Monday 30 May 2022

David Goldman is always brilliant and might be right

David Goldman (Spengler in Asia Times) today quoted Ukrainian officers who say 

"that the Russians they are fighting now are a much improved force than the force they faced two months ago. Armor moves with infantry, artillery fire is coordinated and on target, they are well led and well organized, they are more effectively massing fires, their counter-battery fire is rapid and on target. They have settled into a slow-grind tactic that they are 'comfortable' with and the Ukrainians are taking casualties; the Ukrainians are not giving out any numbers on casualties but there is clearly concern as to the high number of casualties."

This is an excerpt from his latest interview with the ghost of Cardinal Richelieu.

“Your time as always is gratefully appreciated, Eminence,” I offered. “And since your time is constrained,” I added quickly, “please tell me what will happen in Ukraine, and then what will happen elsewhere in consequence.”

Said the Cardinal:

That is an utterly moronic question, for everything of importance that might happen to that miserable country has already happened. Did I not tell you at our last meeting that Putin’s object was not to do this or that with Ukraine, or to rule Ukraine or to compel Ukraine to adopt one policy or the other, but to be done with Ukraine once and for all – to ruin it utterly, depopulate it and eliminate the possibility that Ukraine might become a venue for Western weapons pointed at Russia?

One hears from self-deluding Western pundits that Putin wants to be a new czar presiding over a new Russian empire, and that his attack on Ukraine was motivated by national pride and territorial ambition. If that were true, mon ami, he would not scorch the earth and drive out the people! The damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure alone exceeds $1 trillion, in a country whose national output did not reach $160 billion a year before the war started! Simply repairing the country would require six times the country’s national product, which of course is impossible.

Even if the money could be found, who would make the repairs? Before the war Ukraine had 45 million people on paper but only 33 million actually in the country, because half the adult population had left to work elsewhere. At least 14 million of those have been driven from their homes, and most of them will not return. After all, the Poles, Hungarians and Germans are short of people and will gladly accept immigrants from Ukraine rather than from the Middle East or Africa.

“But what of the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian men who returned to the country to fight the Russians?” I objected.

“They will find out that it is unpleasant to fight the Russians, as their grandfathers did during the Second World War. A few tens of thousands of them will be killed, and others will rot for some time in Russian prison camps as the Russians encircle and annihilate the main body of the Ukrainian army in the Donbass. Then they will join their families in Poland or Germany.”

“But surely the Americans won’t stand for this!,” I protested.

“About the Americans do not worry so much. They are becoming accustomed to humiliation. Does no one remember their unseemly departure from Afghanistan last year? They thought they were clever in cultivating Ukraine as a de facto member of NATO, perhaps with anti-missile systems that could be converted into short-range missiles with nuclear warheads if the need were to arise.

Putin believed that he had an agreement with the Europeans under Minsk II to keep Ukraine neutral and to guarantee autonomy to Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine in the East, and he believed – with some justification – that Washington sabotaged this agreement. So he attacked.”

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