Only Second Best

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

Always listen to what your enemy is telling you. The Victory Parade in Moscow was much subdued, humble and austere this year. (And here comes the Republican Party Float! As Sarah Palin smiles and waves to the crowd. “Hello Idaho!”) There was no flyover of the parade by the Russian Air force, be that for statistical or logistical reasons. It wasn’t raining or storming, but the Russians blamed their absence on the weather just the same. Was it political? Was it “someone” storming, is someone on someone’s shit list perhaps? I suspect a little, as the Russian air force doesn’t have the pilots needed to lose 150 plus aircraft.

During the war, Japan turned out 200 rookie pilots per year. After losing over 300 pilots and aircraft in an afternoon, the mathematics became brutally obvious. From flying a Zero to a Mig 29 requires just that much more training and expertise, making the pilot even more valuable still. Russian pilots fly fewer hours than NATO pilots and there are less of them. Fewer to call up in reserve if need be. “When you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer.”

Expect a two to five year wait on new pilots. Throwing green pilots into combat is just a waste of good aircraft that they don’t have available to waste. The losses to the Black Sea fleet will take a decade to replace, if then, if ever. At one time in this war, the Russians had men and equipment loaded and ready for a sea borne invasion of Ukraine. Today, many of those vessels now guard the sea floor. And a sea borne invasion is no longer possible or will be possible, probably forever.

Two Ukrainian land-based targets were recently struck by Russian anti-shipping missiles. What does that tell you? Either a lack of reading comprehension, poor inventory control or a case of really don’t give a shit. “Our orders said, fire two missiles! Shut up Yuri! We fired two missiles!” Due to supply line disruptions Russia no longer has a supply line. And maybe a few hundred missiles in the pipeline perhaps.

So, the air force is used sparingly, using fighter bombers to drop dumb iron bombs on targets near the Russian border. Only, the fighter bombers are supposed to come out only after air superiority has been achieved. The bombers must slow to their slowest safe speed to aim their bombs. Which coincidentally, is the ideal targeting speed for a surface to air missile. Scratch the navy and watch the air force mortally wounded bleed out.

Because the air coverage is inadequate, the Russian army is forced to play hide and seek. The Army appears to have a problem with their uniforms staying on. As abandoned Russian positions are always littered with recently disposed of military clothing. It could be they don’t want to be soldiers anymore, or they aren’t alive to be soldiers anymore. But either way, the Russian Army has real bad case of “Really don’t give a shit.”

Remember a few weeks back, after the Russian Army got their ass handed to them in the north of Ukraine? The Russians then withdrew to shorten their supply lines and focus their efforts on the south. And well, that plan hasn’t exactly worked out very well either. I’m no expert on strategy or things like this, but maybe next time, don’t announce your secret military plans in advance on TV. I’m almost certain that the Ukrainians were listening in.

They are forced to play hide and seek and send out patrols, to find out where the enemy is at and where they are at. And sometimes, the patrols just hide in the woods and say they didn’t see anything when they come back. Sometimes, they just don’t come back.

Russian military hardware costing millions of dollars is still being abandoned undamaged along the roadside. Where are these soldiers wandering off to?  “That’s right Captain, Yuri and I went to take a piss and get a cup of coffee, and when we got back our thermobaric rocket launcher was GONE! I know that I locked my door. Yuri, did you lock your door? Did you take the key? And it seemed like such a nice neighborhood too.”

Russian POWs tell of being forced to drink by their officers. To cloud their minds and keep them too hung over and miserable to think of home. You can really tell with those kinds of training tactics; you’re gonna field a real good army. Russian soldiers amuse themselves with plunder, stealing everything not nailed down and waiting for the red-hot stove to cool, before attempting to move it. Meanwhile, their officers are stealing Combines and Harvestors worth a quarter of a million dollars.

A recent video showed a freight train of Russians tanks and equipment, all headed for the front. Equipment all freshly painted up from the Salvage Depot. Fifty-year-old Soviet era tanks and personnel carriers, all freshened up and repainted, ready for a new war in a new century. Obsolete equipment ready to go out and fight without air cover or proper ground support. Soldiers literally using WWII vintage weapons with duct tape on the rifle stock. If this were a dysfunctional family, it’s time for the intervention.

But it’s time for the intervention anyway. The front-line strength of the Russian Black Sea Navy is nil. The Russian air force is broken and bleeding. Without it, the Russian army is hamstrung and impotent. After the baby falls down, the baby goes boom. After military collapse comes the economic collapse, every time.

Russia has not lost just lost the war; she’s has lost her place in the world. Reaching for the brass ring, she’s fallen off the merry go round. No one knew, not even Putin himself. We all thought that they were competent. The Russian military maneuvers and tactical plans all went off without a hitch, until the other side started shooting back.

Scratch off the next twenty to twenty-five years of the Russian economy. Forget any emerging technology in Russia. Behind you are as a country, and behind you always shall be as a country. To be locked out of technology in the 21st Century is to be locked out of the Industrial revolution of the 19th Century. All in an effort to return Russia to her former Soviet glory, Putin has condemned Russia to her former Imperial past of Russian irrelevance. That backwards country at the end of the road.

“It is best to keep one’s own state intact; to crush the enemy’s state is only second best.”
― Sun Tzu

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