Thursday, February 24, 2022

Second Russo-Ukraine War D+0 Quicklook

It appears that the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN was correct last night – the Russians have declared war on Ukraine.

As we are still inside the first 12-hrs of the invasion, there is a lot we simply do not know, but things are clear that this will not be a focused invasion simply to secure all the territory of the breakaway parts of eastern Ukraine. No, this is something much larger.

There is a lot of bad and confusing OSNIT going on, but one thing is clear, northwest of the capital Kyiv, Russian airmobile forces coming from Belorussia have seized and are attempting to maintain control of Hostomel and the Antonov International Airport (GML) there. That is a clear signal they are planning to take Kiev and the entire country.

Now the question is how well the Ukrainians will hold up under the assault. That will determine if this will be a short or a long war.

To speculate more than that right now would be silly – there simply is not enough in open source to get a firm picture.

There are a few things I am willing to put on the table this AM.

1. The remaining delusions about the post-Cold War security arrangements in Europe should be firmly buried. History is back and she has her Festivus pole front and center. She has some issues with us, and we’re going to hear about it.

2. NATO has a German problem. While all the “right people” will not shut up about how wonderful former Chancellor Angela Merkle was, people need to be very clear eyed about what a complete disaster she and the German political class have been over the last two decades. They have starved what should be continental European NATO’s most potent military into irrelevance. Her disastrous feel-good, ethno-masochistic immigration policy weakened European cohesion and fed the worst parts of European political subcultures. Yes, she made a lot of well meaning Germans feel good about themselves, but it was a sugar-high that rotted the teeth and poisoned the national metabolism. While willing to defend Europe to the last Pole and Germany to the last American, she decided to preen in her neo-pagan EuroGreen superiority onomastic politics by ditching clean nuclear power and through the complete corruption of her elite, shacked herself to Russian energy oligarchs and thus the Kremlin. Germany needs to fix herself, and NATO needs to work around her and punish her until she starts to behave like a constructive 21st Century security partner.

3. As our friend Jerry Hendrix pointed out yesterday, the moral leaders in NATO right now are the Baltic Republics and I would add Visegrad nations. You can throw Romania in there too. France will go hot and cold as she fights her desire to do the right thing for European security while at the same time nurse her 1,000 year old drive to be the premier leader of Western Europe. Serious but weaker nations will lean on a reluctant USA and limited United Kingdom … simply because - to be frank - much of the rest of the alliance is not that capable.

4. In line with #1 above, it is time for Finland at least, and probably Sweden, to join NATO. They both have a long and bloody history with the Russians and should see clearly what time it is.

5. Ukraine waited too long to rearm. Weakened and distracted by a corrupt elite, the good parts of her nation could not get ready fast enough. After the first Russo-Ukraine war of 2014 she should have modeled the armed neutrality of Switzerland with a civilian populace trained and armed to the teeth. As we’ve discussed here before with the former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact nations, every village needs a few ATGM militia teams trained to slow any advance through their patch of land. If Ukraine can, in whole or part, survive without vassalhood, perhaps they could get there. They can only get there if they build a nation people are willing to fight and die for.

6. Remember, the Russians hold the Presidency of the UN Security Council. The UN is a joke. OSCE is a joke. The EU is little more than a nest of rent-seeking, clock-watching grift-fest. NATO is, well, dysfunctional but better than nothing. Nations must take ownership of their own security. Yes, Taiwan and Japan I am talking to you. Study history. Be ready.

7. Is everyone clear what Russia is now? She has a small GDP and apocalyptic demographics, but she is taking what she has and is invading her neighbors, killing people, and taking land. If your nation, company, or neighbor is buying anything from them – they are paying for this military adventurism. If the press wants to do its job, start pulling that string.

Well, that’s my quicklook this AM during my 10am coffee break – now I’ve got to get back to the paying gig.

Pray for the Ukrainians. Pray that nothing stupid happens that makes this a wider war. 

Remember – weakness encourages aggression.  

You don't want to wake up like the residents of Kyiv ... to air raid sirens. 

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