Sad News

My son-in-law passed away last night he was 50 years old…..he went peacefully in his chair in front of the TV… IST will be posting what drafts I have so that I can be with my daughter and granddaughter in the time of need.

The family is spread over the entire South and my daughter is a basket case….so she will need a rock to learn on….

I will return as soon as possible.

R.I.P. Philip…..


Ukraine–Day 29

Same war–Different day…..

Battlefield Update. The Russians may have pulled back a bit from their positions east of Kyiv. A counterattack by the Ukrainians west of Kyiv have prevented the Russians from moving south and encircling the capital city. There are indications that Russian forces are employing more defensive tactics – digging in and emplacing mines. The battlefield is relatively static at the moment. In eastern Ukraine Russian forces are trying to envelop the Ukrainian forces – advancing from Kharkiv in the north and Mariupol in the south. This would cut off Ukrainian forces in the east from their resupply routes. Russian forces may try to skirt around the city of Mykolaiv in an attempt to push towards Odessa.

Russian combat power is about 90% of the pre-invasion force that was arrayed on Ukrainian borders. NATO estimates (Wednesday) that Russia has lost between 7,000 to 15,000 in Ukraine. Overall NATO believes that between 30,000 to 40,000 Russians have been killed or wounded. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense says that as of Wednesday (Mar 23) the Russians have suffered over 15,000 KIA. Russian forces are experiencing shortages of cold weather clothing, food, and fuel. The conditions of the Russian soldiers are affecting their morale.

“We certainly have indications that morale is a growing problem inside the Russian forces that are fighting in Ukraine. We’ve seen increasing indications that morale and unit cohesion is a problem and yes, absolutely translates into potential military effectiveness issues.” 

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, March 23, 2022.

Fight for the Skies. The Ukrainian Air Force has some very skilled pilots. One U.S. Air National Guard unit has been training with them since 2002. Read more in “After Training Together for Years, Air Force Pilots Are Watching Ukrainian Friends Fight for Their Lives”, Task & Purpose, March 23, 2022. Watch a video explaining how a Turkish drone has become a star of the Ukrainian defense. (Defense News Weekly, Mar 21, 2022).

Maritime Activities. An amphibious landing force on several ships is still positioned in the Black Sea off the coast of Odessa to land a substantial element of Russian naval infantry. The Russian blockade of Ukrainian shipping continues.

Kyiv. Two million people remain in Kyiv. The supply lines are still open. The capital city of Ukraine is considered the primary objective of the Russians. The Capture of Kyiv would allow Russia to put in place its puppet government.

Lviv. The western Ukraine city of Lviv has been relatively untouched by the ground war taking place in eastern Ukraine. However, its citizens are preparing for a fight should it come to them. View a photo gallery of Lviv residents training for combat. (The Washington Post, Mar 23, 2022).

Mariupol. Almost 3,000 people were evacuated from the city on Wednesday (Mar 23). Located on the Sea of Azov, the coastal city of Mariupol is under siege by the Russians. This city is situated along the coastal road network that would provide Russia with a land bridge between Russia and the Crimea. Some estimates say that 100,000 Ukrainians remain in the city. The fighting is taking place street by street and block by block.

Situation Maps.  War in Ukraine by Scribble Maps. Read an assessment and view a map of the Russian offensive campaign by the Institute for the Study of War.

NATO Meeting on Thursday. The leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are meeting in Brussels today (Mar 24) to discuss the Ukrainian War. The conference will be chaired by the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. President Zelensky is expected to address the NATO leaders. NATO has decided to increase its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. Four new battlegroups will be established to be based in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia. This will bring the total number of NATO battlegroups in eastern Europe to eight. NATO has repeated its position that it will not send NATO troops into Ukraine nor fly aircraft in its airspace.

NATO and No-Fly Zone. NATO’s Secretary General has repeated the NATO position on a no-fly zone on Thursday (Mar 24):

“And to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine means that we need to impose it, and to impose a no-fly zone means that we need to massively attack Russian air defence systems in Russia, in Belarus and in Ukraine, and also be ready to shoot down Russian planes. And then the risk for a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia will be very high, and that will cause more deaths and more destruction.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, March 24, 2022

Refugees, IDPs, and Humanitarian Crisis. As of March 23, over 3,400,000 refugees have left Ukraine according to data provided by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR). Almost 5,000 people were evacuated from conflict areas in Ukraine. Seven of the nine humanitarian corridors were used on Wednesday. The United Nations Officer for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has published its Humanitarian Impact Situation Report for March 23, 2022.

Poland and Ukrainian Refugees. Poland has received the vast majority of the Ukrainians who have fled Ukraine. The nation has accepted more than 2 million refugees. No one can predict how long the Ukrainian refugees will be in Poland; perhaps many will never return to their home country. Once the refugees have been established in homes, the children will need to begin school and the adults will need to find work. Matching refugees to available jobs will be a challenge. See “For Ukrainian Refugees in Poland, Livelihood Needs Will Follow Humanitarian Ones”, RAND Corporation, March 18, 2022.

War Crimes. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Russia of committing war crimes. Read more in a U.S. Department of State press statement released on March 23, 2022 entitled “War Crimes by Russia’s Forces in Ukraine”.

Russia’s Nuclear Weapons. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a 46 page report (PDF) entitled Russia’s Nuclear Weapons: Doctrine, Forces, and Modernization. The report covers Russian doctrine and deployment, arms control agreements, recent developments, modernization programs, and more.

Sweden Sending Weapons. The Swedish defense minister said that his country will be sending additional anti-tank equipment to Ukraine. Sweden has already sent thousands of anti-tank weapons.

Cyber Attack on Railways. Ukrzaliznytsia says that its accounts were hacked. The state railway operator’s press service, online ticketing, and telephone services were temporarily unavailable. The passenger data is safe and the movement of trains continues.

The Will to Fight. Russia underestimated the resistance of the Ukrainians to the invasion. One of the main ingredients to waging war is for the population base to have the ‘will to fight’. Information operations and social media plays a huge role in that aspect of warfare and this is certainly true of the Ukraine War. Read more in “The Will to Fight in the Age of Social Media”, RAND Corporation, March 22, 2022.

The U.S. is Going to Up its IO Game in Europe. Read a “Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): DRL Strengthening Regional Media in Europe and Eurasia”, Department of State, March 23, 2022.

“Countries that are eligible for participation can include but are not limited to Belarus, Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and the South Caucasus region.”

Russian Influence Abroad? The dismal record of the Russian military over the past four weeks has many national security observers perplexed. Also taking note are many of the nations that usually line up in the ‘Russian camp’ and host Russian forces in their countries. Russia’s poor performance thus far in the Ukraine war will likely have a negative impact on the Kremlin’s influence abroad – especially in the Middle East and in sub-Saharan Africa. Traditional Russian partners may reconsider their role as a ‘vassal state’ and could look to alternative guarantors of security. “How Will Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Impact Its Influence Abroad?”, The Soufan Center IntelBrief, March 24, 2022.

Russian Military Professionalism. When security experts analyze a country’s military they usually focus on hardware, equipment, airplanes, tanks, and ships. Less time is spent on military training and the professionalism of the military personnel. National security observers may have overestimated the capability of the Russian armed forces by overlooking one key factor – its professionalism. Read more in “Russia’s Problems with Military Professionalism”, RAND Corporation, March 21, 2022.

Missing in Russia’s Military Strategy. A retired Australian general provided his thoughts on what has gone wrong for the invading nation in the Ukraine War. Major General Mick Ryan (Ret.) identified three mission areas in Russia’s military strategy: cyber operations, poor Russian command and control, and a lack of human-machine teaming. “Retired ADF Major General breaks down Russian invasion, identifies missing capabilities”, Defence Connect, March 24, 2022.

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“Waltzing Toward Armageddon”

The conflict between Ukraine and “Vlad the Invader” has prompted all sorts of prediction about the possibility of something causing an all out world war……the amount of weapons being deployed by NATO in Ukraine and the surrounding member states does not bode well for any peace any time soon.

Supposedly the Cold War ended in 1989….but the death merchants have done what many thought was a dead subject…..

The Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, was a wild Bacchanalia for arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, the CIA, the diplomats who played one country off another on the world’s chess board, and the global corporations able to loot and pillage by equating predatory capitalism with freedom. In the name of national security, the Cold Warriors, many of them self-identified liberals, demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism.

That is why they have resurrected it.

The decision to spurn the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Russia at the end of the Cold War is one of the most egregious crimes of the late 20th century. The danger of provoking Russia was universally understood with the collapse of the Soviet Union, including by political elites as diverse as Henry Kissinger and George F. Kennan, who called the expansion of NATO into Central Europe “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.”

This provocation, a violation of a promise not to expand NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany, has seen Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia inducted into the Western military alliance. This betrayal was compounded by a decision to station NATO troops, including thousands of US troops, in Eastern Europe, another violation of an agreement made by Washington with Moscow. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, perhaps a cynical goal of the Western alliance, has now solidified an expanding and resurgent NATO and a rampant, uncontrollable militarism. The masters of war may be ecstatic, but the potential consequences, including a global conflagration, are terrifying.

Waltzing Toward Armageddon with the Merchants of Death

Some even thinking that the dreaded third world war may have just begun when “Vlad the Invader” sent his forces into Ukraine….

Lawmakers and media outlets are warning that the war in Ukraine could trigger World War III, but some say it has already started—perhaps even years ago. Among them is billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who argued Saturday on Twitter that “WWIII has likely started already” while NATO members, fearful of Vladimir Putin, let Ukrainians do the fighting. “We are in the early innings of Putin’s global aspirations,” Ackerman added, per CNBC. “With each ‘victory,’ he is emboldened to take more. He is testing us, and we are failing the test each time.” Ackerman still sees room for stricter sanctions and tougher negotiations to work, especially if China gets involved, but “time is running short.” Among other voices:

  • Look at history: “We’re already in it,” said Russia expert Fiona Hill of World War III. She recently told Politico that “we keep thinking of World War I, World War II as these huge great big set pieces, but World War II was a consequence of World War I,” much like the Russia-Ukraine war grew out of changes in Russia in the twentieth century. “We are already in a hot war over Ukraine, which started in 2014. People shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that we’re just on the brink of something. We’ve been well and truly in it for quite a long period of time.”America’s battle, too’: “Ukrainians are fighting for us, for the United States, for Europe, for you, for me,” writes columnist Trudy Rubin in the Philadelphia Inquirer under the headline “World War III has already started in Ukraine.” She understands NATO’s desire to avoid a hot war, but urges President Biden to consider options including a no-fly zone to protect Ukrainians from air assaults. “And—crucially—GOP leaders must finally chastise those in its ranks, including Donald Trump and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who praised Putin after this war began. They are enabling a war criminal, who feeds off the US political divisions they sow.”I will be very blunt’: “We do feel supported and we are grateful for all the help that we are getting,” Ukrainian parliament member Kira Rudik said Friday on MSNBC, adding that “the next step that we see is a no-fly zone over Ukraine. And I know that everybody is saying no, no, no, the Third World War will start. I will be very blunt with you: It has already started, because the attack on a nuclear plant … affects everybody.” Disaster at the Zaporizhzhya facility was narrowly averted, but Rudik noted that “radiation doesn’t really care what passport you’re holding.”
  • Article Five: Analysts warn that fighting in Ukraine could easily spark a wider war. “A dangerous and tragic case would be if Russian forces were to inadvertently, and I want to emphasize inadvertently, launch a missile that landed in a bordering NATO country, such as Poland,” Glennys Young, Russian expert and chair of the University of Washington history department, told Fortune. “If this were perceived by NATO commanders as an attack, and hopefully it wouldn’t, this would trigger the provisions of the NATO alliance’s Article Five.”

Dire predictions… an antiwar supporter I see all the weapons being spread around the region like peanut butter reminds me of the days before the beginning of WW1.

But that is just me.

Any thoughts on what will transpire over this invasion?

Before you answer you might want to check out a little history of US foreign policy… has, from the beginning, an aggressive policy…..

Note that by beginning our examination in the late nineteenth century, from the outset we pass over the aggressive and violent expansion of the territorial bounds of the United States up to the dawn of the twentieth century, when the size of the United States increased almost twelvefold. During that early period, besides the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Barbary Wars, and the Mexican-American War, the US fought no less than four dozen wars against the various Amerindian tribes and confederations that had previously held sway over the vast bounds of the western North American continent. So, too, we pass over its involvement in East Asia, in the Opium Wars, and in Korea and Japan—which it forced open at gunpoint in 1853. But the plain fact is, from its inception to the “closing of the frontier” in 1890, the US was engaged in armed conflicts of one kind or another with its various neighbors for almost 80 percent of its existence.

But by 1890, having officially declared complete its self-appointed manifest destiny, to expand the United States from Atlantic to Pacific, its gaze quickly turned abroad. The transformation of the relationship of the states to the federal government during the Civil War, as well as rapid industrialization and the spread of telegraph and railroad lines, meant the US was increasingly capable of projecting concentrated force abroad. Its interactions with other major powers over the following decade illustrate plainly one of the foundational realist principles of international relations: as its relative power increased, so too did the US’s demands for deference in its immediate vicinity. Indeed, as soon as it had achieved the requisite levels of internal cohesion and industrial might, the US set about enforcing its hitherto nominal regional hegemony.

Now you are armed with some thoughts on the current conflict… whatcha think?

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