Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Men, Material, Money, and Morale: Ukraine's Foreverwar

When a people are at crisis, either at war or in the face of a natural disaster, knowing that you have friends helping out is critical in maintaining the one thing that keeps a people united and willing to carry on in the face of adversity; morale.

The academic/green eye-shade/Quartermaster Bloomfield mentality of putting all weight towards the most efficient or that which gives the most theoretical marginal utility is so steeped in the mindset of the technocracy that it cannot see the human element in the most human of events.

Nolan Peterson’s article last month about US aide to Ukraine should be required reading. It might help some understand the larger concept of the compounding positive effects that come from even a little help - efficient, essential or not. It just needs to be there. There is more at work than simple spreadsheets.
On the front lines against Russia and its separatist proxies in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers have, throughout the past three years of relentless combat, frequently turned to symbols of America to both intimidate and annoy their enemies—sometimes, in eclectic and creative ways.

Ukrainian soldiers have raised U.S. flags over their front-line trenches and forts—typically to the retort of sniper or mortar fire from across no man’s land. Sometimes, to really get under the enemy’s skin, an English-speaking Ukrainian soldier will radio commands in English over unencrypted channels, pretending to be a member of SEAL Team Six.

Since the war in the Donbas region began in April 2014, Russian propaganda has spun yarns about U.S. military forces actively participating in the war. Consequently, Ukrainian soldiers know that flaunting American military support for Ukraine is a potent psychological weapon against their enemies.

Any instance of U.S. military support for Ukraine is also a powerful morale booster for Ukrainian troops as they continue to grind out a 3-year-old war against a combined force of Russian troops and pro-Russian separatists.

“U.S. support lets the Ukrainians know the stronger guy is on their side,” Mamuka Mamulashvili, commander of the pro-Ukrainian Georgian National Legion, told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“Support from the United States of our struggle for independence undoubtedly raises the fighting spirit of our soldiers,” Alexander Pochynok, a Ukrainian sniper, told The Daily Signal. “And the supply of advanced weapons systems such as Javelin will only accelerate our victory and the death of Russia.”

The U.S. has provided nonlethal military assistance for Ukraine since 2014, the year Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, and then started a proxy war in Ukraine’s southeastern Donbas region.

To date, Trump has not deviated from Obama’s decision to not arm Ukraine.

“Actually, the weapons themselves will not have a decisive impact on the course of combat operations,” Ukrainian army Lt. Andrei Mikheychenko told The Daily Signal.

“Deliveries of lethal weapons, in my opinion, will primarily have psychological significance for both the Ukrainian army and the terrorists it fights,” Mikheychenko, a member of the Ukrainian army’s 93rd Mechanized Brigade, said. “This demonstrates the seriousness of U.S. support for Ukraine as a strategic partner.”
As a side note, I could not help from having a good giggle at this bit of the article;
At the front-line village of Krymske in 2015, just outside the separatist stronghold of Luhansk, Ukrainian troops renamed a street from that of a Soviet luminary to “John McCain Street.”

When Canadian journalist and filmmaker Christian Borys asked the soldiers when they were going to name a street after then-President Barack Obama, the soldiers replied, “When he sends us weapons.”

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