What’s going on here is that the West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked. — John Mearsheimer at a talk given on September 25, 2015
The much-hyped Ukrainian spring offensive has failed. This was not unexpected. It always had as little a chance for success as the German army’s chance in the Battle of Kursk in 1943, and for the same basic reasons. It is unknown how many casualties the Ukrainians have taken since it began, but the number of dead and wounded is likely very large. What is certain is that the Armed Forces of Ukraine has not made any significant gains against the Russian army’s defense in depth posture.
While the Ukrainian government probably holds the lion’s share of the blame for the stalemate, the failure of this offensive is an enormous military disaster for the Biden regime. It is the second military debacle that the obviously senile President has presided over. There is also a border crisis that further calls Biden’s governing abilities into question.
I am uncertain why there was a strong push to attack in such a haphazard way in the first place. It could be due to domestic political pressure on the Ukrainian government to “do something.” It could also be the result of pressure from NATO and the United States to win a victory before the war, which is deeply unpopular in the US, becomes a hot potato in the upcoming 2024 election campaign.
The roots of failure
General George Pickett was in command of a division that was wiped out in an ill-advised frontal attack on a well-prepared Union position during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. This defeat cost the South the battle, and quite possibly the war. Years later, Pickett was asked why the charge had failed. He responded, “I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” Pickett rightly pointed out that it was the Union army’s military skill which caused the attack to fail.
It is the same in Ukraine in 2023. The Russians were able to stop the Ukrainian offensive by maintaining air supremacy; building a massive, interconnected trenchworks in which Russian forces are secure from bombardment; and laying possibly millions of tank traps, mines, and barbwire fences before their fortifications — all of which are covered by both direct and indirect fire. Additionally, the Russians have successfully deployed their industry to manufacture drones which have destroyed Ukrainian armored vehicles while still on the approach march to their jump off points.
Another reason for the disaster is the Ukrainian government’s political decision to hold Bakhmut at all costs. The Ukrainian army lost irreplaceable manpower defending a city with little strategic value. The Ukrainians killed in Bakhmut are the phantom limb of the spring offensive. The manpower is not there, but its loss is being felt.
The Ukrainian army has also been unable to carry out combined arms operations in which artillery, electronic/cyber warfare, and aviation works together with the ground forces to achieve success. This could be due to a Ukrainian inability to apply the lessons they were taught by their NATO instructors, the slap-dashed and haphazard training itself, and/or the fact that NATO’s training and military doctrine is unsuitable for present conditions.
There are problems among Ukraine’s allies that are affecting the war as well. Massive rioting by migrants in France led to a number of Koran burnings in Sweden which alienated Turkey, a NATO member state, just as Sweden is attempting to join NATO, and increased social tensions with the Islamic world more generally. America’s long-running deindustrialization crisis is also a factor. American industry cannot keep up with the demand for armored vehicles and artillery shells which the Ukrainian army requires because it no longer possesses the infrastructure to rapidly produce large quantities of weapons and ammunition.
The lying press
The bitter fruits of the American mainstream media’s dishonesty and partisanship are further damaging the Ukrainian war effort. In the run-up to the war, the mainstream media spun an uncompromising narrative of Russian villainy which many Americans don’t accept. Their reporting reflects the bias of the American foreign policy establishment, and thus has signaled to the Russians that there was no possibility for negotiation, thus guaranteeing a war.
The mainstream media has not adjusted their editorial slant even as the reality of the dire situation in Ukraine becomes ever more apparent. Realists such as John Mearsheimer, who famously warned audiences in 2015 that “the West” — by which he really means anti-Russian Jews, sneering white liberal elitists, and Ukrainian hardliners — had embarked upon a strategy guaranteed to lead to a war in which the Russians have all the advantages, have either been silenced by the mainstream media or attacked for their views. Successful military theorists such as Colonel (Ret.) Douglas MacGregor, who accurately predicted the failure of the Ukrainian offensive months ago, was recently “scolded” when pointing out ongoing problems. His analysis was utterly disregarded in the national narrative.
Military analogies to the current situation abound. This failure could be a temporary setback for Ukraine akin to the Union army’s retreat after the disastrous Battle of Chancellorsville in the spring of 1863. It could also be the beginning of a downward trend for Ukraine, such as was the case for the Confederacy when the Union army turned back Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg and captured Vicksburg. The Ukrainian army could also break, as the French army did in 1917. And naturally, something unforeseen could happen.
The Russians have undoubtedly secured a considerable advantage, however. They have more artillery, more troops, more ammunition, and have very likely taken fewer casualties than the Ukrainians. It is very likely that this war will end with Russia in control of the Russian-speaking areas of eastern Ukraine.
NATO will certainly take a hit when this happens. The resentment felt by ordinary Americans over the fact that the US has been providing for the defense of Europe and other places at their expense has been simmering under the surface since 1991. This resentment has only continued to grow despite being suppressed by the American political elite. Additionally, this conflict has caused NATO to begin showing some cracks, and they are continuing to grow. While America’s isolationists quietly make gains, Germany’s long-running national interest in having good relations with Russia is also returning to the fore. An adjustment within NATO will probably follow.
A small victory
There are signs that Ukraine’s Western backers are losing faith in a total Ukrainian victory. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recently proposed NATO membership for Ukraine in return for territorial concessions, which would mean that Russia would keep the territory it gained by conquest while the rest of Ukraine would become part of NATO. France’s globalist former President Nicolas Sarkozy also encouraged Ukraine to accept Crimea’s accession to Russia. These statements might be signals that Western Europeans are willing to support negotiations. So far the Ukrainian government has rejected these trial balloons, but it is a step towards an end to the bloodshed.
While Ukraine’s performance in its spring offensive is a disappointment, Ukrainian valor is unquestionable. Ukrainian society has also held together. In 1917, when an independent Ukraine briefly came about during the Russian Revolution, the nation’s government — such as it was — was riven with factions. Militias of various political stripes, including anarchism, caused trouble. Ukrainian society imploded shortly thereafter to such a degree that the Soviet Union was able to take the region — and famine and terror followed.
Today, one thing is certain: Even if there is a peace treaty, it is certain that Ukraine will continue to exist as an independent nation-state whose people will be free to develop their culture in a positive way.
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