Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ukraine's Outer Perimeter is the Euphrates River

Remember when Russia "withdrew" from Syria after accomplishing their mission? Yep, Heroes of the Soviet Union medals all around! Not so fast. Which brings me to Ukraine. Really.

The Russians are still fighting in Syria and their problems are preventing them from kicking back and enjoying their glorious new stature:

Many of the problems Russia has in Syria are self-inflicted. For example Russia declared victory there in December 2017 to bolster morale back home. With that came the announcement that a gradual withdrawal of most Russian forces was to occur in 2018. That meant the only Russian ground forces left in Syria were to be contractors who are, of course, not members of the military. That victory claim and withdrawal plans are now on hold as Russia has to deal with heavy losses of Russians in northeast Syria (because of the Americans) and heavy losses to their Iranian allies in the south (because of Israel).

There is much more, so read it all.

As I've noted, Russia is fairly weak despite being more aggressive and threatening. They have a lot to defend and they have an insufficient military to defend it all even on paper--and only a small portion of Russia's military is good or even adequate.

So added problems in Syria for Russia limit Russian opportunities elsewhere to mischief on Twitter and Facebook, really.

So when Russia has to pay more attention to Syria, Ukraine catches a break. Ukraine should probably be complicating Russia's task in Syria, if they aren't already.

And really, we all catch a break when Russia is too busy to work against us with all their resources. As I said back when Russia intervened in Syria, arguably in part to gain leverage against the West in Ukraine, we should let Russia wallow in their war rather than do anything to make their war easier.

I'd rather oppose a weakened and busy Russia as much as Ukraine would prefer that.