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The War in Ukraine Isn’t Over By a Long Shot

Russian Invasion
Russian T-90 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Last week, Ukraine caught the Russian military authorities entirely off guard when they launched a successful counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region. The operation was successful even beyond Kyiv’s expectations, having driven Russian forces from nearly all the territory north of Kharkiv and liberating settlements as far east as Izyum.

(Watch the author of this piece, retired U.S. Army LT. Colonel Daniel L. Davis discuss his work on the BBC.)

While it is entirely appropriate for Ukraine and its supporters to celebrate this achievement, it is essential to understand this doesn’t signal the war is even close to over. The outcome is still very much undecided, and much fighting remains.

Detailing the Offensive

On August 29, Ukraine launched its long-awaited offensive in the Kherson region.

The preponderance of evidence suggests that Ukraine’s attack suffered major casualties and achieved limited if any, gains.

In preparation for this long-discussed operation, Russia had sent several battle groups to the Kherson region to reinforce its positions, some of which may have come from the Kharkiv region.

On August 14, about three weeks before the Kharkiv offensive began, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported thatRussian forces are likely committing volunteer units … to the Izyum-Slovyansk line and are likely deprioritizing the axis in favor of defending positions in southern Ukraine.” 

Officials from the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) told ISW that Russian troops near Izyum had been “redeploying to the Southern Axis in an effort to defend occupied territories in western Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts.” Russian troops in the Kharkiv region had been sparse since April.

Putin Redirects Troops, Ukraine Responds

When Putin prioritized the capture of the Donbas as his primary objective, the Kremlin conducted what’s known as “economy of force” missions in the north around Kharkiv and in the south near Kherson. The intent of the Russian missions in the north and south was to use as few troops as possible to keep the UAF tied up so that they could not move more troops to the Donbas to resist Russia’s offensive there. Russia then thinned its defenses even more in late August to deploy more troops to defend against the known offensive about to start near Kherson.

Zelensky took advantage of that move and likely intentionally deceived Russian intelligence into moving troops out of the Kharkiv region, believing there was no risk. As it turned out, that move was both good and bad for Ukraine. The additional Russian troops in Kherson appear to have helped Moscow’s forces inflict grievous casualties on the Ukrainian attackers in the Kherson region but fatally weakened Russian defenses in the Kharkiv region.

When the Ukrainian troops shocked the Russian defenders at the start of the Kharkiv offensive, the Russians began to surrender territory quickly. They not only had few troops left in the area, but those troops were mainly volunteers. Moscow began frantically sending reinforcements to try and stem the tide, but Ukraine advanced faster than Russia could get reinforcements in place. The Russian leadership was faced with a conundrum: order its troops to contest every meter of territory in an attempt to buy time for reinforcements to arrive, or evacuate the area and preserve its manpower for future fights.

They chose the latter. Russia not only surrendered Izyum without a fight but later evacuated nearly the whole of the territory they occupied north of Kharkiv all the way to the Russian border, up to 3,000 total square kilometers back under Ukrainian control. Many in the West are hailing this move as proving Ukraine is well on its way to winning the war and might even result in the downfall of Vladimir Putin. A little context might be helpful before making such sweeping judgments.

Too Early to Claim Victory

I’ll repeat, it is entirely understandable and appropriate for Ukraine and its many Western supporters to celebrate this unqualified success north of Kharkiv. But its also necessary to understand this is a war, not a battle. The loss of Izyum and territory north of Kharkiv doesn’t signal the end of Russia any more than the successive losses of Mariupol, Severodonetsk, and Lysychansk signaled Ukraine had lost the war. Those losses were major and costly for Ukraine, and this current victory by Kyiv is major and costly for Russia. But the war continues on.

Russia still has an advantage in artillery, rockets, and air power. They still have more tanks and armored personnel carriers. And Putin’s troops still have control of nearly one fifth of Ukrainian territory. Further, Ukraine has likely expended the majority of its striking power in these twin offensives, suffered many casualties, and will require considerable replenishment and replacements before being able to go much further (there are reports that a smaller Ukrainian attack may be in the offing for Ugledar [southwest of Donetsk] but as of this writing none has materialized).

Ukraine Holds Its Ground

Zelensky appears to understand that the battle was important and meaningful, but not determinant. “The next 90 days,” he said, “will be more crucial than 30 years of Ukraine’s independence.” Support “for Ukraine in the war must be maintained,” he continued, specifying the continuing need for “weapons, ammunition, (and) finances.” Whether the West will continue providing significant quantities of all three of those requirements over the long term is an open question.

As I’ve written in these pages recently, there are stiff headwinds coming for Europe this winter, as there will likely be significant challenges with energy, potential energy rationing, and the increasing potential for a recession. Whether the West will be able to continue supplying the types and volumes necessary to enable Ukraine to continue making offensive progress is uncertain. What’s even more uncertain: Putin’s next move.

What is Putin’s Next Move?

One of the problems exuberant Westerners fail to consider is what Russia will do in response to this defeat in the Kharkiv region. It remains possible, though unlikely that Putin will continue without change and try to stick to his original plan of capturing the Donbas and not make any changes. For example, one possibility is that Putin will finally conclude that mobilizing his country for total wartime mobilization is necessary. Though such a move has significant risk for the Russian leader, launching a wartime mobilization also makes it possible that Russia could generate considerable new combat power later in 2023 and overwhelm Ukraine with sheer mass – something very much a part of Russia’s World War II heritage. Yet it is far from certain Putin will take that path.

One thing seems inevitable, however: Putin put his political life at grave risk to launch this war, and it seems unlikely in the extreme that he would stand passively by and allow his forces to be slowly squeezed out of Ukraine, imposing a major (and possibly fatal) defeat on him without making adjustments to try and regain the initiative. As Putin showed in his approach to the Chechen War, there is little he won’t do when he feels it is necessary to win on the battlefield.

It is, given the six-plus months of carnage imposed on Ukraine by the invading Russian army, entirely appropriate and reasonable to celebrate Ukraine’s big win north of Kharkiv. But this is war and I fear there will be much more death and destruction – and more successes and failures by each side – before this conflict finally comes to an end.

Expert Biography: Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis.

Written By

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Walker

    September 12, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    You can trust Davis to double down on being wrong. He must be a stupid Trump supporter. They are all delusional and stupid.

  2. KB

    September 12, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    As the Monty Python election forecaster stated, “The results are pretty much as I expected except that the other side won.”

    Putin may want to do more to try and pull it out, but he’s running out of options. He can mobilize all the troops he likes, but will they follow? Indications today are that future deployments are being put on hold as the soldiers refuse to go. Even if they didn’t refuse, Russia’s rattletrap logistical system couldn’t support them in the field anyway, even if Ukraine’s long range rockets didn’t boomify the ammunition (which they now have to try and find from other countries) as fast as it’s shipped in.

    It’s notable that Russian nationalists are calling for a maximum effort, just short of having to go themselves. And Russia is running short of Buryats to throw under the bus.

    Russia HAD a superiority in artillery, rockets, tanks and APCs, and supposedly they have an aerial superiority, although the famed Russian Air Force has been mostly AWOL.

  3. Gary Jacobs

    September 12, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    LoL. We were waiting for Davis to bring his spin. Not buying it.

    1st of all, the Ukrainians have captured MASSIVE amounts of Russia tanks, artillery, and ammo. Enough to equip about an entire new armored division. Here is just one HUGE lot of Russian equipment in Izyum:
    https://twitter.com/i/status/1568680967208071171

    This thread from War Zone has a lot more footage of captured Tanks, APCs and ammo vehicles. One of those ammo depots is stacked 20ft high.
    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/russian-forces-flee-ukraines-kharkiv-offensive-in-stunning-rout

    Dont be surprised if the final count captured is well over 100 tanks, 50+ artillery pieces, a dozen+ MLRS, and thousands upon thousands of rounds of ammo for each.

    The Ukrainians likely need a little pause to consolidate gains and inventory all the new gear and ammo they just captured.

    In the meantime, BOOOOOM!!!
    The Ukrainians appear to be setting conditions for further liberations as Multiple Explosions reported today on Taganrog Air Base in Rostov, Russia. Sure does look like a missile strike a la Saky Airbase. Tanganrog is just east of Mariupol, Ukraine.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ1sukEcwk8

    As I mentioned in another thread on this site, It will be interesting to see where they go next. Starobilsk is a juicy target to cut off the final GLOC and rail line from Belgorod Russia to Luhansk. My educated Guess is that they do that, and set up a defensive line around much of the Donbas without invading. They already have a solid defense east of Bakhmut and Soledar. Let the Russians continue to try and fail there as they have been for the last 6 weeks if they are that stupid.

    Then Ukraine can send a force due south and south west to hit Mariupol, Melitopol, Berdyansk and Tokmak. If they can pull that off they have cut the ground line from Crimea to Donbas and have the Russians squeezed on 3 sides from Zaporizhia to Kherson. At that point, expect a massive combo of surrendering Russians, and Russians retreating to Crimea. With another massive traffic jam heading east on the Kerch Bridge.

    Mr. Davis should prepare himself to continue to be wrong.

    Have a nice day.

  4. Brian Innes-Will

    September 12, 2022 at 7:08 pm

    AS I commented earlier, the writer sees things in terms of WWII style campaigns (and Russia as the strength it projects in propaganda, whereas the spread of territory and numbers involved make this as opposed to a corrupt, incompetent armed rabble it show itself up to be) This is more of a Ukrainian “mechanised guerrilla war”. The Ukrainians will keep switching focus to where the Russian are thinnest and keep punching holes into Russia’s disorganised, degraded, demoralised and increasingly desperate and worn out forces.
    Already the tone is changing in Russian tv. The Russian home front is just as thin and vulnerable.

    It is not over yet, but this kind of boosterism of Russian “strength” is a hangover from the Cold War era and badly out of date.

  5. Steven

    September 12, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    Why am I delusional and stupid?

  6. T. Stevens

    September 12, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    Russian apologist Daniel Davis strikes again.

  7. Mario

    September 12, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    “evidence suggests that Ukraine’s attack suffered major casualties and achieved limited if any, gains”

    DD denying evidence again. Russian units are retreating, surrendering or dying i the full offensive front. Kyiv seized more land in five days than Russia took in months: that’s a fact and not speculations about a more than doubtfull ‘russian victory’.

  8. Gary Jacobs

    September 12, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Ukraine is now reporting that “some” Russian units in Kherson are negotiating to surrender:
    https://twitter.com/i/status/1569272612345319425

    This Map of Kherson front line, if accurate as I expect it is, shows a lot of progress along a large front since August 29. They appear to be closing in on Kherson City from the north and the west. Less than 10 miles in each direction. And squeezed the bulge in northeast Kherson down by dozens of kilometers.
    https://twitter.com/visegrad24/status/1569199725827575808/photo/1

    Other than cherry picking one story from WaPo about Ukrainian casualties in Kherson…Davis makes another HUGE mistake. Kherson is completely different terrain than Kharkiv. Kherson is agricultural land that is flat and wide open. There are also irrigation ditches built in which the Russians could use as trenches. Kherson was always going to be a slower paced campaign. His rush to judge it a failure was silly, plain and simple.

  9. Yrral

    September 12, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    Davis, should be named special advisor to Biden,I guess you American are ready to kick another 10 billion dollars to national debt for a lost cause, Putin made a mistake,even that Bush did not ,he isolated the leadership of Saddam,while he drove leadership Saddam out of Baghdad ,they did not have a coordinate response to US,then the Fedayeen Saddam wage a guerilla war against the US and became Isis ,we know the rest of the story Google Fedayeen Saddam Isis

  10. Wayne Kurth

    September 12, 2022 at 11:19 pm

    Hmmm…Yesterday Mr. Davis was telling us that the Russians knew the northern counteroffensive was coming and had already planned for their strategic withdrawal…or something. How does that correlate with running away and abandoning tons of equipment and munitions? No, the war certainly isn’t over, but constantly noting Russia’s numerical advantage as the supreme factor has certainly lost its shine. Unmotivated, poorly led and fed Russian troops hightailing away from committed opposition hardly makes the case for ultimate victory of the invaders. There’s no reliable way to predict how the conflict will end, but it’s unlikely to be accomplished via Russian superiority of arms. My personal hope is that Putin is deposed, but there’s no way to calculate the odds of that happening. Fingers crossed.

  11. Jon

    September 12, 2022 at 11:29 pm

    The most useful fact to be gleaned from this column is that since this prose was submitted and until publication, Ukraine has doubled the amount of land it has reclaimed from Russian occupation.

    Others might find it instructive to compare this column with the author’s prior production. Personally I can’t see much return on the effort. One certain thing that runs though so much far right prose, passing as military and policy analysis, is how deeply and completely authoritarian Russian propaganda has been absorbed, until it can be disgorged as allegedly original thought.

  12. Goran

    September 13, 2022 at 12:36 am

    Davis in March : Ukrainians cannot sustain high casualty numbers, Europe needs Russia, Putin’s military is making rational moves

    Davis in July : Ukrainians cannot sustain high casualty numbers, Europe needs Russia, Putin’s military is making rational moves

    Davis in September : Ukrainians cannot sustain high casualty numbers, Europe needs Russia, Putin’s military is making rational moves

    I am getting addicted to this. Considering how much joy I am starting to have reading his tortured efforts, I actually dread the day when Davis stops sharing his opinions on Ukraine.

  13. June

    September 13, 2022 at 12:56 am

    I believe the lack of modern equipment is the primary reason why general mobilization is not effective. Russia is trying to buy artillery shells from North Korea and previous incidents in Korea showed the shells often could not reach the target. The US will deliver switchblade 600 next month and it will hunt down tanks and artillery. Russia needs to pull back these equipment from the front line. Once the NASAMS and IRIS-T are delivered, Russia cannot use fighter jets. Russia does not have a good option now. This is a modern war. Russia can do old fashioned war but the outcome will be a large casualty without modern equipment.

  14. CPT K USA

    September 13, 2022 at 1:38 am

    Once again Ukrainian trolls like Gary Jacobs, Mario, and Walker double down on their attempts to further justify America pouring billions more dollars into an area of negligible national interest. Perhaps they are mere partisan Democrat hacks who seek to elevate their party above our country. I’m not sure as to the reason they wish to strategically weaken the United States by propelling us further into a war Putin will escalate all the way if necessary, but they are grossly mistaken in their arguments. Putin cannot afford to lose the war, and the war is an existential matter for Russia even without Putin’s presence—and thus Putin and Russia with both escalate all the way to see the matter through.

  15. aaall

    September 13, 2022 at 1:53 am

    “With another massive traffic jam heading east on the Kerch Bridge.”

    Nice bridge there, be a shame…

  16. Mario

    September 13, 2022 at 2:21 am

    “Russia could generate considerable new combat power later in 2023 and overwhelm Ukraine”

    More misconceptions by the author. Russia is not the USSR. Its GDP is somewhat smaller than that of Italy. And has no access to high-tech components. If your slavic partners wanna fight with with T34 and T55 (the only they can build), they’ll be welcomed!!! Pretty sure a lone Javelin can struck two of them.

    Also remember that Russia has never taken much of its own casualties into account. It worked in WWII. Would it work today?
    And, all of this, on the assumption that a complete mobilization could be justified in some way other than the disaster that Russian aggression has become, of course.

  17. Xvai

    September 13, 2022 at 5:16 am

    Man Putin puppy at it again, I wonder how much Kremlin is paying with their special bs operation going south.

  18. Matthew

    September 13, 2022 at 8:31 am

    It’s seems obvious to me that Napoleon’s maxim about morale of he troops is the key thing here. You can have great plans tons of equipment but if your infantry would rather be home in Vladivostok you will crumble before determined opposition.

  19. Gary Jacobs

    September 13, 2022 at 10:04 am

    CPT K USA – lol, I am a proud registered independent American. I support candidates objectively from either party who have smart policies that are good for our country and our allies.

    As well, I am a student of history and I understand what happens when we dont stand up to bullies. You give them and inch, and they take thousands of miles.

    I have said many time I dislike Biden and Trump equally, for different reasons. That said, on this one thing, Biden has done a pretty good job of balancing the need to defeat Russia without escalating NATO into a hot war with Russia.

    We have tried appeasing Russia for decades. Obama pulled the last US tanks out in 2013, and in the 2012 debate he won the election with a platform of better relations with Russia, even Mocking Mitt Romney for calling Russia a threat. ‘the 1980s called, and they want their foreign policy back’. Within a year of the US pulling tanks from EU, Putin stole Crimea and Donbas in 2014, and leveraged the Ukrainian President to go against the people’s will to sign a trade deal with Russia instead of the EU. This time around Biden even lifted sanctions on Nord Stream 2 to appease Russia into negotiating, to no avail.

    You think we have no strategic interest there, but as much as I loathe them the EU are our allies, and this is the 2nd in time in 10 years they have dealt with an influx of Millions of refugees that has changed the political landscape. The 1st being Syria, which caused a major right wing backlash, not to mention a wave of terror attacks. Putin has openly compared himself to Russian Imperialist Tzars. They have a centuries long history of stealing other people’s land. Better to stop Putin in Ukraine now than have him go after a country covered by Article 5 later.

    Bottom line: this was Biden’s moment to choose to be closer to Churchill or Neville Chamberlain. I’m glad he chose Churchill.

  20. ius iuris

    September 13, 2022 at 11:56 am

    I’ve been reading 19fortyfive for the past 7 months, and I’m sorry to say that this author is either incompetent or malicious when it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  21. JPC

    September 13, 2022 at 12:17 pm

    CPT K USA – Putin won’t “lose” this war, he will blame it on the separatists, his Generals, or both. He will spin it however he needs if necessary. State TV is already starting to do that for him.
    You sir are definitely not a conservative, maybe a libertarian? As you are miles from Regan.

  22. David Chang

    September 13, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    After reading some comments on this post, we should remember the judgements of God.

    In our history and some papers of SEAL, Green Berets, and Army,
    small units combat is not the guarantee of victory in Vietnam and afghan, so the warfare from IBCT, SBCT, to ABCT is required more soldiers weapons, and money. It is about food, energy shortage and inflation, and more about the atheism strategy of socialism international warfare as Nazi, USSR, and CCP.

    So we trust God forever and fight until all people don’t believe socialism.

    God bless America.

  23. Jim

    September 13, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    Why is this Big?

    Easy enough, the front lines have been relatively static for many months.

    (Although, Russia has made incremental advances, but little noticed to the casual observer.)

    And, Ukraine has,

    1. Made the first breakout (for either side) in this war (beyond Russia’s initial gains in the opening days).

    2. This is the first successful offensive Ukraine’s army has carried out.

    Given the West’s dominance in the information war and the need to demonstrate Ukraine’s offensive military capability (to justify Western Europe’s suffering & America’s Taxpayer dollars and inflation woes) it is only natural all the Ukraine supporters have come out in droves to proclaim Ukraine’s triumph.

    (Some neocons have openly come out and rhetorically “rubbed their hands” at the prospect of dismembering Russia.)

    A front line of 1500 miles can not be up-armored all the way across, there will be weak spots.

    How will Russia respond?

    This is a good measuring stick for all.

  24. Gary Jacobs

    September 13, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    Jim – You continue to make silly comments with your pretense that support of Ukraine must be some ruse by partisans seeking to shift blame for inflation and taxpayer expenditures. Not to mention how silly it is to conflate different events, as well as you continuing to misuse the word ‘neocon’.

    As a proud supporter of Ukraine I am perfectly capable, as are many others, of supporting Ukraine against Russian tyranny based on deepo historical knowledge while simultaneously railing against the stupid policies of the Biden administration that have helped cause inflation. Not least of which was the cancelling of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the games they are playing with oil&gas leases, the Fed waiting way too long to raise interest rates, and so much more.

    In California, our despicable Governor is sending ‘stimulus’ checks sometime in the future instead of immediately putting a moratorium on the gasoline tax. As supposedly progressive California pretends to be, the gasoline tax is the single most regressive tax in our entire system. I am all for EVs, when the system is set up to fully handle them. Newsome made a complete fool of himself recently when he announced the date ICE cars would no longer be allowed to be sold in California…and in the same week California had rolling blackouts due to the heat wave which forced Newsome to ask people not to charge their EVs.

    Bottom line: it is perfectly possible to support Ukraine and to criticize the government for other policies that led to inflation. You really should try adding some informed nuance into your temper tantrums. Right now you just sound like a lightweight version of one of Putin’s trolls.

  25. Ross

    September 13, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    This is how ridiculous some posters are. The US Federal budget is 4 trillion dollars. The US aid to Ukraine amounts to about .5% of that. not 5 percent but 1/2 of 1 percent. The US government is harldy wasting any money on detering Russian aggression.

  26. David Chang

    September 13, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    Mr. Davis say an important thing. Precision weapons is worked with precision process chip, but Russia military do not require precision process chip so much. This is an alternative, so they will increase the blast radius of weapon.

    Russia’s warfare goal is to complete the socialism warfare. Their strategy are to destroy the enemy’s economy, murder the enemy’s people, and eliminate the enemy’s will to fight. Their tactics are the salvo, massive explosion, and maneuver, although guerrilla is used for maneuver tactic. And so, with C4ISR, Russia military combine the salvo and maneuver tactics into attrition warfare.

    But we should not assume that Army’s salvo and maneuver tactics are the same as Navy, because Navy’s supply is susceptible of ocean phenomena.

    Moreover, I hope Jim think about a rumor. Herman Kahn say that the origin of neoconservatives is the Trotsky school in Democratic Party, but democratic party believe socialism in public since 20th century, so the democratic party, Nazis, Communist Party, and neoconservative are socialism family, and atheism is our enemy.

    God bless America.

  27. David Chang

    September 13, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    Mr. Davis say an important thing. Precision weapons is worked with precision process chip, but Russia military do not require precision process chip so much. This is an alternative, so they will increase the blast radius of weapon.

    Russia’s warfare goal is to complete the socialism warfare. Their strategy are to destroy the enemy’s economy, murder the enemy’s people, and eliminate the enemy’s will to fight. Their tactics are the salvo, massive explosion, and maneuver, although guerrilla is used for maneuver tactic. And so, with C4ISR, Russia military combine the tactics of salvo, massive explosion, and maneuver into attrition warfare.

    But we should not assume that Army’s salvo and maneuver tactics are the same as Navy, because Navy’s supply is susceptible of ocean phenomena.

    Moreover, I hope Jim think about a rumor. Herman Kahn say that the origin of neoconservatives is the Trotsky school in Democratic Party, but democratic party believe socialism in public since 20th century, so the democratic party, Nazis, Communist Party, and neoconservative are socialism family, and atheism is our enemy.

    God bless America.

  28. Neil Ross Hutchings

    September 13, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    Davis was correct when he stated that for a counteroffensive to be successful an army would need at least a three to one advantage in troops. Ukraine apparently had an 8 to 1 advantage and has now regained 5% of the territory that Russian troops currently occupy. Surely Russia was aware how lightly defended the Kharkiv region would be when it moved troops to Kherson. As Davis states, Putin’s reaction will be key to what happens next. We can only hope that diplomacy is not entirely off the table in Kyiv, Moscow or Washington.

  29. CPT K

    September 13, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Gary Jacobs/JPC, please see my commentary in response to Stravos’ article here:

    https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/09/putin-has-a-problem-time-is-running-out-for-russias-military-in-ukraine/?unapproved=51424&moderation-hash=512fb91e5e2bcb4b54daa1d80001dd53#comment-51424

    Ross, the problem is not that the billions sent to Ukraine will be the fiscal “straw which broke the camel’s back”. The problem is going to be if the other fairly “unsavory” countries around the world reach a mutual decision that American/Western intervention is undesirable in their own domestic and “near regional” spheres, and that they should join the Sino-Indo-Russo economic alliance to break “King Dollar’s” rule as Global Reserve Currency (the thing that most of all assists us in projecting power). The Indians sit back, governed as they are by a Hindu Nationalist majority, and see danger from our intervention in the form of future American sanctions against them for repression of the Muslim Indian minority. The Communist Chinese—same with their Muslim minority… Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, the Arab Street… they are already at this conclusion… that is where our failure to take into account the secondary and tertiary effects of intervening on Ukraine’s behalf are to be felt the strongest—and this is where the long term repercussions can and likely will be most damaging for American strategic interests. Whether Ukraine falls or not is secondary to this much more existential issue.

  30. Freeborn John

    September 13, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    I’ve read Mr Davis’ articles from February onwards thinking time will tell if he is correct or not. Time may yet prove him correct but it looks less and less likely. It would be very interesting if he could now write an article explaining why he has been wrong so far.

    I think Mr Davis major error is to ignore the imbalance of industrial resources between the West and Russia which is going to become crystal clear when Russia’s stockpiles of soviet-era weapons are all used up. That has not yet happened though and still Russia is doing badly. It would be interesting how Mr Davis explains why his predictions have not come to pass and what his expectations are once the soviet-era stockpiles are gone.

  31. Walker

    September 13, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    Being called a Ukrainian made me smile. I definitely stand with them so I will take it as a huge compliment as they fight for their independence against a bully in Putin and all the stupid Russians who support him.

    Poor Russians getting their rear ends handed to them is a great sight to see. Russia and China are countries that threaten the future of all people on the earth. Their downfall will make the world a safer place. Any money that the US invests in Ukraine is well spent. Down with you murdering Ruscist fascists!

  32. Jim

    September 13, 2022 at 10:02 pm

    Gary,

    A general reference to “neocon” is a shorthand for the various flavors which animate the overall community that never tires of supporting militaristic policies.

    (Regardless of how many lives are lost, money spent, and geo-political setbacks and failures result. See the wreckage left over from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and, now, Ukraine.)

    Gary, you must have a much higher tolerance for military failure than I do.

    I’m aware of the distinctions between “neocon,” “neoliberal,” and “warhawk.”

    Fact, inflation is up, partly because of this war (per Biden, himself), and sorry as far as I’m concerned the taxpayer money is wasted. I understand you have a different opinion about this policy.

    That’s America.

  33. Luis Espinal

    September 14, 2022 at 10:05 am

    Davis, you might be right in that the war is not over, but kindly shut the hell up.

    You are just trying to spin it as you found yourself deeply in the wrong with your past predictions.

    If the world had listened to you, they would have forced Ukraine to surrender and give up half its territory and access to the Black Sea to Putin.

    Just stop, really.

  34. john deer

    September 14, 2022 at 10:52 am

    Mr. Davis,
    to make your articles a bit more interesting, you should enact a punishment everytime you get it wrong.
    “I will eat my hat if Russia doesn’t win this war”
    or something like that..

  35. Gary Jacobs

    September 14, 2022 at 11:31 am

    Jim – of course you entitled to your opinion that our taxpayer money is wasted. And I am entitled to explain, based on facts, how silly that opinion is. That’s America. That said, if you care so much about the finances of our country, the display of how effective our military hardware is against the Russians is about to have a major effect on sales. Poland has request to buy 500 HIMARS, 300+ M1 Tanks [after giving their Russian tanks to Ukraine]… other EU countries and Taiwan have also increased their request for HIMARS and other American equipment.
    https://www.thedefensepost.com/2022/06/07/poland-himars-us/

    As well, we are set to massively replace Russian gas sales to the EU. Germany is trying to install two floating LNG terminals this winter. With 3 more planned next year while they build two much larger fixed terminals.
    https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/liquefied-gas-does-lng-have-place-germanys-energy-future

    As well, between covid disruptions and the bluster/war mongering from Russia and China… a lot of major companies are bringing home their supply chains. Even Taiwan’s TSMC is planning to build a fab in the US.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/made-in-america-companies-bringing-manufacturing-back-to-us-2022-7

    It will be interesting to see how the balance sheet plays out over the course of time… but that said, your view on the situation is very short term. Long term we have legit cause to be cautiously optimistic.

  36. David Chang

    September 14, 2022 at 12:14 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    If some people insist on saying Mr. Davis of being wrong,
    according to the RAND research report of CCP air force, we would justify Mr. Davis’s apprehension.

    According to the MG915 report, maneuver operations of the CCP air force and AA forces is also for completing attrition strategy.

    When democratic party believe that CCP troops are not enough to win the Western Pacific War, we should think about CCP’s socialism warfare strategy: sinking USN 7th Fleet. So we shall look some of the combat theory explained by RAND research report.

    On page 80,

    “As the emphasis on surface to-air operations has moved from fixed-point defense to a more dynamic defense of zones or areas, mobility has become increasingly important.

    The China Air Force Encyclopedia defines mobility operations as “operational actions used by SAM forces to seek opportunities for battle or avoid enemy air attacks using mobility to change operational areas.”

    These operations take three basic forms: (1) mobile ambushes, which are based on an understanding of enemy activity and are undertaken in or close to areas where the enemy might operate (see next subsection); (2) mobile coverage, employed when forces are insufficient to cover multiple approaches to a large target area or to protect multiple targets that are located not far from one another; and (3) search and destroy operations (literally, “battlefield hunting”, executed by elite forces within a relatively large battlefield seeking opportunities to strike targets.

    The execution of mobility operations is generally divided into several phases: preparation for the move; withdrawal from current positions; transportation of assets; occupation of new positions; and reparations for combat. While improvements in aerial reconnaissance and air attack technology make mobility more important and frequent, movement also poses challenges for the mobile element, and all moves will require the thorough study and understanding of many factors, including battlefield trends, geography, transportation, weather and moisture conditions, patterns of enemy activity, and roadway conditions. These operations also require thorough camouflage and tight command and control.”

    Therefore, based on the explanation of RAND, we can understand the attrition strategy and maneuver tactics of the CCP and Russia.

    After thinking about tactics and strategy, we should think about the socialism warfare goal of CCP and Russia.

    God bless America.

  37. Roger Bacon

    September 14, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    Historians will look back on this Ukrainian offensive and compare it to Washington crossing the Delaware and the ensuing Battle of Trenton. It is not the size of the battle but the morale effect. If any European nation was thinking of backing out of supporting Ukraine before this offensive, that is now impossible. Just as Washington’s troops reenlisted with their victory I believe Ukrain’s troops will be uplifted and inspired to fight on to eventual victory.
    They now know, beyond any dowbt, that htey are the superior soldiers. If they had any lingering dowbt in their abilities those doubts have fled faster than the Russian soldiers in NE Ukraine this past week.

  38. I. Martin

    September 14, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    Mr. Davis emphasizes somethings while downplaying others.

    1.) Much is being made of the Russian decision to retreat, but the fact is that the decision was already made by their troops who were already in full retreat. Russian command chose not to fight, in vain, the full blown retreat already underway.

    2.) I do not believe that the Kharkiv counterattack was as well planned as the media puts forth. It was opportunistic and initially, small: a 15 tank spearhead. The Russians were unprepared and consequently, swept away! Under normal circumstances it would’ve been a raid.

    3.) The lesson here is that static warfare (19th century warfare), is not good for Ukraine. Mobile warfare (20th century warfare, with a little help from drones and GPS) is much more favorable for Ukraine. Russia is simply not nimble enough to respond. And this makes the Ukrainian request for German tanks that much more logical. A few more victories like this and the war will be over very soon.

  39. Stefan Stackhouse

    September 14, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    As Churchill said: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. It may, perhaps, be the end of the beginning.”

  40. Jim

    September 14, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    Gary, I appreciate the response.

    I don’t think a “sales demonstration” is what Ukraine is about, although, fine, sales to Poland is good, Europe needs to “pay their way,” and military purchases are definitely a start for European nation-states to take care of themselves.

    Frankly, I’d just as soon keep that natural gas at home, so we have inexpensive natural gas to give our industries a competitive advantage on the world stage.

    And, also, so individuals & families have inexpensive natural gas to heat their homes and inexpensive electricity for their homes & businesses.

    (Although, given the circumstances… I’m okay with helping Germany through a tough spot.)

    Always good to have supply chains here at home.

    Long term? Another Cold War with Russia (and China?) is not good for America… good for the military-industrial-complex, sure, but that’s not my first priority, however, I do subscribe to “Peace through Strength.”

    Back in the 1990’s, we had a choice, a fork in the road, so to speak, build a cooperative & beneficial relationship with Russia or push NATO to Russia’s border and use Ukraine as a launch pad to harry, even dismember Russia.

    The leaders of our government made the wrong choice (And they never told the American People what they were planning to do.) See, Zbigniew Brzeziński, The Grand Chessboard (1997), hint, the grand prize was dismembering Russia.

    A personal note, my father piloted B-24’s over Nazi Germany, to drop bombs and rid the European continent of Nazi ideology… he didn’t do it so that the U. S. would support neo-Nazis in 21st Century Europe.

    I will never support a government that has neo-Nazis in it like Ukraine does, period.

  41. Andrew P

    September 14, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    I keep on wondering where is Russia’s Air Force? Why are they being held back from this war? Putin is clearly holding them in reserve, but why? Is he reserving them for a potential escalation war with NATO?

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