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Take the Win and End the Ukraine War Now

The fact is that up to this point, Russia has suffered a significant deterioration of its armed forces, a serious shock to its economy, and will require many years – perhaps decades – to fully recover to its pre-2022 levels. If weakening Russia was our strategic objective, that has already been accomplished. We would be wise to take that win and not get greedy by trying to push for an outright military defeat of Putin and his forces.

A Marine with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, fires an AT4 antitank rocket launcher in the Central Command area of operations, March 23, 2015. The 2/7 Marines participated in a range that tests their ability to conduct an integrated combined arms assault against a simulated enemy position. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Will Perkins/Released)

The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported a number of military experts and international leaders saying they don’t know how to end the fighting on terms favorable to Kyiv once Ukraine’s upcoming spring or summer offensive concludes. They nevertheless signaled confidence Russia would not be able to win. An unemotional and balanced examination of the combat fundamentals at play, however, reveals a growing potential that Ukraine will struggle merely to hold what it has, let alone to defeat Russia.

Western leaders should start recalibrating their expectations in light of current trends. Persisting in the unchallenged view that Russia is going to lose the war could leave the West to be caught off guard if the Ukrainian offensive fails to materially degrade Russian positions.

French President Emmanuel Macron worries about what Putin might do if Russia were “humiliated” as a result of losing, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declares the war is far more than just a war between Russia and Ukraine. It is, he says, “fundamentally a fight about the values that we believe about democracy, about the rule of law, territorial integrity, about freedom.

Yet fundamentally, Sunak is not correct. Values, democracy, and rule of law are certainly critically important concepts, but in terms of winning a war, they are almost irrelevant. Combat fundamentals and military power reign supreme. If there is not a viable military path to success, then values become inconsequential.

The Fundamentals of Combat Always Apply

In 1939, Poland fought for its freedom and was badly defeated by a fascist regime. In May 1940 France fought for its freedom and was likewise defeated in a lightning war. And in June 1941 the Soviet Union fought for its freedom. Up until late in 1942, however, all of those states were crushed on the battlefields for one primary reason: the balance of military power and combat fundamentals favored the attacking Nazis. 

The Allies did not ultimately defeat Hitler’s forces because they promoted democratic values. (Obviously, the forms of governments of the allied West and the USSR were as different as night and day.) They won because they built the combat power that ultimately obliterated the Germans. The U.S. State Department’s history of World War II openly admits that without the “remarkable efforts of the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front, the United States and Great Britain would have been hard pressed to score a decisive military victory over Nazi Germany.” 

This war likewise will not be won by which side shows the most courage and fearless willingness to fight, but by which side is best able to build national combat power. It is about the fundamentals: the military industrial capacity to churn out adequate quantities of weapons and ammunition, the largest number of sufficiently trained troops, and the political stamina to keep fighting.

Today, both sides (and their allies) have a desire to win. Both sides fight tenaciously. Both populations believe they are in the moral right, and neither has any intention of surrendering to the other. Both governments show they have considerable political stamina to keep fighting for the foreseeable future. What isn’t the same, however, is the industrial capacity and the number of troops potentially available to each side. In those categories, the Russians have a distinct advantage. 

Russia’s Nuclear Option Is Legitimate

There is one other category that exerts influence at every turn and lurks behind every plan, strategy, or hope Ukraine has in trying to win the war against Russia: the nuclear card.

In Kyiv and the capitals of most Western states, the debate about how to wage the war takes place from the curious belief that conventional forces are the only ones at play. Whether stated or not, the actions and statements of the various Western leaders expose their belief that if only the right strategy can be found, if enough modern NATO equipment can be delivered, and if enough ammunition can be produced, then Ukraine can defeat Russia and drive Putin’s forces from Ukraine.

Such thinking is in stark contrast to the world that exists. Continuing to ignore the multi-megaton elephant in the room could lead to a dark, potentially catastrophic outcome for the West. Just last Saturday, Putin took one step forward on the escalation ladder when he announced Russia was going to station tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory. Many in the West dismiss this action as mere rhetoric

Too many leaders in Western capitals and members of the foreign policy elite think that things are as they have been since the early 1990s, that we can deal with Russia as we have dealt with adversaries over the past 30 years. Whether it was Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 1991 and 2003, Haiti’s Raoul Cédras in 1994, Afghanistan’s Mullah Omar in 2001, Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya in 2011, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad since 2014, al-Baghdadi’s ISIS from 2014-2022, or Maduro’s Venezuela in 2020, we have gotten accustomed to being able to behave, speak, and act against foes as we see fit.

For 30 years we have had to worry little over what any given adversary might do in response to the actions or military operations we undertake, because we knew that no matter what their response, we could overwhelm it. The rules stated that regardless of the rightness or wrongness of any justification, regardless of whether “democracy” or other values might be at play, we could act with near impunity. And we were right: There was nothing those states could do that we could not crush. 

In this current situation with Russia, those rules do not apply.

We don’t have a trump card to defeat the Russian adversary. For every nuclear ace in our deck, Putin has a corresponding nuclear ace. Dealing with Moscow requires us to play by a different set of rules. 

Tactical Nuclear Weapons

US Military B-61 nuclear weapon. Image Credit: US DOD.

Recognizing that reality does not mean submitting anything to Russia. It does not mean our hands are tied, or that we can’t behave aggressively to benefit our national security and values. Certainly we do have more and better cards to play than Putin, and we should unhesitatingly use them to our advantage when required. Yet having a better hand than Russia doesn’t mean we can do as we see fit without considering the response, as we have been able to do since 1991.

Especially when it comes to war, there are limits on our freedom of action in regards to both Russia and China that never applied to the likes of Saddam. Putin has nuclear weapons, and in a desperate set of circumstances, he is entirely capable of using them. 

Some, like retired General Ben Hodges, cavalierly dismiss the threat that Putin could ever use nuclear weapons. The chances that Putin will do so, Hodges said in February, “are almost non-existent,” advocating the West ignore all Putin’s warnings and move forward with long-range missiles and attacks to retake Crimea.  On Monday, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, issued one of the most direct counters to Hodges’ dismissive claims.

Russia has a “unique weapon” Patrushev said, capable of “destroying any opponent, mainly the US, in case there is a threat to Russia’s existence.” He addressed comments from U.S. politicians and public figures like Hodges. “American politicians’ certainty that Russia will not be able to respond” to an existential threat to Russia “is a short-sighted and dangerous foolishness.” 

Russian Tanks in Ukraine

Russian Tanks in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Certainly that could be bluster and empty rhetoric by a Russian leader intended to scare the U.S. from getting too aggressive supporting Ukraine on the battlefield. But such a statement, coming from a senior military advisor to the president of the nation with the largest stockpile of strategic nuclear weapons on the planet – an adversary that could literally wipe out most of the population of our country – cannot be blithely dismissed. 

Without question, such a strike would concurrently result in the destruction of most of Russia, and that would weigh heavily on any Putin decision. But to literally gamble the existence of the United States on the hope that Putin would allow the U.S.-led West to facilitate a military defeat of the Russian Armed Forces, and then hope that a desperate Putin would not use his vast nuclear arsenal, is incomprehensibly unwise.

The fact is that up to this point, Russia has suffered a significant deterioration of its armed forces, a serious shock to its economy, and will require many years – perhaps decades – to fully recover to its pre-2022 levels. If weakening Russia was our strategic objective, that has already been accomplished. 

End the Ukraine War

We would be wise to take that win and not get greedy by trying to push for an outright military defeat of Putin and his forces. Doing so would play into Russia’s greatest fears – a Western attack against Russian territory – and pointlessly raise the specter of sending a desperate Putin into a corner from which he may calculate that using tactical nuclear weapons is his only recourse. No matter what we feel about the war in Ukraine, we should not risk nuclear escalation that in the worst case could condemn millions of Americans to death. It is time to take the win and end the war.

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.



  1. Michael Droy

    March 28, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    “The U.S. State Department’s history of World War II openly admits that without the “remarkable efforts of the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front, the United States and Great Britain would have been hard pressed to score a decisive military victory over Nazi Germany.” ”

    Boy does the Lt Col stick to the party line. Germany lost to Russia, and w Europe didn’t really enter into the war. Some 80% of Germans were killed by Russia, while they left their weaker less combat ready troops to defend the West.

    Still good to know the official Pentagon view – declare victory and retreat in Ukraine. Total BS that this counts as a Western win – couldn’t be further from the truth. But that was the American way in Vietnam and Afghanistan too.

    Call a total defeat a victory, and run. That way the only place that counts for US politicians, the US media, can pretend this is not a gross Fxxx Up.

  2. Tone

    March 28, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    The facts are looking as this thought on what is true victory are beoming to dangerous for all. Greed and pride need to balance with what is truly correct for all.

  3. Roger Bacon

    March 28, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    Let’s wait and see how the Ukrainian offensive goes this spring or summer. The Russians have been digging in defensively so it’s not going to be a blitz-like offensive like last year. If they can sever the Russian lines to Crimea that would be an overwhelming success. Anything less and the war will drag on for another year.
    The big factor will be Russian soldier morale. It was near zero for most of last year. Maybe it’s higher now. We won’t really know until they are attacked. Will they choose fight or flight?

  4. PutinOut

    March 28, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    I’m failing to see how Russia has a “distinct advantage” in industrial capacity. Saying it doesn’t make it true.

    Here is an interesting fact: Ukraine has more tanks today than they had at the beginning of the war. The same is true for artillery, IFV’s and air defense. That doesn’t sound like a “distinct advantage.”

    The ONLY answer is for Russia to pull back. Tucking tail and running only encourages autocrats; which is the real lesson from WWII.

  5. tomb

    March 28, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    I think you could be a hypocrite.
    If a squatter takes over your garage, would you just be glad
    He left your house alone and you would let the squatter
    Permanently keep your garage ???

    So you expect Ukraine to lose territory to Russia every few years ??
    To say nothing of the senseless death and destruction.
    You need to rethink this….

  6. Peter Garza

    March 28, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    The author of this article has never been very bright but only a Putin sympathizer. Everything he writes needs to be taken with a very big heap of salt.

  7. TheDon

    March 28, 2023 at 5:20 pm

    There are no winners in war. A summation of losses usually incorrectly reported to maintain support of citizens.

    In this one both Ukraine and Russia have taken losses.

    Both sides are weakened, and couldnt withstand another war, unless we are being played to voluntarily dearm by arming Ukraine.

    Well, only chinas winning.
    Ukraine and Russia wont cooperate for many many years.
    Russia will bow to Xi.
    Orthodoxy reduced.
    Common neighbors isolated wont help economically or if china demands land back.

    Bad situation.
    Deaths, loss of business, loss of Religion. Is that a win.

  8. Gary Jacobs

    March 28, 2023 at 5:30 pm

    LoL, Davis.

    In what fantasy world does he believe this war will end without Ukraine making much greater advances?

    Putin wants to shred Ukraine. If the war is frozen in a place where Russia can reconstitute its forces and restart offensive operations that’s exactly what he would do at a time and place of his choosing.

    At this point, Putin is simply preparing his people for his imperialist ‘forever war’.

    During Putin’s closely watched “state of the nation” speech last month, the Russian leader repeated some of the many grievances he holds against the west, stressing that Moscow was fighting for national survival and would ultimately win.

    The thinly veiled message to the people was that the war in Ukraine would not be ending anytime soon and that Russians must learn to live with it.

    I say again, It’s Putin’s continuation of Russia’s Imperialist ‘Forever War’.

    The problem for Russia is how badly their army is performing, so Putin has stopped discussing the situation on the front in Ukraine in his public comments.

    According to a study of the Putin’s speeches by the Russian news outlet Verstka, Putin last mentioned the fighting in Ukraine on January 15, 2023. At the time he was saying that the dynamics of his army were “positive”.

    Now that he cant say they are ‘positive’, he doesnt say anything at all. These omissions reflect the Putin’s uneasy acceptance that Russia is unable to change the course of the war on the battlefield.

    It is easier not to talk about the war efforts when your army is making no progress. But scaling back is not an option for Putin at this time because that would mean admitting defeat without being further defeated by means of losing more of Ukraine’s territory that Russia invaded.

    Over the winter, western military analysts and Ukrainian officials repeatedly warned that Russia, after drafting 300,000 men last autumn, would mount a major new attack.

    But Putin’s offensive across a 160mile arc in eastern Ukraine has brought Russia minimal gains at staggering costs…and thereby proving again that Ukraine can take on Russia. What they need are more and better weapons to further take advantage of the losses they have inflicted on Russia, and to regain their territory so that they will be a viable state…and so Russia is not in a position to restart hostilities for at least a generation.

    Russia also needs it burned into their memories the cost of their imperialist invasion.

    As of now, ‘Russia simply does not have the offensive capabilities for a major offensive,’ said US military expert Rob Lee, a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Eurasia Program. He is also a former Marine infantry officer.

    According to Lee, less than 10% of the Russian army in Ukraine is capable of offensive operations, with the majority of its troops now conscripts with limited training.

    “Their forces can slowly achieve a few grinding attritional victories but do not have the capacity to punch through Ukrainian defensive lines in a way that would change the course of the war.”

    Ukraine is fighting Russia extra 200,000+ troops to a standstill, in the mud, with the leftovers in our mothball closet.

    The only way anyone should be talking about ending this war now is if Russia decides to pull out of Ukraine and end their imperialist invasion immediately.

    Otherwise, it’s time to let the Ukrainians have western equipment needed to take their country back.

    All the players—Challenger 2, Leopard 1 and 2, AMX-10rc, Bradley fighting vehicles, Strykers, etc…are starting to arrive.

    The first M1 Abrams wont be coming until late summer, early fall at the earliest, but the rest of the Western gear that had been promised to Ukraine following a meeting of NATO leaders last fall is moving into position.

    At the same time, thousands of Ukrainian soldiers who have been training on this equipment are returning to the country. So are thousands more that have been in locations across Europe training with NATO forces on Western tactics.

    And in the last few weeks, and especially more in the last couple of days, explosions have gone off all around Melitopol, Tokmak, Mariupol, etc.

    They have also brought in thousands of FPV drones that can carry rpg warheads. They have been wreaking havoc in Russian trenches, and that is likely going to accelerate across a wider area of the front.

    Bottom line: The Ukrainians appear to be ramping up the shaping operations in preparation for new offensives. Davis talking of ending the war now is a desperation plea from a Putin apologist to snatch victory from jaws of a defeat from Russia.

  9. Corvus

    March 28, 2023 at 5:30 pm

    “We would be wise to take that win and not get greedy by trying to push for an outright military defeat of Putin and his forces.”

    Absolutely disagree with this sentiment. Sure, we can claim a win, but how long will it last? How many years until Putin (or his successor) invades again.

    Now, a full military defeat – this will eliminate the Russian threat for a long time, maybe even forever. It will save us from having to live with the constant threat that the war may start anew 5-10 years from now.

  10. Walker

    March 28, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    What is right is right. Justice giving way to pragmatism is no Justice at all.

    The funny thing here, all along Davis has been saying the Russia will win and we are wasting our time and more importantly our money on an inconsequential war. Never once did he worry about Russias treatment of Ukraine. Now all of a sudden he admits that a Russia is evil, but still he wants us to let it have what it wants. Because why? He thinks they have been reduced to a military that can’t threaten anyone else. It appears Davis is again viewing everything selectively through his America only lenses. He misses what Putin is doing in Georgia and Moldova let alone what he is doing In Belarus. And that is why he is 100% wrong again. Never in my life have I seen such a stubborn stupid idiot. We can’t just call it a win and let it up to Russia. Davis might be an idiot, but Putin isn’t. Putin is 100% counting on ideas like Davis to take hold and for us to stop supporting Ukraine. We do that and Putin will eventually have T-54s in Kiev. But that isn’t where Putin will stop. Putin will not stop until he retakes all that the former Soviet Union had. He will keep going until he controls Berlin. Davis is an idiot and Putin is using him like a cheap prostitute.

    Davis has never once throughout this entire war ever been correct. His biggest disaster was his 2 out of 3 series on Bakhmut. He never published the third article because Russia can’t take the city as he predicted it would. So now he sits here saying “take the win” but I’m saying “GTFO”. That goes for Davis and his wimpy fear of Russia and Putin for his designs on Europe and for all you Russian trolls who will come here to try to convince us Davis has even a smidgen truth here let alone an ounce of brains. Let me tell you, Putin and Davis. The world will not let Russia win in Ukraine. We will see Putin dead and buried. We will see Russia ground to bits and we will see a peaceful secure Europe without Russia and no Russia won’t use nukes. They made terrible choices that will see the end of Russia but the people want to live and survive. That can’t and won’t happen if they use nukes. Again Putin isn’t as stupid as Davis.

  11. 403Forbidden

    March 28, 2023 at 5:47 pm

    Fact is (from 2014) ukro neo-nazis have been trying to bring back the ‘glory era’ of great german offensive in ukraine in 1941 when german soldiers were saying ‘freedom is our goal, victory is our banner’ and the wehrmacht machine was then seemingly unstoppable.

    Fact is US and EU wish to side with those very neo-nazis and thus change or alter the post-war reality in order to implement a brand new fascist awakening for the 21st century.

    Fact is biden and NATO reckon & totally or fully confident today’s russia can be kneecapped via the ukro neo-nazis and will straightaway result in the fall of russia as a nation and independent entity.

    Fact is US and NATO have tried the very exact same gamble in the middle east and achieved grand success except in the case of syria where it failed.

    Fact is biden today thinks he is mike tyson and destined (earmarked by great manifest destiny) to take down vladimir putin or the Mr hollyfield of russia.

    Fact is biden can’t or is unable to check in the hall mirror(so to speak) and see the big error of his thinking.

    Russia simply can’t afford to lose or get defeated by the ukros. It currently has the second largest immediately-available or usable nuke arsenal and come 2024, biden and NATO will get a very very nasty surprise.

    After all, russia definitely cannot dismiss who busted the nord stream gaspipes and who are sending top-flight or top-class panzers to ukraine driven by a fully undisguised hatred for russia and everything russian.

    Remember, germany once branded russians untermensch or sub-par beings. What happened to germany in may 1945. In 1946, over a million unexpected babies were born to german women.

  12. Jim

    March 28, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    Some say it’s rosy some say it’s not…

    Here’s what Zelensky said:

    President Zelensky stated in an interview with Japanese newspaper Yomiuri , (this past Saturday) the situation on the frontline “was not good,” … “we can’t start (the offensive) yet. Without tanks, artillery and HIMARS, we cannot send our brave soldiers to the front lines.”

    “We are waiting for ammunition to arrive from our partners,” President Zelensky added.

    These are quotes from Zelensky, himself.

    People are telling you things that aren’t true.

    Is Zelensky lying?

  13. Steve

    March 28, 2023 at 6:05 pm

    It is an simple, moral war for the Ukrainians, and they must and will fight with courage.. Not so for the Russian soldiers who know that they should not be there. The Russian soldiers also know their position is immoral and they also know that they will lose.

  14. Dee_Hoss

    March 28, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    Have you seen the state Russia’s military equipment is in? We spend more on upkeep for our nuclear Arsenal than Russia spends on their whole military.

    What about that gives you confidence in their arsenal? If Russia tried to launch a nuclear strike all they would achieve is salting their countryside with weapons grade radioactive material. On the bright side cleaning it up would be a moot point after our overwhelming response. — It’s not like we have a long established history of overreacting to stuff or anything. — That’s assuming his military would even obey such an order which I highly doubt because they know full well the state of all those nukes.

    Russia is a third world country that had an economy the size of New Jersey BEFORE this thing kicked off. The United States of America does not let third world countries act with impunity against our friends and allies. We also don’t take ultimatums from them, we give them.

    Putin’s baby momma Trump ain’t in office no more so the days of committing acts of war against us with impunity are over. No matter what those terrified of empty propaganda or military contractors fear mongering for dollars may say.

  15. Harry D

    March 28, 2023 at 7:04 pm

    You are a typical American defeatist. Arm chair officer who is an appeaser for Russia. Kiss it.

  16. Paddy Manning

    March 28, 2023 at 7:43 pm

    Good man Daniel, always wrong but never embarrassed by your own idiocy.
    I hope it’s idiocy. Could be worse…

  17. Whodunnit

    March 28, 2023 at 7:44 pm

    Putin declares Alaska part of Russia.
    Comrade Davies – “ I think it would cost too much money and too many lives so let him have it. We’ll pretend we didn’t want it anyway and call it a win. What’s that ? He wants my house as well ? Tell him I’ll leave the keys under a plant pot on the front porch when I leave”.

  18. Bob A

    March 28, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    Victory for who? For Ukraine who would lose 20% of their country? For the tens of 1000s who have been murdered or raped or tortured? How dare you make the determination of what Ukraine should do. The US has sent them approx $80b…which is roughly 3% of what was spent on the “deficit reduction act”.

  19. Johnny Ray

    March 28, 2023 at 8:15 pm

    Generally, I do not see either side winning or losing much of anything in the foreseeable future of years, maybe decades. Seems this war is, almost, degrading to a literal pissing match. Russia launches a few rockets and sends a couple platoons into the killing fields. Ukraine gets a lucky hit on HIMAR hit on an ammo dump and a few tanks. Rinse, repeat.

    Meanwhile, to be brutally frank, Russia actually has won substantial territory which Ukraine is unlikely to retake absent several military miracles. Taking Crimea was a big win. The Donbas and Kherson regions are bonus wins. But, from here on out, that’s going to be it.

    Is a Ukraine military miracle possible? As much as I want it to be so, when it comes to putting real money on the table, I am thinking…nope.

    My gut feeling is we will be having this same conversation 10 years from now.

  20. John F. Montgomery

    March 28, 2023 at 8:18 pm

    This is no border dispute as one numskull called it. This is an all-out war where Russia is doing everything they can think of to destroy the people and culture of Ukraine. This may be most obvious, monstrous, deliberate, public and targeted case of ethnic cleansing in modern history. If that’s not bad enough Russia has actually bragged about much of it. Russian leadership is a very primitive bunch of Neanderthals and needs to be put out of their misery or caged.

  21. Luis

    March 28, 2023 at 8:21 pm

    Zaporizhia is the answer.

    Mainly, the nuclear plant, the biggest in Europe can be the gain for Ukraine in the bargaining table.

    The neutrality of Ukraine, to froze the dispute about the Donbass (say is Ukraine but we will discuss in the future)

    There is a way to end the war right now, stop the fire and start talkings before millions of lives get lost.

  22. Gary Jacobs

    March 28, 2023 at 8:30 pm


    LoL, Zelensky is not lying.

    He is stressing the importance of western supplies arriving asap. The guy is shrewd. He knows how to say the right things to keep the sense of urgency on weapons shipments.

    I dont know of a single person who supports Ukraine claiming things are rosy for them right now. I suspect you just made that up out of thin air.

    While western equipment has started to arrive, it needs to continue coming so they can both start the offensive[s], then backfill for reserves and expected losses when they switch to offense.

    Perhaps Biden and the collective west’s biggest mistake so far has been not getting Ukraine the supplies they need faster.

    That said, a marine I know who was part of an Abrams crew recently explained to me in excruciating detail why sending 31 Abrams tanks is harder than just sending 31 tanks

    Though the 1st thing he made clear is that NO new Abrams are being built. The A2 variants are actually completely rebuilt A1 models, stripped of everything down to the hull. Ukraine will be getting the older A1 model.

    A further reminder that most of what we are giving Ukraine is already spent money, not new money being spent.

    The 31 tanks will be supported by literally dozens of fuel and supply trucks ferrying everything they need to operate: fuel, lubricant, ammunition, food, water, spare parts, soldier’s kit, and everything else needed to wage war.

    And every km this battalion pushes into Russian occupied territory, thats 2km added those supply trucks have to run to keep the vanguard fed.

    Russia failed its initial assault, and so many others, because it couldnt handle this task. Ukraine cant half ass it themselves.

    There’s a hell of lot more in the maintenance supply line, among other things. However, Ukraine has demonstrated time and time again an incredible ability to quickly adapt and integrate its motley assortment of Western military gear. But what it does mean is that it takes time.

    As Im told, The good news is that once this logistic chain is set up, it can be easier to supplement with additional tanks. 31 tanks can become 62, and eventually hundreds.

    From a political standpoint, I wish the US would announce 500 Abrams just to psych Putin out. Seeing your squirming posts about it would be the cherry on top.

    But from a practical standpoint? Announcing more Abrams before Ukraine can support even 31 is pointless.

    Fortunately, the Leopard support system is already in place in a number of Ukraine’s neighbors…and that’s why it’s been much more important for those to arrive immediately. Thankfully many of them have.

    Bottom line: Zelensky is right to keep the rhetorical pressure on to make sure the equipment, logistics, and ammo supplies are well prepared for what is to come.

    You pretending that he is lying is you missing what is actually happening, as usual.

  23. Almogavar

    March 28, 2023 at 8:43 pm

    If we want to compare with WWII we should reconsider the terms. Ukraine is defending its land, like Russia was. Ukraine is getting help from the rest of the world, like Russia did. The industrial capabilities of today’s Russia are very diminished w/o technology imports. Unless China starts helping Russia, I would say that my bet is with Ukraine. Technology trumps manpower. Based on your principles of military and industrial power, and political stamina, the US should have won in Vietnam, Irak and Afghanistan. Seems to me that you have to review your approach. The will to win is the most important factor long term.

    Russia has already lost in Ukraine, even if they won the military campaign, which is not clear to me.

    At the same time, Putin doesn’t have that much time. And the nuclear option could be considered against Ukraine but at what cost, bearing in mind that is next to Russia and the fallout is unpredictable, it could be like shooting themselves in the foot. Attacking any NATO country with a nuclear weapon would mean the end of the world. How many people in Putin’s circle would support such an option?

    The Russians tried their offensive and it failed. I believe that we need to wait until the Ukrainians try and then we can talk about a peace agreement. It is true that Russia has potentially more manpower, but they are loosing it very quickly. More and more age recruitable Russians will leave the country, and the rest will not be very motivated. It is hard to fight a battle with poorly motivated troops against an enemy that is fighting for their survival as a country.

  24. Ben Leucking

    March 28, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    This disgusting article was ghost written by Neville Chamberlain. Thank God Russia has “only” invaded Ukraine and not the U.S. With friends like Daniel Davis, who needs enemies?

  25. len

    March 28, 2023 at 8:48 pm

    It is time to take the win and end the war. Win one, what’s win one?

  26. GhostTomahawk

    March 28, 2023 at 9:06 pm

    The Nazis lost to the Soviets because they fought a 2 front war and then divided their forces in the USSR and fought against a military that was fighting insurgent warfare on its own soil in the dead of winter. Up to that point like Napoleons French the Nazis were crushing the Russians handily.

    Why is Ukraine even in this fight? They are receiving up to the minute intelligence from America. They’re receiving modern military equipment from America and its allies. They’re fully funded by America. I’m willing to bet some of these real cool missile strikes are from America as well.

    The war in Ukraine is over if it was just Ukraine.

  27. Jim

    March 28, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin responded, “Correct” to Sen. Wicker saying, “You told me Ukraine has the upper hand.”

    — Sworn Senate testimony, today.


    And Zelensky doesn’t have enough weapons to send his soldiers to the front… stated by him, see above, this Saturday.

    Did something change in four days?

    Something’s got to give here… do you like being lied to by your own people?

    What do they really think about you?

    Don’t be willingly played again… “Hey, Charlie, I got a football, here…”

    Did they care about screwing up Iraq… lost lives, lost treasure, and geo-politically weakened America.

    Don’t fall for it again!

    Austin is lying… he knows it.

  28. Hateful Hornytoad

    March 28, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    His book was terrible, and his Putin apologism is worse.

  29. H.R. Holm

    March 28, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    @Dee Hoss—-‘third world countries’ don’t—and didn’t— put the first satellite, first animal, first man, and first woman in space. They don’t have astronauts that did the first spacewalk. They don’t explode 50 MT nuclear weapons even in test mode. They don’t generally build nuclear power plants. They don’t build and launch long-term orbiting space stations. They don’t build advanced submarines that can range the globe. They don’t design and build historically world-matching or -beating weapons like the T-34 tank, AK-47 rifle, the RPG, the MiGs -15 and -21, or the SAMs-2/3 and -6. They don’t even start down the road on building hypersonic weapons. Third world countries don’t even initiate projects and accomplishments like any of those. In fact, they glom on to them. Look how commonplace worldwide the AK-47 series and the RPG are. Was the U.S. M-16 ever likewise adopted globally? No. (Gee, wonder why—was it because U.S.soldiers in Vietnam were tossing them aside to instead scrounge AK’s off dead Vietcong? Probably was!) And the size of Russia’s economy is irrelevant *if they can build/do it*. As they so often have in the past. So why and on what basis do you presume the Russian military is a paper tiger? If they build their basic weapons with obvious care, why would they do anything less with their nuclear ones? History is not on your side in making such a claim. Everyone has military stuff that is flawed. Just look at the U.S. F-35 readiness record to date, not exactly admirable. Do your really want to gamble on finding out whether Russian nuclear weapons and their delivery systems will or will not work? If so, you have one perverted death wish. And by the way, it wasn’t ‘baby mama’ Trump in office when Putin did invade. And Putin didn’t lift a finger against any other country while Trump was in charge, either. Nor did he threaten to. Nor did Xi-Xi in China. So who did Putin end up waiting for before acting, again? And who has Xi-Xi been rattling sabers over increasingly since January 2021?

  30. Jack Hughes

    March 29, 2023 at 12:28 am

    Gary jacobs has it right

    My guess is that the Russian army is far weaker than it appears, sure they won’t be a pushover but they’re digging out 70s era tanks to fight against the biggest pack of leopards ever assembled and the Bradley’s aren’t slouches either

  31. Sistem Informasi

    March 29, 2023 at 1:18 am

    The fact is that up to this point, Russia has suffered a significant deterioration of its armed forces, a serious shock to its economy, and will require many years

  32. mawendt

    March 29, 2023 at 2:42 am

    When you have the advantageous position in war, you don’t back off. You press on. LTC Davis seems to have slept through that part of Military Tactics in OCS.

    Ukraine will take the win – when Russia is pushed back behind Russia borders. And it is Russia’s own fault for starting something they cannot finish.

    If the Ukrainian Army is as lucky as it has been since the beginning of the conflict the war will end this year. It will end with the Russian Army in Ukraine smashed, Russian politics in chaos, and Putin falling out a window or slipping in a bathtub. Maybe the Russian 9mm flu.

    I find it hysterical that Davis, having written so voluminously on how Ukraine cannot survive against mighty Russia, changes his tune for a neutral action in favor of Russia, who is moving inexorably to a breaking point of it’s own provocation.

    Your opinion on this will always follow you, Dave. A man with integrity would accept that he was wrong, make a public apology, and retire from public commentary in shame.

  33. Steven Naslund

    March 29, 2023 at 2:50 am

    If this war was in the US, would you council us to “take the win” and give up the East coast to Russia. I certainly hope not. Why should the Ukraine give up any of their sovereign territory ? Do you think Russia does not simply regroup and try it after re-arming and re-manning its units ? Of course this advice comes from someone who thought this would be over in two weeks.

  34. PlutoN

    March 29, 2023 at 3:26 am

    Failure to understand the causes and goals of the “special military operation” gives rise to a stream of Western nonsense, which only motivates the optimism of Russian society.
    Obviously, the conflict is based on the banal theft of Russian resources by Ukraine, which flourished until the mid-2000s. At the same time, Ukraine began to transform its permanent debt to the Russian Federation into military-political blackmail.
    In 2014, it became obvious that Ukraine decided to respond to the demands of the Russian Federation with a military-political betrayal (historically not the first), hiding behind all sorts of nonsense about joining the EU and other Euro-democratic “values”.
    As a result, in addition to the risk of unpunished deception on the part of Ukraine, there was a risk of a serious military-technical imbalance, i. the risk that the largest land army in Europe, bordering on the Russian Federation, will go over to the side of NATO … and this is already a real and fatal threat.
    Crimea (2014) – “smoldering” south-east of Ukraine (2014-2022) – “special military operation” (2022) with an obvious goal – to eliminate the imbalance that has arisen and the threat of its reappearance (liquidation of the military technical potential of Ukraine, its mobilization potential and economic potential, i.e. the elimination of the ability of the Ukrainian economy to generate income sufficient to create a new imbalance).
    Understanding the causes and goals of the “special military operation” can push sane people to understand not only the strategy and tactics of military operations, but also the simple fact that the Russian Federation does not need Ukrainian territories, except for the “buffer zone” from the existing ones.
    One involuntarily wants to say to the “collective west” – “Comrades, stop self-confidently thinking that the enemy is also a fool.”

  35. Ben

    March 29, 2023 at 3:29 am

    “If there is not a viable military path to success, then values become inconsequential.”

    If we cast aside our values when times get tough or there is no path to victory then we know they were never really our values after all.

  36. Mike Rocki

    March 29, 2023 at 5:50 am

    Lt. Col. cannot be more wrong.
    Why even publish this? I know it’s just a view, but it is a very clumsy and naive view.
    Lt. Col. should stick with areas he knows best rather the politicizing.

  37. David Chang

    March 29, 2023 at 7:16 am

    Thank you Mr. Daniel, it’s the question of morality.

    On the nuclear war policy 60 years ago, we understand that we cannot prevent nuclear war.

    About the legal authorization of using nuclear weapons, even though the use of nuclear weapons is legal by Russia laws. But it’s also a rational behavior, it’s not prohibited by Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex. However, the reason of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is not to obey Ten Commandments, but to promote atheism, humanity. Because of sin, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is wrong, it’s just like the IAEA can’t investigate nuclear power plants in Iran comprehensively.

    But we should give up the first strike and prepare for the second strike to make strategy and tactics, so the Army has the BIG 5.

    But Democratic Party doesn’t confess the reality of nuclear war, and they don’t want to prepare for the second strike, so they don’t declare war on Russia officially, nor send the decisive military to end the Ukraine war quickly, they only say the use of nuclear weapons is totally unacceptable.

    OSCE and The Democratic Party are gambling, while the combat is from IBCT to ABCT, if the BIG 5 will be deployed in Ukraine, or if OSCE deploy the Army of 100,000 people, both OSCE and the Democratic Party should take the major risk. Moreover, we should think about the risk of C4ISR, not only the risk of commercial satellites, but the risk of military satellites. So the risk of supply in decisive war determines the result of the war, even if the combat of Ukraine war is on the land of Ukraine.

    The Ukraine war is not the chicken game, but is The Russian Roulette Trap. As the policy of OSCE, Democratic Party, Ukraine, and Russia, big fireballs may be on the land of Ukraine, just like the situation since 1945, and the moral question left to us by Patton and MacArthur.

    God bless America.

  38. JR

    March 29, 2023 at 8:32 am

    This author would resonate more if posted on Zero Hedge, the home of the Putin sycophants…

  39. Brett

    March 29, 2023 at 9:33 am

    First, if Putin’s greatest fear were western aggression, he would not have pulled military forces from the border regions. His actions show that he is not afraid of a western attack despite his rhetoric.

    Secondly, self-deterring because an opponent has nuclear weapons encourages them to keep taking unacceptable actions. The way to deal with a bully is to stand up to them. It’s possible that you’ll get beaten up by doing so, but it’s CERTAIN that you’ll get beaten up if you don’t.

    Thirdly, what Russia declares it’s sovereign territory does not align with how the world understands sovereign territory to work. Recapturing Crimea is not the existential threat that Davis pretends it is – not like laying siege to Moscow.

    Fourthly, one of the important lessons we learned from World War I is that defeating your enemy so they know they’ve been beaten is really important. Since Allied troops didn’t march through Berlin it gave credence to the ‘stab in the back’ conspiracy theory that invited the return of Germany as a military power. Many military scholars conclude that the inter-war period was just a breather – the same conflict resurfaced when a new generation of soldiers reached fighting age.

    Finally, you’re factually wrong about comparing Germany’s military and industrial power at the beginning of World War II were less than the Allied powers even before you consider the United States. To quote the online Encyclopedia Britannica:

    In September 1939 the Allies, namely Great Britain, France, and Poland, were together superior in industrial resources, population, and military manpower, but the German Army, or Wehrmacht, because of its armament, training, doctrine, discipline, and fighting spirit, was the most efficient and effective fighting force for its size in the world.

  40. Webej

    March 29, 2023 at 9:42 am

    @david chang
    What are you banging on about?
    What would happen if the US tried to ship a significant amount of armor to Europe for some offensive against Russia? It would be interdicted, the ships would sunk and bombed in the harbors. Patriot defense shields have proven not very effective — the Russians have far better AD. They also have significantly better ABM capability. Nothing in your paragraph even makes sense.

  41. Webej

    March 29, 2023 at 9:49 am

    » The fact is that up to this point, Russia has suffered a significant deterioration of its armed forces, a serious shock to its economy, and will require many years – perhaps decades – to fully recover to its pre-2022 levels «

    Where is the evidence?
    The West’s plan A was to cripple the economy. A misunderstanding of the world.
    Instead it turns out Russia’s MIC is churning out much more than the West can hope to parallel. And in a fix, they can turn to China which has 10× the industrial capacity as the combined West
    Russia will come out of this stronger than ever.

    ¹The best deal could have been had up until Feb 21, by implementing international law (UN Res # 2202, also known as Minsk).
    ²The next best deal was the ceasefire proffered on Feb 23, when Kyiv decided to bomb the Russian peace-force moving into Donetsk.
    Any future deal will be a catastrophe compared to what they could have gotten.
    ³Of course, they could have left well enough alone in 2014, instead of executing on their plans to “redevelop Sebastopol” from pre 2014 plans.

  42. JW Rebel

    March 29, 2023 at 10:00 am

    » territorial integrity «

    This is a rhetorical flourish.
    There is no such thing as integrity for area.
    An integer is a whole number, like 2, not 2½.
    A person has integrity, there is no such thing as 2½ persons.

    Pieces of land have been added and stripped to countries forever, without the same effect as chopping of your legs or your head. It is perfectly OK to build your house on a half acre of ground. Nobody can lay claim to their neighbor’s yard because otherwise his acreage will not be an integer.

  43. William A Befort

    March 29, 2023 at 10:24 am

    Putin shows no interest in ending the fighting, much less in withdrawing from his unilateral invasion. Russia has started a war against NATO, and NATO is in denial about it, for understandable reasons.

  44. B Larson

    March 29, 2023 at 10:27 am

    This article is complete nonsense. To suggest that we should not support Ukraine simply because Russia has nuclear capabilities resolves nothing. If the West withdraws its support for Ukraine, where does Russian aggression end? In reality, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova and the Baltic States are next. The practical implications of the author’s opinions are easy to discern. They clearly favor Russian interests while informing the rest of the world that the United States cannot be relied upon to defend and promote national sovereignty and democracy. This is not about politics. It is about resisting the inevitable deterioration of world order and stability.

  45. cokey

    March 29, 2023 at 10:52 am

    Davis’ absence over the past week and a half was undoubtedly to wait for the fall of Bakhmut which he most recently predicted….but Bakhmut has not fallen; just another one of Daniel Davis’ inaccurate predictions.

  46. Richard Hershberger

    March 29, 2023 at 11:06 am

    I knew from the headline who wrote this piece, but it stands out even within the Dan Davis oeuvre. Most striking is how he takes Sunak’s statement that the war is “about democracy, about the rule of law, territorial integrity, about freedom” and misinterprets this statement of the political goal to be a statement of how the war is fought to achieve this goal. Really, Dan? Do we have to quote Clausewitz? Are you really this befuddled, or are you hoping that your readers are? And to the editors: Presenting thoughtful opposing viewpoints is a fine thing. Presenting dumb ones is rather less so.

  47. Jim

    March 29, 2023 at 11:42 am

    A lot of discussion.

    Hopefully, we can agree:

    General European War is not in the United States Vital National Security Interest.

    Let us take steps to insure that outcome.

    Or are some of us comfortable sleep-walking, drifting into a European conflagration?

    Some even blithely blow off nuclear escalation…

    Be careful, the Rudder of the Ship of State can get ripped off on hidden rocks… leaving the ship adrift… without the Captain even knowing it… the wheel ineffectual… a Rock visible dead ahead… but there’s no ability to turn away.

    A most dangerous state of affairs.

  48. Gregory L

    March 29, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    Ukraine can win (driving Russia off all Ukranian soil – including Crimea) if given the weapons it needs (the weapons we designed and would want to defeat the Russians) in the quantities needed. As the Ukrainian roll back the Russians and take a greater toll on their forces, there is a higher likelihood of mutiny (they have a history of this) within their forces and revolt at home by the mothers and wives. Putin and Putinism must be defeated and Russian adventurism abroad (including in our own backyard) must be curtailed. That is the only way towards lasting peace. Anything short of this allows Putin/Russia time to rebuild and threaten his neighbors and us once again.

  49. EMIP

    March 29, 2023 at 12:42 pm

    Finally, a realistic and logical assessment of the situation in Ukraine; which is why it will be summarily dismissed by U.S. and NATO war hawks. Russia will NEVER give up Crimea where its Black Sea nuclear fleet is based. Any indication of losing Crimea will undoubtedly result in Russia’s resort to tactical battlefield nuclear weapons since Crimea has been declared to be part of the Russian Federation, the motherland. Most likely the same may hold true for the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the Donbas region, now also incorporated into the Russian Federation. Which is why Russia has been willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of its soldiers in its ongoing attempt to complete the seizure of Bakhmut. After which Russia will likely proceed to the designated borders of the Donetsk oblast to gain complete control, and most likely try to secure additional territories beyond it to serve as bargaining chips in any future negotiations.

  50. Douglas MacAurthur

    March 29, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    Everybody advocating for this war continuing “until Ukraine forces Russia completely out of Ukraine” needs to step back a wee bit and think this out. Russia isn’t Nazi Germany in 1941. They got their arses handed to them by Afghans for Gawd’s sake. They made a mistake invading. We know it, they know it, the entire world knows it. But the fighting has been going on in eastern Ukraine for years. Newsflash: not all of Ukraine wants to be part of Ukraine. Their borders are what, 20 years old? So we should keep fighting for years, ruining our economy, using all our weapon reserves that we might need for China, and keeping the barbaric carnage going until 100,000s of men are dead and maimed on both sides, because “Putin is like Hitler, he’ll never stop!”

    In every fight, in every war, you need to offer the other side a chance to “save face.” Senile Joe Biden’s administration is full of idiots who never fought in any wars, and certainly never won any. Get a cease fire, end the killing, and let’s get on with life. Trump is right. He could end the war “tomorrow.” Privately tell Zelenzky that we will stop providing him unlimited support for the war. Lean on him to make concessions, land for peace. Yes, maybe Ukraine can win (I hope so). But maybe they can’t. End it. In twenty years, nobody will care (Iraq). In fifty, I guarantee you nobody will (Vietnam).

  51. Dan Farrand

    March 29, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    Mr. Davis states that the Russian Armed Forces and economy have been badly damaged ?

    There is no evidence for that. Based on the most reliable figures I’ve seen from the BBC, Russian deaths are between 20,000 and 25,000. This is painful for Russian mothers, fathers and wives, but not “damaging” in the sense that the Russian state is diminished.

    The Russian economy continues to function. Consumers have plenty of goods in the stores. Unemployment is disappearing. Products from China, Turkey and India are replacing western goods that the Russians themselves are not able to replace.

    Between Russian and Chinese industry, Russia can get all of the electronics they need for all of their Military production most consumer goods.

    Russian military production is increasing. Whatever armored vehicle losses they have suffered have already been replaced. The Russian MIC is state owned and it’s focus is on the production of weapons, not profits.

    The Russia Army has announced a permanent expansion equal to the entire regular US standing army.

    Russian and Chinese diplomacy is achieving success in Africa, the Middle east, Asia and South America.

    War is destruction and waste, but that does not mean that every nation that goes to war, emerges weaker from the experience.

    Many comments here are of the “Russia is a gas station with nukes” as popularized by John McCaine – a man I respected for his service but who was also unbalanced in his understanding.

    Right now, it’s all he-said-she-said. But as the US and western economies deteriorate, as the banking system flashes it’s warning signs, as Russian/Chinese diplomacy move from success to success and Ukraine destroys itself determined to hold onto people who do not want to be part of Ukraine – unfolding events will reveal reality

  52. Paul

    March 29, 2023 at 4:20 pm

    @Dan Farrand

    You rosy points about the state of affairs for Russia are mostly fiction or misrepresentation at best. With the notable exception of lowering unemployment rates.
    But behind those numbers lie the removal of 500K conscripted from the workforce. Also, the war is creating boom times for coffin makers, grave diggers, tombstone makers, flower decorators, hearse drivers, prosthesis makers, therapists, priests etc.
    Happy times..

    Let’s hope for the sake of Ukraine and the people of Russia, that Ukraine launch a successful offensive this spring/summer. Then hopefully, we can fast forward to the part where Putin falls out of a window, so his successor can blame him for the war and end it.

  53. Gary Jacobs

    March 29, 2023 at 4:38 pm

    Jim, Davis, and the rest of Putin’s troll farm army.

    Watching you folks flail around looking for way to excuse what is happening to the Russian military right now would make me chuckle if there werent so many Ukrainians giving their lives to fight off Russian imperialists.

    And for their efforts, observers who have quality sources can see that Russia’s military is gasping for offensive breath, and choking in the process. Leading to a massive decline in attempted assaults across the front, except in a couple small areas.

    Russian attacks could be trailing off because their ability to stage these attacks is declining for a combination of reasons. On the other hand, they may not be attacking because they, like everyone else, are bracing for what Ukraine does next. Because the talk of that Ukrainian counteroffensive is everywhere.

    For weeks now, reports of the area around Zaporizhzhia have noted that Russian forces are ‘on the defensive.’ That increasingly appears to be the state of things from Kreminna north to Svatove, and on the eastern front everywhere except at Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Marinka.

    Russia is no longer trying to advance. They’re preparing to receive Ukraine’s counter.

    It’s worth mentioning that as often as people talk about Bakhmut, Russia announced that they had captured Marinka a full year ago. Yet they still havent actually taken Marinka.

    And now fighting there is back to little more than Russia throwing a random rounds of shells at Ukrainian positions.

    What Putin and his many apologists on this site, Davis included, thought was supposed to happen over the winter was a major Russian offensive; one that would land them control of Bakhmut, allow them to reoccupy Lyman, and push Ukrainian forces in the north back across the Oskil River.

    Davis also posited about an offensive along the Ukraine-Poland border to stop the flow of western supplies.

    With Ukraine then cut off from resupply, and losing both the most fought over city in the nation and being forced to surrender significant gains made during the Kharkiv counteroffensive, not only would Ukrainian forces be in despair, but Western supporters of Ukraine would see that the situation was hopeless.

    NONE of that happened.

    Ukraine has fought Russia’s extra 200,000+ troops to a standstill, in the mud… and in the process inflicting devastating losses on them. Meanwhile thousands of other Ukrainian troops have been trained in western tactics for combined arms and breech maneuvers for the coming counter offensives.

    And now the shaping operations have picked up the pace. In the early morning in Melitopol there was yet another series of strikes against Russians by the Ukrainians..

    Melitopol is located at least 75km from the nearest area of Ukrainian control. Many recent distant strikes, hitting Russian locations near Mariupol and in Crimea, appear to have been made using drones. That may also be the case at Melitopol. However, some videos of the strikes appear to show contrails, suggesting that the damage was done using some sort of missile, with speculation centered on the GLSDB that the US has pledged to Ukraine.

    The full number of locations hit in Melitopol overnight isnt clear, but the answer appears to be at least ‘several.’ Explosions were reported at the airport, at the rail depot, at a former technical school being used as a barracks for Russian forces, and in buildings housing regional Russian officials.

    Viewing Melitopol on the map makes it clear that this is a transportation hub. It’s also the site of a major rail depot with lines that lead north to Vasylivka and south back into Crimea. In fact, that southern rail line out of Melitopol runs through the Crimean city of Dzhankoi, which was also the site of a recent Ukrainian strike. It appears that these strikes may already be forcing Russia to do more transportation by road, resulting in some… difficulties.

    Video has emerged of the Mariupol – Melitopol transport route packed with trucks and the going is slow, Logjammed and chaotic. Some Russian military vehicles going off road into the sidings in an attempt to bypass the jam just made the situation worse. [credit Petro Andriushchencko]

    Davis still doesnt like to talk much about Russia’s many problems with logistics… but they are plentiful

    It’s unlikely, between the obvious mud and the still-arriving Western equipment, that Ukraine is going to launch any sort of major assault in the next few days. It could be 2+ months until the mud dries.

    However, the actions at Melitopol and other points in the south certainly have the look of shaping the battlefield.

    Ukraine is striking transportation hubs, driving Russian forces from established positions, and creating chaos behind the lines. Which is all the sort of things that often come in advance of a major push into an area.

    So maybe that big counteroffensive wont come at Bakhmut, as officials were all but stating last week; it will come south from Zaporizhzhia and cut through the occupied south. That has always seemed like a plan that makes sense.

    Or maybe this is the feint, and the real counteroffensive will be at Kupyansk. Or Kreminna. Or Svatove. Or…

    Perhaps it’s best to keep them guessing.

    Whats clear today is that Russian operations have slowed. They are drawing back, waiting to receive a punch. Ukraine is in the position of being able to maneuver and place its forces where it wants. It can decide where and when the counteroffensive really starts.

    With the harsh caveat taking into account the fact that many Ukrainians are fighting and dying in tough battles with the Russian invaders, and Russian imperialists still occupy important parts of their country…Ukraine’s macro position is actually quite good for counter attack.

    Only time will tell if the needed supplies and newly trained troops can take advantage of Russia’s fragile position.

  54. Mach III

    March 29, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    The author has been Putin’s shill since the very beginning..

  55. Tamerlane

    March 29, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    The anti-American Ukrainian trolls are at it again in the comment section here, spewing jingoistic nonsense which does nothing to counter the logically enumerated facts. By continuing to ratchet up the wager, the United States are strategically increasing direct risk of existential damage to our own country on behalf of a proxy-state. This is manifestly unwise. Countries don’t exist vis a vie one another in some moral universe, but in a Hobbesian “state of nature”. We should not fall into Thucydides Trap here, and should, if nothing else, follow the prudent and pro-American national and strategic interests which LTC Davis (ret.) so ably points out.

    Even if Gary, Walker, and they’re fellow uninformed band of Ukrainian partisans wish to ignore the immense damage being done to American soft power by our intervention here for a not strategic or core American interest, one thing which is undeniable is that the one way to actually risk the direct nuclear destruction of the United States is to existentially threaten Russia and its state’s very existence.

    We ought not follow this chickenhawk counsel… which has for 30 years been wrong on every major strategic and foreign policy question.

  56. Tamerlane

    March 29, 2023 at 7:22 pm

    Gary, you write:

    “Davis talking of ending the war now is a desperation plea from a Putin apologist to snatch victory from jaws of a defeat from Russia.”

    How much time do you want here for your Ukrainian victory? It’s been illusory for the past year and virtually the entire combat arms of the pre-war Ukrainian army is dead. They are being attrited. But let’s assume you’re right. How much time? In another year? If the situation is fairly constant, will you reappraise your completely unfounded-in-reality position you’ve maintained to the denigration of American interests and power for the past year? God favors the side with the largest battalions, or so Napoleon quipped, and over time, if Ukraine continues to be decimated, will you continue to urge more of their deaths? They are a proxy/buffer state, and are not a great power, nor will they ever become one. They are a pawn we are using, to our own disadvantage in my opinion, but which we are using nonetheless to “strategically cripple” Russia (all while creating through our own hubris a grand anti-American global alliance. Why should Americans who care first and foremost for our own security and our own country’s welfare deliberately continue to engage in interventions and actions which weaken our welfare and security? We should not.

  57. David Chang

    March 29, 2023 at 9:25 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    People who oppose Mr. Davis forget that each of us should confess and repent for the nuclear war policy 60 years ago. Although this policy is to people in America, people in the world should confess, this policy report is about the most important moral issues since 1945.

    Webej asked me angrily what I wanted to say, but Webej’s wrong question proves Gary Jacobs is wrong.

    About Mr. Davis’s post, we should judge the people who don’t agree with Mr. Davis by the simple conclusion.

    Mr. Davis asks a strategy question. Socialism parties will attack us like the exercise “Seven Days to the River Rhine”, so we have the BIG 5. But according to the Military Doctrine of Socialism Russia published by the US Army, socialism Russia thinks of nuclear weapons as tactical tools. Meaning, as long as socialism Russia thinks that they win the war with nuclear weapons, they will do so. So it’s about our Faith.

    Moreover, Mr. Davis asks a tactical question. As Webej say, can we prevent supply convoys or supply fleets from being attacked? But we should think again, can we prevent logistics from being attacked anywhere and anytime? So it’s about our Faith.

    Questions of strategy and tactics is about one question of war plan. Is the Space Force ready to fight? The DoD speak about this issue 30 years ago, and the USN F-18 squadron resumed F-14 FAD training, active defense tactics last year. So it’s about our Faith, too.

    However, to implement an atheist policy, the Democratic Party propagates to the people in America and East Asia that the U.S. military is invincible and the USN aircraft carriers will never be sunk. So people in other countries think that the U.S. military win all wars, and people in other countries don’t have to fight for themselves, even though we live in the nuclear war. So it’s about our Faith, too.

    Even though we will be attacked by WMD, we should trust God forever, because God created the whole world and all people.

    God bless America.

  58. Gary Jacobs

    March 29, 2023 at 10:23 pm


    Calling support for Ukraine ‘anti-american’ is perhaps the single most intellectually dishonest pile of nonsense I have heard on this site…and that’s saying a lot in midst of the Putin apologists around here.

    There are so many other reasons to not take you seriously in the slightest…that one is in the top 5, easy.

    Just the mere fact that they are so heavily degrading the Russian military with the hand me downs from our mothball closet, and not a single US soldier in harms way… is plenty.

  59. Juan

    March 29, 2023 at 10:56 pm

    The British Prime Minister did not say that the rule of law, freedom, territorial integrity, etc., are military assets. He said that those convictions were being fought for. What he said does not contradict the need to have military power to win a war.

  60. Juan

    March 29, 2023 at 11:11 pm

    “Without question, such a strike would concurrently result in the destruction of most of Russia, and that would weigh heavily on any Putin decision. But to literally gamble the existence of the United States on the hope that Putin would allow the U.S.-led West to facilitate a military defeat of the Russian Armed Forces, and then hope that a desperate Putin would not use his vast nuclear arsenal, is incomprehensibly unwise.”
    If the U.S. is to follow this statement, then the U.S. should surrender Ukraine and then surrender any country Russia wants, and so on. Solidarity with allied nations would end and NATO would be broken, all to be prudent.
    That would be a way of postponing the fight, the final fight, of the USA against Russia, and should say, Russia + China. In that hypothetical moment Russia and China would be even stronger. To remain prudent, the USA would only be left to surrender.
    The fundamental question to be answered is: If the United States is going to fight, should it fight now or later?

  61. Fred Leander

    March 30, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    Russian sources in DPR claims that the first Leopard tank has been captured by them near Bakhmut. The crew allegedly was Polish. Interesting!

  62. Andrew M Winter

    March 30, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    The basic issue that underlies the opposition to the entire line of reasoning in the article is the constant drumbeat I have been listening to since the late 60s. That is,
    “OH NO We can’t let the aggrieved actually BEAT the Aggressors, that promotes WAR!”

    So we dicked around for 10 years S. Vietnam because no American leader would actually go into N. Vietnam and end their aggression. At least until the Xmas bombings of 72. America did that and the war was over within 4 WEEKS, ten years a carnage FOR NOTHING.

    The Gulf War. Go in with the maximum amount of force you can muster. Plaster the enemy for a month from the air then hit them with a ground force that was actually outnumbered. Conflict ENDED and OVER in 100 freaking HOURS The Gulf War.

    This War in Ukraine would be OVER NOW, if The West wasn’t scared to death of their own shadows and being “careful”. Ukriane needs the means to take control of their own SKY! They need it NOW. They get it the war is OVER!

    This waffling is getting tens of thousands of people killed needlessly. And you would ask us the let this continue? WTF

  63. EMIP

    March 30, 2023 at 1:54 pm

    From the headline of a news report published yesterday (29 March 2023) in the Daily Mail, the second highest circulation daily newspaper in the United Kingdom, excerpted from the Associated Press:

    “President Zelensky admits he will be under pressure to ‘compromise’ with Putin if Russian forces take the city of Bakhmut, as Ukrainians start to ‘feel tired’ after a year of war.”

  64. Patrick Brennan

    March 30, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    This article presumes that the aim of US assistance is to somehow destroy the Russian Federation. Maybe I have missed something, but I thought the aim was simply to get Russia to withdraw from The Ukraine and cede back Ukrainian territory taken in this latest offensive (i.e., not even contesting Crimea).

  65. Tamerlane

    March 30, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    Gary et. al.,

    Support for Ukraine is “anti-American” in its effects, not necessarily its intentions. One must always ask one’s self “who benefits” (cui bono) from any particular course of action. It is imperative to consider the tertiary and secondary impact of one’s actions in foreign policy and particularly, in hostile international military interventions against nuclear superpowers. The EFFECT of refusing to consider that to Russia, a NATO presence and swallowing of Ukraine is a hard red line, brought us the war. It was completely predictable. It was hubris to not take into account the rational self-interests of another country, one which is largely immune from the coercive mechanisms we utilized in Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and a host of other countries in which we have intervened to overthrow governments, subvert elections, or advance our own unipolar interests. Here, the effect has been for Russia to “choose” between options you refuse to even consider when you insist their options are to “lose”, or “lose”. they choose to double down on what they perceive to be their own existential interest (preventing the American alliance from moving up to their doorstep and also losing a neutral buffer state) by expanding their war effort, and simultaneously moving to develop a counter attack to our efforts to destroy their ability to defend themselves. They are accomplishing this by creating a super alliance comprised of the BRICS, the global south, and the Arab states… one which will soon be a far greater and more existential threat to us than the question of whether NATO’s border is just east of the Carpathians or within a spitting distance of Sochi. It will and is a challenge to America’s capacity to even project force abroad in anything resembling a dominant manner. You see checkers, not chess. You need to consider the consequences of your jingoistic hubris. The “anti-American” element of the policies you champion lies in that it more permanently super-empowers our opponents globally while dealing a superficial blow to a minor opponent (Russia) temporarily. We ought not exchange willingly a temporary “benefit” for a long term sustained threat. Yet that is what you imbecilically seek. It is you who is intellectually dishonest by here advancing a facially anti-American policy which will harm our country and weaken our ability to remain global hegemon.

    I note that you didn’t respond to the inquiry as to how much time your “strategy” of blundering about will require before you pronounce it worthy of critical thought or reconsideration.

    “Just the mere fact that they are so heavily degrading the Russian military with the hand me downs from our mothball closet, and not a single US soldier in harms way… is plenty.” No. It isn’t. The long term effect of creating a grand alliance against us led by Communist China, and against our USD, is far more of a cost than the benefit of degrading an incompetent and relatively non-threating hibernating bear (Russia). What we have and are doing here however, is elevating Ukraine’s national interest above our own long term national interest.

    And those who favor liberty should not embrace such evil.

  66. Jim

    March 30, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    Stalemates raise the tensions for everybody.

    Unless or until Bakhmut falls… Western media will give the benefit of the doubt to Ukraine… although, reports in western media are beginning to trickle in of Ukrainian difficulty.

    Everybody is waiting for the resolution of Bakhmut.

    “President Zelensky admits he will be under pressure to ‘compromise’ with Putin if Russian forces take the city of Bakhmut, as Ukrainians start to ‘feel tired’ after a year of war.” — British media.

    Some have strong visions of Ukrainian Victory.

    Others, not.

    Question: is Ukraine worth the spreading of war beyond Ukraine?

    How much time & money are you willing to dedicate?

    How far are you willing to go?

    What risk are you willing to take?

    How many times are you willing to throw the dice?

    What are you willing to wager?

    A lot of Americans are against gambling with America’s future.

    Are you?

  67. Laurence Mardon

    March 30, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    Really good article.
    Re. (specifically) the use of a tactical nuclear weapon on the battlefield, imho the opening Rus use might be as an air-burst, bigger-than-tac-nuke as an EMP weapon.
    Advantages: 1. decreased production of radiation; 2. an explosion with few casualties would reduce the moral odium of first (actually, second) use of a nuke in warfare; 3. widespread damage to the infrastructure of NATO countries.
    According to the Encyc. Britannica, the diameter of an EMP pulse is dependent upon distance, strength, and altitude. I assume that the weapon would be exploded over NATO territory, to both signal Russian resolve, as well as to mitigate EMP pulse damage to Rus territory.

  68. Tamerlane

    March 30, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    Patrick Brennan:

    President Biden, General Milley, SoD Austin, and SoS Blinken have all stated this clearly, and have stated that Putin cannot remain in power. The object is the cripple Russia, not to defend Ukraine. They have clearly said that the support to Ukraine is about strategically crippling Russia and replacing its government (some have speculated openly about carving up the Russian Federation)…

  69. Andrew P

    March 30, 2023 at 10:09 pm

    I think both sides are currently running on fumes. They are doing a lot of propaganda to convince the other side and its supporters that their tank is 1/4 full, but the reality is otherwise. Ukraine isn’t going to capture much ground in any great offensive, nor is Russia. They are stalemated, and the time is now for a cease-fire on current lines.

  70. David Chang

    March 31, 2023 at 3:56 am

    God bless people in the world.

    If Democratic Party and Communist Party wanna WMD war.

    Because socialism parties will attack people with NBCR, so U.S. Army makes BIG 5. We should prevent NBCR with BIG 5, so we should use BIG 5 to stop the socialism warfare of which made by Democratic Party and Communist Party.

    But honest is the best policy, Democratic Party should declare war on Socialism Russia first, so we have the reason to deploy BIG 5 in Ukraine and prepare to make Second Strike with nuclear weapons.

    God bless America.

  71. PlutoN

    March 31, 2023 at 4:27 am

    I am sure that the Russian Armed Forces are waiting for Western strike weapons and / or NATO “peacekeepers” to enter Ukraine, this is the real goal of the Russian “retreat”.
    Now Ukraine is not a rival, it is a bait.
    The task is to start the process of turning Western domination into a myth.
    And this process is inevitable, because the Americans made a fatal mistake by turning the White House into a “nursing home.”
    You have concentrated power in the hands of competing groups of clerks and lobbyists, whose motivation is obvious – the formal leader of the state should not be a factor in strengthening the (temporarily) “winning” group, i.e. the “ideal” leader is a helpless fool (unable to harm any of the groups).
    The same model has become the standard in almost all countries of the “collective West”.
    Therefore, it is very amusing to read the bravura comments of pro-Western “analysts” who take the information of the Ukrainian General Staff seriously.

  72. MatthewK

    March 31, 2023 at 6:47 am

    If the war ended today, along existing lines of control, Russia would still end up with a couple of million people, several thousand square miles of extra territory, and a significant share of Ukraine’s pre-war industrial capacity…all of which it did not have prior to the invasion.

    We are not yet at the point where an end to the war could not be claimed as at least a partial success by Russia. And any success at all will only promote further Russian aggression.

  73. Carlos Danger

    March 31, 2023 at 10:45 am

    Another pro-Russia pro-Putin rant from Quisling Daniel Davis. Yes, Putin would love to pocket his territorial gains in Ukraine, lick his wounds, and come back for another bite of Ukraine in a few years. No, Mr. Davis. It is time to finish the job, crush Russia’s ramshackle criminal army once and for all, and kick whatever remnant is left of the Russian Army back to its kennels in Russia. These dogs need to be put down. That’s what you do with mad dogs

  74. Tamerlane

    March 31, 2023 at 11:42 am

    It is the United States, Carlos, which is behaving like a mad dog in its foreign policy—acting as it if is the policeman of the world capable or competent to dictate to other countries their own existential issues. Your hubris—this administration’s hubris, is what will usher in a far greater challenge than the insignificant and non-American interest of whose flag flies in the Donbas. Our country ought not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. As President John Quincy Adams presciently urged:

    “America [should] abstain[] from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.

    She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right.

    Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

    But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

    She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

    She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

    She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

    She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

    The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force….
    She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit…

    [America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.”

    It is high time we return to our traditional American foreign policy, and jettison this hyper interventionist foreign wilsonianism.

  75. Peter Schiavo

    March 31, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    I just took the time and scrolled back to the beginning of this war. The author is consistently wrong in his predictions, prescriptions, analysis. He is the Jim Cramer of conventional warfare.

  76. EMIP

    April 1, 2023 at 7:59 am


    Excellent passage you cited from President John Quincy Adams. Talk about returning to the precepts of our founding fathers (who also had aggressive empires in Europe in their time). Couldn’t agree more with both you and President Adams.

  77. DavidC

    April 1, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    Russia is winning the war and has been all year, western propaganda not withstanding. Russia’s MIC can maintain this level of fighting for many years. Russia will not stop until its primary objective is met, which us the de-Nazification of the Ukrainian army.

  78. David Chang

    April 1, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    Even if socialism Russia win this war or not, because of Ukraine war is the socialism warfare that Karl Marx wants, and the socialism warfare causes increase of CPI.

    Today’s Russia is the same as Soviet Russia. The Democratic Party help Communist Party to occupy Asia, so Communist Party win the Vietnam War and the Afghan War.

    But every time the Democratic Party provoke the Communist Party, Democratic Party always lose the war, then the Republican Party have to stop it. Even in the recent Afghan socialism war, the Democratic Party lose the war, and make the commander cry in public.

    However, Democratic Party opposes missile defense systems, against
    to maintain and research nuclear weapons, opposes the Navy’s shipbuilding program, but promotes socialism and liberation theology in the United States and East Asia.

    Mr. Davis worry about the Ukraine war will become a nuclear war. But according to the original game theory, we can’t prevent nuclear war, we can only pray to God and hope it won’t come soon. If we want to end nuclear war, people in the world shall confess sin and repent to God, and obey Ten Commandments, so people should abandon socialism and liberation theology.

    God bless America.

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