By David Glenn Cox
When Yuri comes marching home again, hurrah, hurrah! The days of the Iron Curtain are over. The Russian call up of reservists brings a wail of grief from a population, not fooled by state media. Sobbing women and children already in grief from scuttle butt alone, despite assurances that everything will be fine. But the Russian public isn’t buying it for a second. The formerly Iron Curtain is pretty porous in the Internet age.
A special military operation that should have been over six months ago. Now, you’re calling up 300,000 troops. It’s going that well, huh? But this a double-edged message from Vladimir Putin. On the heals of a successful Ukrainian summer offensive, Putin is telling the Ukrainians, Negotiate, for we will never quit the field. See? I’ll call up 300,000 men largely useless to us except as potato peelers and night watchmen, to make a show of our strength.
The other day, a Russian supply train filled with T-62B fifty-year-old Soviet era tanks arrived in Ukraine. And pulling into the old train depot was immediately set upon by an artillery attack. The Russians move almost all of their supplies by rail. It means they are chained to the rail and there is no such thing as a secret supply base. You can repair a road bridge or build a pontoon bridge in a day or so, but not so, a rail bridge. Adding 300,000 new mouths to feed complicates matters more than it advantages.
A hundred advanced fighter jets and some tanks designed and built in this century would help the Russians far more than 300,000 reservists ever will. The Russian battle plan has failed and there is nothing Putin can do about it now. This isn’t 1942, he can’t open a factory and start cranking out tanks or helicopters. That takes years to build and money, and Putin has neither on hand.
The modern battlefield demands that you control the sky for without it, you control nothing. Naked and vulnerable to attack and unable to respond in kind. It was our old friend Napoleon who said that he who builds fortresses has already lost the battle.
British designed American artillery with a longer range than available in comparable Russian artillery, means Yuri can’t hit back. So successful, that the Ukrainians are using the ammunition faster than the US can make it. They want 12,000 rounds per month, and that’s more than we are set up to produce. So, the pentagon is now looking for sub-contractors to plug the production gap.
It was supposed to be a quick strike decapitation but failed, due to Russian incompetence. Then the Russians moved to “B” don’t they know who we are? We’ll bomb your apartment buildings and kiddee shelters. Take hostages and commit political murders until you quit. Real Stalinist stuff with torture and mutilation and mass executions, all the usuals.
That hasn’t worked either and has had the opposite effect, just as it always does. In the old days, they could just hand you a spear and a helmet at the door and sort of point you down the road. But you need mechanics and supply trucks and drivers and people working in supply depots now. The reservists are going to be a Hodge podge collection of only those not smart enough to get away. The wailing of the Russian public tells you all you need to know. They see disaster ahead in this.
It’s the dictators lament, if it doesn’t do what you want it to do, hit it. If it still doesn’t do what you want it to do, hit it again. He can’t (won’t) back down now without losing face. Potentially losing his job, with all that that entails in Russia. Sometimes in Russia, the Party holds you! Careful comrade, those stairs are very slippery. Like any politician, Putin’s chances of surviving a lost war politically, are slim and remote. This is all or nothing and he’s betting the house because he is cornered.
Why is Putin sending fifty-year-old tanks to the front lines? When he is losing the war now with newer and superior models. The air force is bled dry and will never have air superiority now. No matter how many reservists he calls up.
At one time, there were a great many reports of Russian soldiers purloining electronics, jewelry, and cash from Ukrainians. Now a new phenomenon, as many of the Russian soldiers are doing their very best Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions for the locals. “Give me your clothes if you want to live!” Then stealing their cars and leaving a Russian uniform behind in exchange.
The question is how many men? How many men are deserting each week? Fifty, one hundred? Three hundred? Men just disappearing into the woods at night and never seen or heard from again is contagious.
Calling up 300,000 reservists can’t fix that, nor could a million reservists fix it. As running away requires little formal training, the new guys will pick it right up from watching the old veterans. “Where’s Yuri?” A special military operation that was going to be over in a few days’ rocks along into its seventh month. Events and supplies unplanned for and only stabilized by the Russian forces standing still and making themselves a target.
Putin holds phony referendums to skirt Russian law about sending draftees outside of Russia for an undeclared war. He wants to legitimize what he now holds and sue for peace. Because he knows that his position will never be better than it is right now. Putin is admitting defeat and settling for half a loaf. Trying to keep his nose in the air proudly and not admit that he’s only hanging on by a thread.
It reminds of “All Quiet on the Western Front” a generation of young men drafted and used as cannon fodder to keep the war going for one more day. Until they run out of bullets or run out of men. The eventual result was in dying to appease the Emperor’s petty ambitions. Just go out there and die for the good of the team. Come on then, be a good sport.
Putin was going to conquer the whole of Ukraine with his army and failing that, was going to concentrate on the lower third. Now, he’s calling up 300,000 reservists, because it’s going that well.
Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?