Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The current state of the Ukraine war


Recently Tucker Carlson interviewed Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, in an extended dialog over the Ukraine war and several related issues.  It's almost two hours long, but it's very worthwhile to take the time to listen and think about it.  You'll find the entire podcast here.  Highly recommended.

Real Clear Politics published part of the podcast, Erik Prince's views on the Russia-Ukraine war, that I found very sobering.  I daresay Mr. Prince is far more accurate in his assessment than most of the talking heads we're seeing in the mainstream media.  Here's an excerpt.

TUCKER CARLSON: So, yeah, I mean, he's a child, obviously. And like an angry destructive child. But what happens? Like, where does this go? We send another $60 billion to Ukraine.

ERIK PRINCE: Most of that money goes to five major U.S. defense contractors to replace at five times the cost, what the weapons cost that we already sent the Ukrainians. Meaning, you know, if we send them something that was built 10 years ago, well, now it's gonna cost four and five times as much. So, again, it's a massive grift paid by a Pentagon that doesn't know how to buy stuff cost-effectively. It doesn't change the outcome of the battle.

As the fields dry, it's May now, coming up on tank season. Weather still matters in warfare. If you have a wet, snow-covered farm field, it's very muddy, very gooey. Not great for tanks, mud season, I think the Russians call it the great slush. That's done now.

As June comes, it'll be game on and I think the Russian bear is hungry, and they're gonna have a time. So the war should have been ended. It never should have started. They should have made a deal, and froze the lines six months into it. But the Biden administration believed that all this American weaponry would have saved the day.

It hasn't. And it's ugly. And you know, the Russian commanders are not idiots. They know their history. The Battle of Kursk, which happened just North of where the fighting is now was the largest tank battle in history. It was the last offensive effort of the German army against the Soviets. They tried to push from the north and south on this salient. It was a bulge and the Russians knew they were coming. So they built lots of lines of defenses. It's the same thing they've done now, that they did last summer, which ate up all that equipment.

And now the Ukrainians are very thin. They've had a lot of corruption issues. All the defenses that were supposed to be built by the Ukrainians are much smaller or non-existent. So now it's allowing maneuver and especially as the tanks, as the fields dry and you can maneuver, it's gonna be a very ugly summer.

TUCKER CARLSON: What do you think the Russians want?

ERIK PRINCE: I'd say now they want to absolutely humiliate the West and make sure that they never have a problem with Ukraine again.

TUCKLER CARLSON: And that seems achievable. So, what happens to Ukraine?

ERIK PRINCE:I don't know if it survives as an independent country. If they take Odessa, if they take the ability for Ukraine to export its grain, that really threatens the long-term economic viability.

Maybe it goes back to -- look, Western Ukraine used to be part of Poland, right? Eastern Ukraine used to be part of Russia. Maps move depending on you know, military victories drive diplomatic breakthroughs. And right now the Russians are winning and they're going to have a very good summer.

TUCKER CARLSON: Is there anybody who is knowledgeable on this subject who believes Ukraine can "win," which is to say, push Russian troops all the way back to the old Russian border?

ERIK PRINCE: I didn't really believe it ever. I don't know who's advising the White House at this point or who they're listening to, but they probably need to change out their advisor list.

There's more at the link.  Highly recommended reading, and even more recommended is to listen to the entire podcast.  It's worth your time and attention.



Chris Nelson said...

We can start by depowering Victoria Nuland and her fellow band of neoconsthat started this whole mess in Europe, the Middle East, and the US, along with our true government, the CIA and their ultimate masters.


Jess said...

If I had to guess, the military industrial complex has bought off all those in the military that shouldn't be allowed to advise on military matters. The Biden Administration - now completely burdened by incompetence - doesn't have a clue on how they've stepped into something that won't come out of the carpet.

Michael said...

Depowering? You misspelled defenestrating from a very tall building.

Blue said...

Most of the west is not run by serious people. Like him or not Putin has been the adult in the room. A decade or more of attempting to find a diplomatic solution left very little choice. People running the west seem to have though it would be like fighting goatherders in the middle east. It never was going to be like that.

Old NFO said...

Deep state in action. Draining the swamp once and for all, is a great start.

Anonymous said...

But...but...Russia *can't* win! The experts on and off the internet said so! *Clutches woobie*

Grey said...

Putin is not the adult in the room.

He is a corrupt, totalitarian thug.

Russia cannot be allowed to gobble up other sovereign nations. It does not matter what historical claims they make regarding territory or borders.

Instead of just supplying weapons to Ukraine and implementing weak sanctions, the U.S should have threatened to devastate the Russian economy by ramping up oil and grain to crater the prices, while manufacturing comparable trade goods and flooding the markets.

Who Struck John said...

Two years of quarter measures were never going to save the day.

LL said...

What is the plan if Russia breaks out and drives to Kiev? Or is there a plan?

Aesop said...

Erik Prince is speaking fluent bullsqueeze.

"Ukraine should quit, and write off Russian territorial thefts" (and give Putin a respite to re-arm and pick up where he left off in a couple of years, like he did in Georgia). And accept their eventual forcible repatriation back into the Russian empire.

Sh'yeah, as if.

This is like the guy at the suicide hotline giving you tips about caliber selection and shot placement to get it right the first time.

If Tucker Carlson is lapping that line of nonsense up, he isn't as bright as he thinks he is, and he needs a check-up from the neck up.

Flash him back a couple of generations:
"Winston, old chap, Adolf's got you by the short hairs. Why not sign another "Peace In Our Time" treaty, and learn to speak German and love schnitzel? No sense carrying on with this nonsense all alone, you haven't got a chance."

Or a couple of centuries earlier:
"Ben, Tom, George, have you lost your mind?? Cornwallis is going to flay you. Make peace with King George, and pay the tax, like good English colonial serfs. You're never going to win this thing, so quit while you're alive, and sue for peace."

The last person to get this kind of "counsel" was Job.

Prince is the world's most famous mercenary, and it's pretty obvious who paid him last, if this is what he's peddling right now. He puts the "anal" in "analysis". And 100:1 if he had his beak dipped into that money stream which he's currently shut out of, he'd be preaching exactly the opposite line.

The entire podcast is risible, and should have had a laughtrack dubbed in.

If the big concern about the costs of opposing Putin is the selling point, cut the losses:
Send Zelensky a few dozen cruise missiles with nuclear payloads, to rectify the strategic blunder of them ever surrendering their stocks in 1991 and putting their faith in Russian promises, and tell Vlad that control and release of those weapons was now entirely Ukraine's affair, and that he could either toddle his tanks and troglodytes back to the pre 2014 lines forever, and maybe start thinking of reparations and a humble apology, or else bid farewell to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and everything west of the Urals, and learn to enjoy the weather in Siberia for a couple of centuries.

Then wash our hands of the whole struggle, and leave them to sort it out between themselves as equals.

That's probably what we should have done the week before Putin invaded in the first place over two years ago, and let him suck on a fait accompli he couldn't bluff nor overcome.

Anonymous said...

*snerk*. Dude, the US did their best to "devastate the Russian economy," and it only made the rest of the world reject the Petrodollar. You really are too short for this ride.

RSR said...

What i heard -- and haven't independently verified #s but lines up -- is that all the military industrial complex spending to replace the equipment sent to Ukraine and left behind in Afghanistan is what's solely kept the Fed's numbers out of formal recession territtory, and of course and the White House/pResident from acknowledging the economic reality of their failed policies... Political expediency always being paramount when situational ethics reigns supreme.

Anonymous said...

Articles of Poland and Baltic States militaries plugging holes are currently circulating... French foreign legion troops and us and brit "advisors" are also allegedly in country. It's a mess.

Anonymous said...

Aesop -- pace they're going it's effective genocide of the Ukrainian people for an effort that cannot win. Full stop.

Is your position that Ukraine must sacrifice its male population to prove putin bad, and make ww3 inevitable?

As is, putin cannnot conquer europe, and west cannot defeat putin even in the confines of ukraine...

Time and Russia's demographic decline is their biggest weakness -- so take a strategic pause and reset the chess board to our benefit...
More time is essential for the west to reconfigure forces for peer/near peer war(s) and replenish weapon stockpiles. The alternative is needless slaughter of our youth due to the pentagon and nato's rot and failed "leadership".
And there's no easy handwashing with nuke transfer, so get your head out of your hollywood fairytales.

Mind your own business said...

The Russia-phobes need to start preparing their excuses and backpedaling.

"Putin is not the adult in the room. He is a corrupt, totalitarian thug."

Why not both? And Zelensky is certainly no better.
"Let's cancel elections in order to save democracy!" Yeah, right.

Please, you all using Ukraine as a surrogate for your Cold War fantasies and sacrificing their men for your armchair Generalships need to stop smoking that shit.

KevinM said...

For two years plus it's been Ukie got this ....Well they are run by what was male stripper who knows nothing about war and appointed by Obama's DS in the color revolution.Z is now running the country as a defacto Tyrant not allowing an election he would lose since he killed off much of the mothers Son's.EP of BRock I would not trust him but the story line is probably half way correct.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, "the west" should not have the Ukranian government overthrown. Then, maybe no massacre in Odessa. Then, maybe no Ukranian shelling of Donesk region. Maybe, no 10,000 plus civilians in Donesk dead.

I vote to volunteer Aesop to Ukraine, in charge of the shipment of what he suggested.


Anonymous said...

I like Aesop’s approach.

Anonymous said...

Were you born between 1945 and 1964, Grey?

Aesop said...

I'll go to Ukraine the day after all the people giving Vlad a daily tongue-bath sign up for the Russian army.
Put your own money where your mouths are.

And just for the Brave Anonymous Keyboard Commando at 12:20:

1) Congratulations. You've just made the point I made over two years ago, that the only way for Russia to "win" this is total genocide of a free and independent nation of people. Your total agreement with my point is noted, if belated.

2) So you thereby acknowledge that Putin's only move is "We had to destroy Ukraine in order to save it."

3) Look to NATO budgets in 20 other nations in case you wonder how that mentality is playing anywhere west of Russia, and how those countries are going to see Russia for the next 50-100 years, minimum.

4) My position is that Putin is a totalitarian thug with delusions grandeur by reforming the Soviet empire, and Ukraine has every right to kick him in the crotch until he realizes that wasn't such a cunning plan.

5) The West is letting Ukraine whittle Russia down to size inside Ukraine, and on Russian soil. The only person holding a gun to anyone's head in this is Putin. Ukraine didn't send 200,000 troops into Russia to capture Moscow. It was the other way around, Baby Duck. And Putin crying that the war he started is now constantly hitting close to home is FAFO and sour grapes. If he didn't start nothin', there wouldn't be nothin'. Stupid is as stupid does.

6) Russia has already put nukes in notionally independent Belarus. Handing Ukraine the means to give Vlad some pause is simply sauce for the gander. If we'd done that in January of 2022, this war never would have started. And dollars to donuts, five minutes after the news was announced publicly that Moscow's obliteration was also on the table, Putin's head would look like a downrange pile of pumpkins at a machinegun shoot, that would be the end of this debacle, and the Russian military could extricate their jangly bits from the meatgrinder they've been thrust into for the last two years. Russia would thank us.

That's a strategic pause.
Anything less than total withdrawal of Russian forces is merely a respite to buildup for another Russian offensive. The only permanent way out of Ukraine for the Russian Army is by leaving.

Anything else is just giving them a chance to regroup.
And even Russian shills like Prince, and idiot savants like Tucker know that, or ought to.

Russia started this war. Only Russia can end this war. The only ways to do that, given the deepest level of soul-hatred they've now engendered in Ukraine, is to kill every last Ukrainian; or to leave Ukraine and never come back.

Anybody pimping any other ideas is just carrying Putin's water.

Anonymous said...

Your strawman arguments make you look petty and a fool.

Russia started this battle, this phase of the war -- they did not start THE War. NATO's been far more aggressive on that front -- when a playground bully keeps taunting you and getting closer and closer into your space, the bully isn't without blame when you punch him. NATO's getting a Fafo lesson if you will. (Again for anyone dense, NATO is the taunter in this analogy.)

You completely miss that the West is the one being whittled down, relatively speaking. We're in a far weaker position now objectively, but especially relatively, than when this mess started. Russia is stronger on many fronts, but the battlefield experience of troops and refined tactics for modern warfare are perhaps the most significant ones. And don't forget a weakened West is now emboldening enemies and bad actors elsewhere, meaning our Russia opposition is multiplying threats and weakening us in many ways beyond just our military capabilities.

And lastly Russia has unequivocally stated that conventional munitions provided by other countries used against Russian civilians and/or domestic infrastructure will result in the originating country being held responsible militarily. Give the Ukes nukes? It's a) a sure way to start ww3 and/or b) a sure way for those nukes to enter the illicit int'l arms markets and the hands of even more unstable actors.

So in sum, I'd suggest you take your ego out of the equation and actually look at 2nd and 3rd order effects, b/c best as I can tell you're not looking past the tip of your own nose while crafting your new tirades to defend your old ones... And wasting your and others' time in the process.

Mind your own business said...

The more someone gets accused of "pimping for Putin" and giving "Vlad a tongue bath" just because they don't want to start a berserker nuclear war and are willing to look at the trash thinking and dishonest actions on both sides of this conflict as well as the disastrous impact on world opinion of the hegemonic insane US foreign policy, the less validity and honesty the accusers have.

It's like saying that the people who criticized the US military for being caught with their bell bottoms down at Pearl Harbor were Tojo apologists and Emperor worshippers. Nothing but juvenile temper tantrums from someone who can't stand being proven wrong.

Aesop said...

I accused no one; I simply stated the inescapable facts.
Apples are not oranges.

Pick actually applicable similes, and you can make a better argument. The applicable simile would have been to own the fact that you're arguing for not going to war with Japan, because Hawaii and the Philippines isn't really our affair to meddle in, and war would be inconvenient.
Instead, you took an entire paragraph to say nothing more cogent than "Is not!"
Look up "gainsaying" sometime.

In the meantime, if you want Putin's mass murdering military land grab to win and Ukraine to be obliterated, at least have the courage to own that position truthfully and forthrightly, and lay out your arguments in favor of that outcome. I'd like to hear them.

Don't forget to tell us how there will be no international consequences to reneging on the U.S.'s multiple treaty promises to preserve and protect Ukraine's original borders and sovereignty in exchange for them giving up nuclear weapons.

Or were all those treaty agreements news to you...?

But you won't do that, for the same reason feminazis paint abortions as medical miscarriages, and babies as fetuses.

The more times they're called out, the more times they are forced to look upon the actual handiwork they espouse.
Sorry not sorry.

Don't hide behind "let's not start a nuclear holocaust" as an excuse, and maybe google which personage in question has threatened that directly and indirectly about 40 times in the last two years, and get back to us. Then show us where you were so concerned about that you blamed that perpetrator rather than the victim in your comments.

Instead you're using the exact same logic of the person who watches a rape taking place, and rather than stepping in to stop it, tells the victim that the best course of action is to lie quietly and take it, lest there be serious trouble, and that they were probably asking for it in the first place.

Best wishes making that case.

War is always a bad thing. But there are far worse things.

Peter said...

Friends, it's obvious there are widely differing opinions about the Ukraine war and that country's present and future prospects. However, when we discuss them, please have the courtesy to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Mutual politeness and courtesy are basic. If you can't keep your comments within those boundaries, please don't comment at all.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, you're typing from an alternate timeline. Russia started this mess by sticking around in Moldova after the USSR came apart; had they not done so, there would have been much less incentive for Eastern Europe to join NATO. I realize that you think that based and trad Vlad is your friend because he is enemies with your domestic opponents; that is not the case.

Russia has lost tens of thousands of soldiers that they will find very difficult to replace thanks to its low birthrates and thousands of its armored vehicles that it will also find very difficult to replace, while the West has...mostly lost easily replaceable munitions and equipment that it wasn't using anymore.

Giving Ukraine up to Russia will also have significant 2nd and 3rd order effects, like emboldened potential bad actors who will conclude that a West that will not sacrifice its treasure to defend its interests will not sacrifice its blood. If you want China to decide that war is a viable option, pull out of Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

Don't bother. These guys believe that because Putin is opposed to the globalist elite he's actually a good dude, when in reality his main beef with them is that they're in the way of his ambitions to recreate the Soviet Union/Russian Empire.

Ray - SoCal said...

Fascinating Tucker interview with Jeffry Sachs. Great content on the origin of this disaster, going back to Clinton, with probably 500,000 Ukrainians dead.


Mind your own business said...

"These guys believe that because Putin is opposed to the globalist elite he's actually a good dude"

Nonsense. Thinking the world comes down to just good dude/bad dude is simplistic foolishness. Everyone is acting in what they think is their best interests. The world is multi-lateral, not bilateral. Get this, and get this loud and clear. There ARE NO GOOD GUYS. Not even us.

If you want to pick a tribe, pick the American people, NOT the American government. They are NOT the same and what is good for one is not good for the other.

And there has been zero, none, no indication that Russia wants to reconstitute the old Soviet Union. There are absolutely no facts that would back that up. Again, just Cold War nightmares reappearing. However there is a huge stack of hard evidence that the US Neo-cons are trying to fulfill their Cold War strategy of surrounding Russia by expanding NATO and shutting them out of their only warm water port, Sevastapol. We are clearly the aggressors.

I'm not happy that our government is so duplicitous and untrustworthy. That doesn't mean I back Putin. You don't need to be an "Indian-lover" to recognize the government broke every treaty we had them sign.

Aesop said...

So your solution to an untrustworthy government is to urge them to double down on that, refuse to honor a European treaty obligation, repeated on multiple occasions when it suited us and our aims for nuclear non-proliferation, and casually throw them aside because it's not convenient to honor now?

Why so shy? Why not come out and make the case for that, if you have one.

Because it's hard to cry "Duplicity!" at the U.S. government in one breath, and then advocate "Moar! Harder!" in the very next breath, is why.

NATO expansion has been driven entirely by Russia's continued military aggression at home and abroad, and the countries admitted have clamored most stridently to be permitted to join the West. They do this because despite the costs, it gains them the protection of NATO's nuclear umbrella, which Vlad dares not test, and which benefit was the one thing we stripped Ukraine of by demanding they divest their nukes, in exchange for treaty promises - multiple times - and explicit security guarantees we have been murderously slow to honor when it counted.

Putin and his henchmen, by contrast, invade and annex both former provinces and independent nations - repeatedly - which formerly were a part of the Soviet Union, to drag them back in, and have threatened to add to their acquisition list the Baltic republics and much of Eastern Europe, on multiple occasions.

When one side has countries beating on the gates to be let in, and the other side is grabbing states by the heels and dragging them back at gunpoint under Moscow's thumb, kicking and screaming all the way, it isn't nearly as difficult as is suggested to make the call that one side is "good" and the other side is "bad".

That's a false equivalency that's risible.

I repeat, call it even, chicken out, and cut our losses: repudiate our treaty obligations to Ukraine, as Russia has already done, multiple times in the last decade.
In return, we replace the nuclear delivery capacity they gave up, warhead for warhead, and return the situation to what it was in 1991, and tell Vlad he now has to deal honestly and unilaterally with Zelensky if he wants Moscow around next month. Cheap, easy, and fair to all parties.

The Russian Army would leave skidmarks turning eastward and retreating like scalded cats, and Putin would be a red stain on the Kremlin carpet by lunchtime tomorrow, forgotten as fast as the FSB could photoshop him out of every official photo.


Anonymous said...

It's cute how you somehow don't grasp that Putin is a freaking *moderate*, as far as the Russian government goes. The Russians had plans to use nukes as an *opener* during the Cold War. Our strategists all assumed that their nuclear strategy was like ours, that they wouldn't use nukes until we did. After the fall of the Soviet Union, we learned just how incredibly wrong our assumptions were. Nukes were *always* on the table for them. It was a freaking miracle that the Cuban Missile Crisis didn't result in NY glowing. More's the pity. /s...mostly But the point is, if you think Putin, or anyone who might replace him in Russia, is afraid to use nukes...you are frighteningly ignorant.
The scary thing is, Biden is senile enough to listen to the advisors he has who think like you do. Hopefully, if he does, the Russians will target places like LA , NY, and so on. I hate to to lose the history, but if your advice is followed, might as well make lemonade out of the lemons of a nuclear holocaust.
You literally want to recreate the Cuban Missile Crisis, with Russia and China united. Brilliant, boomer. Brilliant.
I wonder what it'll take for you to stop declaring that the Russians are eagerly awaiting a justification for assassinating their most beloved leader in a century? You keep saying it, and it never gets any closer to being accurate.

Anonymous said...

That was...a lot of words with little relationship to reality.

Aesop said...

I have no doubt of the level of Russian insanity and paranoia, nor their millennia-long inferiority complex, well-earned and deserved.

The level of their sanity is they let the Soviet farce crumble without striking out at the entire world.

I suspect they'll miss Putin like animals miss the cold in the springtime, happily admit the Ukraine is gone forever, and go back to not being the world's biggest douchecanoes and pariahs, by the mere expedient of not making wars on foreign countries just to grab some goodies, and letting the next generation of conscripts die in their old age, instead of roasted inside a Russian tank flambé. As goes the Klingon proverb, "Only a fool fights in a burning house".

Something most of the rest of the world had driven home nearly a century ago. Putin is too young to remember, so he missed that war, and never learned the lesson. He still thinks it's 1959, but events in Ukraine keep rubbing his nose in 1992. He's like a baby with a case of live grenades, and eventually, despite how cute he is, someone, probably family, is going to have to put him down. And will.

Max Wiley said...

Aesop still out here shilling for the neocons. At least he is consistent, I guess.
Some people are still living in the 1980s apparently. They don't understand that morally and financially the US has lost its position of trust and respect with much of the world. The elites playing empire games instead of truly looking out for the best interests of the people in the US and elsewhere destroyed all credibility in pushing "democracy" and then when we started pushing social justice and DEI to foreign countries, especially in the Middle East, that pretty much guaranteed the end of American hegemony.
The unipolar world is over and it's not coming back. We can live in denial or we can accept the reality that Russia has as much interest in Ukraine as the US would have in a foreign power setting up shop in Mexico and thus avoid an unnecessary world war. A war in which we are the "bad guys."