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The Object of War
In war, territory is the arena, not the fight.
For those who have followed my commentary on this war for any length of time, I beg you to excuse me for yet again returning to a topic that has been a recurring theme for me.
I feel compelled to do so both because of my frustration that it encapsulates a concept that still remains poorly understood, and more immediately because earlier today I came across a Twitter post wherein the following was stated:
"The Ukrainian Army has taken more territory since June 6th than Russia has since the start of this year."
I won’t even bother to link to it, because it doesn’t matter who said it and where. It is an expression that has been almost ubiquitous among Ukraine/NATO supporters in this war — including substantial numbers of supposed “military experts”.
In essence, it is nothing more than what is commonly referred to as a “cope” — a delusion to which one appeals to “cope” with the cognitive dissonance induced by abundant contradictory indications.
Alas, there are mountains of falsehoods consequent to #TheImaginaryWar psyop that are widely held as indisputable truths. But they will eventually give way to the incontrovertible facts. Indeed, in the western media, we have recently begun to see many evidences of this.
As historians view these matters in retrospect, it will be much more widely and better understood that NATO and its Ukrainian proxies lost this war — and lost it badly — primarily because of their unvarying devotion to the logical fallacy embodied in the frequently expressed idea that somehow taking and holding “territory” is a meaningful measure of success in war.
As I first wrote almost a full year ago in one of my earliest formal commentaries on this war — and as I have incessantly reiterated ever since — the object of war is to destroy the enemy army.
If that objective is most effectively achieved by fighting on the offensive and conquering territory, then that is what you should do.
If, on the other hand, you can more efficiently and economically destroy the enemy army from a strong defensive position, even if that means ceding territory in order to assume such a position, then THAT is what you should do.
Absent some overriding strategic imperative, the acquisition and/or retention of "territory", per se, is a purposeless objective.
Indeed, if prosecuted wisely and professionally — and particularly if your firepower greatly exceeds that of your enemy (as is overwhelmingly the case for the Russians in this war) — one can almost always more efficiently and economically destroy enemy forces from a defensive posture.
The Russians have consistently excelled in this respect over the course of this war.
Of course, I understand perfectly well that a great many — even among pro-Russian analysts — continue to regard the late-2022 fighting retreats in the Kharkov and Kherson regions as humiliating reversals for the Russians.
I, on the other hand, from the earliest days of those AFU "counter-offensives", and continuing to the present time, remain thoroughly convinced that both operations were foreseen, plans preconceived, and retreats admirably executed by the Russian high command.
Indeed, in my view their hand was forced.
Remember, by the summer of 2022, the Russians had already comprehensively wrecked the original incarnation of The Mother of All Proxy Armies. In February 2022, the strongest components of that army had been positioned in the Donbass and in Mariupol, filled with dreams of reconquering Donetsk, Lugansk, and Crimea. But those plans proved to be far beyond their capability, and both those concentrations of Ukrainian military power were effectively destroyed in the first four months of the war.
And, as that reality became apparent in the late spring, Ukraine’s NATO overlords made the fateful decision to substantially escalate western involvement in this war by delivering more advanced heavy weaponry and munitions (M-777 howitzers, HIMARS rocket launchers, HARMS anti-radar missiles, etc.) to Ukraine, and shipping tens of thousands of hastily mobilized Ukrainian men to various European bases for formal NATO training.
The Russians, of course, realized that the game had changed. The project of demilitarizing Ukraine had suddenly morphed into the necessity of preparing to face the combined military strength of the NATO bloc. And this dictated that the Russians must: contract their lines, vastly increase production of military equipment and ammunition, and undertake a troop mobilization of their own.
I am convinced the recognized need to prepare for the possibility of direct NATO intervention has predicated the majority of Russian actions since mid-summer 2022.
Contracting their lines meant most of all to pull back from the most vulnerable portions of their flanks in Kherson and Kharkov. And therefore plans were made to do so.
But neither of these moves played out as a “tail between the legs” disorderly withdrawal as some commentators have argued. Quite to the contrary! From the very beginning of their fighting retreats, the Russians inflicted overwhelmingly disproportionate losses upon the Ukrainian/NATO forces — both in terms of personnel and equipment.
And once the Russians had completed the execution of those retreats and assumed well-conceived positions in fortified defensive lines, the AFU advances were stopped dead in their tracks!
Every subsequent Ukrainian attempt to break the Russian lines has been met with additional costly losses — losses that could only be replenished to a lesser and lesser degree by forcible conscription of more and more untrained Ukrainian men and desperately begging for more and more NATO weaponry from ever-dwindling western stockpiles.
Now we are witnessing the operations of the third Ukrainian army to take the field in this war — one armed almost exclusively with NATO weapons, and in which a substantial number of sheep-dipped NATO volunteers is participating.
And, by all indications, matters are not developing in the triumphant fashion the NATO/AFU supporters had hoped.
This should come as no surprise to anyone with an intelligently informed understanding of the current order of battle on the respective sides of this war.
Without delving into the various details, suffice it to say that, here in June 2023, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and its NATO allies have never been weaker and less-capable. Conversely, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have never been stronger and more capable. And anyone who disagrees with this assessment is either hopelessly deceived by the propaganda of #TheImaginaryWar psyop, or is himself actively propagandizing.
No amount of fantasizing can ever change the fact that Ukraine never had a chance to win this war.
Exactly how events play out from this point forward remains to be seen. Wars have a nasty habit of unpredictability. Even so, as I have repeatedly argued, I believe direct NATO intervention in the war to be extremely unlikely. That said, I am loath to underestimate the madness of the blithering fools currently wielding the levers of power in the empire.
In any case, I remain strongly persuaded that, even were the US/NATO to make the foolhardy blunder of direct intervention, they are quite simply incapable of defeating the Russians in a conventional war in Ukraine. Yes, they would instantly expand the scope, stakes, and ferocity of the war, but they could not win it, and they would suffer a humiliating and catastrophic defeat were they to attempt it — one which would then back them into a corner where they just might yield to the temptation to use nuclear weapons.
And that, of course, would be a calamity for the entire planet.