The situation and some possible courses of action … A Pat Lang post reposted from 26 February 2022

Reviewing the situation:

The Russian Army has an active force of about 400,000. Half of those are draftees, conscripts if you like that term better. Between 150,000 and 200,000 have been committed to the Ukraine “project” by Putin and Company. It seems that only about 70,000 men have thus far been put into Ukraine. If that is so, then how many are committed to the operation to capture Kiyiv? Half of that perhaps? 30,000 men ? 30k soldiers to capture a city of 3 million inhabitants? The Ukrainian Army and armed civilians are evidently putting up a good fight. Delays in the timetable built into Russian plans are a major threat to the viability of the Russian effort. Logistics rule. If the Russians cannot get their lines of supply sorted out, their advance will grind to a halt and they will then be very vulnerable to guerrilla resistance in their rear areas.

Courses of action available to the US …

In the absence of a US declaration of war or an AUMF the existing US law allows the president (as CinC of the armed forces) to make a “finding” for covert action against a de facto enemy. CIA is by law the Executive Agent in such an action, but in fact CIA is a civilian agency and they lack the skill and knowledge to do anything serious of a military nature. So, DoD, acting on behalf of CIA normally executes such a “finding” for covert action. Actions undertaken under such a “finding” are not acknowledged. 

With such a “finding” in hand a number of things could be done:

  • We can supply the Ukraine with much needed equipment and associated training. Personnel extracted from Ukraine could be trained in Poland or some other country, perhaps even in CONUS and then returned with the equipment and supplies, probably overland from Poland. Air defense systems first, then more and more anti-armor weapons. We have a lot of this stuff and if necessary equipment can be withdrawn from reserve component units for transfer to the Ukrainians.
  • We have a lot of perfectly usable combat and supply aircraft that are scheduled to be sent to the desert bone-yard as part of force modernization. F-15s, F-16s, A-10s, etc. Under an appropriate “finding,” a covert proprietary company resembling Air America could be formed and pilots, ground crew and logistics people recruited for service IN Ukraine. We did something like this in WW2 with the creation of the American Volunteer Group (the Flying Tigers) in China. The US government formed that group and paid for it for the two years or so that it existed until the entry of the US into WW2. High risk for the people involved? Certainly, but the money would be good.

These possibilities are dependent on continued resistance by the Ukraine’s army and people.

Covert action gives Russia the opportunity to avoid a direct confrontation with a NATO country with all the risk of a nuclear exchange that would be present. Pat Lang

Comment: I am reposting this because some here think Pat Lang’s original position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine would have modified since then. Since i was in near daily contact with Pat in his last year, I can say his position did not change in that year and I seriously doubt it would have changed in the year since his passing. The concept of the Ukrainian people fighting an invader for their continued existence as an independent people is basic for us Special Forces types. Assisting those fighting for their freedom is in our DNA.

There are 154 comments to this two year old post. In this post and those comments, Pat, myself and many others still here laid out our positions on the Russian invasion and the Ukrainian defense against that invasion. Pat introduced his concept of a modern version of the American Volunteer Group. We discussed the idea only days before. Some were shocked at the idea of providing material support to Ukraine. Surely it would lead to a nuclear war. Well, the US and many Western countries have provided all manner of material support since then and that nuclear war has not materialized.

That military aid has slowly increased since those early days crossing several supposed Russian red lines with no ensuing nuclear war. But aid remains hobbled by that same fear of Russia going nuclear. That fear has characterized the Biden administration’s policy since those early days. That policy stands in stark contrast to the administration’s galvanizing, or cajoling, of Western support for Ukraine in the months leading up to the invasion in the forlorn hope that the invasion could be avoided. In hindsight, I don’t think the invasion could have been avoided short of abandoning Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe in accordance with Kremlin demands.

But back to Pat’s AVG concept, I think it would have been effective in those early days, but not so today. The A-10s, though heavily armored, are slow. Russian air defenses along the front lines have finally developed to the point that close air support has become extremely difficult. I don’t think any of us foresaw the development of drone warfare that we’ve seen in the last two years. Even the F-16s will not be the game changer some think it would be, although the AIM-120 AA missiles may help. The best thing we can do is immediately provide a lot more air defense systems including more Patriot batteries.


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81 Responses to The situation and some possible courses of action … A Pat Lang post reposted from 26 February 2022

  1. James says:

    I remember quite vividly how twice I got sucked in by the pro-Russian partisans into thinking that Russia was going to have some success or other on the battlefield, and how twice I was proven wrong and TTG (who made counter predictions) was proven right.

    At that point I told myself “I am just going to agree with TTG until he gets one wrong”. I am still waiting.

  2. jim.. says:

    TTG…Thank You For Putting This Up…For A Refresher…

    One Can See The Wisdom and Strategic Experience In Pats Thinking…Much of His
    Proposed Actions are Correct…Supply…Equip..Infiltrate …Train..(already In Country and Active)

    All The Comments were Interesting to Re,,Read..Old Names…
    (Where Is Billy Roach Now..Is He OK..?)

    Obvious…Russia Knew What They were Doing…And When..Possibly Coordinated
    to Participate in ALL The Other Cumalitive Action Going On,,Regionally…And World Wide…So a Two Year Time Line Would Be Interesting..

    I Hope Massive Aide Gets There Soon…Immediate Air Defenses…Patriots…Ammo

    • jim.. says:

      I Sure Like The Aircraft Illustration Used For This One…The A-10..
      The Curtis P-40 WarHawk..The Airfield,..I Love Aircraft..Like These..

      I Have a Limited Edition Large Print By a Boeing Artist From WW2..

      Its of a B-17 Landing at a Russian Airfield…Where there are more B-17s…And What Look Like Many Parked Russian Fighter Planes..Russian Markings..
      Red Star…But Thet Also look to Be Curtiss P-40s…

      I Have One Other Limited Edition Print of a B-17…Flying Past Mount Rainier..
      Beautiful…My Uncle Was a Waist Gunner..26 Missions..From England.
      His Brother Was on His Ground Crew..

      God Bless Them All…

  3. Eric Newhill says:

    Col Lang was correct, as far as how to resist Russia goes, and I do not believe he would have changed his position either. Also, agree with TTG’s comments re; A-10s and more AD systems.

    The one thing Ukraine really needs to stop doing and that has hurt them badly is conducting poorly supported offenses against formidable Russian defenses. IMO, those efforts have mostly been political stunts and they have gotten a lot of Ukrainians killed and wounded and chewed up a lot of Ukrainian armor and other assets. Ukraine should continue to flip the situation – dig in deep and let the Russians expend themselves attacking. I think Ukraine needs some help creating better defensive lines; though they have done pretty well at places like Avdiivka. That is their only hope.

    That said, I still fundamentally believe that Ukraine will become exhausted before Russia does, which will not translate into a Russian victory. There really is no Russian victory possible. Rather, it will cause the entrance of Poland and other NATO forces directly into the war. The only question is how depleted Russia will be when that day comes, which gets us back to funding Ukraine to maximize the depletion.

  4. Jimmy_W says:

    The problem right now, is clearly that there are too few Patriot missiles. And all of the other missiles. This is before we even get to the aid-to-Ukraine funding.

    Ukraine and Red Sea have clearly proven that wartime missile expenditure rates are far higher than projected. The services still have not increased their buying rate to meet that new baseline. Not if they’re expecting a 2026 Taiwan War.

    What is the real strategic priority for America. Follow the money, as they say.

  5. Barbara Ann says:

    Great post TTG, it’s good to re-read everyone’s positions 2+ years on.

    I was not at all surprised by Col. Lang’s position at the time and I agree with you that were he with us today, his view on US support for Ukraine would very likely remain unchanged.

    My own position is similarly unchanged and I stand by all of my original comments. Just because we are lucky enough to still be here to congratulate ourselves on not yet having destroyed the world, does not mean the risk of us doing so in the near future is in any way reduced. Far from it.

    As for “..abandoning Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe in accordance with Kremlin demands”. This is merely an MSM straw man. What part of any Ukrainian peace deal would result in the abandonment of “the rest of Eastern Europe” TTG? All of Eastern Europe remains under the NATO defense umbrella (2 new members are added to it in fact). No, Ukraine would be the only abandoned party – the latest in a long line, might I add. We may have enticed her to do so, but it was Ukraine who ultimately decided to abandon her policy of neutrality and she must take responsibility for the consequences, whatever they may be.

    • TTG says:

      Barbara Ann,

      The Kremlin demanded NATO remove any troops or weapons deployed to countries that entered the alliance after 1997, which would include much of Eastern Europe, including Poland, the former Soviet countries of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and the Balkan countries. In effect they demanded returning NATO forces to where they were stationed before the collapse of the WTO and Soviet Union.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        OK, fair enough, I should have said any realistic peace deal. The Kremlin can demand what it likes, there is clearly zero chance of that happening. Russia’s minimal criteria for ‘victory’ include a neutral Ukraine. The final deal will include that but leave (enlarged) NATO intact. The Balts can sleep safe in their beds.

        • TTG says:

          Barbara Ann,

          The closest the Kremlin came to a neutral or even friendly Ukraine was when Yanukovych ditched the EU loan plan, long approved by the Verkhovna Rada, in favor of a Kremlin loan plan he secretly negotiated with Moscow. That led to the Euromaidan Revolution, his fleeing in the night and the Verkhovna Rada voting to out him as president. If he stuck to the EU plan, but stayed in office, he could have continued pursuing neutrality. In spite of occupying Crimea and instigating the breakaway republics, Russia’s prospects for a neutral or friendly Ukraine went downhill from there. I doubt Moscow would ever be happy with an EU and NATO friendly, but neutral, Ukraine. They wanted another Belarus.

          • James says:


            My understanding is that:
            (1) The Russians were offering natural gas discounts rather than debt-trap-diplomacy loans
            (2) The vast majority of Ukrainians wanted neutrality. Unfortunately both Russia and USA/EU told them “You are either with us or against us, neutrality is not an option. If you sign a free trade agreement with those other guys then you cannot sign a free trade agreement with us – and in that case we will not treat you like a friend.”

            Unfortunately for the Ukrainians they were always destined to be pawns.

          • TTG says:


            The majority of Ukrainians did want neutrality. They also wanted stronger connections to the EU. That’s what the Verkhovna Rada approved. The Kremlin saw that closer connection to the EU as a threat. The Russian counteroffer was reasonable, maybe better than the EU offer. It just wasn’t what the Verkhovna Rada wanted or approved.

      • Christian J Chuba says:

        I suppose you are referring to article #4 of Russia’s security proposal.

        I agree, that was there most extreme request but we could have countered. Article 6 was also overreach but that could have been easily fixed.

        Interestingly, article 7 was an offer by Russia to demilitarize Kaliningrad
        “The Parties shall not deploy land-based intermediate- and short-range missiles in areas allowing them to reach the territory of the other Parties.”

        This is a moot point as this agreement was never accepted, or even negotiated.

  6. English Outsider says:

    I’m also sure that until the end of his life the Colonel remained firm in his position on the Ukrainian war. TTG confirms that and there was nothing in his later writing to indicate he had changed his position.

    I think it possible, however, that by now and had he lived he’d have smelled a rat. Whether that’s so or not I respected his position without question. I believe over his life he’d seen US proxies or allies left stranded when it suited American foreign policy. This grated on him as can be seen from his writings long before his death. Just once, he wanted to see the US back up its allies through thick and thin. No ditching the Montagnards this time round.

    He also stated explicitly in one of his later articles that although he did not approve of the expansion of NATO, NATO had nevertheless expanded, the US had entered into security guarantees with the new NATO countries, and he wanted to see those guarantees honoured. This was a matter of honour. You don’t argue with that. Not with anyone, preferably, and certainly not with anyone with as stern a sense of honour as the Colonel.

    By now he would have been disillusioned. He never had much confidence in the present US high command – didn’t he called them “perfumed princes” once? – and that lack of confidence would have been thoroughly justified by the amateur night performance we’ve seen from that US high command throughout.

    He was scathing in his criticism of what the US Intelligence Agencies have now become and particularly scathing about the decline of the analytical ability of those agencies. “Drinking the Kool-Aid” gave chapter and verse on the takeover of the American foreign policy establishment – the “Borg” as he termed it – and the present unsuitability of that establishment for running the foreign policy of a great nation.

    And on the key point, standing by proxies and allies, he would now be thoroughly disillusioned. As the Ukraine goes down he would have seen his country abandoning the proxy as always, discarding it with no more ceremony than throwing away a worn out broom. From the fulsome “as long as it takes” at the beginning to the brush-off at Vilnius.

    “We are not Amazon”, the shameful expression used by the British Defence Minister at Vilnius, articulated that abandonment but it was the US itself that ditched Zelensky.

    Even I, who saw this conflict through the lens of the Donbass federalist struggle early on and who therefore could never support the Ukrainians, even I felt the shame of that. Neo-Nazi or not, and as TTG has pointed out only a few of them were neo-Nazis anyway, and whether their cause was just or not, the Ukrainians would never have dared carry this conflict to the lengths they did unless they had believed that the West, the US in the forefront because it’s the only serious power in the West, would back them up.

    And we didn’t. The Colonel would have felt the shame of that deeply had he lived. Once more the country to which he was so fiercely loyal had ditched the proxy. Once more the man to whom honour counted above everything would have seen his country choose dishonour. I am glad the Colonel was spared the spectacle of that final betrayal.


    • TTG says:


      The Ukrainians stood and fought even though we thought it was a hopeless endeavor. Surely you remember Zelenskiy answering “We need ammunition, not a ride” to Biden’s offer to transport the government out of Kyiv.

      Although our support has been timid, it has remained. I seriously doubt he’d be pleased with that timidity. Only a minority of House Republicans are trying to cut off aid in support of Putin and Trump. Colonel Lang would not have supported that stance… ever. Only a true handful oppose aid out of principled opposition to all foreign aid. That opposition is reasonable and understandable. In the meantime, other NATO countries are picking up the slack along with South Korea and Japan.

      • jim.. says:

        “The Ukrainians stood and Fought..Even Though We Thought
        it Was A Hopeless Endeavor..””
        Zelensky Answered,,,”We Need Ammunition,,Not a Ride..”
        After Russia Invaded Ukraine…

        You See….The Russians Are Not The Only Ones Who Can
        or Did Make An Oath The Defend the “Motherland” Love
        Its Soil..Eat is Soil…While they also Invaded Ukraine in World War Two…after Rostov on the Don River Fell…

        Jospeh Stalin Said About That….”NI SHAGU NAZA”
        ” “Not A Step Back…”
        For The Ukrainians…Now…”To Further Retreat..Further.
        would further..would mean the Ruin of Our Country..
        And Our Selfs….Every New Scrap of Territory they lose..Will Significantly Strengthen The Enemy…And Severely Weaken
        Ukraines Defense of The Motherland…’
        Ukraine is Ukraine Earth..Its Thier Motherland..They Ate a Bite..and Made a Vow….”We Need Ammunition….Not A Ride..

  7. walrus says:

    I note that I did not comment on this thread at the time and I stand by my opinion that the Colonel may have changed his mind by now. I hasten to add that Pat lived by the highest standards of honor and that, as always, his point of view was principled.

    In a nutshell, I wonder if Pat wasn’t applying himself as a “hard hearted empath”? I have a series of questions I would have put to Col. Lang by now. I will ask them instead to the Committee:

    1. Given NATO bellicosity towards Russia and advances in missile technology, is Russia justified in its refusing to accept Ukrainian membership of NATO? If the answer is No, then why was the USA concerned about soviet missiles in Cuba?

    2. Given that the entire Ukrainian controversy is a creation of the Washington deep state – an unarguable conclusion considering the available evidence, and that Russia exhausted every avenue to resolve the matter by the application of diplomacy and international law, how can Russia be blamed for finally resorting to force to stop the ever increasing tempo of Ukrainian attacks on Donbass?

    3. Comparing the destruction visible in Gaza compared to Ukraine and considering Russian strategy and tactics is there any justification at all for the wild statements that Russia wants to invade and dominate the whole of Europe? To put that another way, are Russias visible tactics and strategy consistent with their stated objective of de nazification of Ukraine and preventing NATO membership?

    In my opinion Russia appears to be consistent and transparent in what it is doing. Why am I wrong?

    • TTG says:


      Until this Russian invasion kicked off, NATO bellicosity consisted of accepting new member countries. It certainly didn’t express bellicosity in defense spending. Russia, on the other hand, embarked on a major rearmament program, often boasting of the ability to target European capitals with their hypersonic missiles with impunity. That’s probably why the raised such a stink over the Aegis Ashore installations in Poland and Romania. Although primarily an air defense and ballistic missile defense system, the SM-6 has been given an anti-ship capability and probably a land attack capability as well. Given Russia’s use of their S-300 and S-400 missiles for land attack, I can fully understand their concern. Also given the recent advances in the US Army’s long range missiles such as the Precision Strike Missile and air deployable ground launchers for the SM-6 and Tomahawk missiles, Russia is indeed justified in trying to negotiate a limit on those systems near her borders, just as NATO is justified in limiting comparable Russian systems near her borders. But it doesn’t justify an invasion.

      I don’t see how it is an inarguable conclusion that the entire Ukrainian controversy is a creation of the Washington deep state. Ukrainian independence was created by an agreement among Ukraine, Russia and Belarus back in 1991 with the Belavezha Accords. Since then, the Ukrainians steered their own path between Moscow and the EU. Of course Moscow, the EU and the US continued to attempt to alter that path in their respective favors. The five billion dollars over ten years that Nuland spoke of was our part in those attempts. The EU offered similar enticements. The Kremlin did the same as i told Barbara Ann yesterday:

      “The closest the Kremlin came to a neutral or even friendly Ukraine was when Yanukovych ditched the EU loan plan, long approved by the Verkhovna Rada, in favor of a Kremlin loan plan he secretly negotiated with Moscow. That led to the Euromaidan Revolution, his fleeing in the night and the Verkhovna Rada voting to out him as president. If he stuck to the EU plan, but stayed in office, he could have continued pursuing neutrality. In spite of occupying Crimea and instigating the breakaway republics, Russia’s prospects for a neutral or friendly Ukraine went downhill from there.”

      The attacks on the Donbas were instigated by the Igor Girkin-led armed insurrection in Kramatorsk and elsewhere in the Donbas in April 2014. After that bloody war, a relative quiet stalemate reigned with less and less attacks and casualties until Russian invaded in February 2022. then Donbas casualties skyrocketed.

      I agree that the level of destruction across Gaza is much greater than the destruction across Ukraine although the destruction along the front lines is just as catastrophic. If Russia was ever able to establish air superiority over Ukraine, the destruction would be much greater. Although i seriously doubt the Kremlin ever wanted to literally wipe out the population of Ukraine, the failure to create more destruction and casualties across Ukraine is more due to Russia’s military inability to do so. Yes they want to keep Ukraine out of NATO. They want the idea of an independent Ukraine to be extinguished and the citizens of Ukraine to become docile, if not loyal, subjects of the Kremlin’s rule. In my opinion Russia has been consistent in those goals.

      • Barbara Ann says:


        “I don’t see how it is an inarguable conclusion that the entire Ukrainian controversy is a creation of the Washington deep state.”

        The legal profession uses two very useful Latin words when judging guilt; mens rea. The intent, at least on the part of the regime change faction of the Borg, was to force the Kremlin into an aggressive response, so the “revanchist Russia” card could be played. Well, as I commented on the original post, someone did their homework on Putin and pushed all the right buttons – it worked. This is why I actually consider US support for Ukraine obscene – it’s like an arsonist offering a pail of water to the owner of the house they have set ablaze.

        Colonel Lang’s wording above is interesting. He says “Covert action gives Russia the opportunity to avoid a direct confrontation with a NATO country with all the risk of a nuclear exchange that would be present”. That word “opportunity” is vital. In a 2019 post on Iran the Colonel used the phrase “Not the men they thought they were”. He often used this phrase in various situations to convey the sense of a leadership’s collective patriotic honor and the dangers of pushing an adversary so far that they must risk destruction in order to save face (1941 Japan was another such). Col. Lang knew it to be relevant to the present situation in Ukraine – hence the need to give Russia an “opportunity” that would not lead us all to Armageddon.

        The regime changers seemingly do not see it this way. They truly believe(d) that an overextended and unbalanced Kremlin will/would give way to a more pliant regime – with minimal risk. For them Ukraine is merely the latest patch of grass upon which the elephants (Russia & NATO) are to fight it out. Was Russia blameless? No, but Russia’s intent – before she felt there was no other choice – was to pursue the path towards compromise and peace. That could not be allowed.

        Well the regime changers plan has backfired, big time. The ‘regime’ is united. Putin is more popular than ever. Russia’s economy is robust. The Russian military is going through a process of revitalization through the crucible of war and Russia is closer than ever with her allies. So now we are left with the problem of how to ‘win’ whilst (at least for the sane among us) still ensuring Russia has the opportunity to avoid being forced into actions which will lead to the destruction of the world. Colonel Lang’s words make it clear he did not support direct, overt NATO involvement, I don’t see why his opinion on that would have changed either.

        • TTG says:

          Barbara Ann,

          Sure there is a regime change faction, but it is not in this White House. In the months leading up to the invasion, White house policy sought to prevent an invasion. That was the whole point of the growing list of sanctions. That policy failed. Even in that lead up, Biden hinted that an invasion might not be a true invasion. I thought he meant that a Russian deployment into the newly declared independent LNR and DNR up to the LoC might be acceptable.

          Since then military support to Ukraine has been limited in fear of what the Kremlin might do. Will they resort to nuclear war or will the Kremlin regime collapse? There is a fear that what comes after Putin might be worse. Biden wants this war to end in a whimper, not a bang with both Kyiv and Moscow intact.

          • Barbara Ann says:

            Not in this White House – since Nuland was resigned two weeks ago? OK!

            Biden is quite open about the fact that he works for transatlantic Borg central; the CFR and he will do as he’s instructed.

          • TTG says:

            Barbara Ann,

            He may have actually worked for Richard Haas at the time or at least been a member of CFR. This was when he was out of government. Or it could have been another of his lame ass jokes. But I don’t recall even Nuland calling for regime change in Moscow, just Ukrainian independence from Moscow.

          • Fred says:


            “not in this White House”

            Yes, Obama is down the street, not in “this” White House. A number of his acolytes are there though.

        • Fred says:

          Barbara Ann,

          ” it’s like an arsonist offering a pail of water to the owner of the house they have set ablaze.”

          Crassus was a master of that maneuver. The Parthians taught him his last lesson on greed. The Borg are learning the lesson in Europe, though like transgenders they trans-economize their industrial base by using the highest priced energy possible to achieve success. That’s sure teaching the Russians a lesson. Please see the IMF’s report on the Russian economy growing 3+% last year.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            Yes, the Battle of Carrhae may well prove a good metaphor for the Borg’s overambitious attempts to take down Russia and plunder her riches. Some here see Russia’s invasion as unprovoked and her motive as imperial greed. I guess Putin is Crassus from their POV.

          • TTG says:

            Barbara Ann,

            I see this invasion as the Kremlin’s overambitious attempts to take down Ukraine, not so much to plunder her riches, but to reinforce the Kremlin’s mythology of Russian rightful hegemony over those lands. Many see the world as a few super states with a natural right to exert influence over surrounding smaller states. It’s expressed as the near abroad in Moscow and in the US as manifest destiny and in the Monroe Doctrine. In the past, this was expressed as colonial empires.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            Rights, natural or otherwise, have no place in international power politics. There are only actions and consequences. A wise statesman knows this.

          • leith says:

            TTG & Barbara Ann –

            The Kremlin certainly wanted to deprive Ukraine of the oil and gas reserves in the Donbas and the Black Sea. They did not need the income, since they have the world’s largest proven reserves of natural gas plus huge oil reserves. But they wanted to deny it to Kyiv. The oil and gas in Ukraine would be much easier to extract, considering the harsh conditions and exorbitant cost of extraction in Russia’s arctic fields. No way that Putin was going to allow competition by Ukraine and let them undercut Gazprom and Rosneft.

      • Stefan says:

        I think you all are missing something. This is Eastern Europe, in this neck of the woods the wars are often fought over threats, or perceived threats, to ethnic minorities in other countries.

        Some 30% of Ukraine has ethnic Russian back grounds. I know many will dispute this, but I remember in 2014 the fear in the Russian ethnic minority due to the involvement of Neo-Nazis in the regime change at the time. We can argue about the numbers. I dont think there were that many, but I think their power was greater than their number and they punched above their weight.

        People can sh*it on this idea all they want, but some 50 million Russians died at the hands of Nazis less than a hundred years ago. It doesnt really matter if YOU think the idea is nonsense. Your opinion doesnt really count. What matters is what the Russians think. I know many people think it is just an excuse, and for some people in the Russian establishment it might be just an excuse. For millions of Russians who lived through WW2 and had parents and grandparents who lived through WW2, it is not. It is real. they feel it in their bones and to them it is an existential threat.

        I have seen so many say that the Russians will depose Putin, they will kill him, they will rise up against him ect. But they have not. He is more popular today than ever. Why? Because for millions of Russians he is the man who stopped the newest incarnation of the Nazis that howling at their borders.

        Does Putin really believe this? No idea, but the Russian populace generally does, and that is what matters. For a fact he sold the idea easier to the Russians than Bush et al sold their pack of lies to the US that resulted in 1,000,000 dead in Iraq on a war based on lies.

        It is a fool’s errand to try and put your perspectives on a populace and wonder what they will or wont do based on perspectives that they dont share.

        Rightly or wrongly it is what THEY believe, not what you believe. Until the conflict is viewed through that lens we will continue to see years of predictions that come to naught.

        • TTG says:


          Yes, emotions do run high in Eastern Europe. The Ukrainians also fought the nazis and died by the millions doing so. The Ukrainian nationalists and neo-nazis reached their high point in 2014-2015. It was a rapid downfall after that. Putin continues to play up the Ukrainian nazi meme because it is an effective meme.

          I agree that the Russians will not rise up against Putin. He has a firm hold on the Russian mind.

          The Ukrainians also have good historical reasons to view the Kremlin as an existential threat, including for the Holodomor, the seizure of Crimea and their part in the fomenting the Donbas separatists. Around 50% of Ukrainians still had a favorable view of the Russians. That percentage dropped precipitously with the recent Russian invasion.

          • Keith Harbaugh says:

            “[Putin] has a firm hold on the Russian mind.”
            This statement, to me, represents an intelligence failure.
            Putin is not manipulating other people.
            Rather, he is representing them, and serving their interests.
            This is democracy at work.

            OTOH, in the U.S., Joe Biden by pushing his transgenderism agenda, is going against the wills of the majority of the American people.

          • TTG says:

            Keith Harbaugh,

            You might want to reread my post on Russian reflexive control from back in early 2017. The Soviet Union always saw perception management of their own population just as important or even more important than conducting perception management of her enemies. It took the shape of countering our attempts to influence their population as well as reinforcing control and shaping actions of their own people. The siloviki involved in these activities back in the Soviet days became the siloviki of Russia. I watched Putin’s people setting up the modern mechanisms for continuing these activities from the beginning. The art of persuasion is also part of democracy, a critical part, but Russia’s ideas of domestic reflexive control are a step beyond mere persuasion.


            Transgenderism isn’t much of an agenda. It involves less than 2% of Americans. So yeah, I guess it is against the will of most Americans. I wonder who’s forcing all those Americans into switching genders?

          • Stefan says:

            The Ukrainians also fought for the Nazis in WW2 and were part and parcel in the Holocaust in that area of Europe.

            How many of those who fought the Nazis in Ukraine were ethnic Russians? Unfortunately, the Ukrainians who fought for the Nazis have statues still standing in Ukraine and are celebrated every year.

            I think it is fair to say, depending on who you are, both sides have reason to fear the other as an existential threat. The issue is when the conflict is only viewed from one side. It makes for all sorts of really bad analysis.

        • leith says:

          Stefan –

          Those numbers are overstated per the Russian Academy of Sciences. The 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians who died in WW2 from war related causes were horrifying enough. No need to exaggerate.

          And not all 27 mil were Russians. That figure included Ukrainians, Belarusians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Moldovans, Armenians, Georgians, Azeris, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Mongols, Chuvash, Bashkir etc.

          • Stefan says:

            27 million, 50 million….doesnt really matter. The FACT of the matter is for many Russians (probably the majority) having Nazis on their borders is a credible existential threat. The whole point is it doesnt matter what YOU think, it matters what THEY think.

            Thanks for proving my point.

    • cobo says:

      The forces at work in our time, are old. The status of men and machines, although seemingly decisive, are irrelevant. I stand by the comments I’ve made.

  8. jim.. says:

    I Remember A special Operator in Afghanistan…Had The Bomber in the Crowd in His Sights…It Was A NO GO… Albright must have been still SOS… So they then
    follow that up with an OK To Blow up A Family of Civilians…In Front of a House…and Killed Em All…..NO Remote Convoy…..
    Arts Centers..
    And We Only Tolerated Mass Killing…Bombing…Of Civilians and A Culture…(Dresden)
    With 1200 Bombers… three Days in 1945 at the End of the War…No AA No Resistance..
    and justified It..Because we were doing it For The “Russians”

    Even Winston Churchhill Was Shocked…But the RAF Commanders Wanted It Done.

    Anyone who Talks About Old Fart Empires…Forgets The Chinese are the New Empire..Bridges..Roads…Wealth..Precious and Rare Metals..nd Minerals…Robber with a Kiss..Fake Smiles…No Robins…Just Hoods..

    Viva La Ukraine…Viva Freedom…SST..I Wish The “Old Man” was here..

    • jim.. says:


      What Would the Status of Ukraine…and Russia….Europe..Slavic States…
      Be Right Now…If Z and Kyiv..had Surrendered To The 40 Mile Long
      Russian Convoy of Armored Up to Kyiv Then…???

      I Think Putin Counted on Peaceful Occupation..without War…And Still
      seems to preserve Areas of Kyiv Now…

      I Agree That Putin Has Been Able To Intimidate The Life Guard
      His Constant Threats of Nuke Use.. At Least Those Who ..Scare Him..into Policy Reactions.

      I Have Been reading Data estimates on Russia’s Military.. from the..
      London Based “Royal United Services Institute…”

      Russia Currently has 470,000 Operational Group of Forces..
      Russia’s Current Plan..Sieze…Hold..Inflict Maxium Damage..
      Russia wants to Expand to 1,5 million personnel..Now Adding
      10,000 Troops a Month,,,
      Russia Says It Can Sustain the War Through 2025..
      Russia has The Big Advantage In Artillery Pieces….Total Estimates,,
      4,780 Artillery Pieces
      1,130 Rocket Launcher Systems
      2060 Tanks ..but Building 1,500 New a Year,,
      7,080 Other Armored Vehicles
      290 Helos…..110 Attack Helos
      310 Fixed Wing Fighter Bombers..

      Hugh Supplys of Drones..Missles..With New more Powerful Products
      and Suppliers…..Systems NOT Talked About..

      Viva Ukraine..Viva…Freedom..Perhaps France Will Ukraine..
      Another Statue Of Liberty…They Do Have…After All..A Band of Brothers..

  9. Yeah, Right says:

    “The best thing we can do is immediately provide a lot more air defense systems including more Patriot batteries.”

    Are such systems immediately available to supply to Ukraine?

    I doubt it, not if the Pentagon still thinks it can fight the PLA in any large-scale armed conflict in and around Taiwan.

    As the old saying goes: if wishes were horses we’d all be kings.

    • TTG says:

      Yeah, Right,

      The US has 50 Patriot batteries. There are some 18 other countries with various numbers of Patriot batteries. Ukraine only has 2, maybe 3, batteries.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        Doesn’t answer my question: how many such systems are IMMEDIATELY available to supply to Ukraine?

        The USA is eyeballing a possible armed conflict with China over Taiwan. That is an indisputable fact – Democrat and Republican politicians alike have been incredibly bellicose towards Beijing with respect to a PLA move against Taiwan.

        So, the USA has 50 Patriot batteries?

        I would suggest that if you asked the Pentagon if 50 batteries were sufficient to protect US assets in a war with China the answer would be: No. Not nearly enough.

        As for the other 18 countries, well, whoopie. Good on Raytheon for having such an efficient marketing machine.

        Perhaps get that well-oiled marketing machine to work convincing those 18 countries to cough up a system they’ve spend their own hard-earned on and just give it to Zelensky for free because….. because.

        • TTG says:

          Yeah, Right,

          The shipborne Aegis systems with SM-3 and SM-6 missile are the primary air and missile defense systems in the Pacific. The US pulled several Patriot batteries and a THAAD system out of Saudi Arabia in late 2021. the Saudis have their own Patriots. We provided only two batteries to Ukraine. A third came from Germany. The West could easily afford to at least double that.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            And yet the indisputable fact is that they haven’t.

            Which does rather tend to support my claim that they can’t, while undercutting your claim that this would be “easy”.

            A prediction because all theories should be predicative: even if Speaker Johnson ponies up the $60billion aid package there will not be a doubling of Patriot missile batteries to Ukraine.

            And the reason won’t be “lack of will”, but “lack of Patriot missiles”

          • James says:

            Yeah, Right,

            Could it be perhaps that the US could provide more Patriots to Ukraine but the more practice that Russia gets in taking out Patriots, the more knowledge they have and can share in future conflicts?

          • Yeah, Right says:

            James, the simple answer is “No”.

            The USA has a lot of Patriot missiles.
            The USA has a lot of Patriot batteries.

            The USA does NOT want to send those to Ukraine for the simple reason that it will never get them back again, and the Pentagon is convinced that they are going to need them.

            Simple as that: it is pointless looking at the number of these systems that the USA has and whistling and muttering “Wow! That’s a lot!”

            Maybe it is a lot, but that’s only one half of the equation. The other is “How many does the USA need?”

            And if they are planning for a possible war with the PLA then the answer is “More than they have”.

          • James says:

            Yeah, Right

            This twitter thread from Carl Zha about Patriot batteries in Taiwan back up what you are saying. I believe you are right.


      • LeaNder says:

        Ukraine only has 2, maybe 3, batteries.

        TTG, this is a bit confusing for me? They had those 2 or 3 already before Putin started his SMO? But have more now. Some were destroyed by Russia missiles? Which leaves them only 2 or 3?

        Ukrainian link:
        According to Dmytro Kuleba Germany sent three to Ukraine by August 2023. But no one else? None from the US?
        Patriot air defense systems and their components arrived in Ukraine from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands. The systems were transferred to Ukraine to defend against Russian air attacks.

        German Federal Government, Military Support:

        What is the difference between:
        a) 2 air defence systems PATRIOT with spare parts
        b) 2 PATRIOT launchers?

        In other words, did we send only two, not three as Kuleba assumed? Or are that four?

        Air defence
        IRIS-T SLS missiles
        IRIS-T SLM missiles*
        1 air defence system SKYNEX with ammunition*
        8 air surveillance radar TRML-4D*
        52 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns GEPARD with spare parts
        116,362 rounds ammunitions for self-propelled anti-aircraft guns GEPARD (from Bundeswehr and industry stocks*)
        2 air defence systems PATRIOT with spare parts
        PATRIOT missiles
        3 air defence systems IRIS-T SLM*
        1 air defence systems IRIS-T SLS*
        2 PATRIOT launchers
        4,000 rounds practice ammunitions for self-propelled anti-aircraft guns
        500 Man Portable Air Defense Systems STINGER
        2,700 Man Portable Air Defense Systems STRELA

        • TTG says:


          Ukraine received two batteries from the US in April 2023. A battery consists of eight launchers and the requisite radar, tracking and command and control systems. Germany sent a third battery later last year. A few more launchers may have been sent as well. Ukraine had no Patriots before this.

      • Fred says:


        how many missiles and how long do their launchers survive once in combat?

    • leith says:

      YR –

      Ukraine has three Patriot batteries from the US and Germany. Plus two additional launchers they got from Holland. In the past they have used some hybrid systems marrying up Patriot missiles with S300 radars. So maybe they’ve cobbled together another battery?

      Meanwhile at Ramstein: “Germany, as the chairman of the Air Defense Coalition, is initiating an immediate analysis of all Patriot batteries and other air defense systems available not only among the allies but also in the world, and what can be done, what combinations can be built to deliver these batteries to Ukraine”… I’ve heard the US has 60 Patriot batteries but that may be old info. From what is acknowledged publicly there are 30 within NATO countries in Europe. Stocks in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea add up to 39 batteries, although I’d guess none of those three countries would give any up considering the current situation in WestPac. The mideast has quite a few batteries, anywhere from 39 up to 52 batteries depending on the info source, so a couple of those might be made available if the right deal is made.

      Norway is sending eight more NASAMS launch systems and four more fire-direction units out of its reserve stocks. They say the equipment can be sent “within a relatively short time”. That will help against cruise missiles, aircraft & drones but won’t help against ballistic missiles.

      F-16s should be there any day now. But there is doubt that they will still be as relevant as they could have been a year ago.

  10. babelthuap says:

    All due respect to Col Pat Lang. Like him however I was also wrong on Russia invading. I just didn’t think they would ever do it. Well they did. If anyone thinks they would not use nukes if pushed at this point I’m not sure how much more convincing they would need other than it going off.

    Putin will absolutely do it. Front load a NATO force on his border and it will go off and to be honest I don’t blame him. Get off that border and give Russia a buffer. Everyone go home. Not worth it. It will start a nuclear war. 10’s of millions will die. It needs to stop.

    • cobo says:

      It’s called a Mexican standoff, if you waited. Draw against the drop and let God sort it out. Or forever quiver in fear because ‘they’ have nukes. *Let ‘them’ quiver in fear; we have plenty of nukes, which will work as advertised. I’m sure I’ve said this before.

      I watched a documentary yesterday about the Assyrians, who were genocided by the Ottoman Turks along with the Armenians. Those that ran died (only individuals can get away). Those that succumbed, acquiesced, cooperated – died. In fact, before their murder, they were tricked out of their belongings, which would, of course, be returned to them. Hahahaha… The only survivors fought, hard, no quarter asked, none given. Some still occupy their former villages.

  11. VietnamVet says:

    The real possibility of escalation to a nuclear exchange is on the table as long as the hot war between NATO and Russia inside Ukraine continues. The black swan is hissing but no one is listening. The folly of today’s proxy World War III and WWI are quite similar. The West still acts like it thinks it can win the war by force and gain access to Russian resources; plus, remain the global economic Hegemon.

    Russia is intentionally incrementally increasing the pressure on Ukraine without so far reaching the point that the West has to use tactical nuclear weapons to avoid defeat. In a way, Ukraine is replaying the US Civil War — General Lee’s quest for a Confederate great victory over the Union Army verses General Longstreet’s war of tactical defense to preserve manpower. Before Ukraine ends up losing Odessa and the Black Sea Coast and becoming a rump state, the alternative is peace, neutrality, a UN Armistice, and a DMZ established on the line of contact. Ending the war and taking nuclear war off the table has not happened yet because Ukraine, USA and EU would have to acknowledge the victory of the Axis of Resistance. The West as a result of ending the war would only encompass roughly a quarter of the world and would have to survive on its own resources. With the withdrawal of troops back to America and closing of many unaffordable overseas bases, an outbreak of the red-blue unrest is likely unless constitutional government by and for the people is restored.

    • voislav says:

      Funny enough, situation in Ukraine really drew some Civil War parallels for me. I saw Zaluzhny as Joe Johnston, very skilled in defensive warfare, but also indecisive and reluctant to go on the offense, and very casualty-averse.

      His replacement Syrskyi is much more aggressive, willing to seek a decisive battle, but also very accepting of casualties. Not sure whether he’ll draw parallels with Lee or J.B. Hood once everything is said and done, but my guess is Hood.

  12. Christian J Chuba says:

    I would never dream of projecting my thoughts on what the Col. would think today.
    I dearly miss what he would have said about Gaza given his great familiarity with the region. In the case of Gaza, I bet he would have surprised us on a few things, he was both predictable and unpredictable.

  13. walrus says:

    Leith and others,, you had better hope that the F16, at least what I will call the NATO variant of the F16, never makes it to Ukraine. That variant is capable of delivering a nuclear weapon and the Russians know it. The ‘export” version of the F16 may not have this capability.

    The Russians have said that they cannot distinguish between conventional and nuclear armed F16s and will respond on the assumption its the latter out of simple self-preservation.

    That response I would imagine, involves not only destroying the aircraft but the base from which it was launched, WHEREVER the base is located; that includes NATO member states.

    At that point Europe gets to choose between nuclear annihilation or peace talks.

    Washington believes it is in a win/win situation. Russia and Europe fighting each other – whats not to like? Two competitors destroying each other. WE get a rerun of the “New American Century” – Europe and Russia exhausted and their economies ruined for at least fifty years leaving the USA in the Catbird seat just like in 1945.

    Its fairly obvious at least to me, that’s the plan. I note a very recent uptick in videos on nuclear weapons and their effects on youtube, together with right wing commentators busy planting the seed that maybe a nuclear war wouldn’t be a bad thing and we can take it in our strider stride.

    So my take – Europe gets a limited nuclear war as does Russia

    • TTG says:


      You do realize that Russia has been using nuclear capable aircraft and missiles offensively for two years. They’ve even taken missiles out of their nuclear arsenal, removed the warheads and fired them into Ukraine. Are they not risking initiating nuclear war with these actions? For quite some time now, the Kremlin has been quite casual about throwing about threats of using nuclear weapons as a blackmail tactic. As someone here mentioned recently, the Kremlin might just do it. Their constant threats may convince them that it would be a swimmingly clever idea.

      I truly have no idea how the West would respond. Would we use nuclear weapons in a demonstration or retaliatory strike? Would we launch conventional attacks on Russian targets at sea or in Russia proper? Perhaps Kaliningrad? Are the Ukrainian people worth setting off WWIII? I think Washington desperately wants to avoid having to answer those questions. That’s what’s driving White House reluctance to go all in on supplying weapons to Ukraine. I doubt they see a win/win choice in this scenario.

    • leith says:

      Walrus –

      As I mentioned earlier, the F-16s might have made a meaningful difference if they had been received last year. But the Dutch, Danes & Norwegians have slow-walked the delivery. Even Ukraine believes they are no longer game changers. They are scheduled to receive 60, which is about five squadrons worth, definitely not enough to go against Russia’s VVS. There is a debate on how well those F-16’s will adapt to taking off and landing on Ukrainian roads instead of airfields. And there will also be a slow delivery and inconstant resupply of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions.

      The Dutch have B61 nukes but will save them for their F-35’s. The Danes and Norwegians don’t have any that I’m aware of. But the Kremlin does not need an excuse to use nukes. I don’t believe Putin would order a nuke attack, although there are some in his entourage insane enough to take the first step to Armageddon. The big question is: How would the West retaliate? Hopefully not with nukes. Maybe just hit the Kremlin with thermobaric weapons like Putin did to Grozny and Mariupol?

  14. F&L says:

    I’ll paste 2 of Sergei Markov’s recent Telegram posts of this morning. (He has been very close to the RF leadership for years). As you see they differ considerably from most of the material presented in the western MSM and in its alternative media sphere which most of you are familiar with – I’m thinking of Ritter, Macgregor, Johnson, Mearsheimer etc as alternative. I myself have no comment either way other than to note the divergence.

    APU. 1. Mobilization recruitment is ongoing all the time.
    2. The enormous resistance of the Ukrainian population, which 90% does not want to go to the front, is being overcome by increasingly harsh measures.
    3. New laws have been adopted. And it will still be accepted. The age was lowered from 27 to 25 years, and penalties for those evading mobilization and military registration were sharply increased.
    4. Zelensky said that there will be no rotation. Because there are battles ahead.
    5. The main problem of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is that too many junior and mid-level officers have been eliminated. That is, there are new soldiers, but there is no one to lead them.
    6. Therefore, there is a very great need for rapid training of officers by the forces of France, Britain, the USA, Poland, and Germany.
    7. But the problem is that they themselves do not know how to fight in a modern war. They have no experience of either drone warfare or warfare against a modern army. It’s more likely that Ukrainians should teach them there.
    8. Ukrainians do not want to go to war, but at the front they fight stubbornly and strongly. Like real Russians. They are the Russians. There are few prisoners, the order is less than 10 people per week. But there is no exact data, it’s all a mystery.
    9. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are now one of the strongest armies in the world. Without taking into account nuclear weapons, it is apparently second only to Russia, the USA, China, and India. 5th Army of the World.
    10. There are enough shells. Information about the shortage of shells in the Ukrainian Armed Forces is more propaganda to the West in order to knock out budgets. And justify defeats.
    11. There are a lot of UAVs. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have increased them tenfold over the year.
    12. The Ukrainian Armed Forces is a proxy US army, which already fights better than the US army.
    Military logic. It’s the same at the front. 1. The Russian army is moving very slowly in the main directions with heavy fighting.
    2. The period of “battles for Chasov Yar” began. It will be long. The battles are similar to those for Bakhmut.
    3. Ukraine is building 3 lines of fortifications to repel the predicted offensive of the Russian army. According to LBS. In the rear for a new line of defense. And powerful lines of defense in the deep rear.
    4. Shelling of the rear. On both sides everything is stronger, further and further, more and more. Russia on electrical structure. Ukraine by oil refinery.
    5. The most intense battles are in the west of Avdeevka: Semyonovka and in Berdychi and to the west of Artyomovsk – Bakhmut: on the outskirts of Chasov Yar.

  15. Jovan P says:

    Barbara Ann,

    ” it’s like an arsonist offering a pail of water to the owner of the house they have set ablaze.”


    ”Crassus was a master of that maneuver. The Parthians taught him his last lesson on greed.”

    Beautiful metaphors. Although the Borg are wanting the riches of Ukraine, Russia and all the others, they are also chasing the souls. That’s why the Ukraine Russia war is an ideological war on many levels.

  16. Harper says:

    I cannot say with certainty how Pat would have shifted or maintained his views as the war evolved over the past two years. I suspect he would have seen adjustments and corrections in the Russian prosecution of the war that reflected a competent learning curve, particularly the shift to strategic defense and the buildup of the three-tiered defense lines, which the Ukrainians failed to significantly penetrate and at a great cost. Pat emphasized the great flaw in Russian military order of battle: Their lack of a permanent non-commissioned officer corps greatly weakens their maneuverability. So their strength is their strategic defenses, which have wore down the Ukraine forces, which suffer from a severe population disadvantage.

    Pat was the ultimate authority on the neocon disease infecting our political institutions, particularly on people like Victoria Nuland, and as one reader noted, Drinking the Kool-Aid was a master class on the neocon vices.

    Pat also had respect for Bill Burns, with whom he worked when Burns was ambassador to Jordan. And Burns, when ambassador to Russia, was the author of the prescient memo from February 1, 2008 cautioning against inviting Ukraine to join NATO at the upcoming summit. His confidential memo to Bush and Rice, aptly titled “Nyet means Nyet,” warned that moving Ukraine toward NATO membership will trigger a civil war inside Ukraine and an eventual Russian invasion. Read Burns’ Back Channel memoir and you see he clearly understood Putin as an untrustworthy autocrat, but he had a realist’s view of the necessity to engage Russia from a position of strength.

    There is enough blame to go around on both the Russian and NATO side for the events leading to the February 22, 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. When Biden people complain that Russia is not democratic enough, I shudder in disbelief. Russia was never democratic. Even Peter the Great and Catherine the Great were called “benevolent despots,” and the terms were appropriate.

    Pat and TTG were both correct about Russia’s initial invasion failures and that stands as a solid record. Once Russia invaded, SecDef Austin made clear that the US goal was to back Ukraine to deplete and weaken Russia, because Russia was the strategic partner “for life” of China and China posed the long-term challenge to the current U.S. led (but not controlled) global order. Putin was ready to take a deal in April 2022 where Ukraine would withdraw its NATO application and the Russian-speaking (and heavily Russian penetrated) Donbas region would remain as an autonomous part of Ukraine, with Crimea clearly de facto in Russian hands but not de jure. It would have been a cheap win for Russia and I think Putin would have taken it and then figured out what to do next from a position of relative advantage.

    The G-7 sanctions hurt Russia but hurt Germany and the rest of continental Europe worse, and it accelerated Russia’s “Asia Pivot” to reduce the real damage to the Russian economy.

    Pat was a flexible thinker, and understood the Russians as they were, not as we dreamed they should be. He would, I believe, have stuck with his support for Ukraine but evolved criticism of the Western approach, Ukraine’s divided strategy, and related factors. He had decades of direct engagements with Russian military counterparts and had a very deep psychological insight into their mode of operating (read his Memoir and The Human Factor for his case officer insights into the Russian mind). He developed a close personal and cordial intell officer-to-intell officer relationship with his Russian counterpart when posted as military attache in Yemen. They swapped favors and had great lunches together, paid for by the two governments because they billed the lunches as recruitment expense, even though Pat and his Russian counterpart knew that neither could ever be recruited to the other side. Pat’s personal experiences and way of telling his stories always informed in a profound way.

  17. English Outsider says:

    Well, Harper, the pilgrims are on their own now so must make their own way I knew the Colonel was the goods when first a friend put me on to his site. But that gives none the right to guess how his views would have evolved as the conflict wore on to its inevitable end. I’m pretty sure though that he wouldn’t have been impressed with the Milley/Cavoli/Radakin trio.

    There’s something TTG said – can’t bring it exactly to mind now – that indicated he and the Colonel could have lived with only the securing of the Donbass. That would have been the best solution but any chance of that was lost with Istanbul. Me, I never thought Istanbul offered much of a chance anyway.

    Doubt the Russians did either. President Biden in his Warsaw speech made it clear he was after regime change in Russia and I doubt that was an ad lib addition to the speech they gave him to read. That sanctions war was designed to take Russia down and was expected to. When it failed the rest of it, for all the big talk and the slaughter, could only have one end.

    • TTG says:


      Before the invasion, I surmised that if the Russian forces moved into the DNR and LNR in force up to the LoC, both Ukraine and the West would be presented with a real dilemma. Sanctions would probably still be applied, but I doubt they would have been much more stringent or effective than the sanctions applied after the seizure of Crimea. A shooting war would have been avoided. Russia would not have ended Ukraine as an independent country, but she would have made another incremental gain. Biden made some comment at the time about possibly accepting something short of an invasion. In order to avoid a shooting war, this might have been acceptable to Washington and Kyiv. Once the invasion kicked off, all bets were off.

      • English Outsider says:

        The way I saw it in February/’March ’22, TTG, was that we left the Russians no choice but to move in. The shelling increasing and a powerful force poised on the LoC Putin could do nothing but pre-empt. President Biden’s was correct to warn that the Russians would invade. He knew that the Russians would do just that because he knew they’d be forced to.

        Once forced to move in they were inevitably going to do what they’ll do now. Neutralise Ukraine one way or another right up to the Polish border.

        They won’t leave bits of it for the West to play with. We’d be giving remnant Ukraine long range weapons for more “look no hands” attacks into Russia. We’d be training up Ukrainian SF for sabotage or assassination missions into Russia till Kingdom come.

        The West might be low on the right weapons and ammunition right now but there are a billion of us. If we put our minds to it we could supply remnant Ukraine in the future with all the weapons and training it’d need to become a formidable army again. Some Western politicians are hoping they’ll be able to do just that: play for time, keep what we can of Ukraine and use it later for another round with Russia. They say as much.

        The Russians aren’t going to play Father Christmas and give us that opportunity. Not now they know we’ll stop at nothing to harm them. Unless this war goes nuclear Ukraine will be neutralised for good.


        That’s how I saw it back then but it’s got a lot more worrying since. You know they’ve started shelling the ZNPP again? It was when they did that the first time that I realised how dangerous our Western politicians are. Without Western weapons and ammunition and targeting Kiev couldn’t do that. They need permission from the Western politicians to do it, and permission or indeed assistance from the West to mount those crazy SF raids on the ZNPP.

        Our politicians are psychos, TTG, allowing or in fact helping with crazy stuff like that. No way round it. Psychos. Risking radioactive contamination of large areas, maybe some of it blowing into Russia and maybe some of it into Europe, and rendering a large area of Ukraine uninhabitable Chernobyl style. Unbelievable, even a few years back, to imagine Western politicians countenancing let alone helping with shelling and attacking a nuclear power station.

        When you look at it logically, we in Europe need protection from those psychos just as much as the Russians do. So the sooner the Russians neutralise the entirety of Ukraine the better. I doubt that’ll bring our politicians to their senses but at least it’ll stop them doing crazy stuff like that.

        • TTG says:


          The vast majority of shelling in the days leading up to the invasion landed in government controlled areas according to the OSCE tables of ceasefire violations. Ukrainian forces along the LoC were under orders to not return fire unless necessary in order not to give the Russians an excuse to invade. It was a lost cause. Russia was intent on invading.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            The map of ceasefire violations just prior to the start of the SMO is here:

            Judge for yourself the merit of TTG’s claim.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            Those maps and figures are for all of 2021, not just prior to the start of the invasion, aka SMO.

          • Fred says:


            How many OSCE members are also NATO members and how did that influence their analysis?

          • TTG says:


            OSCE is majority NATO since most of Europe is now NATO. Russia was also part of the OSCE group in Ukraine. Besides, the list of observed ceasefire violations is not analysis.

          • English Outsider says:

            TTG – to me at the time the OSCE maps looked as if the greater volume of shelling was coming into the Donbass. But that still leaves it possible to argue that the maps were wrong. The inspection teams were often late or often missed evidence. They were not paid to sit under artillery fire as it came over, nor could they reasonably be expected to do so.

            It can also be argued that the maps are misinterpreted or do not show who fired first etc. Or, simply, that I was reading the maps wrong or had got hold of the wrong maps. All that’s possible, particularly the last two!

            We are left, I think, at the minimum, with indisputable evidence that the volume of fire had greatly increased. And that the Kiev forces were there on the other side of the LoC. More numerous than the forces the LDNR could muster and but a few miles from Donetsk at the closest point.

            Forced move. The Russians could do nothing but pre-empt. Had those forces got into the cities and settlements of the Donbass there’d have been hell to pay getting them out again, mixed up as they’d be with the civilian population. And it’s mucky terrain, the Donbass. Some of it more like the Ruhr of previous times than the wide open steppes, and often difficult ground to fight over.

            So it all seemed to me at the time, TTG. We’d managed to mount a threat that the Russians could not ignore. Whether the Kiev forces would in fact have invaded – I think so but that’s always arguable – is irrelevant. The threat was there and the Russians could do nothing other than meet it. Putin would have been out on his ear had he not done so, and his administration with him.

            Since then a whole lot of facts have come out that further confirm that the Russian attack was provoked. By us. Many of those facts I did not know of at the time, some none in the West knew of then. But to this inexpert outsider watching it all it looked like a clear case of FAFO and still does.



            I get decidedly hot under the collar arguing all this, TTG, because I’m not really arguing with the site. I’m arguing with Mearsheimer.

            Bloody man. A great scholar, one of the best, and courageous past anything you could expect from the usual academic. But he and his thesis have misled so many people.

            Mearsheimer’s thesis is that over the years, with NATO expansion and all the rest of it, we’d put so much pressure on the Russians that we’d backed them into a corner and finally they’d had to come out and fight.

            Bullshit!!! We were threatening them with sanctions, true. But the Russians aren’t dumb. It would have been obvious to a child in February 2022 that any military move the Russians made would be met with a dangerous intensification of the sanctions. As it was.

            We were threatening them with a further expansion of NATO. True. But it would have been equally obvious that any military move the Russians made would be met by further intensification of that NATO pressure. As it was.

            So how can Mearsheimer argue that the Russians thought to meet NATO pressure by doing the one thing that could only intensify that pressure. Doesn’t make sense. They invaded because they had to. Not because they wanted to.

            Truth is, war was the last thing Putin and Lavrov wanted. They were, in their cautious and legalistic fashion, slowly building up new trade connections and dropping the old. They were establishing an increasing lead over the West in military technology. They were slowly establishing alliances or understandings that vastly increased their military superiority over the West and rendered them increasingly less vulnerable to destabilisation on their borders. If it weren’t for the fact that we’ve got nuclear too they were in position to ignore any military threat the West could mount. They were sitting pretty.

            And since we do have nuclear, and by general consent irresponsible politicians in charge, their best bet was to maintain the status quo and let those advantages play out. Not to risk a fearsome sanctions war and a disruptive and risky military confrontation with us.

            My Mearsheimer diatribe. Sorry, I do admire the man but he’s such a pest, misleading us all with his nonsense.

          • TTG says:


            Putin’s speeches and writings emphasized the idea that Ukraine must be part of Russia. It was destiny. Although he clearly saw Ukrainian membership in NATO as a strategic threat, he shrugged off the accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO, putting NATO forces on the doorsteps of Saint Petersburg and practically turning the Baltic Sea into a NATO lake. Invading Ukraine was a matter of Putin’s soul. Finland and Sweden in NATO are mere moves on the chessboard.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            “Those maps and figures are for all of 2021, not just prior to the start of the invasion, aka SMO.”

            Which begs the question of where you are getting your numbers to make your assertion.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            The list of ceasefire violations compiled for the OSCE for several days prior to the invasion. Both EO and leith found it.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            OK, google is always your friend: here is the last daily report from the OSCE.


            The map is to be found on page 2. It does not appear to support TTG’s claim.

            (As an aside, the OSCE reports began to show a bias from 13th February because on that date the USA and several other NATO countries withdrew their observers from the non-Government areas of Ukraine which, obviously, meant that the OSCE was understaffed on that side of the LoC).

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Here is the previous daily report to the one I just linked to, and covers 19-20 February:


            Again, the map is on Page 2 and, again, it does not appear to support TTG’s claim.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            And just to be a broken record, here is the OSCE daily report for 18th February 2022


            Once again, the map is on Page 2 and, once again, it does not appear to support TTG’s claim

          • Yeah, Right says:

            I’d just like to remind everyone that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

            In the case of the statistics that TTG refers to it should be noted (again) that the USA, UK and sundty NATO-nobodies withdrew their OSCE observers from “non-government” territory on 13th February 2022, while leaving their observers in “Ukraine government” territory at their post.

            This has two implications that should always be kept in mind:

            1) This would have led to a marked bias in OSCE reporting post-13th since, axiomatically, there were not as many OSCE observers to record incoming fire into “rebel” areas.

            2) Hello! Not at all suspicious, is it?

            If the USA etc., were withdrawing their observers because of fear of Russia then they would have also withdrawn them from the “government-held” territory.

            After all, in which direction of travel is Russian artillery going to take?

            But, no, they didn’t. They withdrew their observers from the “non-government” side, which suggests to me that they had inside information that Donetsk and Luhansk were soon going to get hot, hot, hot with lead.

            Anyone care to suggest an alternative explanation?

          • leith says:

            EO –

            The OSCE report you link to claims there were 3,231 ceasefire violations during that three day period (2158 in Donetsk region & 1073 in Luhansk region). Counting the violations in the table starting on page 13, I added up only 724 explosions within the area under DPR/LPR control. And some of those were outgoing. So it seems to me the great majority of ceasefire violations were perpetrated against Ukrainian government forces. It is roughly a 3.5 to 1 ratio of artillery attacks by separatist troops on Ukrainian held areas. Check my math. I may have missed some. And I only counted a machine gun burst as a single violation. If OSCE was counting individual machine gun or rounds heard then my figures are off and the ratio is a bit smaller.

  18. Jose says:

    Just hope all the civilians that use the term Kharkiv get out before it becomes Kharkov again.

  19. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Not sure about the best place to post this note on U.S. drone usage:

    “AI-Operated Fighter Jet Will Fly Air Force Secretary in a Test of Military’s Future Drone Warplanes”

    “There will be a pilot with me who will just be watching, as I will be, as the autonomous technology works,”
    Kendall told the Senate Appropriations Committee defense panel members.
    “Hopefully neither he or I will be needed to fly the airplane.”

    • leith says:

      It’s a two-seater. A human pilot will be there if things go tits up. AF secretary Kendall will be in the back seat and “will be the third smartest person in that F-16” per aviation analyst Tyler Rogoway.

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