Biden’s War: Humpty takes a fall.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again
The NYT likes to tell adult kid stories.
Kids like Mommy and Daddy to tell them stories, or better still read to them from picture books . They don’t care if they are true or not. They just want good stories, which Mommy and Daddy like, too. That mental template persists so when you grow up you read the New York Times.
The problems that beset the Russian military in its failed attempt to seize Kyiv are likely to continue into the next phase of the war, according to independent analysts, giving the Ukrainian military a chance to drive back the invading force.
Big militaries fight with tight organization and strict hierarchy, with multiple levels of command ensuring that large forces can move in a coordinated way, but during the current invasion, analysts and U.S. officials have said, the Russian military has abandoned that structure. It has formed 800-person-strong battalion tactical groups, and to fill them out it has combined units that had not previously worked together, and gutted the middle layers of its battlefield command structure.
Those choices contributed to the logistics and communication problems that hampered the Russian military, leading to its defeat in the battle for Kyiv, and exposed deep weaknesses in its forces, outside analysts said.
Julian Barnes, NYT
Barnes is just another NYT staff writer doing an op-ed with all the usual canards, relying on unnamed “independent analysts” in the first paragraph — “analysts” plural of course as if there was some kind of consensus among unbiased, objective “experts” in the field of military affairs. Not that any such experts exist.
The kind of stuff is almost always done in the beginning of an article to orient the reader and setup a mental landscape which will be the backdrop for the rest of story — standard media device for persuading you that an article is credible, when it is clearly not.
“Independent” analyst? Haha
Barne’s actual source of “outside analysis” is the American Enterprise Institute, a rightwing neocon organization originally founded to counter FDR’s “New Deal” and now run by Frederick Kagan whose brother Robert is married to Nuland of “fuck the EU” fame and widely regarded, as organizing the American destabilization of the Ukraine and violent coup in 2014.
Sorry folks — the AEI has as much credibility as Donald Trump. Maybe less.
Come to think of it, you could say the same for the NYT. Trump produces shit that’s easy to see. The NYT, fries it and adds a nice tomato sauce, gives it a name in French, and makes you pay for it. Either way, it’s still shit. And ultimately America just loves crap. Why else is McDonalds the country’s national symbol.
Joking aside, there’s a lot of “misinformation” in this article.
There was, for example, no “Battle for Kiev”. If there were, it would imply that Russians wanted to take the city . They never tried although of course, they could have done it easily, if not for collateral damage which they had committed to avoiding and also the necessity of reinforcing the minimal force using. To take a city, you need a 3:1 advantage — or simply, as the Americans did in Fallujah, just level it with artillery and aerial bombing.
Instead, the Russians “kettled“ Kiev” which kept UAF forces in the West from reinforcing their forces in other areas, and exposed advanced weaponry in the city itself, especially missile batteries, which they could then take out with precision strikes.
By so doing, the Russians were able to divert available forces and secure all nuclear sites, as well as biolabs elsewhere in Western Ukraine.
Despite what Frederick Kagan thinks, the new Russian forces are impressive in all respects and NATO, would be at a disadvantage in terms of technology should it try to attack Russia. Hypersonic weapons and the new Samrat ICBM which can be used with a 10 ton payload and 10 to 15 warheads and offers huge kinetic power for non-nuclear strikes are examples of the Russian advantage.
The Russians simply do more with less.
But how do they do it?
The Russian BTG of “Battalion Battle Group” is fairly small — 600 to 800 men, with smaller subgroups. The command structure of the Russian military recalls the German military concept of Auftragstaktik.
In general, one does well to order no more than is absolutely necessary and to avoid planning beyond the situation one can foresee. These change very rapidly in war. Seldom will orders that anticipate far in advance and in detail succeed completely to execution.
The higher the authority, the shorter and more general will the orders be. The next lower command adds what further precision appears necessary. The detail of execution is left to the verbal order, to the command. Each thereby retains freedom of action and decision within his authority.
Helmut Karl Bernhard von Moltke, Instructions for Large Unit Commanders (1869)
Where the Wehrmacht was successful in WWII, it was thanks to this doctrine. The Wehrmacht was far better than the US or American militaries, killing 50% more enemy soldiers than their counterparts — although wars are not won by body counts, as we saw in Vietnam, but by strategy.
Wehrmacht failures were largely due to imposition of top-down, multi-level authoritarian command, not unlike that in the American and British armies.
The Fins used the Auftragstaktik concept against the numerically superior Russians during their wars with great success and the military planners re-inventing the Russian military after the Chechen War could not have failed to notice.
Look at the diagram carefully: it’s quite different from American command systems, if only because it emphasizes adaptation rather than command by itself.
Putin: a strategic genius
You may not like Putin, but he is unquestionably the most successful of 21st Century leaders, except perhaps for Xi,who is also a superb strategist.
Putin is a careful, disciplined long-term thinker, good at analysis. But he is also a synthetic thinker, meaning that he synthesizes opposite points of view from analysis to come up with meaningful solutions. As in how can modern Russia with just 140 million people face off against the combined might of the US and Europe? Finland and Vietnam proved that a smaller, weaker opponent can still win — but they have to think outside the box.
If you read my articles on Substack and Medium (and elsewhere), “The Tao of Vladimir Putin”, “Putin and the Fighter Pilot”, and so on, Putin’s strategy resonates with a way of thinking more common in the East than in the West — as expressed by Sun Tzu, Musashi, the Tao, martial arts, and, oddly enough, by John Boyd, the fighter pilot and Bruce Lee. They all channel a creative multidimensional thinking style that contrasts the linear logic that most Westerners use. Not that Putin necessarily knows anything about Bruce Lee or Musashi or Boyd . If you have studied the martial arts, however, as Putin has, the same ideas come to the fore. I call it “vortical thinking” because it is three dimensional, like fibonacci geometry, essentially quantum — not just zeros and ones but everything in between and sideways.
Even Putin’s economic strategy partakes of this cognitive yin-yang-ish style, reconciling contradictions between capitalism and social responsibility, big business and small business, autarky and international collaboration.
Thanks to Putin’s gifts, the Russians won the physical part of ‘war’ against Ukraine in the first week or so with their lightning strike to Kiev, air supremacy and isolation of the best UAF forces in cauldrons in the Donbass. With the UAF hamstrung, the goal shifted to demilitarization — the destruction of Ukraine’s military capabilities — and denazification — the destruction of the right-wing fascist command structure in all Ukrainian institutions, including the military.
What is remarkable is that Putin did all with this as few as 60,000 men, according to some estimates (I always figured 100,0000) — outnumbered 3:1 by a technically well-equipped and competent enemy, with years of the best NATO training — which, of course, does not bode well for NATO should it ever face off against Russia.
The Russian BTG of “Battalion Battle Group” is fairly small — 600 to 800 men, with smaller subgroups. But it is nothing like what the Barnes article characterizes it as. BTG training emphasizes initiative, communication, and innovation — at all levels. Goals and rules are necessary top-down but general revised and re-oriented on the basis of bottom-up feedback from the field. Every decision is tested and then re-evaluated. It’s fast, efficient and effective. Think of it as the Russian military version of Japanese “Lean Management”. While the Americans are bogged down doing endless PowerPoint, the Russians go to war with their objectives on a single A4 sheet of paper.
The American War on the World
Western Ukraine started a war on Eastern Ukraine, who objected to the coup that up-ended Ukrainian democracy. Of course, that war was not called a “war” in the West because they started it — but it went on for 8 years, with ethnocidal, if not genocidal attacks on Russian-Ukrainian civilians that killed some 15,000 people, which the Western media ignored because — the West was responsible.
The coup de grace would have come this year, except that Putin, who recognized the American-Ukrainian war on Donbass and Lugansk as part of a larger war, and genocidal, if not actually genocide — per-empted the attack, which he also realized was really one battle in America’s Long War on Russia and China, which had started when these countries rose to challenge a declining Empire’s dominance.
For Russia, therefore, the Ukraine was the focal point at the center of a larger picture — an existential war that had to be fought both militarily and economically.
Now, Zelensky and his thugocracy have lost. America and its thugocracy are losing.
The Americans claim to be winning the Propaganda War but Russian support for Putin is higher than it ever has been. A propaganda war against an enemy is a silly idea because propaganda is ever only against your own people. And, after a while, people tire of the same old tropes, as they do of all forms of entertainment and advertising. Truth also inevitably leaks from information pipeline, gradually flooding the basement of the public mind. At some point, people have to pay attention to reality.
Reality also bites internationally. American propaganda no longer suffices globally, with American sanctions giving the lie to the integrity of the American dominated financial system, accelerating dedollarization. Without the dollar as the international fiat currency, America’s debts come due
Humpty Dumpty is about to fall? America will be a better omelet than it was a country.
Yankee Pankee sat on wall
Yankee Pankee had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Yankee together again.