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  • The whole "Win in Ukraine" has been worrying me for some time. How exactly is the Ukraine supposed to win, anyway? Putin is not going to stop; he's a dictator rulling by brute force. These people do not quit, unless someone makes them or they have an acident, neither of which will happen short of a palace coup. He's not going to be reasonable, he's not going to "see the light" and he sure as heck is not going to "bow to preassure". And he's not going to "settle" for anything other than Ukraine giving up everything he wants. So how is Ukraine supposed to win this? They can't invade Russia; if they do, I very much suspect Putin's gloves will come of. So... what?

    I'm thiking this is is going to degenerate into a Korea-like situation.
    Last edited by jlvfr; 03 Feb 23,, 09:42.

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    • Originally posted by jlvfr View Post
      The whole "Win in Ukraine" has been worrying me for some time. How exactly is the Ukraine supposed to win, anyway? Putin is not going to stop; he's a dictator rulling by brute force. These people do not quit, unless someone makes them or they have an acident, neither of which will happen short of a palace coup. He's not going to be reasonable, he's not going to "see the light" and he sure as heck is not going to "bow to preassure". And he's not going to "settle" for anything other than Ukraine giving up everything he wants. So how is Ukraine supposed to win this? They can't invade Russia; if they do, I very much suspect Putin's gloves will come of. So... what?

      I'm thiking this is is going to degenerate into a Korea-like situation.
      A 'win' for Ukraine would be breaking Putin's precious land bridge to the Crimea so that it can't be used for further assaults on Ukraine's sovereign territory or even tempt him to try. I can't see any scenario where it gets Crimea back, nor most of the Dombass. Albeit not being able to 'see' it happening doesn't mean I like it! All that said Putin has to be able to sell some sort of victory at home. And if he can't achieve it on the battlefield his most likely option is to try and out wait the West and as you mention just keep the war going until NATO forces Ukraine to concede some sort of victory.

      For all his bravado about the west being weak and decadent he does have a point that the it's appetite for conflict is finite and driven largely by the political cycles of the the major western powers. Particularity the US of course. Putin's wet dream would be Trump back in Office in 2024 and the withdrawal of it's support for Ukraine. IMO? That leaves Ukraine in the position of having to push hard in the next 12 months to break the land bridge. If they can do that Putin doesn't have many options but to claim the rest of Russia's gains as 'victory'. Then start pushing any prominent citizen who disagrees out a high window.
      If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

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      • Originally posted by Monash View Post

        For all his bravado about the west being weak and decadent he does have a point that the it's appetite for conflict is finite and driven largely by the political cycles of the the major western powers. Particularity the US of course. Putin's wet dream would be Trump back in Office in 2024 and the withdrawal of it's support for Ukraine. IMO? That leaves Ukraine in the position of having to push hard in the next 12 months to break the land bridge. If they can do that Putin doesn't have many options but to claim the rest of Russia's gains as 'victory'. Then start pushing any prominent citizen who disagrees out a high window.
        He can't do that. Putin can't admit any kind of defeat. From the start he's toting the "destroy nazi ukraine and keep sacred Crimea safe". Anything short of this is an outright defeat for him. If he does, he's dead, politically and maybe even in reality. The ultranationalists who never forgive him; he'd survive only if he did a Hitler-SA/Stalin-purge like move: physically wipe out those around him. Only severall of these have their own private armies, Wagner being just one of them.

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        • Originally posted by Monash View Post
          For all his bravado about the west being weak and decadent he does have a point that the it's appetite for conflict is finite and driven largely by the political cycles of the the major western powers. Particularity the US of course. Putin's wet dream would be Trump back in Office in 2024 and the withdrawal of it's support for Ukraine. IMO? That leaves Ukraine in the position of having to push hard in the next 12 months to break the land bridge. If they can do that Putin doesn't have many options but to claim the rest of Russia's gains as 'victory'. Then start pushing any prominent citizen who disagrees out a high window.
          Just on this, its 2 years. The election will be November 2024 and new President will enter office in Jan 2025. Even if that President enters office determined to cut off aid it may not be quite that straightforward depending on the attitude of Congress. So, Ukraine has at least 2 years to achieve this. I suspect that in two years a great deal will have changed no matter who is US President.

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          Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

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          • Originally posted by jlvfr View Post

            He can't do that. Putin can't admit any kind of defeat. From the start he's toting the "destroy nazi ukraine and keep sacred Crimea safe". Anything short of this is an outright defeat for him. If he does, he's dead, politically and maybe even in reality. The ultranationalists who never forgive him; he'd survive only if he did a Hitler-SA/Stalin-purge like move: physically wipe out those around him. Only severall of these have their own private armies, Wagner being just one of them.
            Firstly, he's the dictator, that means he gets to set the narrative (within certain broad limits). Part of the 'plus' for Putin in terms of maintaining power is that he's largely succeeded until now in isolating his power base Moscow and St Petersberg from most of the negative impacts of the war. He's kept conscription in both regions to a bare minimum, instead milking non ethnic Russian regions for the vast majority of his conscripts and has made every endeavor to keep the shops filled with goods and the good times rolling in both cities.

            Secondly, as far as the ultra nationalists go for all of their media presence they have relatively little real military power. For example, for all of the attention it gets in western media Wagner 'military forces' are in fact totally dependent on Putin's patronage for survival. Not only do they depend on Moscow for the provision of both recruits and equipment but also Russia's internal security services vastly outnumber all of the current mercenary units in both firepower & manpower combined!
            Last edited by Monash; 03 Feb 23,, 23:32.
            If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

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            • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
              This FDP party, what's their stature in Switzerland? Are they a small minority just looking for headlines?
              FDP in Switzerland (like in Germany) is a liberal, i.e. pro-business capitalist party. The party mostly stands for a "slim state". They currently hold two of the seven cabinet posts, and have been part of the inter-party Swiss government continuously since 1848 (!).


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              • Originally posted by S2 View Post
                Joe,

                "...I also know that, given the stakes, they probably have to play their cards closer to the vest than we'd like..."

                I'd argue all the more reason to determine and clearly state our policy. What stakes? When I hear or read that, I immediately presume the ol' lingering like a bad cold "escalation". The best way to end all that is to make plain that all systems non-nuclear are VERY MUCH in play and that we're DESPERATELY exploring how to make available anything we equip our forces with to fight Russians.
                Just as frustrated as you are, a bit more on that below.

                Originally posted by S2 View Post
                "...Yes, that is hyperbole, but that's what they sound like..."

                Well, I find both to be prudent and reasonable men not prone to hyperbole so, I guess, we disagree. I find their questions not far removed from MY questions and they've both far more insight to the internal machinations of the big green machine and, for Gates, our highest level policy processes.

                Add Barry McCaffrey to your list-

                “One battalion of M1 tanks is inconsequential on the battlefield,” says McCaffrey. “They need an armored division in fairly short order before the spring, and we could do that and in fairly short order.”

                No hyperbole there. He clearly uttered a full armored division's equipment (maybe he meant sending the whole 24th Mech-lock, stock and barrel, to the fight. That'd be cool. AR might even volunteer).
                The hyperbole was mine, not theirs. None of those men had suggested a couple modern armored corps and a couple wings of F-16s for Ukraine. That was me summarizing, in hyperbole and off-the-cuff, what they were saying could be sent to Ukraine "in short order".

                Most of what all three of of them have said is self-evident: Yes, One battalion of M1 tanks is inconsequential on the battlefield. Yes, they need an armored division in fairly short order before the spring.

                Absolutely. I don't dispute that for one second.

                It's the "we could do that and in fairly short order" that I question, specifically: Where is this division of exportable M1 Abrams going to come from, in such short order?

                We're not going to send them U.S. stocks in a matter of days or even weeks. There's too much classified equipment on them, starting with the DU composite armor, to send to a foreign country, "in short order".

                Originally posted by S2 View Post
                "...And that's not 'NOTHING...'"

                Nor was it remotely enough to deter. Still, after nearly 12 months of active combat, isn't enough to fully defend.
                Like I said, nothing the United States could realistically do was going to deter Putin.

                It was enough to throw the Russian Army back from Kyiv with massive losses. Only a multi-corps NATO force was going to be enough to keep Russia out of all of Ukrainian territory.

                Originally posted by S2 View Post
                "...once again, I don't know what's going on behind closed doors..."

                Nor do I but our policy shouldn't be a secret...or, worse, still undetermined. It would be immensely helpful to our enemies AND friends if they clearly knew what we meant. Yet I sense trepidation surrounding our decision-making.
                Agreed, I would personally feel much better if our policy was firmly stated, for the reasons you gave.
                “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

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                • Frankly, I believe that as a result of the assurances regarding Ukrainian territorial integrity per the Budapest Memorandum, they are, from a strictly moral and ethical perspective, entitled to have their nukes back.

                  They transferred them to Russia in return for these assurances, and 20 years later had their territorial integrity violated by one of the parties to that agreement.

                  Of course nobody is going to give Ukraine their nuclear weapons back, or reimburse them from their own stock for what they lost, but Russia is in no position to cry foul over any other type of military aid to Ukraine. One could even say we have a moral and ethical obligation to provide Ukraine any weapon system we and they see fit, to fulfill these assurances.

                  Since they are technically entitled to have nuclear weapons, everything else sub-nuclear is automatically on the table in terms of aid. No question about it. There are no lines to cross, no step too far.

                  One could also say we are technically fulfilling Russia's neglected obligations and duties, in providing lethal military aid to Ukraine. Russia is not doing a very good job regarding its assurances, therefore their duties and obligations must be fulfilled by proxy. They are not abandoning enough useful equipment, and certainly not voluntarily giving military aid to Ukraine.

                  M1s, Leopards, fighter jets, etc. these are all tools that help Russia's own promises get fulfilled. Every Russian tank that gets blown up, every Russian barracks that gets HIMARsed, Russia should indeed be thankful that someone is helping Ukraine to keep up Russia's end of the bargain, where they themselves have failed.
                  Last edited by Ironduke; 03 Feb 23,, 21:01.
                  "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

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                  • Well, I find both to be prudent and reasonable men not prone to hyperbole so, I guess, we disagree. I find their questions not far removed from MY questions and they've both far more insight to the internal machinations of the big green machine and, for Gates, our highest level policy processes.

                    Add Barry McCaffrey to your list-

                    “One battalion of M1 tanks is inconsequential on the battlefield,” says McCaffrey. “They need an armored division in fairly short order before the spring, and we could do that and in fairly short order.”

                    No hyperbole there. He clearly uttered a full armored division's equipment (maybe he meant sending the whole 24th Mech-lock, stock and barrel, to the fight. That'd be cool. AR might even volunteer).

                    Nope. 3 reasons.

                    I am partially disabled so not going to do it for me. Plus I retire at the end of the year.

                    The 24th ID(M) is now 3 ID(M). We are not going to strip the combat systems of one of our only 6 heavy division on active duty.

                    And I disagree on the policy of the US. It has evolved. It has gone from getting Russia to back down to arming Ukraine as much it could to defend itself to how we help the Ukrainians expel the Russians from Ukraine without denigrating our military to meet the requirements of backing our treaty allies around the globe. I stress again the phrase treaty allies. While Ukraine's cause is a very worthy one she is not treaty partner. Keep in mind there are obligations to react vis a vis Asia. Also, this is Europe. American policy for several decades has been to get Europe to shoulder more of the burden of collective security. Plus as we may have willing partners in Poland, Romania and others, Germany & France are the 800 gorillas in the room. We have had to work with them in lockstep to ensure Europe is engaged...keep in mind Ukraine is a European country. Their future lies within the EU and NATO and needs all to approve. And getting European weapons systems actually would be better for a solid line of sustainment within the continent.

                    To say we have done not enough belies a lack of understanding of how far we have come in the last year. Keep in mind the Biden Administration has had to work with Congress through all of this. Many of the weapons and munitions provided have come as reserves for contingency purposes. The administration required Congressional approval to do some of these actions. Also as we on this board are pretty much isolated on NATSEC as our interests the current Administration has had numerous issues it has had to deal with...and get ways ahead to get a divided Congress to support all these efforts needed for our country's wellbeing. And as for SEC Gates & GEN McCaffrey & LTG Rhodes disagreement...well fine. That is their decision and view. But I don't know if they are anymore read into the Administrations goals of policies since they are no longer in government. And there are plenty of other talking heads who are espousing different views. My view within the belly of the best...we should do everything we can within our power that is 1} doable from a Presidential & Congressional standpoint, 2) feasible within current industrial capabilities and 3) makes sure not a single drop of American blood is spilled.
                    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                    Mark Twain

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                    • Ukrainian intel says the next punch goes to the Russians, massing some 500K troops (think that's an exaggeration but an indication the Ukrainians think they're outnumbered and outgunned) to conquer the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Putin has ordered those oblasts to be conquered by March 2023. I'm particularly concerned no spoiling attacks by the Ukrainians, anything to disrupt Russian prep work.
                      Chimo

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                      • Russians are using smaller but still potent offensives to pre-empt such spoiling attacks, I think.

                        Indications are that Russian regulars, not mobiks, are conducting a hard attack at Vuhledar. Same thing at Bakhmut, where the Wagner convict human wave attacks seem to have run out of steam/bodies.

                        Also a pick up in artillery duels around Kherson. Russian artillery seems to be on the losing side but it seems to be designed to lock down UKR arty.
                        There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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                        • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                          Ukrainian intel says the next punch goes to the Russians, massing some 500K troops (think that's an exaggeration but an indication the Ukrainians think they're outnumbered and outgunned) to conquer the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Putin has ordered those oblasts to be conquered by March 2023. I'm particularly concerned no spoiling attacks by the Ukrainians, anything to disrupt Russian prep work.
                          Sounds like they need ATACMs to hit troop concentration points deeper inside Russia.
                          "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

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                          • That plus the pressure is on Russia to get in their punch first before Ukraine has a chance to receive the majority of the MBTs, IFVs and long range missiles promised recently and integrate them into its forces. If Putin wasn't rushing it he would have waited another month till the weather improved more and his Generals would have one more precious month to get their ducks in a row, time they obviously need.
                            Last edited by Monash; 04 Feb 23,, 22:28.
                            If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

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                            • Originally posted by Ironduke View Post
                              Sounds like they need ATACMs to hit troop concentration points deeper inside Russia.
                              So GLSDBs have been approved. But they do not exist in the inventory...only enough were built for operational testing. This will require specific funding authorization and new contracts.So far the funding has been Research, Development Test & Evaluation funding. That funding can ONLY be used to just what it says...development and testing use ONLY. This is going to require Operations Production Army funding, and I'm not sure if these funds are in the 2023 Defense Budget.

                              Remember the discussions of the need to have oversight on the aid spending because of concerns of possible Ukrainian corruption. There are 19 separate audit steps in place to approve these expenditures. That causes time delays...delays that were specifically to get some Republicans to sign on to the aid bill. You may recall there was a small but very local group in the GOP who are fighting tooth and nail against aid...so Congressman Rogers is being very disingenuous in his comments.

                              Also the launchers don't exist to fire these. It's a solution but not available right now. We have greatly upped the production of MLRS & GMLRS rockets as well as 155mm shell production. These are not turn key but take time to reestablish. Keep in mind the same issues you see of short staffing at your local businesses also impact the defense industries here in the US. Also the
                              range of companies which can make these weapons are relatively small...there's your Cold War Peace Dividend.

                              So while it appears the US is dragging its feet its just the day to day friction of weapons procurement in the 21st Century.

                              And has been said before...ATACMS are old and availability is very limited. It was a small batch production run which has been supplied to a lot of allies. We don't have many left...and they are assigned for other contingency missions in support of US troops.

                              https://www.politico.com/news/2023/0...bombs-00081112


                              New U.S. aid package includes longer-range bombs for Ukraine


                              The weapon, the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb, is made up of a precision-guided 250-pound bomb strapped to a rocket motor and fired from a ground launcher.

                              The new rockets announced on Friday, which can travel over 80 miles, will help Ukrainian forces “conduct operations in defense of their country, and to take back their sovereign territory in Russian occupied areas," Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters. | AP

                              By LARA SELIGMAN and PAUL MCLEARY

                              02/03/2023 01:19 PM EST
                              The Biden administration is providing Ukraine with a new longer-range bomb as part of the $2.2 billion aid package announced Friday, but the new weapon likely won’t arrive until much later this year.

                              The weapon, the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb, is made up of a precision-guided 250-pound bomb strapped to a rocket motor and fired from a ground launcher. It’s normally launched from the air and the ground-launched version does not yet exist in U.S. military inventory. It could take up to nine months for U.S. defense contractors to do the necessary retrofits.

                              The rest of the aid package includes weapons drawn from U.S. stocks as well as funding to contract for new equipment through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a vehicle set up by Congress to fund aid for Ukraine. The package includes spare parts and munitions for air defense systems, a critical need in blunting the Russian drone and missile attacks on civilian targets across Ukraine.

                              Russian forces have moved some of their most sensitive command-and-control centers out of range of Ukraine’s current rockets, frustrating Kyiv’s military commanders, who have asked for longer-range munitions to stay on the offensive.

                              Specifically, they’ve asked for the U.S.-made Army Tactical Missiles Systems that have a range of about 190 miles. But the Biden administration has said the weapon is out of the question, citing concerns Ukraine would use them to attack targets inside Russia.

                              The new rockets announced on Friday, which can travel over 80 miles, will help Ukrainian forces “conduct operations in defense of their country, and to take back their sovereign territory in Russian occupied areas,” Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.

                              They will not be drawn from existing American stockpiles however, meaning it will take months for Boeing and the U.S. government to agree on the terms of the contract and get them to the battlefield. That timeline means they will likely not be available for the warm-weather offensives Ukraine is planning this year.

                              Another issue is that the bomb can’t be launched by any of Ukraine’s current equipment. Ukrainian engineers have been working on retrofits for ground launchers for several months.

                              Much to the disappointment of some in Kyiv, the last few tranches of aid have not included the weapon.

                              But there’s real appetite on Capitol Hill to provide Ukrainians with longer-range munitions, along with tanks and other weapons. A senior congressional aide argued the administration had been holding up the process of approving the bomb despite overcoming “the mental hurdle of the range and escalation dynamics” of a longer-range munition because of the need to retrofit it.

                              “It’s a timeline that’s measured in months,” the aide said of adapting the weapon to a ground launcher. The aide asked not to be named in order to speak candidly.

                              House Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) had accused the Biden administration of dragging its feet on providing the system to Ukraine.

                              “GLSDB should have been approved last fall,” Rogers said in a recent statement. “Every day it’s not approved is a day it’s delayed getting it into the hands of a Ukrainian ready to kill a Russian.”
                              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                              Mark Twain

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                              • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                                And has been said before...ATACMS are old and availability is very limited. It was a small batch production run which has been supplied to a lot of allies. We don't have many left...and they are assigned for other contingency missions in support of US troops.
                                Can ATACMs be procured in any meaningful numbers from these allies to forward onto the Ukrainians?

                                "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

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