Friday, March 01, 2019

Russia: We Have Met the Enemy, and He is Us*

Russia is not the superpower it pretends to be.

Putin is "struggling" to modernize his navy? The man is struggling with reality:

President Vladimir Putin calls improving the Russian navy’s combat capabilities a priority. ...

The navy’s problems stem largely, but not exclusively, from the Ukrainian sanctions. There are also problems, for different reasons, with new equipment for the army and air force.

The picture that emerges is that Russia’s armed forces are not as capable or modern as its annual Red Square military parades suggest and that its ability to project conventional force is more limited too. [emphasis added]

Russia does a lot of chest beating and poo flinging. I have said that Russia not "back" and that Russia can basically nuke us or send in the special forces. Between those two things Russian military power is limited. The so-called "hybrid" warfare that too many in the West build up as some magical capability is a reflection of that conventional force weakness.

Come on people, raise your hand if you think beginning year six of their subliminal war with Ukraine was all part of Putin's deep plan? Anyone? Bueller?

Who plans a stalemate that saps your forces, as I noted in this post, if they can avoid it?

In a timely post, Strategypage reviews the clusterf*ck of Russia's economy and foreign adventures, including the Donbas region where Russia has to replace worn out local rebels with their own troops despite not being able to afford the cash or casualties. The war has become the bleeding ulcer I wanted it to be from the beginning. Strategypage notes that it is amazing that the Russians think there is a Western plot to wreck Russia when the Russians do such a good job of that themselves.

And on top of that narrow failure, Russia managed to anger and awaken a sleeping NATO.

Really. Nice work. Bravo.

Exactly what evidence is there that Putin is some sort of strategic genius? Because I don't see it.

Not that Russia isn't a real danger to NATO. Because of geography, Russia can mass overwhelming force against weak border states in the West (both NATO and non-NATO) to achieve limited objectives quickly before NATO can mobilize and counter-attack. Russia can hope the threat of firing nukes to defend those ill-gotten gains will be sufficient to win the war.

But Russia is not in the same category of threats that China is .

And really, Putin cracks me up. Why is the navy a priority when any sentient being can see that a fleet is the last thing Russia needs to prioritize.

Russia could have joined the West after the Cold War. But no. Seriously, will nobody in Russia tell Putin he is effing up royally?

In a pre-publication addition, Strategypage notes:

It was bad enough when Russian staff officers and Defense Ministry analysts said it but now foreign nations are saying it too; Russia is weak and getting weaker both economically and militkarily. ... Prospects for improvement are dim and the government has resorted to the Iranian tactic of full time faking it. That means a continuous stream of press releases about new weapons and technologies that, at best, exist in small quantities and in most cases are still stuck in development. This works for a while but eventually becomes tragicomic and counterproductive.