Disaster for Russia
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb 24th, 2022, refusing to call it a ‘war’, instead opting for the benign nomenclature of ‘Special Military Operation’ for what has become its worst military disaster since World War II. Let there be no mistake, it’s a war they already lost, realize it or not, and it’s all about global strategic balance.
The Main Reason: Strategic Balance
Since 1991 when the Soviet Union ceased to exist, oligarchs, a select and elite group of, shall we say, ‘business men’, have positioned themselves as owners of most of the pillars of the Russian economy.
Without getting into a long sidetrack of history, this select group of ‘businessmen’ used methods most in the West would consider illegal, grasping financial power which they then used to acquire luxurious properties throughout the world and to obtain holiday palaces.
They commissioned the building of yachts larger and more expensive than many Russian naval vessels. They were allowed to keep these key positions of power in the economy just as long as they remained loyal to the one man who truly wields the reins of power, Vladimir Putin.
This form of government is the cause of its own downfall, as we shall see. Starting a war in Ukraine has accelerated its demise, and laid bare its weaknesses to the world.
After the war began, the world blithely assumed that Russia would quickly overthrow the Kiev government, establish a puppet regime in Ukraine and define a new line of demarcation for NATO. All of the things that Russia set out to do were denied in the coming months, but in addition to losing those objectives, it also horribly gashed itself with an open wound and laid bare how weak it really is.
NATO nations were shocked by what they saw. Russia has lost more than a war in Ukraine; it has shown to the world that a corrupt system bleeds itself to death from within like an ulcer, while 50 or so oligarchs loll on foreign beaches, having usurped all power from the people to defend themselves.
Russia is militarily weaker now than at any time since 1991. Russia is playing poker with its cards facing the opposition. They have systemic corruption to blame for the failure. They are now asking the victims of that corruption to fight this war of expansion, and getting the appropriate level of enthusiasm in response.
Due to a complete breakdown in unbiased self-assessment, Russia has lost the ability to see itself as the weak man in the ring, and continues to gamble its strategic balance in the geopolitical struggle.
They will continue to lose further until the realization sets in that anything it could gain from an invasion of an unwealthy neighbor will never benefit their security, wealth, reputation as a world power, or any other asset they thought was available. They have lost more than the war in Ukraine, as we shall discover.
Listed in no particular order are the reasons Russia has lost not only the war in Ukraine, but also its position in the world order.
No Material Advantage
There was no material advantage to be gained by invading Ukraine. Ukraine is not a wealthy nation and struggles to maintain a standard of living above what the Soviet era provided, quite like Russia itself.
Russia had a war chest of US750 billion when it started the war, but lost over 300 billion due to sanctions. It lost, through rather obtuse moves when cutting off energy supplies to the EU, the ability to regenerate that wealth. It has lost through sanctions the ability to import technical knowledge from the West, on which modern economies rely. Their economy will no longer be modern as a result, since they have excluded themselves from future advancements.
The West will be farming with robots, driving in robot cars, fighting robot wars; Russia will not. We will give all these technologies to their enemies.
They are now unreliable business partners, using supplies of energy they contracted to Europe as a weapon, blowing up their own undersea pipeline, making it urgent that the EU reduce and eliminate their dependence on Russian gas.
They have conducted themselves dishonorably, deliberately terrorizing their ‘brothers’ by murdering women, children and the aged. This should come as no surprise. The West knew full well that this regime uses murder as a tool to conduct state affairs. The West, most notably the Europeans, rolled out the red carpet and conducted business deals with Russia, ignoring the murders by poisoning of Russian dissidents in England.
They murdered civilians in Syria. They murdered journalists in Russia trying to expose corruption. Murder as a tool of state apparatus goes against the moral fiber of a free people who live in a responsible democracy. In this regard Russia can never be considered a partner in securing global peace.
The United Nations should reconstitute and remove Russia as a member of the Security Council. They do not add to world security—they detract from it. They are the cause of world instability.
Russia has exhausted its elite frontline troops against a much smaller opponent, addressing their losses on the battlefield by repeatedly threatening nuclear war against a nation that never threatened or attacked them. No wonder Ukraine wants to join NATO. Russia cemented this desire in the minds of both the Ukraine and NATO member nations.
Russian troops were defeated piecemeal, tank by tank. Ukrainians now have more frontline tanks than Russia, more precision weapons, more satellite intel. As we speak, constant EC-3 aerial surveillance provides up-to-the-minute dispositions of Russian positions.
It isn’t possible for Russians to mass any armored vehicles without the precise coordinates being instantly relayed to Ukrainian forces manning precision guided weapons. Russians are on the defensive, digging 30-mile trenches to stop the advance of a better equipped foe.
NATO will expand to include Sweden and Finland, and probably Ukraine when the conflict is over. Putin laid out that the expansion of NATO was one of the reasons he started the war. It is a gamble that has backfired miserably. NATO is more energized than it has been since the end of the Cold War.
Russia has shown itself to be an uncivilized nation ruled by people who see imperial military conquest as the solution to its problems. We’ve been here before. It was the darkest time in human history, and we won’t permit it to repeat.
NATO countries will supply Ukraine everything it needs to prevent this war having a favorable outcome for Russia, because we view it in the same terms as Nazi Germany invading peaceful neighbors in 1938 and 1939. The scenario and rhetoric are almost identical.
They have reinvigorated the resolve of NATO and likeminded countries to combine against Russian aggression. The GDP of all the nations aligned against Russia in this conflict outnumbers them 100 to 1. Russia, a nation of 142 million, has a GDP smaller than Canada’s.
No Access to Tech
The Russians have cut themselves off access to superior Western technology, making certain of a generational disadvantage in weapon systems. In the future, a threat of invasion from Russia will mean less than it ever did. Of the 27 weapon systems that Russia possesses, such as missiles fired from naval ships, precision guided cruise missiles, precision artillery, self-loading tank cannons, etc. all 27 weapons were built using irreplaceable Western tech components.
Tank factories in Russia are already reporting they are incapable of producing new tanks since supplies of Western components are exhausted. There is video of a Russian ground-attack jet being flown with a civilian GPS device duct-taped to the windshield. No explanation is necessary why they are importing drones from Iran; they have made their own cupboard bare by focusing on bombardment of civilians instead of military targets.
No Occupation Capabilities
Russia will be completely incapable of occupying a country the size of Ukraine. It would require in the order of one million troops. The border, over 5,000 kilometers long, would be porous. Millions of Ukrainians can speak Russian flawlessly, even mimicking regional Russian accents. It is the cultural equivalent of Ohio invading Pennsylvania, Scotland invading Yorkshire, Ontario invading Wisconsin.
The West will supply weapons to Ukrainians until doomsday. War would migrate to Russia itself, as the 60 or so mysterious fires and explosions throughout Russia at mostly military installations would seem to indicate. The Soviets, under Josef Stalin, starved six million Ukrainians to death in 1933. Hatred runs deep.
No restoration of relations will be possible until Russia withdraws, rebuilds Ukraine and hands over war criminals. We shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for this to happen. The West must assist Ukraine in rebuilding its society with an IMF supplied Marshall plan, while its belligerent neighbor continues to decline from isolation.
How Corruption Impacts Current Events
Corruption lost this war for Russia. Here are some forms of corruption unique to Russia that preclude it from winning any major war.
The underlings tell Putin what he wants to hear, not the truth. It’s dangerous to do otherwise. It puts one’s position in the hierarchy at risk. One’s personal safety and liberty, one’s family, etc., are all at risk by stating outright a view that is not well received. So it isn’t done.
"Yes, Vlad we have the best tanks. Yes, Vlad the invasion will be over quickly at no cost to us. Yes Vlad, we can send our troops in without any moral reason to kill people."
His advisors sit at the end of a table 30 feet long, in fear of their well-being, and tell him what he wants to hear.
Oligarchs have charged for military contracts but have siphoned off money that should have gone into tanks or aircraft and been converted into billion dollar yachts and properties.
Putin himself is guilty of this diversion of sovereign wealth for his own benefit when he built a US1.6 billion dollar palace not more than 150 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. As a consequence, what should be food for soldiers, gas for tanks, training for pilots, are instead vacations for corrupt Mafia-like ‘business men’ sailing on billion dollar yachts, or playing manager with world class football clubs in England.
The victims of this corruption are the soldiers in tanks that run out of fuel, don’t have spare parts and have to be abandoned in the field, not to mention the thousands of innocent Ukrainian civilians living peaceful lives. Russian soldiers steal washing machines, toilets even, and send them back home. Without rations supplied to the front, they invade grocery stores.
Commanders receive the pay packets of their individual soldiers, and with corruption being what it is, they withhold or skim the soldiers’ pay. Not wanting to upset this lucrative scheme, they report up the chain of command “All present and accounted for,” even after suffering serious losses since it would cause a decrease in the pay packets.
This next anecdote must be told chronologically to dramatically illustrate the impact of corruption on the Russian war machine. A manager rushes to a generator on board a ship and frantically tries to start it. It refuses to start. He checks the immense diesel fuel tanks that store thousands of liters of fuel to run the generators. They are bone dry.
Since he can't start the generator because of an inexplicable lack of fuel, he can't operate a pump on the starboard side of a large vessel. The vessel, one of the world's largest floating dry docks, lists to starboard. It contains Russia's only serviceable aircraft carrier, undergoing repairs.
Due to the extreme sideways tilt, a 70-tonne crane falls on the aircraft carrier and gashes a hole 5 meters wide in the deck., The crane escapes its moorings and slips over the side, making a tragic sound as it slips into the ocean—kerploosh. The aircraft carrier is floated free of the dock as the dock sinks.
Russia has lost the only floating dry-dock capable of accepting its only serviceable aircraft carrier due to the mysteriously empty diesel tanks that fuel its pumps. For want of a nail, a shoe was lost ...
Zelensky is 100% right: this war is destroying Russia for the foreseeable future. It has exposed Russia’s weaknesses to all, friend and foe alike. How many tanks do non-aligned countries want to buy from Russia now? What country with access to NATO supplied weapons has any fear of Russia now? What small country facing aggression from Russia will ever give in after this pitiful display?
Russia gambled and lost, as many aggressors do, and will never recover until the regime melts away into history. One can feel sorry for Russian citizens—what have they done to deserve this wretched form of government? Perhaps it’s more a question of what they have not done. They did not stand united in solidarity to overthrow a violent and oppressive regime, as the Ukrainians did with Zelensky, and so they must live with it until they do.
Russia has lost this war for many reasons. The one that will cause them to withdraw will be the realization that they have completely lost their global strategic strength and balance in the world geopolitical scene. For example, if they lose the Black Sea navy in a massive strike by Neptune missiles or Himars, or by flying or sailing drones, they will realize it and save what military power they have left for self-defense should another country wish to take advantage of their embarrassment.
What that point of realization would be isn’t clear, but it’s imminent. When they realize the global balance has been jeopardized already, they’ll withdraw. It wasn’t an all-or-nothing gamble for Putin, it was more than that. He gambled the house and lost the future.
For someone who studies Judo, he seems to have forgotten the number one rule of self-defense: do not look for trouble, avoid it.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.