Who’s winning in Ukraine?

Not Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces are outnumbered and outgunned.  President Zelensky is arming untrained civilians, including convicts, and calling for volunteers to come help, including anti-Russian jihadists from Syria.  This is evidence of desperation, like the German arming of teenagers and the elderly during the last days of World War Two.

Until now, Russians have held back, in the false hope they could accomplish a relatively—I said, relatively—bloodless conquest and reconcile Ukrainians to defeat.  Military analyst Scott Ritter said the Russians wanted to give Ukrainians one last chance to surrender.  If that fails, Russians will wage war as they did in Afghanistan and Chechnya, which, as he said, will turn Ukraine into “hell on Earth.”

Not Russia

Hardly anybody expected a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, because hardly anybody outside President Putin’s circle thought it would make sense.  Evidently Putin expected a weak resistance, after which the Ukrainian government would surrender and agree to stay out of NATO, recognize the independence of the Donbas republics, and accept Russian rule of Crimea.

This didn’t happen.  Putin is using Chechen and even Syrian fighters against his supposed Ukrainian brothers.  So much for Russian-Ukrainian brotherhood!  This is a sign of lack of Russian enthusiasm for the war.

Probably Russia will defeat the Ukrainian forces in the end.  Then Russians will face a protracted resistance movement in Ukraine, supported by the Western powers, and a long period of economic warfare that will strain Russian society to the limit.

Not the USA

The clash between Russia and the USA involves much more than Ukraine.  Russia’s aim is to challenge the military security structure that makes the U.S. the world’s dominant military power, and the financial structure which makes the U.S. the world’s dominant financial power.  The present conflict may stretch that power to its limit.

No nation in Latin America, Africa or Asia, with the exceptions of Japan and South Korea, has been willing to join the United States is imposing economic sanctions against Russia.  Russia can count on the support of China, the world’s most powerful manufacturing nation, and others who’ve been alienated from the U.S. system.

Russia has been planning for years on how to withstand a siege.  The USA is unprepared.  President Biden has swallowed his pride and asked for help from Iran and Venezuela, two nations he and his predecessors have literally been trying to destroy with economic sanctions.  What will we Americans do a year or so from now, if gasoline costs double or triple or ten times what it does now?


One side or another may claim victory, by some criterion.  But all will be worse off than they are now.

“A strange game,” said the machine intelligence in the movie, War Games.  “The only way to win is not to play.”


A Ukrainian Socialist Explains Why the Russian Invasion Shouldn’t Have Been a Surprise, an interview of Volodymyr Artiukh for Jacobin magazine.

No Quiet Place Left on Earth by Vladislav Davidzon for Tablet magazine.

Poland Asks: Is the US Ready to “Close the Sky”? by Michael Tracey.

Changing Realities, Changing Mood by Gilbert Doctorow.

What Russian Officials Think of the Invasion of Ukraine by Farida Rustamova, via Ilya Lozovsky on A Sip of Freedom.

After years of living in Moscow, I have bad news – No one should expect the Russian people to suddenly rise up against Putin now by Lucas I. Alpert for MarketWatch.

Feedback from my Contacts in Russia on by Natylie Baldwin on Natylie’s Place: Understanding Russia.  [Added 03/18/2022]

This Is What Liberal War Fever Looks Like by Alistair Crooke for the Strategic Culture Foundation. 

Tags: , , ,

4 Responses to “Who’s winning in Ukraine?”

  1. wtfbuddy1 Says:

    There is no winner is a war – the defeated have been rebuilt ( West Germany, Japan, South Korea) and then western interests stopped and let the countries fend for themselves ( Iraq, Balkan countries) if it is not in their interests. Death of society is modern telecommunications – everyone is a reporter for “likes” and popularity but exposure as a OSINT source is used as propoganda tools by both sides in a conflict. The winners in modern conflicts are companies pandering to possible scares that will/might not happen, example – potassium iodide pills (KI) that are selling out to a hugh profit. People need to be informed by reliable news outlets not looking for ratings during the 6 pm time slot. Cheers and I like your discussions, keeps my mind feeling young.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    Ukraine is a far worse proposition for Russia than Afghanistan.

    You cannot control 44 million hostile people and a quarter million square miles with only 200K soldiers. The Russian military is a shadow of its old Soviet self. The Russian economy is as bad off as the old Soviet economy and about to fall off a cliff. War is a very expensive proposition, even with conscripts. Russia is already running low on some systems and has very few precision guided weapons. That’s what it takes to knock out real military targets as opposed to rubbling a city.

    The Russian population thinks of Ukrainians as real people, so domestic support will weaken as the knowledge of what is really going on starts to percolate in thru Putin’s filter. He has limited time to accomplish something before his own people in the FSB move him out.

    My belief is that the negotiations will come to a conclusion and Putin will get a victory to hang his hat on while Zelinskyy will remain in power in Ukraine. Putin will “win” by getting concessions on Ukraine’s part. Ukraine will win by surviving as a independent state.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. a gray Says:

    I’ve been following your blog, but I sometimes wonder if you are pro-Putin or pro-Ukraine.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bill Harvey Says:

    Without knowing enough about what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine- who among us Americans can claim a clear picture?- my sense of the overall drift is that Russia will “win out” in the end.

    The US empire, in a state of inevitable decline long before 2/24/22, has undermined its own position, thereby accelerating its decline. I say this not with glee- and certainly not with remorse- because I can’t see what’s coming next, especially if the nuclear armed US continues to make imperial decisions that it can’t back up as in the case of the reckless pressing eastward of NATO over the past 20 years. Such a structure of power relations going forward will lead to one dangerous situation after another so, no, I’m not looking forward to the next crisis or even the slow-burning ever present threat of the US. “Mad bull’s lost its way”- The Rolling Stones.

    Our saviors at this point seem to be in the Pentagon who appear to be telling Biden “Don’t do anything stupid” while moral toddlers at the State Dept. are more in favor of further arming Ukraine, turning the sanctions screws, and the catastrophic prospect of a No-Fly Zone. It’s scary.

    What other nation will be obtuse enough to seek the US as an ally after seeing the pickle that the “democracy”- seeking US has put Ukraine in?

    For now, I can’t see Russia backing up without winning at least its 3 major demands, layed out by Phil, around NATO, Crimea, and the Donbass.

    The second major factor going forward is whether Russia and China will come into even closer alliance.. Before this crisis my sense was that they were moving closer and closer together; the crisis only pushes them closer, no doubt further accelerating the US’s decline. How much will Russia subordinate itself to global entanglements with China?; How far will China go to salvage what’s left of Russia after this is done? How it plays out remains to be seen, but the incentives on both sides are now greatly magnified.

    The obvious losers are the Ukrainian people. The US will fight to the last Ukrainian.

    Bill Harvey

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: