The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Aftermath of the Russian-Ukraine War

  This is an analysis of the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine War presently going on, Sure I used the word "Soviet", and it wasn't a slip of the keyboard, Premier Putin wants to recreate the Soviet monolith with him in charge.  And he wants to incorporate the Ukrainians to do so, but unfortunately for him, his military is having quite a go in trying to make it happen.  It will be interesting to see the ending of the war and results, and if I was the Russians, i would be nervous,. the Siberia area is full of minerals and natural wealth and China is looking to expand its sphere of influence and with the image of the Russian Military damaged heavily by Putins mis-adventure, Russia is weakened massively and I can see China scarfing a huge chunk of the Siberia area and China has nukes also and they don't care if Russia incinerates a few million Chinese, they have plenty more, after all..the Chinese citizens exist to serve the state.  

   I snagged this off a report that showed up in my work email from a 3rd party source relating to aviation news.

Wreckage of a Soviet er Russian Helicopter in the Ukraine

wreckage of a downed Russian helicopter in Ukraine

It’s going to take months—and likely longer—to fully understand how the Russia-Ukraine war will shape defense in the 2020s. Governments and contractors will have to make assumptions about Russia’s ability to generate and sustain military power and how its military will change. A starting assumption is that assessments that shaped last year’s plans are irrelevant.

Last year’s assumptions have been obliterated by Russia’s poor performance and the massive sanctions and export controls levied against it. In the 2020s Russia faces a new strategic calculus that likely includes Sweden and Finland joining NATO, accelerated defense modernization in Europe and a Ukrainian military that will eventually be equipped with more advanced U.S. and European weapons—not just infantry-operated ones and older equipment from NATO countries. Russia may evade some but not all export controls but not all of them.

There are three broad scenarios to weigh. One is that President Vladimir Putin or someone who shares his views remains in power. Russia will still have a formidable nuclear weapons inventory, but barring militarization of its economy and society, its ability to project conventional military power against NATO with confidence is likely to be low. Russia instead will look more like Iran—a threat that can’t afford and isn’t able to match NATO conventional military power, but that can field long-range strike weapons as a deterrent.

Another scenario is that Putin is replaced by leadership wanting better relations with the West after a failed attempt at regime change in Ukraine. The U.S. and Europe would need a better plan to integrate Russia into the West, but this is the downside defense scenario, particularly for Europe and probably the U.S.

A third scenario could be internal strife in Russia after a failure in Ukraine and conceivable economic trauma if Europe can successfully wean itself from Russian energy. Internal conflict tends to beckon outside involvement, as has been evidenced in Libya and Syria, but could involve mass migration from Russia and possibly Belarus. It could have knock-on effects on Central Asian security, too, and compel China to reorient its security focus.

The war may impart other lessons to the U.S., its allies  and defense contractors.

A broader narrative has reemerged on whether the war shows that defense technology favors the offense or defense. These simple distinctions are not that helpful, however. Azerbaijan in 2020 successfully waged an offensive war against Armenia that relied in part on unmanned combat aircraft. ISIS had more primitive precision weapons in the form of suicide bombers, vehicle-borne IEDs and small drones that could drop weapons, and yet it was decisively crushed in the 2017 battle for Mosul. Each conflict has to be viewed individually.

That the size of military forces and their competency matters is another lesson that could emerge from the Russia-Ukraine war. Russia had hoped to achieve a “coup de main” with a quick offensive on multiple axes in late February. But in failing that, it then did not have the force size to sustain a broader front. Even when Russia did advance, the relative density of force didn’t allow it to protect its supply lines from Ukrainian infantry armed with antiarmor and antiaircraft weapons. The size of ground forces in Europe, the U.S. and Russia are fractions of levels seen in the Cold War. While it’s likely a long shot, there could be more debate on whether ground forces are large enough in the 2020s to advance and hold terrain.

Industrial capacity matters in order to anticipate and respond to demand surges.  The U.S. is no longer the “arsenal of democracy”—“artisan of democracy” might be a better moniker, given the time needed to scale up production of even simple weapons like Javelin or Stinger. The notion that the U.S. can repeat the surge in defense production it accomplished in 1938-43 is a canard. There isn’t the same excess industrial capacity, contractors are driven to be lean, and they lack incentives to retain excess capacity.

The Defense Department could be looking at broader industrial capacity in the U.S. and not just at supply chains, paying  more attention to surge capacity.  A lesson being retaught by the Russia-Ukraine war is that precision weapons are expended in vast quantities and that platform losses can be eye-watering. As Stinger shows, it makes no sense to keep greater than 20-year-old designs when 20-year-old parts are no longer in production. The glacial pace of a doubling in Javelin production rates is also alarming and could command Pentagon and contractor attention



  1. Fourth scenario -- Ukraine and NATO are paper tigers, and the Ukraine defense collapses in the next couple of months. In that case, Sweden and Finland withdrawing their applications (or even membership) is very much on the table, and the globalist west will be forced to come to Russia, hat in hand, seeking terms for a new normalization. If the globalist west fails to seek terms, then a massive world realignment will push the west into less and less relevance as China, India, the ME, SE Asia, and then Africa all align behind Russia.

  2. And all of this, and most of the analysis are pure guesswork. It will be YEARS before an accurate assessment of the actual cause/effect will be completed.


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