Sunday 25 September 2022

Patrick Cockburn: Russia and NATO Tried to Wage War on the Cheap in Ukraine, But Could Now be Heading for Total War



That's from an article by Patrick Cockburn, son of Claud, hidden by a paywall. He was one of the only two or three journalists I trusted on Syria. I liked him not only because he is an original thinker but because he is very left-wing, has no love for the USA and therefore is does not follow the Anglo-American  line.

How right he is that journalists mislead by seeing everything as white hats versus black hats. Vanessa Beeley is widely execrated but the stories she posts of Russian civilians killed by Ukrainian bombs are no doubt true.
From Mr Cockburn's article yesterday.
As a warlord Mr Putin has proved himself to be one of the great bunglers of history. He has not known what to do since he failed to achieve an expected walkover when he invaded Ukraine on 24 February. But his pretence that his “special military operation” was a limited intervention has finally been exposed. The Ukrainian offensive at Kharkiv, carried out by a quite small military force, led to the Russian front, denuded of regular military units, instantly caving in.
The four or five Ukrainian brigades which burst through the Russian front line reportedly faced only militia and national guard units which promptly fled, abandoning their tanks and heavy equipment. The Russian debacle exposed the bankruptcy of Mr Putin’s strategy, in so far as he had one, which was to fight a long war in which Russian strength of will would prove superior to that of the West and the Ukrainians.

The Russian President has already paid a heavy political price for this small-scale reverse. Russia was humiliated and no other power wants to bet on a loser. China does not intend to become collateral damage in Mr Putin’s war through secondary sanctions. Friendly neutrals like India are distancing themselves from Moscow, while states in Central Asia and the Caucasus that were in the Russian sphere of influence are becoming restless.

In the first weeks of the war, Mr Putin might have declared a famous victory and withdrawn, but too many Russian soldiers have died for that to be now possible. For Ukraine, Nato and the EU a negotiated compromise also becomes more difficult so long Putin remains in power. But a total war between 44 million Ukrainians and 144 million Russians is likely to be a long business in which all sides turn out to have bitten off more than they can chew.

1 comment:

  1. Anti-westerners were crowing that China and India allied with Russia. Now those two are taken aback by how badly Putin has botched the war. Oh well, Russia always has dependable friends in Cuba and Turkmenistan, even if it can’t count on Moldova anymore.