Stalemate - a position in chess when the powerful piece cannot move but is not in check. It means the king is in lethal danger, but none of the weapons can reach him. So he lives, BUT the game is over.
Any war with Russia was NOT expected to end in a stalemate. Until this shoddy invasion... Hitler gained more ground with a phone call. But THIS is fighting a superpower?
FIGHTING A SUPERPOWER
The predictions for an all-out showdown of superpower ingredients in a spectacular global war in 2023 have failed. We are not running around like a video game, aligning a field of snipers, gradually sharpening our sights to best get the quiet-kills, we are not wiping out the enemy with incredible building-leveling missiles, we are not bringing down buildings with C-4, we aren't filling the skies with $70 drones from Target and dropping munitions, we aren't filling the skies with bombers and wasting away towns and villages, we are not firing lasers, we are not destroying essential targets like radio and TV, we are not talking in codes to control confusion, and we are barely capturing POWs. This doesn't look like a war; it looks like a half-finished board game of RISK where everyone went home bored. It looks as if all the American states went to war with Nebraska but couldn't even take Omaha.
However, it IS a humanitarian crisis. Millions are being displaced. That is a natural part of the war - but this is not an all-out crisis. You can't get a Big Mac or use a credit card anymore - but this isn't a war. The collateral damage is living in one man's head but spilling across the world. But it's not a war.
This is not a war; it is a last-ditch violent skirmish. Russia's threat has been an all-consuming threat of the physical culmination of evil violence, the "other" superpower and hammer fall of the world, the country we ought to respect for its fierce and unyielding love for war - is kaput.
The "superpower" we feared all along - was impotent and unable to fight efficiently. In hindsight, had NATO attacked Russia years ago, it would have found, to its surprise, that Russia was not an economic superpower but a poor but well-armed, well-oiled country with a grudge to bury decades of grief.
There was a peak time when Russia was ready to take on the world anywhere it wanted to meet. There was a time when the world stood looking down at the business end of Moscow and shuddered. There was the Cold War, where nothing happened, and nobody moved. There was the Iron Curtain, seemingly as thick and guarded as a Gulag on Family Day.
There was a time when men, young or old, would have fought to the death for Russia - just because Russia needed them. They have gleefully offered up their lives in order to serve the mighty Russian Military. Then Chechnya happened, and we knew the Russian forces were severely lacking in resources and intelligence. Then we entered the last five years of watching Moscow's quickened breaths. Was it a monster? Was it a wounded pup? Was it staffed with men ready to die, or was it conscripting men with futures in civilian life who didn't want to fight for Mother Russia? All those days are long gone. Men are fleeing the draft.
In the beginning, everyone was watching troop and equipment movements, their convoy lines, and their physical supply lines spread through the Ukrainian hillsides, ready to attack the fringes of the country. The average American was so electrified that this war was unfolding online. They were following ships, aircraft, and convoys in real-time. From what appeared to be their mom’s basement, they were deciphering this attack with every opportune eye. The brow of planes diverting the airspace.
This was all humanity had ever wanted; an end. Every day Americans talked about Ukraine all the time. They put blue/yellow flags up in their schools and shop windows and unified behind a poor country that was being ravaged - well, for reasons no one really knows. But one thing "seemed" clear, Ukraine was the victim, and if there's one thing we're good at, misidentifying victims - even if it's big enough to be a country.
I would like to say that as of May 24th, 2023, X, Y, and Z have happened. But even Reuters is cautioning me against saying anything. It might not be true. We don't even know how many people the war has affected; this is pathetic. It is the simplest
wartime arithmetic. Alive or dead.
"Reuters has not been able to independently verify the documents and some countries, including Russia and Ukraine, have questioned their veracity, while U.S. officials say some of the files appear to have been altered."
In the beginning, everyone was watching troop and equipment movements, their convoy lines, and their physical supply lines spread through the Ukrainian hillsides, ready to attack the fringes of the country.
Do not be misled, this is a World War, but instead of losing heaps of Western soldiers, they use Ukrainians and study how the Russians react under certain war-like operations. So the West is winning this war, and Russia is floundering.
I tried to reach out to my Russian friends, but even their mouths have been silenced to a point. They will not engage with me on political or war matters. They think encryption is now no longer safe. They don't trust their government, and they don't want to be taken out of context. In fact, the closest I could get to an answer was, "No one expected that the whole world would start arming Ukraine to the teeth. I don't remember anyone arming Iraq when the US bombed them. It's like you walk into downtown Chicago and see two people fight. And all the onlookers start helping one of the guys, giving him stones, firearms, gas, and mace. The whole thing is very raw-nerve. I feel so disappointed with other countries. The UK gives most of the weapons! I can't imagine traveling there again. Not after what they have done to us. Where were they when Iraq happened? The masks are off. All the faces turned fiendishly disfigured."
Again, even if Russia wins by conscripting every man from the ages of 18-65 and protracts the war based on people who can hold a gun, Russia will inevitably win them out - but has massively lost this war. The Ukrainian opposition has won the propaganda war, even if they lost the numbers game. Russia is just a mill for young men to churn out bodies. Ukrainian doesn't want to lose a single man. Russia uses its bodies to build roads.
A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.
— Joseph Stalin.
Russia should have started out either with a tactical nuke in downtown Kyiv. Or they should have aggressively led us to believe we'd end up in a nuclear countdown, but this is not a war. This is a skirmish, just generating bodies and casualties in the most rudimentary form of war, that of the 1980s.
Half the gamers online would have found the bad guys, isolated the danger, and declared victory. Simple video gamers, schooled in tactics, know this aggression, which has dragged on for fifteen months, is nothing but a boondoggle.
Instead, we have President Putin guaranteeing roads, oil, and structural support to the Arabs. Are we headed for a nuclear war, or is Putin just making deals because he knows he'll never go beyond the conventional war we're fighting now? This means Putin will NOT go nuclear. You don't make international safety promises and then melt half the planet. That's bad politics.
There are 50,000 missiles pointed at Seoul, South Korea. If North Korea attacked, Soeul would melt in a matter of hours. This is not the Russian strategy. Instead of relying on strong machinery, he expects young men who had been off to college or the mines or wherever their lives were to lead, rope them into conscription, and put them in a heavily-underhanded situation where they are forced to kill their national brothers literally. This is not "hatred" like Russia has for Chechnya. This is not aggression like the 2008 incursion into North Ossetia, nor is this all-out war with the West, like Gulf War One that should be settled in a few weeks. This is not war. This is bad tv.
This is the destruction of property and young men's lives. This is a conventional war without a specific direction. Who is Russia attacking today? Do you know? Do you care? Mariupol was a name that shone for a year as attacks were daily, and we were forced to learn and live with the fleeing occupants, but nothing seems to be happening in the area, which is largely uninhabited. The crops that are there are vital for the world's supplies and the economic concerns of Ukraine.
If Putin had been approximating a win, he would have stolen Ky'iv in a surprise attack, launched one of his Tsar Bombas, and shattered the critical infrastructure of downtown. My latest assessment, due to the technologies used, the body counts, and the failure of Russia to act anything like a superpower is to assume President Putin has a mental illness. He has to logically flex his muscles long enough that we won't remember why we were ever fighting for. Who cares? It's just a meter-by-meter fight in mud with poor logistics and ancient artillery.
CNN - Thursday, May 19, 2023
"Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s attendance in person at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, is “extremely important,” a senior Ukrainian security official said Friday.
He also stressed the importance of face-to-face meetings.
"Because when a person is far away, across the ocean or somewhere else, they do not always feel and understand what is happening here in our country," he added.
G7 member countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States — include Ukraine’s largest backers."
That's the leading news outlet CNN taking notes from a Grade Five book on geography. It's embarrassing even to have to print that. But they do because very little is happening. Even arm-chair quarterbacks watching this war have gone back to bowling highlights.
ANOTHER ANGLE TO BE AWARE OF
Having spent some time in the region, I'd like to apprise some readers of why this is not a conventional war. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, many Russians found themselves living within the Ukrainian border, millions of them. Millions were displaced in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. And in all the other 28 satellite states under the USSR. Of course, they'd spent all their lives living in the wrong country, but few knew it; few didn't think their home was their "home." Surprise! That's why Russia has so much support in certain regions since so much pro-Russian mentality exists because many of them are ethnic Russians!
Therefore expect Russians who have lived there all their lives to stand up and announce they are pro-Russian. How else could it be? Imagine being told tomorrow you don't actually live in America and that you have to get out. Canada will take a few of you, and Mexico will, as well as per international law regarding refugees, but who the hell wants eight million ethnic Russians flooding anywhere? So naturally, they will stand their ground and wave Russian flags defiantly. There's nothing else they can do.
Suppose NATO came in and performed like a stealthy and well-oiled machine, paratroopers, multiple surprise fronts, night-visioned infantry, Stinger missiles, tank destroyers - the war would crank to a halt to basic 21st-century tactics. What if did we go in under the cloak of the dark as we did in Afghanistan and stole the war? Or what if we went in with a shock and awe ignition like in Baghdad? This "conventional" piece of the war would be over. Alas, we are struggling because policy dictates that NATO be directly affected. You could almost say "woke," which it is, but in a face-off with our natural enemy, all-out nuclear war. So Putin's last stand is nuclear, and I don't think he'll take it because this is not a war.