• ‘Blitzkrieg’ means “lightning war”; ‘Zeitenwenden’, “turning points.”

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    (1) The Blizkrieg that wasn’t.

    Ukraine: What have been Russia’s military mistakes?



    Russia has one of the largest and most powerful armed forces in the world, but that has not been apparent in its initial invasion of Ukraine. Many military analysts in the West have been surprised by its performance on the battlefield so far, with one describing it as “dismal”.

    Its military advances appear to have largely stalled and some now question whether it can recover from the losses it has suffered. This week, a senior Nato military official told the BBC, “the Russians clearly have not achieved their goals and probably will not at the end of the day”. So what has gone wrong? I have spoken to senior Western military officers and intelligence officials, about the mistakes Russia has made.”

    Despite the setbacks, one intelligence official said President Putin was, “unlikely to be deterred and may instead escalate. He likely remains confident that Russia can militarily defeat Ukraine”. And while the Ukrainian forces have shown fierce resistance, that same official warned that without significant resupplies they too could “eventually be spent in terms of ammunition and numbers”. The odds may be better than when the war first started, but they still seem stacked against Ukraine.


    (2) Zeitenwenden: 1989 and again now.

    And this is a very thoughtful and knowledgeable analysis of the significance of two historical events, both in our times, starting with the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989:

    Putin has drawn the world — but not the way he wanted


    This excerpt (emphasis is mine) is of the closing paragraphs:

    My generation grew up with the existential terror of the threat of nuclear annihilation. The conflict has brought that fear back to public consciousness. Putin has threatened to use Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

    That makes this the most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Then, the Soviet Union shipped nuclear missiles to its ally Cuba. The US assembled a fleet of ships to mount a sea-borne invasion of the island.

    What the Americans did not know is that the Soviets didn’t only have long-range strategic missiles. They also had smaller, tactical nuclear missiles – so-called battlefield nuclear weapons. And that Soviet military doctrine delegated first-use decision making to commanders on the ground.

    Had the threatened invasion gone ahead, it would have triggered a nuclear exchange.

    The then American Defense Secretary Robert McNamara only found out about this when the Soviet archives opened in 1991. Only then, did he understand how close the world had come to catastrophe.

    In a remarkable film called Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara, he explained how the world had avoided destroying itself. Was it skilled diplomacy? Wise leadership? No.

    Luck,” he said. “We lucked out.

    That experience, now fading from memory, should focus minds.

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    • #2432774

      To add further to the second part of your post, if I recall correctly, the invasion of Cuba wasn’t just threatened, it was the unanimous recommendation of Kennedy’s joint chiefs of staff to launch an invasion, and for some reason he ignored them. If he had followed their recommendation, we would not be alive today. We certainly did luck out.

    • #2432781

      To add further to the second part of your post, if I recall correctly, the invasion of Cuba wasn’t just threatened, it was the unanimous recommendation of Kennedy’s joint chiefs of staff to launch an invasion,

      The trouble with invading somewhere is that you have to had a vision of what you want to do after you have invaded.  History abounds with examples where the invading power had failed to do this.  Ukraine, obviously, Cuba, in the example that you quote – perhaps JFK saw that where his joint chiefs did not, Iraq, the list goes on.

      Dell E5570 Latitude, Intel Core i5 6440@2.60 GHz, 8.00 GB - Win 10 Pro

    • #2432943

      Moderator note: Given the vast number of news sites, while this is the OT venue, this is better served on another site.  Thank you for your understanding.

      Susan Bradley Patch Lady

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