On this day a year ago
Well, not so good this week, though I still managed to beat political journalist John Rentoul, who scored a mere 2/10. I scored 4/10. I did not know the answers to questions 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10.
Rentoul is rather odd. He claims that “star signs do not count“. I am prepared to concede that popular newspaper-style astrology is almost worthless, but I say that it stands in the same relationship to real astrology as newspaper political journalism stands in relation to serious analysis…
What a tasteless and horrible thing to do. I hope that that cruel bully gets what’s coming to him. Soon.
Those who are pushing for war or near-war with Russia over Ukraine (a territory with which, historically, the UK has had little connection, ever, incidentally) should realize that even actual chess games and poker games have led to death of participants in the past, when one player is pushed and pushed and pushed…
A few more thoughts about Ukraine strategy
This invasion was mishandled from the start by the Russian General Staff and Russian intelligence orgs. It should have been meticulously planned, but obviously was not. It has more in common with the pathetic and botched Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939-40 than with, say, the Blitzkrieg advances of the German Reich in 1939, 1940, and 1941, or indeed with the well-planned and executed Red Army advance into the Reich from 1943 to early 1945. Terrible. Heads must roll.
The Russians should have planned this so that they could have pressed a metaphorical button and said…GO!
The invasion only came after weeks of pointless sabre-rattling. Why? It should have come, as far as possible, as a bolt from the blue.
The first step, before ANY ordinary military or naval action, should have been the assassination of Zelensky and other leading political and military executives of the Kiev regime.
I have no idea whether the Russians now have much in the way of the old Spetsnaz and “Olympic Spetsnaz” special forces. In Soviet times, “Olympic Spetsnaz” units (largely composed of Olympic athletes and persons on a similar physical level) were reserved for tasks of the highest strategic importance, such as (against NATO states) destruction of missile launch sites and early-warning stations, elimination of important communications hubs, and the assassination of heads of state, heads of government, and the highest-ranking military officers.
The elimination of the Zelensky cabal should have been top priority, not just one extra idea.
Once Zelensky and his cabal were no longer active, or almost simultaneously, the Russian Spetsnaz could have taken down any civil and military communications not rocketed, and created chaos, especially in Kiev.
The Russians could then have concentrated all available forces on capturing Kiev by Blitzkrieg attack, starting with overwhelming long-range missile attacks on all important government, communications and TV/radio buildings (including police stations and Army headquarters etc), followed by a mass parachute descent by the VDV (Russian parachute shock troops) direct onto those open areas not too heavily-wooded around Kiev, such as airports. Even onto wide roads and into main squares. Among the areas and facilities to be secured— airports, main railway stations, bridges, major routes going north and east.
A risky plan, true, but the shock value of thousands of parachutes descending would have been enough to cause mass panic in Kiev. Roads jammed with destroyed cars, buses, and trucks, a headless Ukrainian government apparat, and any Ukrainian military and police personnel eliminated on sight.
Long-range rockets would have taken out at least some of Kiev’s air defences, as previously located by intelligence work.
At that point, before NATO, Biden, Boris-idiot etc even had time to say anything, let alone do anything, the main Russian invasion contingents should have swiftly begun to approach Kiev, from the north especially. At the nearest point, the distance from the Russian border to Kiev is 200 miles.
With Kiev’s airports under command, and air defences damaged or destroyed, more Russian forces could have been flown in, fighting their way into the heart of the city and to nearby strategic areas such as the already-secured bridges over the Dnieper.
On the same day, or the following day, Russian naval forces should have begun to blockade and attack the Black Sea and Sea of Azov coastal areas, while other forces began (as they have done in the real invasion) to encircle or attack the main cities of the east, notably Kharkov. Strategic targets in the west and centre of the country should have been attacked at the same time, or not long after.
The Donbass should not, in the short-term, have been a priority. Even had the Ukrainian forces stationed there for 7-8 years broken through, they would have nowhere to go, Donetsk being a border city, except into the “endless” and sparsely-populated prostor (open space) of southern Russia.
Kiev is the jewel in the crown.
Once the above had happened, there should have been the installation of, and proclamation of, an outline puppet government. Any resistance put down firmly, using pre-gathered intelligence.
With no Kiev government, with communications in chaos, with Russian troops pouring into Kiev, the remnants of the Ukrainian Army and its ragtag volunteer forces would have been leaderless, in the dark, and easily overwhelmed, at least east of the Dnieper.
As we know, the above reads like a pipe-dream compared to what actually happened.
The one single aspect that has all but killed the Russian invasion has been delay. It was delay that enabled the Kiev regime to start organizing a defence, delay that enabled the cities to be turned into fortresses, delay that enabled Zelensky to parade on the world, media (and social media) stage, delay that enabled NATO and others to start to send advanced weaponry.
As things stand, the Russians are still just keeping things stable, overall, but that is not enough.
Below, the Daily Mail assessment:
It can be seen that even the Daily Mail, while noting everything that has “gone wrong” with the invasion (with most of which assessment I can agree), still also notes that, on almost all active fronts, Russia is “winning”, albeit at a terrible cost (both for Russia and for Ukrainian civilians— and I can only agree with that, too).
There are pieces available to Putin which he has not as yet played. The first is that of the Belarussian armed forces. Relatively small, the regular Belarus Army nonetheless could exert pressure in the north/northwest, which might help the Russians in that region.
There are advanced Russian planes that have not yet been much used because they might be shot down by Ukraine’s donated NATO weaponry.
Putin can call upon reserves amounting to several million, in theory, but any fresh levies have to be equipped, transported, and fed.
Putin can, if he so chooses, flatten Ukraine’s main cities without using nuclear weapons. A terrible thing, and not at all what he wants, but he might still do that rather than “lose” the war. If he did that to all the large unoccupied eastern/central cities except Kiev, then his forces would be able to focus on and take Kiev without destroying it (and its historic landmarks).
Above all, whatever happens, Putin and Russia retain their ace-in-the-hole, the Russian strategic rocket forces and nuclear-capable air force and navy. 6,200 nuclear missiles and bombs. That power may not be useful directly in Ukraine, but keeps NATO out of the war, so far.
The “great fact” of popular strategy is that “Russia cannot be conquered”, and both Hitler and Napoleon were defeated trying to beat the odds on that.
An interesting thing is to pick any random area of Russia south or east of Moscow and look at it on Google Earth. Cities exist, yes, but once you are outside them, in the country, you are quickly in the vast landscape that made battle-hardened Wehrmacht officers tremble.
That vastness, with the Russian people (and their sense of nationality) makes Russia the toughest nut of all.
Even a nuclear war would probably not entirely destroy the essence of Russia.
State of play at Kiev, as of 25 March:
In the Kiev area, Russia is not pushing forward, and may not even be maintaining position.
I still say that, in the overall war, and despite the limited Ukrainian counter-attacks, Russia is slowly winning this, though —as also said before— at a terrible cost in human and animal suffering.
The Kiev regime must be running out of fuel in the east and centre. Fuel dumps and storage areas have been rocketed by the Russians. Food is also running out, perhaps has run out, in most of the besieged cities, though not, it appears, in Kiev itself.
Russia will not have “won” this war unless and until it has taken over and occupied all of Ukraine east of the river Dnieper (and Kiev) and, realistically, all of the coastal regions and ports, including Odessa.
For Russia simply to retain the Donbass would be unsustainable, both militarily and politically. This is now, pretty much, a fight to the death.
Anything less than occupation of the half of Ukraine east of the Dnieper, and south of a line 50-100 miles north of the Black Sea/Sea of Azov, will surely mean the end of Putin, not only politically but actually, literally. If Putin were to go into exile, a very unlikely thing, where would he go? What state would shelter him? Not Belarus, I think. Not China. North Korea? An unappealing prospect for someone akin to a modern “tsar”, to live in some remote, and guarded, North Korean villa.
No, I think that Putin will fight this war to the bitter end, even if that means nuclear war with “NATO” (the USA).
Looking a few weeks ahead, we can see the prospect that, for all of the Kiev-regime propaganda, Kharkov and most of the other cities presently besieged will be controlled by Russia, and that resistance will be confined largely to the west of the country, to Odessa, and to Kiev. By that time, Putin will presumably have decided how to take Kiev, or what else to do to bring this terribly-mismanaged episode to a close (at least in the short term).
Exactly. False freedom(s). Even as a teenager, in the 1970s, I could see that all that almost all the pop/rock stars wanted was to acquire a lifestyle and, to get it, money. They could not be compared to the great composers, even the most venal of those great composers.
Burgon’s tweet is a good example of the sheer unreality animating the self-describing “Left”.
Implied (by his other tweets etc), open borders and mass immigration (of lower cultures and races, at that), yet at the same time a better, more advanced, more prosperous, and more relaxed, society. Can’t be done. It is like pulling and pushing simultaneously at a door.
I have little quarrel with Burgon’s actual comment, taking it as it stands, but pious hopes and wishes count for little if not grounded in reality.
With the ending of the Cold War, it would have been possible for the advanced parts of the world to remove the backward Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis etc from rulership over the Gulf, and just use “their” hydrocarbon resources (entirely discovered, developed, refined, and utilized by Europeans and Americans) for the purposes of civilization. Instead of which, those backward and arrogant wastes of space have misused the monies garnered to build tasteless sprawling cities which only work because non-Gulf Arabs keep them going.
I may not like Israel and Jewry, but I dislike the Arabs too, as a group, or in general cultural-historical terms.
I hope it chokes them.
That poor bamboozled second tweeter, one Annie Sheffer, still does not know that this is part of a transnational conspiracy, of which the misnamed “British” Government is but part. Will someone let “Annie Sheffer” know the truth, and that she should google “the Coudenhove-Kalergi Plan”, “The Great Replacement, or just “White Genocide”…
Yes, it’s all connected, meaning the weaponization of climate change, and of Covid, and the plan to destroy or subvert Russia, as well as the destruction of white European race and culture.