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An essay on aborting a mission

Again and again we read and hear that the Russians are running out of precision missiles. And then there is yet another massive attack, bigger than any of the previous attacks. Various stories meant to support the thesis that Russia doesn’t have the means to continue hitting targets all over Ukraine, gradually destroying electricity nodes, and degrading the network. I’m in no position to tell you if that is true, or not, but it hasn’t been true for the past five months, and an embarrassed ‘New York Times’ offered a wide range of possible explanations, which ignored the possibility that Russia ‘came prepared’, and built the factories to produce them in huge quantities. 


Which, by the way, includes crucial parts like microchips and the engines to propel these weapons. The simple fact that Russia didn’t surface as a serious producer of microchips doesn’t mean anything. If they never made them available in quantities for consumer goods up till now, they could still have had a plant and design-bureau working for the military exclusively. Moreover, even pretty sophisticated stuff doesn’t always need ‘high-end’ microchips to do amazing things. Theories which suggest the involvement of ‘third countries’ are just that: Theories. And if a theory is wrong, it could have dire consequences on the battlefield. 


Again, Putin has been warning for an armed confrontation since the Munich ’security conference’ of 2007, if NATO would insist on expanding, in direct conflict to promises to Russia that they would not move ‘one inch’ East after reuniting East- and West-Germany. Revisiting the problem on numerous occasions, most prominently when NATO removed the elected president in Ukraine to install a regime to its liking in 2014. And culminating in a ‘final offer’ last year, with an urgent appeal on NATO to come to the negotiating table to establish a security framework for Europe. Understanding it was the underdog, they couldn’t afford not to think about what a military clash in Ukraine would ‘look like’. And what they would need to save the day. NATO did not run blind into that alley, since it openly built up the Ukrainian military in preparation from 2014 onward, but they never imagined it would be a ‘War of Attrition’. As I argue on this blog, they ‘came prepared’ as well, but for the wrong war. One that would be over in no-time at all, and if it dragged on for months, it would be costly to Russia, while Ukraine would have to suffer under a temporary occupation, while the ‘Stay-Behind’ militia would drive the Russians nuts with terror attacks. Hardly a penny not already spent would be needed for that war, and the money and assets stolen from Russia in the ‘economic war’ would look good on the balance sheet of associated NATO-countries. That explanation is suspiciously absent in the ’New York Times’ article, and elsewhere among NATO-aligned commentators. But reality is a bitch. So, where are we today?


The electrical grid in Ukraine is in tatters, and after repairs the next wave of ‘depleted’ precision missiles destroys it again. This strategy of going after the network, instead of bombing the power plants and dams, has obvious reasons, since bombing nuclear reactors and flooding large parts of the country without military necessity, would be considered a ‘war crime’, unless NATO or Ukraine does it. And talking about ‘war crimes’, there was this video-evidence of Ukrainian military executing Prisoners of War, Russian soldiers who already surrendered, which is sure to have had an impact in Russia. But which impact? Western media and the UN ignoring this horror was to be expected, but there is bound to be a price to pay for this neglect at some point in time. For the moment we’re left with guesstimating whether it will reinforce support for this war, or erode it. My guess is that it is more likely to result in increased determination among the people in Russia to not let Ukraine get away with it. To understand why, you need to view this conflict as a dreaded escalation to save culturally Russian people in the Donbas, after eight years of terror. It is my impression that this is how the Russian people view this war, and such a coldblooded murder only enhances this perception. If Russians would view this war as an attempt to enlarge Russia for the benefit of Putin, or ’National Glory’, it would be (far) different. Western analysts believing their own propaganda are left drowning, as is the case with trying to guesstimate how many missiles are left. 


Now that the electrical network is ’toast’, the next target is the gas distribution. The last wave of missiles took out a factory where Ukraine is producing engines for aircraft, drones and helicopters, as well as turbines for transporting natural gas through the pipelines. It will hurt Ukraine as well as Europe, and workers in Odessa, who were treated to ‘black-outs’ since ‘Kiev’ redirected the electricity produced at the nuclear power plant nearby to the Northern and Western parts of the country, went on strike. The population turning against the continued war effort is going to be an even more serious headache for NATO than ‘Ukraine Fatigue’ in Europe. To overpower the population of Europe with dedicated efforts from the ‘security services’ in order to keep the flow of money and weapons alive will be a challenge, but directing attention to growing resistance in Ukraine itself will stretch the capabilities of the ’security services’ in Ukraine beyond breaking point, in all likelihood.


Meanwhile NATO-countries are struggling to deliver on their promises to keep the flow of weapons to replace the ones lost in the war, and the US is prepared to pay ‘top Dollar’ for manufacturers in Canada and South-Korea to produce ammunition to supply Ukraine. Even then, the amount of ammunition NATO is making available is falling way short of what Russia is capable of on the battlefield. The image over all is of NATO as an adventurer descending down an unknown cave which is said to contain a treasure, running out of rope after dropping his only light source, in pitch dark, trying to figure out whether to climb back, or to let go, guesstimating that the bottom can’t be very far, without even considering how he will be able to return with his treasure, if there actually is one. My free advise is to use common sense, abort this mission, and go and find an honest job.

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