Friday in Ukraine

It’s Friday, which means it must be time to make a few more idle Ukraine war comments. Here are several, briefly.

  1. I read how the US Special Forces are being taught Ukrainian. Typical I suppose that we are going to put some of our best soldiers off-line for weeks to learn a language the best use for which is already in the past. We should not bother. Have them learn Tagalog or Spanish or something, but Ukrainian? A bit late.
  2. ‘US military experts’ are saying that Russia’s military is stronger now than it was a year ago. Wow. Credit to all who derided and rejected our government’s reasoning back then that it was somehow worthy or logical to help the Ukraine because it would weaken the Russians militarily.  That was too obviously dumb and now everyone who made or retweeted that nonsense will pretend they never said that.
  3. Willie OAM is one of the best reporters and interpreters of the war. Catastrophic Blow, Completely Destroyed – Is It Too Late? – Ukraine War Map Analysis, News (  Today he reminded of the importance of relative distances and weapons-reach in a war that features indirect targeting. Yes, distance.  The Victoria Nulands of the world, whose strategic education is steeped in PoliSci but who have been spared having to spend any time on a battlefield, do not learn distance.  Also, I pray for Willie OAM’s health.
  4. Willie also recently thought to opine about moral behavior in the Ukraine war. Both sides are committing what elsewhere and at other times would be deemed atrocities. Reports have been unmistakable and many. From conscription practices to the treatment of prisoners to the bombing of medical personnel to targeting civilians. The contest has not been pretty. Whatever your opinion about the value of the laws of war, it is amazing and disconcerting that the war’s moral hazard has been so ineffable – or so ineffed.  This compared to the hyperbolic moral outrage signaling against the Israelis, who have been relatively scrupulous.  The Israelis have shown admirable moral discipline as compared to the Ukrainians and Russians. Hamas, on the other hand, makes the Russian and Ukrainian fighters look like choir boys.
  5. Zelensky, the big Z, Top Comedy, says he’ll totally launch another, much more successful offensive against Putin’s evil Ruskies in 2025 if the West just coughs up what Z says the West is morally obliged to give him. Putin, meanwhile, allows as how he is now looking for total capitulation from the Kyiv regime. Dima (I think that’s his name) at the Military Summary Channel recurs to the use of several endearing phrases during his twice-daily summary of what’s happening on the ground.  One of those catch phrases is “the days for (village name) are numbered” or “(village name’s) days are numbered.” Well, it’s not yet down to counting the days remining for Ukraine, but months? There might not be enough months left in 2024.
  6. The lights are going out in Ukraine as the Russians proceed with their anti-infrastructure take-down. It sounds as though (reports unclear) that the Zelensky government is discouraging people from evacuating Kharkiv.  Why?  Because they will help resist the Russians?  I kinda doubt that’s the reason. More likely is the fear of a few hundred thousand more internal refugees into western Ukraine. That could deal another heavy blow economically. A flow of a few thousand Kharkivites toward Russia might be psychologically blow as well.
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5 Responses to Friday in Ukraine

  1. George L. Humphries says:

    “This compared to the hyperbolic moral outrage signaling against the Israelis, who have been relatively scrupulous. The Israelis have shown admirable moral discipline as compared to the Ukrainians and Russians.”

    Flabbergasted, astounded, speechless, overawed.

    • Holmes Oliver says:

      Ah, nice. Thank you, George. As I understand it, ‘gobsmacked’ is the blue ribbon for internet outragery. Still, I couldn’t tell straight away if you were flabbergasted in joyous agreement or overawed by personal disappointment.

  2. Holmes Oliver says:

    Yes, but I’m not sure if the follow-on stasis will be exactly an ‘occupation’ or rather just significant control over the regime. That is, control by Russians more in line with what the Russians had before the West’s ‘color revolution’. Russian influence would be more like what the West has over Zelensky now. That’s my guess as to the nature of a Russian victory. So, what would the best long-term strategy be for a small country bordering on a country with vastly more power? I doubt it would be to constantly try to make that power uncomfortable. Maybe just be a good neighbor and not try to be a power player. Why is a ‘Sovereign Ukraine’ all that fine a thing? Sovereign Lesotho, Baby!

  3. Jeffrey Lebowski says:

    1. I’d make the comment that the best long term strategy for Ukraine, should they culminate in the conventional aspect, is to make occupation as expensive as possible for as long as possible. The Russian Army isn’t the Red Army, nor are Russian organs of oppression like the SVR or FSB the NKVD or KGB. The Russians will remain a strategic competitor for some time, due in no small part to internal Russian narratives we cannot control, nor do I feel we adequately understand to mount information front rollback.

    2. Stronger, but in what sense? Certainly the attrition curves on their land war front against Ukraine are likely A) stronger than Ukraine and B) represent less of a conventional article V threat. Russian strategic forces likely remain what they were. Russian economic vulnerabilities, especially economically, are weathering the storm. So, the analysis would be “it depends upon which ‘Russian Threat’ for which you are attempting to solve.

    3. I tend to like Willie’s analysis as well.

    4. Tend to agree to all, and I tend to think the West’s and Ukraine’s fixation on moral imperatives is blinding to strategic and operational reality in a number of levels. Notably an unassailable belief in your personal capability/righteousness/awesomeness tends to put you in situations where your ambition outweighs your talent.

    5. I think that the posturing from both sides would be a great thing for Russia FAOs to diagnosis, if we had any that weren’t angling for a job at MSNBC.

    6. The Ukrainian claim to any place in the ceasefire agreement, let alone peace settlement is that a place is Ukrainian because that’s where Ukrainians are. I think that’s the depth of the analysis on the Ukrainian side, here.

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