Political decisions on the battlefield are a certain path to defeat

“President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has thrust himself more directly into strategic planning for the war in Ukraine in recent weeks, American officials said, including rejecting requests from his commanders on the ground that they be allowed to retreat from the vital southern city of Kherson.

A withdrawal from Kherson would allow the Russian military to pull back across the Dnipro River in an orderly way, preserving its equipment and saving the lives of soldiers.

But such a retreat would be another humiliating public acknowledgment of Mr. Putin’s failure in the war, and would hand a second major victory to Ukraine in one month. Kherson was the first major city to fall to the Russians in the initial invasion, and remains the only regional capital under Moscow’s control. Retaking it would be a major accomplishment for President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

Focused on victory at all costs, Mr. Putin has become a more public face of the war as the Russian military appears increasingly in turmoil, forcing him to announce a call-up this week that could sweep 300,000 Russian civilians into military service. This month, Moscow has demonstrated it has too few troops to continue its offensive, suffers from shortages of high-tech precision weaponry and has been unable to gain dominance of Ukraine’s skies.

But American officials briefed on highly sensitive intelligence said that behind the scenes Mr. Putin is taking on an even deeper role in the war, including telling commanders that strategic decisions in the field are his to make. Although Mr. Putin has accepted some recommendations from military commanders, including the mobilization of civilians, his involvement has created tensions, American officials said.”

Comment: Hitler, LBJ, Jeff Davis, they all chose to override military leadership in making military decisions. Good luck Vlad. Keep it up. pl

Vladimir Putin Gets More Involved in Ukraine War Strategy – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

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64 Responses to Political decisions on the battlefield are a certain path to defeat

  1. Fourth and Long says:

    Jefferson Finis Davis.
    Curse of the “F” middle initial – JFK, RFK?

    Was Huckleberry Finn – yes – post civil war. Dec 10, 1884 published first in United Kingdom. I didn’t know that. Refference to JFD?
    With the Kennedy’s it appears that FK meant F**Kd, with Davis F***D.
    Never made the connection, however spurious, before.

    David Brinkley on Bobby Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    I can’t recommend these brief interviews with David Brinkley highly enough. There’s one where Truman orders him to lose to Churchill at poker. But this is my favorite by far since I lived through it and knew people who knew a lot about it.

  2. Whitewall says:

    What’s next, political officials on ships in the Black Sea? Captains have enough problems already.

  3. TTG says:

    Putin must be desperate. He has several VDV brigades, including the 45th Guards Spetsnaz, on the wrong side of the Dnipro and he’s willing to have them DIP. He’s also using the “Kadyrovtsy” as barrier troops. That’s probably why some were moved to Kherson. Maybe we’ll see a Spetsnaz-TikTok troops shoot out.

  4. Jovan P says:

    @ Fourth and Long

    Do you know what iurodiv (rus. юродивый) means?

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Not by that name no, but thanks. Holy fool?

      Bobby (RFK) – bobby – oy bbb – !?
      Build back better or styxty styx styx – ббб.

      “.. but I didn’t shoot the deputy .. ” – Bob Marley.

      I thought euro division but looked it up and found their saint.

      James Joyce – Finnegan’s Wake. Mark Twain would offer him Clemency?

      • Jovan P says:

        People who acted like crazy in the name/for the sake of Christ. They were not crazy but acted so, prayed to God mostly at night, endured insults and beatings in the name of Christ. One of the heaviest crosses someone would choose to bear in (Orthodox) Christianity. A very popular saint who choose this part was St. Xenia of St. Petersburg.

        Don’t know why, but after reading your comments, I remembered the iurodivi. And the thought that says something like – all the wisdoms of this world are ridiculous before God.

  5. borko says:

    well, Hitler did prevent a major German rout in winter of 1941 by ordering his troops to stand and fight, and Stalin’s not a step back policy at Stalingrad did manage to finally stop the German advance and create conditions for a reversal.

    • Pat Lang says:

      In the winter of 1941 the Germans would have been much better off to withdraw by alternating bounds to more tenable and logistically possible positions.

      • Peter Hug says:

        In the general sense, I think listening to the recommendations of the German officers on the scene would almost never have been a mistake. They were generally quite reality based and very competent.

  6. walrus says:

    If this is true, then I suspect Russian mutinies will not be long in arriving.

    That will be followed by the removal of Mr. Putin, probably permanently by the Army, followed be a ceasefire and capitulation.I don’t for a minute think that Russian forces will act on nuclear launch commands at the moment, our IO have seen to that.

    I don’t think there is a Beria to be dealt with either.

    • d74 says:

      According to an ex-Frenchman fighting with the DNR forces for 6 years (and seriously wounded in combat), Putin’s opponents consider him too weak and too accommodating to the enemies of (holy) Russia. Only extremists can see him removed. Are these extremists in the armed forces?
      Civilian support for Putin is comfortable, over 80% in the last local elections.

      Our interest is that Putin stays in place. He is the least crazy of the bunch.

      • different clue says:

        From my position of very little knowledge, I agree. If Putin is removed, it will be by outright Duginists. Russia will then have a Duginist government and all the Russian armed forces will be given maximalist Duginist goals to achieve. ( If NATO already has a secret unstated goal of destroying the coherent RF government and dividing the RF into a Hundred Warring States . . . or if a Duginist successor government feels confident that NATO has that goal, then a Duginist government will fight on to the death of everybody.)

        If that happens, would the ChinaGov give the Russian Federation as much support as NATO will give Ukraine? Right up to the limits of what the ChinaGov feels China can economically afford? Do we really want to test that?

        • Barbara Ann says:

          different clue

          As you may know, Dugin sees this conflict as a civilizational fight to the death and no way back to the status quo ante. He gives 3 possible scenarios:

          1) Finis Rossiae – Russia loses the war, her statehood, culture and ceases to exist

          2) Finis totum – needs no further explanation

          3) Through holy war Russia is victorious. He doesn’t say so, but as we presumably avoid the above I’d guess the assumption here is the West capitulates and this is how we enter the fabled multi-polar era.

          I would be very interested to know how widely this stuff is now read. My guess is the Duginists do not have much influence yet. But I can easily see Russia losing a conventional war (but retaining her nukes) bringing widespread attention to his forecast point 1) and changing that. If whoever killed his daughter was after him they f***ed up big time. I for one wouldn’t be reading him if it wasn’t for her martyrdom.


  7. mcohen says:

    Even generals need to take orders.Called the chain of command..

    The military is only one part of a war party.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Civilian control of combat operations leads to defeat.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Have you ever written down your thoughts on Robert McNamara? I think he was out of his mind, depth, something, but definitely off the deep end while appearing perfectly rational. Rigid numbers man. Obsessive, stubborn and I guess slavishly subordinate to El BJ. (Was that an officer’s or enlisted man’s joke?) Now there’s an example of civilian leadership of a military that was off the wall. If they are in Tatto, that’s good to know, I will do a search, have only sampled fragments so far.

        • Pat Lang says:

          Yes. Search the archive.

        • Pat Lang says:

          IMO McNamara was a typical ORSA creature. It was incompressible to him that the Vietnamese communist movement would not simply give up their struggle when they understood what they were fighting in terms of the way he understood the “inputs.” He was an applied math guy through and through. He was Lemay’s chief planner in WW2 and could not understand why the Japs did not quit under B-29 bombardment of their major cities. IMO opinion he was basically a nonhuman. In the later stages of his reign as SECDEF they did an ORSA war game in DoD, not the JCS, DoD. The conclusion of the game was that N. Vietnam has surrendered in 1967. I used to see him in my club in DC. It was all I could do to keep myself from assaulting him.

          • walrus says:

            Cosmos? Reciprocal.

          • Pat Lang says:

            The Army and Navy Club (private). Farragut Square. https://www.armynavyclub.org/

          • Fourth and Long says:

            Thank you, Sir. I found your description of him in the archives. It matches precisely the impression made on me by a few fairly recent hour long documentaries:

            An older C-Span style interview:

            This is definitive and impossible to surpass but requires a rental payment or purchase from where I sit. Well worth it. I would make it required viewing once a month with seminars on the perils of the overly analytical, hording, punitive, jealous, schizoid mind etc. (If I was Qwing King Quincerotops of Rhinocerclops, but alas ..)

            Fog of War – Trailer:

            He is also a perfect example of this particular human variation in an extreme variation. People like some of our whiz kid tech and silly con valley and especially financial elites number cruncher muncherkinders are as well. And they are in charge. It’s a very great pity. He really was a highly civilized and acutely orderly man and thought he meant well. They get all the highest grades from jump street and know they are the best of the best from childhood and smarter than everyone else. Good luck arguing with such a person. At “Wisdom” or “Tradition” they sneer and laugh. I’ve been watching tapes of Andy Rooney interleafed with David Brinkley. Suspended after his career for mentioning on air in 1991 that perhaps certain practices were inadvisable. Didn’t name the practices, said perhaps. Suspended. Then.

            Charles Dickens took his shot at the subject with Scrooge. What a genius that man was.

          • Leith says:

            McNamara’s freaking metrics were what sunk us. He insisted on only using metrics that he could easily quantify. That left out critical things like morale, spirit, political agitprop, culture, national will, terrain etc. If he could not measure it he considered it worthless and dropped it from his calculus.

            Metrics can actually be used for good in in refining manufacturing techniques or in weapon system development. But to use it like McNamara did was idiotic and led to the bit of faulty logic named after him:


          • Leith says:

            Pat –

            Is the library of the Army and Navy Club online and open to the public? I’d bet some of their early acquisitions are well worth reading.

          • Pat Lang says:

            So far as I know, it is not and yes, there is some really good stuff in there including the papers of members. I resigned a while back. I had been a member since I was a Lt. but I no longer needed it and it was expensive.

        • Peter Hug says:

          McNamara is a perfect demonstration of why management consultants kill everything they touch.

          • Fourth and Long says:

            There’s even a rigorously proved theorem in formal mathematical logic to the effect that nearly all true statements (not counting tautologies) are unprovable – cannot be demonstrated by any feat of logical or deductive reasoning. Based on Gödel’s researches. If it’s true in something as dry as mathematical logic how can that conclusion not apply to deduction and induction from data of all sorts?
            It’s foolish to illustrate things in that way to the frisky satyrs and centuars who want to say thanks I’m glad I never went to third grade, because it only encourages the belief that pure ignorance is pure bliss. And they are interested in their own affairs anyway and winning an argument means something entirely different to most people than getting to the bottom of things.

        • different clue says:

          Many years ago I attended a lecture by Car and Driver editor emeritus David Davis when he was on the meet-the-author trail selling his book. I remember him telling a story about the time when Lee Iaccoca and Robert McNamara both worked at Ford.
          He told how Iaccoca once told him about how McNamara always showed off his superior knowledge of the most obscure numbers. Iaccoca figured out how he did that, boned up on a bunch of numbers he expected McNamara to prance and strut with at the next meeting, and out-displayed McNamara, which kind of shut McNamara partway up at subsequent meetings.

      • CSP says:

        Strange Days
        (Upon the death of Robert McNamara)

        Strange in deed, but rigorous in thought
        He carried forward for many years
        regardless of the costs
        to his country…to himself;
        a patriot person,
        leaving considerable impression
        on all he surveyed.

        Mac the Knife
        as some would have known him.
        Remorseful in the end,
        a sadly tragic sight.
        trotted out behind glass.
        Though history may yet bequeath him
        that mantle, most fearful of all:
        American War Criminal.

        One Hundred Thousand in one night
        shut up in silence and burned alive
        as predicted by his calculations.
        One Hundred Thousand
        in just one night.
        Industrialized terror.
        Total War.
        Totally understood
        again and again
        and again in his mind.

        Quite the accomplishment,
        to have carried that boulder
        up a life path
        strewn with all manner of evil treachery.
        Prometheus made proud
        his best and brightest
        boldly claiming that superior talent.

        The Calculator. A Whiz-Kid Killer.

        And who could deny it?
        To have bled so without ever suffering a wound.
        And then, to have finally
        and unabashedly
        turned that mighty spotlight of understanding
        inward upon itself
        there to consume all that we had been
        in a reflective fire of inner contrition

        All of the evil
        All of the hate
        All of the sadness
        All of the remorse

  8. Pat Lang says:

    Just to be clear, IMO the proper function of political leadership in war is to set goals and demand their accomplishment.

    • Bill Roche says:

      to set the goals, ‘provide the funding therefore’, and demand their accomplishment. But who determines if the goals are realistic? BTW, I heard an interview w/McNamara many years after Nam and he said …it has turned out that I was wrong about much of what I “knew” at the time was right. The interviewer praised McNamara’s candor. I was driving and thought a lot of good that does now. Yeah he was part of Kennedy’s best and brightest. The hubris, the f’n gall. The late ’60s into the ’90s was all about quantification. Every thing, everything, could be reduced to numbers and once done, statistics c/b applied and off we went on quantification analysis. The problem was that variables and factors for bravery, ingenuity, perseverance, and the growing power of combined arms was not readily quantifiable. There is nothing wrong w/quantification but I wonder if McNamara ever saw combat.

  9. George says:

    Russia will lose if the war continues in the conventional weapons realm. US and NATO are determined to arm Ukraine with whatever is needed to push the Russians out including Crimea. Withdrawal from Kherson or not will not change this outcome

    Which is why Putin may decide to use non conventional weapons.

    The economic war does not seem to detrimental on either side.

    • Fred says:


      “The economic war does not seem to detrimental on either side.”
      The Ukrainian economy is booming, they do not have 10 million refugees. They certainly don’t need money from other countries to fund their own government. Germany and the rest of NATO are doing great, just look at gas prices and the Euro-Dollar exhange rate. Best economy ever! That is all reflected in the NYSE levels ever since Zelinsky the Great rang the bell at opening time. Ringing the bell on WallStreet is exactly the kind of thing needed to inspire battlefield morale. Onward to victory!

    • borko says:

      Don’t count the Ruskies out just yet.
      The western military experts (?) have gone from overestimating the Russian army and predicting the fall of Kiev in a few days to calling them incompetent and weak.

      Russians are slow learners but have a history of coming back stronger and meaner than before. Apparently they are mobilizing 300k men. Many think this number is just for public consumption, and the real number is much higher.

      I fear we are heading to a new, much more brutal phase of this war.
      Maybe this can be preempted if, before these men are ready, Ukraine accomplishes what the Colonel called a decisive victory that will crush the Russian will to fight. That might even bring about Putin’s fall.

      Meanwhile, the Russians are having fun with their new Iranian drones.

  10. Sam says:

    Multiple 🇺🇦 and 🇷🇺 sources confirm 🇺🇦 progress around Lyman. 🇷🇺 forces could get encircled at Lyman. Therefore, a new rapid 🇺🇦 advance looks likely during the next couple of days 👀


    I have read that Putin has fired several generals. Maybe he feels he needs to run the war as the situation is likely not to his liking. It will be interesting to see if his soldiers follow his tactical orders or just decide for themselves. Curious how the Ukrainian military plays this over the next few weeks and then over the winter before Putin’s mobilization kicks in?

  11. TonyL says:

    But American officials briefed on highly sensitive intelligence said …”

    Are we falling for the same old propaganda over and over? whenever we hear “American officials” or “senior White House official” or “senior Pentagon official”, I woud bet that’s just something *needs* to be in the news.

    I think it is a done deal. We are already in Cold War 2.0. The line in the sand is the new border of Russia (i.e. DPR and LPR region). There is no need for Putin to get involved in anything but setting a goal to defend that and Crimea at all cost.

    I hope our US military advisers (and Special Forces) are pulling out, or no longer in Ukraine command centers. It’s no longer “Special Military Operation”, it is now “war with the collective West”, as Shoigu has announced.

    • borko says:

      Cold War 2.0 ?
      You are optimistic. I think we’ve left that train station years ago.
      Pre 2014 coup, when Ukraine was still in one piece and there was no war, it was all about which economic option is best, the EU or the Russian one.

      In a few days it will be about what the Russians are going to do about the NATO assisted “attack” on newly “Russian territory”.

      We’re entering very dangerous period. Something’s gotta give.

  12. wtofd says:

    Pat, where did Jefferson Davis fail by meddling with the generals? I am starting Foote’s three volume set and it appears, while brilliant, his ego may cause problems. (This is obvious but still incredible to me how close to the capita(o)ls of both sides the early days of the war were fought.)

    • Pat Lang says:

      Because he had a lot of military background (WP, Colonel of Mississippi Rifles, in Mexico and Secretary of War) he often sought to dictate the terms details of campaign plans with unfortunate result.

    • Fred says:


      The Gettysburg and Vicksburg campaigns come to mind.

    • scott s. says:

      When Davis became President, there was wide expectation that his military experience would be a decisive factor. There was some expectation that he would actually take to the field as a literal commander in chief. But if anything, he left strategic matters to his theater commanders with poor results.

      Initially Davis had Lee as a sort of principal military advisor, but Lee didn’t seem to relish that role and maneuvered himself to take over Army command after Johnston’s wounding. In the west Davis had too much confidence in his BFF Johnston (the other one – AS) .

  13. Barbara Ann says:

    Putin may run a fearsome security apparatus but he has built no equivalent of the Waffen-SS and has not purged the army like Stalin did. I have to wonder if Russia’s military men will permit further meddling if the war continues to go badly. Putin retains popularity with the Russian people so a coup seems unlikely at this stage, but could mobilization be as a sign of power shifts behind the curtain? In not unrelated news I see the “Butcher of Mariupol” has just been appointed Shoigu’s deputy.

    d74’s anecdote above is interesting. I’ll bet whoever commissioned that RAND report on “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia” simply assumed with Fukuyamaist logic that the result would be Putin’s ouster by another Gorbachev. We’ll see.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      He didn’t build the Taj Mahal or the Aztec pyramids either. But neither did Hitler or Joe Biden. Wait, didn’t Joe Biden build: Back Better. I believe so. Stalin did build Willed Whack though. They are rhyming and dancing men, all of them in en and in enders. Whistler rhymed with Hitler and Sisler. The Waffen SS, as we know, won the war. Putin already purged his officer corps. It was known to history as Ukraine between Feb 24 to Sept 22, 2022. Preceded curiously by waves of arson and a world pandemic. One day a future “victorious side” may refer to it as Books 1 through mumblemumble of the Book of DwindleWorld-LikeAndSubscribe.

      • Barbara Ann says:


        There exists a niche conspiracy theory that Klaus Schwab’s early protege is secretly in league with the globalists and destroying the Russian military deliberately in Ukraine in preparation for their Great Reset takeover-to-end-all-takeovers. One can see how this may gain credence given the bizarre nature of the SMO. However, applying the Lang analytical rules, I think it more likely it is instead being destroyed by a potent mix of delusion, ineptitude, endemic corruption and a highly competent enemy.

    • TTG says:

      Barbara Ann,

      Putin did create a fearsome security apparatus, something that at least rivals those created by Hitler or Stalin. He has the FSB, an unbelievably powerful and pervasive FSO, a national guard (Rosgvardia) and a host of smaller services all answering to the central government in the Kremlin. All this security apparatus is meant to protect the central government and to ensure that a 1991 coup never happens again. That includes keeping the military in check.

  14. SRW says:

    Putin making political decisions on the battlefield, instead of the generals supposedly in charge, reminds me of the old saying “A Man Who Is His Own Lawyer Has a Fool for a Client”.

  15. Fourth and Long says:

    How Whitehall Tricked Idiotopolis into fighting a war that destroyed it for a good while as the VN war rolled out to the insanely libidinous rock from Mersey. Which hit in ‘63 when something else happened. And it’s never stopped. Newton Faraday Maxwell Milton Bacon Eggs David Bowie Mr Bean Elton John.

    And in this corner: Elvis, Johnny Cash, the Ventures, ..
    Hahaha Little Colony. Ok. We say you feee now.

    The Animals / House of the Rising Sun

  16. different clue says:

    I have just seen an article which purports to offer an explanation of why Putin has so suddenly and sharply changed his strategy away from the years of grinding attrition strategy he seemed to be using up to this point. And the sudden change is purported to be unrelated to any sense of panic upon this recent battlefield defeat and reversal.

    The article is titled . . . ” Former adviser sees influence by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Putin’s recent decisions” and is published in Deutsche Welle. In very briefest it says that since this sudden set of new decisions was made within days of Putin’s return to Russia from the SCO meeting, that it is sensible to theorise that Putin has been pressured to achieve quick victory by Xi Jin-Ping in order to avoid possibly embarrassing Xi at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress in October. ( The “former adviser” is described at the bottom of the article as being ” Russian economist Andrei Illarionov (born 1961) was senior policy adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin from 2000 to 2005.”)

    The link to this article is here . . .

  17. Leith says:

    Putin needs to pay more attention to Russia’s foreign and domestic relations instead of trying to micro-manage his occupation of Ukraine. Putin’s former allies are starting to smell his fear. Plus Russia’s ethnic minorities are getting sick and tired of receiving 90% of all mobilization notices when they only make up 20% of Russia’s population.

    Moscow Times is reporting “Central Asia Drifts Out of Russia’s Orbit as Ukraine War Rages”. Kazakhistan President refused Putin’s call to recognize eastern Ukraine’s pro-Moscow separatists. Uzbekistan Prez has done the same.

    Secretary Blinken met last week with his counterparts of five Central Asian countries.

    In Yerevan in Armenia protestors are waving Ukrainian flags and singing Ukraine’s national anthem.

    Serbia’s Foreign Minister says they “will not recognize the results of referendums in the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions on joining Russia.”

    Mongolia invited Russian draft evaders into their country.

    In Omsk some Tatar and Kazakh conscriptees seized a conscript officer & police and threatened to take them with them to the trenches in Ukraine.

    Major protests in Dagestan. Policemen are being ganged up on, one was being chased by Dagestani women with blood in their eye.

    Is Buryatia next?

    • jim ticehurst.. says:

      Good to Focus on other Matters Wide Screen Down Range…Recent Tensions With India…Vs China..and a V Putin Public Call Down..Whats Moving East To West..By Pass India Via the High Road to Pakistan..?? Whats Developing In IRAN…Does The USA Support Thier Revolution Too..
      Is This the Year Arming Geddon..? Looks Like The Hooks are Set..
      And There Will Be Signs. And Seals..And Spilled Cups..of Oil..Indeed,,

  18. VietnamVet says:

    The one thing you can say about the Best and Brightest, by luck or crook, they avoided a nuclear war. This is becoming as clear as a PowerPoint presentation. The Russian nuclear umbrella has been placed over the four Donbas regions. Ukraine/NATO has to stand down their counter offensive into Russian “territory” or risk tactical nuclear strikes and escalation to a global nuclear war. This may well be at China’s insistence to get the war over with and to set up a DMZ between East and West. The signatures to the 1953 Korean Armistice are the UN, China and North Korea.

    I’m a little younger than Joe Biden and I am not fit to work. Neither is he.

    If Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken and Victoria Nuland are true to their word, there will be no peace. Their hands are inside the “glass jar” and they cannot let go of seizing Russia’s resources. But, today, the right wing is projected to win Italy’s election. Without peace and sufficient energy to keep warm, the EU will not survive the winter intact. Western civilization may not survive them or us. This is worse than the lead up to WWI. At least the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, in August 1914 grasped the consequences of the First World War and said ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime’.

    • Pat Lang says:

      So, if Putin declares the rest of Ukraine to be Russian territory and extends the RU nuclear umbrella over it, then, that’s it. It’s his? OK. How about Latvia in a couple of years after a “referendum?

      • TTG says:

        pl and VV,

        Referendums are an old Moscow practice. Stalin had sham referendums in all three of the Baltics back in the 40s. That’s how he ended up with the Baltic S.S.Rs. For all those years, we never recognized those referendums. All three eventually threw off the Russian yoke. Ukraine will do the same for their occupied oblasts.

        • borko says:


          If he goes through this annexation, it will be difficult to undo it. It took the fall of the USSR to get the Baltics free.

          Even if Putin is overthrown, the next president will practically have to start with giving back “Russian land”.
          Unless, of course, the next president is even worse.

          There is also a question of Ukrainian prosecution or even murdering pro Russian population in those areas if they get it back.
          Whatever we might think of all this, there are a lot of people there that do not mind becoming a part of Russia.

          This has become such a mess. What is Putin thinking, he is dragging himself and Russia deeper and deeper into the abyss.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            Medvedev made it quite clear that making the annexations un-undoable was an explicit goal. It is an unambiguous statement that Russia is voluntarily turning the SMO into a defense of Russian territory from this point forward. This is why I’ve made references here to the beginning of the Third Patriotic War. Did we think Putin was bluffing about Ukraine being a red line?

            TTG is right that the US and allies will not recognize the annexed territory as Russian, but I think that misses the point. The US can walk away from this war, distasteful though it would be. NATO and Article 5 would remain intact. Putin has just made sure Russia cannot walk away – at least not without a collapse of the Russian government and her abject surrender. If it escalates from here Russia will be obliged to use all means to defend her new soil. That this was a deliberate choice of the Russian leadership says much about the mood inside the Kremlin (not just Putin) IMO. What difference that might make on the ground is for the military experts here of course.

      • VietnamVet says:


        If Ukraine keeps Odessa, if the manned DMZ is built along the left bank of the Dnieper River, northeast on the line of contact and the Russian/Belarus borders to Poland, and if Kiev signs the Armistice along with the UN and Russia and remains out of NATO; Vladimir Putin can huff and puff, just like Kim Jong-un, as long as there is credible deterrence and containment. It will be a multi-polar world, once again — a new Cold War 2 and Iron Curtain 2.

        After this lesson, I’d think the Kremlin would think twice about invading the Baltic States. China might even nix it after this episode.

        If the shooting stops, maybe the next generation of leaders will try to establish a Détente 2. At least, they will be alive to make the attempt.

    • Mark Logan says:


      Might be premature to say a nuclear umbrella is in place. The referendums might be so Putin can legally use conscripts in there. Have to wait and see.

      If the umbrella goes in place I imagine there will be a very specific warning that it is. Pretty sure everybody has seen Dr. Strangelove.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        Mark Logan

        Lavrov said on Saturday Russia’s military doctrine would apply to the new territories. The relevant wording of Russia’s military doctrine reads as follows:

        “The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, as well as in the case of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is threatened.

        The decision on the use of nuclear weapons is made by the President of the Russian Federation” (my emphasis)

        If you wonder whether the President of the RF considers the “very existence of the state is threatened” read Putin’s speech.

        • Mark Logan says:

          Barbara Ann,

          Nevertheless I expect more than “reserves the right”. Unless Putin has gone mad there will be a specific and very clear ultimatum, and he will pray the threat will be enough.

  19. KjHeart says:

    According to the ‘whistleblower movement’ from out of the CCP – they are stating that Xi is the one that gave direction to Putin to make changes in the Russia/Ukraine war (security action, operation, or whatever they are calling it – it is a war t me)

    While I am sure that Vlad’s objectives in Ukraine were discussed at that Kazakhstan (SCO?) meeting it would really be something if Xi, himself, has given any direction followed by Putin

    The discussion pertinent to Ukraine starts at 1 minute 30 seconds (1:30)

    there should not be a paywall on this link


    • cobo says:

      It looks like we’re hearing from both sides that Xi Jinping is the driver behind Putin’s latest decision to turn the war into (KjHeart here and different clue says: September 25, 2022 at 6:37 pm above) – I would call it, total war against the West. Our military leaders had better be ready for our opponents to begin operations, globally, to take the initiative. Pin pricks here, there and everywhere, confusion strategies that splinter our concept of who to fight where and how. Losing the momentum at the start means we would be fighting at a disadvantage. We seem to feel that the world will dance to our terms, but maybe not.

      • different clue says:

        If it was indeed Xi telling Putin to “wind this up quick” as the theory suggests, it seems to me that it would go against the concept of total war against the West.

        Why would I think that? Because Putin’s preferred method would have been a years-long grinding attrition to destroy over time Ukraine’s ability to keep on warfighting and then sue for whatever sad little peace it could still get. If that really would have been Putin’s preferred method, and Xi has moved him off it and hurried him up; then Putin has subjected Russia to greater risks of stressing itself beyond its ability to hold together well enough for attritional warfighting. And that would be detrimental to preserving a Russia capable of playing a powerful role in a total war against the West.

        So if Xi really did that, and Putin really gave in, I would lean toward the ” get it done and don’t make me look bad in October” reason for Xi doing so. If Xi really gave Putin those instructions, and it all turns out badly for Russia in the end, it will make the RussiaGov rather embittered towards the XiGov. And would make them even less united in a total war against the West.

        China has been waging its own total war against the West and that war has been strictly economic, waged in concert with the International Free Trade Conspirators who share the same goal ( for different reasons) of exterminating every last trace of industry from every bit of America and EUrope. The only way to stop THAT war would begin with abolishing the International Free Trade Order. If we don’t abolish Free Trade while the West still has some trace of industry left to save, then China will achieve its final goal of becoming the whole world’s Metropole while turning the whole world into China’s Hinterland.

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