April 12, 2024

could win

IMMEDIATE RELEASE 17 March 2022WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUNDToday’s Events in Historical PerspectiveAmerica’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932Ukraine could winBy Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift          WASHINGTON — The Russian invasion of Ukraine is approaching one of several endpoints, brought to a head by the following factors:          The data points include the high number of Russians killed, 7,000 and counting, plus an estimated 21,000 wounded and another 1,000 captured, an unsustainable set of casualties for a poorly led, poorly motivated invading army of 190,000 troops, of whom at least half must be rear echelon support personnel.        Russian dictator Vladimir Putin came out of the KGB, and although he has no military training or experience, he must know that his army is failing and undermining Russia’s image as a superpower. His forces in Ukraine do not have the manpower to take a major city, much less the entire country, and he is now resorting to pulling in troops from other zones while recruiting men from Chechnya, Syria, Belarus, and mercenaries from Africa. It turns out Russia does not even have the ability to feed the troops already in the fight, it having just been reported that Putin is requesting poorly rated MREs (meals ready to eat) from China.          Against this onslaught is a tough NATO-supplied, well-led, highly motivated Ukrainian Army fighting for its nation’s survival.          The original most-likely end game scenario was that the Russian Army, spear-headed with tanks, would overrun Ukraine in days. But Ukrainian soldiers equipped with shoulder-launched tank-killing missiles quickly disabused the Russians of their World War II tactics. However, this scenario could still play out over a longer period of time, but the likelihood now falls to least likely.          The preferred scenario is for Putin to be removed from power, an event that would have an immediate effect, but there is no way of evaluating the probability of such an outcome.          Then, there is what conventional wisdom rated as least likely: a Ukrainian victory. This is no longer in the realm of wishful thinking. As Russian casualties mount and almost all nations of the world are imposing economic strangulation on Russia through sanctions, it is no longer inconceivable that Russian units will be forced into retrograde movements that could turn into a full-fledged retreat similar to what happened when the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988-89 after 10 years of war.          However, the most likely scenario will be a negotiated settlement in which Ukraine renounces the possibility of NATO membership and cedes the Crimea and Donbas regions that have been Russian-occupied since 2014. This scenario would provide Putin his exit strategy, made all the more palatable by his tweaking of NATO with nuclear threats, akin to the cowardly act of taunting caged animals in a zoo. He would also claim that by defeating NATO-supported and supplied Ukraine, he was defeating NATO.          Finally, there is the unthinkable. Putin could pursue the apocalyptic genocidal course he has already commenced by turning Ukraine’s cities into scenes of rubble and corpses, an event so unimaginable that there is no telling how an awakened world might respond.           See Eleanor Clift’s latest book Selecting a President, and Douglas Cohn’s latest books The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency and World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers).          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn          © 2021 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND 


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