Friday, June 21, 2019


The idea that Russia welcomes a "frozen" conflict in Ukraine is nonsense.

Like most decisions to start a war, the Russians thought Ukraine would be over fast:

The Russian government is furious and frustrated at the stalemate in Donbas because instead of collapsing in 2014 the Ukrainians mobilized nationwide to confront the Russian threat. Russia has no easy solution for this problem and it just seems to get worse. Russian opinion polls (which remain relatively free of corruption and manipulation) show declining popular support for the Ukrainian “operation.” The government tried to hide the extent of its involvement in Donbas and the number of Russian casualties. While the Syrian War still has popular support the Ukraine is seen as a disaster and embarrassment.

I've argued against the idea that stalemate is playing into Russia's hands:

The idea that Russia wants "frozen conflicts" as a matter of policy to maintain influence rather than representing a Plan B because Russia is still weak and can't simply conquer places seems obviously ridiculous. Did Russia seek a frozen conflict in Crimea? Hell no, Russia took it and annexed it. Case closed. Move along, nothing to see. And if Russia had the opportunity to win in other frozen conflicts they'd take it.

Russia wages limited war because their means are limited:

So Russia is developing a strategy of limited actions that codifies their recent history? Meh. They can dress it up all they like but it is still a reflection of weakness. Russia would roll in with mass armor and carpet bombing if they thought they could do that and wrap up a crisis in a month.

Keep in mind that "freezing" the war is not just a Russian decision:

The Trump administration will deploy $250 million worth of military aid and equipment – some of it lethal – to Ukraine's armed forces as it seeks to deter Russian aggression amid a recent spike in hostile acts, the Defense Department confirmed Tuesday. ...

The new equipment the U.S. will provide includes sniper rifles for Ukraine's special operations forces, as well as grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars and equipment to detect and protect against electronic warfare. The Obama administration and initially President Donald Trump balked at sending lethal weapons to Ukraine reportedly for fear of provoking Moscow, despite pressure from Congress. Trump authorized sending Javelin anti-tank missiles in 2017.

The U.S. will also increase its support to the Ukrainian navy and maritime troops, following last year's crisis at the Kerch Strait resulting in Russia's capturing 24 Ukrainian seamen, who remain in detention under the auspices of criminal proceedings.

There is quite an industry that takes anything Russia does and then dresses it up as a deep chess move that is outsmarting the world.

Chimps with nukes, I say.