this point. C'mon, you gotta believe, either we stick with USA hegemony and go down the shitter or we give this multipolar world thing a shot.

Posted by: LightYearsFromHome | Jun 18 2022 21:38 utc | 95

John Kauai @78: "Let us recall that Ritter initially thought Russia would go in to Ukraine the same way that the USA went into Iraq. Destroy everything and move on. He was predicting Russia would overrun Ukraine very quickly."

This very prediction illustrates profound ignorance of what Russia's whole SMO is all about. I had never predicted the Russians would do an American style "Shock & Awe™" campaign in the Ukraine. I've predicted that the Russians would (should, actually) use tactical nukes, but never in the Ukraine. Poland? Sure. Romania? Absolutely. Germany, Britain, and maybe even the US itself? Yup, for sure, but never the Ukraine. If you cannot see the distinction then you are failing to understand what the Russians are fighting for.

This failure to understand what the Russians are fighting for seems to be a very much generalized problem in the West. If people cannot comprehend what the Russians are hoping to achieve then how can they hope to be able to negotiate with the Russians? This is why the Russians, while still willing to negotiate, put very little faith in the outcome of negotiations. How to negotiate with people who can only hear themselves? How can you even communicate at all with such people?

Ritter is a smart guy, but he is an American and a "liberal" (not the American partisan sense but the larger economic philosophy sense). As such he is 24x7 swimming is a stew of delusion and make-believe. Unlike most in the West he seems to be keeping his head above the surface and is not drowning in that stew, but his perspective being shaped by it is unavoidable. In America money is considered the physical manifestation of the abstract concept of power, but you cannot print power. In the real world it is power that is real and the value of dollars that is the imaginary abstraction.

It maybe that RSH lacks imagination, and it is certainly true that well-off westerners rely heavily upon their imaginations, but fantasy tends not to stand up very well to a TOS-1a thermobaric barrage. Imagination is nice but it is overrated in America and it is unwise to use it as the foundation for one's worldview.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 18 2022 21:38 utc | 96

@NemesisCalling #79
I disagree with what you said.
There have been multiple attempts, over the past 100 years, to set up international standards and laws. The League of Nations first, then the UN later.
As such, your statement that "it is not something that exists today in any way, shape, or form" is correct.

I would not disagree that both institutions were/are dysfunctional in practice; but the former was crippled by the lack of presence of major powers: the US, Germany, Japan etc while the latter was heavily skewed by the Cold War.

The difference this time is that China and Russia, as well as India and many other nations, are putting their active support behind the original goals envisioned by the League of Nations and the UN.

As for your statement that "Leaders aren't stupid, c1ue. The empire butters their bread until another emerging power can woo them away. It doesn't mean that these leaders are looking out for this silly pie-in-the-sky law for all when they move to Russia and China. It just means the gig is up for the empire." - I can't say I agree with this either.

As I very clearly illustrated way back in early March - the numbers of nations going along with US/EU sanctions is very few outside of the Five Eyes, EU and Japan.

But the empire isn't dead - the above nations represent 40% of world GDP even if a much smaller fraction of the population.

The Empire is clearly not "done" in the EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea or Japan.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 18 2022 21:42 utc | 97

Posted by: Kauai John | Jun 18 2022 21:16 utc | 89
"Does it make any sense at all that Ukraine would keep sacrificing thousands for no reason at all?"

This is pure hand-waving. We've all seen the reports about the level of Ukrainian leadership. We've all seen the reports about conflicts between the Ukrainian military leadership and the Ukrainian political leadership, and we've all read the reports of the reasons why the political leadership thinks they need to retain territory in order to have some sort of "bargaining chip" at negotiations when the war ends. Mercouris has covered this in detail in his videos.

Where have you been during all this?

"IOW, I'm inclined to believe that "regulars" are being re-trained. In light of the fact that we have no confirmation one way or the other, perhaps we should just consider what it might mean if it is true rather than just declare it false."

There is zero evidence. Speculating that it "might be true" is pointless absent any evidence that it is. We have been given explicit numbers of Ukrainian troops being trained outside of Ukraine. There is no photographic or video evidence of anything more than handfuls being trained. But we're supposed to consider your speculation as a reason to declare Ritter correct in his assertions about 700,000 men under arms, which is nothing but a Ukrainian claim?

"Even the Duran has been talking about US efforts to make this a "forever war". Michael Hudson predicted a couple of months ago it was going to last for 30 years. Now this all depends on what your definition of "forever" is and what "war" is, but let's look at the "cold war" for a possible clue."

Sigh. Now you're being willfully obtuse. Ritter has NEVER said that the "forever war" was anything other than INSIDE UKRAINE. How many times do I have to repeat that before you get a clue? The Duran and Hudson are not talking about the war INSIDE UKRAINE. They are talking about the overall conflict between Russia and NATO. Anyone who says otherwise is a moron incapable of understanding simple English. Perhaps English is not your first language?

"Ritter won't look foolish for being found out wrong"

Yes, he will. He already does.

"I want to note that (I felt) Johnson and Ritter mostly worked out their differences in the podcast offered from ustourofduty."

Johnson had very weak rebuttals to Ritter's statements. He hardly brought up any of the arguments I have. Ritter dominated the conversation and talked much longer than Johnson did. They merely agreed to disagree. No differences were "worked out".

"It is Ritter's tendency to take offense (which I totally forgive him for) over repeated slurs against him that work against him. When I shut that out, he and Johnson are very, very congruent."

Not on the points of contention which were why the video was done. Both of them mostly let the contention slide and moved on to other matters on which they - and I - already agree. Secondly, there were no "slurs" against Ritter, other than some people who have suggested that he was compromised - which I reiterate I don't believe is the case. The arguments against Ritter by almost all of the analysts I follow - with the sole exception of Gonzalo Lira, which is not surprising - were logical arguments, not slurs. I can't remember any analyst, other than some people here, who have cast slurs on Ritter. I call him irrational and illogical because his assessment is such.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 21:44 utc | 98

@Richard Steven Hack #82
How often does Lira present figures?

Ritter is getting his info from at least the same open sources as Lira and everyone else is - but he is also clearly focusing on more than just the front line reports. Being ex-Marine and international weapons inspection, he likely has contacts all over Western militaries.

As such, it is a critique that evidence has yet to be presented, but it is not a criticism that he has yet to do so because he never presents detailed source data - very possibly because some of these sources cannot be identified without endangering them.

In any case, I have made it clear that you are either not paying close attention to what he said or you are allowing your antipathy for his views on one position to color your view on everything he says.

Neither is productive.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 18 2022 21:46 utc | 99

@ Richard Steven Hack | Jun 18 2022 20:52 utc | 82

I'll reiterate my view that the people dismissing my arguments are people who don't want Russia to win this for their own reasons. And that includes Ritter.

Interesting.

There is NOTHING from Ritter suggesting he wants to declare a "winner". Anyone who thinks so, has made it up in their head. And you've pretty much made it clear that you think you're so much smarter than the rest of us that if we don't agree with you, we're morons. Guys like you tend to recruit vocal imbeciles to their side, IOW, the ridiculous condemnations of Ritter.

I have no desire for either side to win -- just like I think Ritter feels. But I do recognize that it was the US/NATO that made this happen. Ritter knows it was NATO. Any suggestion he doesn't is silly.


IMHO, there is no "win" to be had here, just a new cold war between the East and the West.

A betrayal by the Oligarchy. Is that who you support?

Posted by: Kauai John | Jun 18 2022 21:47 utc | 100

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