I will defer to Big Serge and Simplicius on their updates on the attack on the Kakhovka Dam and the “progress” of Ukraine’s long awaited counter offensive. No need for me to plow the ground twice since I agree with their respective takes on the situation. Here is Simplicius’ bottomline:
I said last time that the AFU strategy will be as follows:
They will increase the pressure on all these fronts in order to try to find a weak point. In a sense, it’s a larger scale continued recon-by-fire, but it seems a final preparatory one rather than the initial, much smaller speculative ‘feeler’ ones we’ve had for weeks.
But here’s the kicker. If they don’t find a weak spot and continue to be brutally rebuffed as they have been so far, the AFU plans to simply never announce this as the offensive. They will just pretend they are ‘testing’ Russia and the mythical offensive is still yet to come at some arbitrary and obscure future time.
But if they do find a weak spot, they will throw everything to punch through it and then ex post facto claim this was the major offensive all along. In short, they’re playing the dual psychological game I had already described long ago, the sort of phantom Schrodinger’s Offensive, where the plan is to characterize the actions afterwards depending on their success.
I stand by my previous assessment — Ukraine may be able to inflict a bloody nose or two on the Russians but they will pay a terrible price in men and equipment that are irreplaceable. The Ukrainian offensive is not comparable to Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, but it is worth noting that the initial dramatic successes of the Nazis during the first five months of their futile attempt to take Moscow, that offensive ran out of steam and they were pushed back. Unlike the Nazis, the Ukrainians are short of men, tanks, artillery and close air support. They do not have the ability to sustain an offensive and Russian reserves, once deployed to fill the gaps, not only will stop the Ukrainian attack but will inflict massive casualties that will extinguish the Ukrainian attempt to fore the Russians to abandon the war in Ukraine.
On this point I take note of the delusional op-ed posted by two denizens of the Atlantic Council — Messrs. John E. Herbst and Daniel Fried. Herbst is the senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006. Fried is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, served as assistant secretary of state for European affairs and was on the National Security Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. These two gents are the quintessential reps of the Washington foreign policy establishment. Here’s snippet of their op-ed in the Washington Post:
Ever since Russia first invaded and occupied parts of Ukraine in 2014, far too many Western policymakers assumed that Crimea was Russia’s real red line — the one territorial conquest it could never part with. Russia itself has spent considerable energy stressing this to Western interlocutors since then.
In reality, Crimea represents a point of maximum leverage. It is exactly where Ukraine needs to make battlefield gains to bring this war to a successful conclusion. . . .
A Ukrainian advance that put Crimea within Ukrainian artillery range would create a huge and expensive logistical problem for Russian President Vladimir Putin. His military and civilian administration in Crimea would be particularly threatened if Ukraine were also able to fully destroy, or even keep under steady fire, the bridge over the Kerch Strait connecting the peninsula directly with Russia. Such a setback would have political ramifications in Moscow, and the fissures that we currently see in the Putin regime would grow.
They cannot even tell the truth about the start of the conflict in the Donbass. Russia did not invade. While Russian provided materiel support to the militias in Donestsk and Luhansk it never deployed it. military force into the fray. The Donbass militia’s fought the Ukrainian Army to a standstill and that stalemate continued until Russia launched its Special Military Operation in February 2023. Like a degenerate gambler on a losing streak they are going all in on Russia failing to defend Crimea with the vain hope that this will create such turmoil in Moscow that Putin will be ousted. Ain’t going to happen.
The real wild card is the upcoming massive NATO military exercise slated to kick off next week. There is some speculation that NATO is using this as cover to intervene in the Ukraine war and attack Russia. I do not want to believe that the United States and NATO are that crazy. However, their escalation in terms of sending tanks and other advanced weapons systems must be taken at face value and Russia must be prepared to fend off a NATO attack.
The Ukrainian counter offensive is not weakening Russia resolve. Just the opposite. It is solidifying Russia’s belief that the West is intent on attacking and trying to destroy Russia. This in turn is hardening Moscow’s stance and guarantees that Russian forces will be attacking Ukrainian and NATO assets inside Ukraine with greater intensity in the coming weeks. We are living in the most volatile, dangerous moment since the end of World War II and the West, with its intransigence, appears intent on crossing a red line. Pray for peace but prepare for an expanded war.
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