Monday, May 23, 2022

The Libertarian Institute 5/23/2022

 

30 Years With No Strategy Brought Us the War in Ukraine
by Douglas Macgregor | May 23, 2022



Washington DC has not excelled in grand strategy; the art and science of cost-effectively employing the diplomatic, economic, and informational powers of the United States in combination with its armed forces to secure its national goals and interests. Most of the strategic decisions to use American military power that were made over the last 30 years resulted in one of two strategic outcomes: abject failure (Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, and Iraq) or a new regional status quo that is untenable without a permanent U.S. military presence far from America’s borders (the Balkans).

The reasons for the discouraging outcomes of the last 30 years can be traced to Washington’s failure to clearly define realistic, attainable goals for U.S. military power. That requires an acknowledgement that American resources and the electorate’s patience are not limitless, and a thorough understanding of the opponent’s interests and capabilities. It seems that regardless of party affiliation Washington approaches national strategy the way the British approach sex, “romantically remote from the distressing biological crudities.”

This inability to recognize that conditions once conducive to Washington’s control of world events are weakening is why the war in Ukraine will end at Russia’s convenience, not ours.

Washington prolonged the war in Ukraine far past the point where it could and should have stopped. Instead of acknowledging Russia’s vital strategic interests in its near abroad and implementing the Minsk Agreements, the Biden administration made conflict unavoidable, then, stonewalled any serious negotiations with Moscow as either surrender or treason. The White House now finds it impossible to retreat from a policy position of implacable hostility to Moscow that from its inception made no strategic sense.

When Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin urged Moscow to arrange an immediate ceasefire, Ukraine’s internal crisis—the use of untrained manpower unfit for service to replace the many thousands of patriotic Ukrainian killed and wounded—was already perilous. In the words of an informed observer with strong ties to the region, conditions in Ukraine are grave:

The average Ukrainian brigade that began the war in late February with at least 100% of its strength is now down by 60% or 70% percent. Some brigades like the 81st and 36th Marine brigades have ceased to exist. There are already reports of recent mobilized civilians contacting Russian commanders and arranging to desert in platoon strength. At what point will [that] go up to companies and battalions; Especially as the dedicated professionals and patriots who volunteered at the start of the war are already dead?

Washington’s provision of ninety M777 Howitzers to Ukraine will certainly stiffen Ukrainian resolve, but the Russians have destroyed so many artillery systems that those new guns will likely be demolished be in few weeks. In addition, Russia is the world’s largest exporter of titanium, a critical component of the M777 gun system. Roughly one-third to half of the U.S. military’s stockpile of Javelin and Stinger missiles have already been shipped to Ukraine. Is the U.S. industrial base really prepared to sustain this effort?

The Biden administration can certainly argue that if there are still Ukrainian soldiers willing to fight, then U.S. military assistance can plausibly keep the war with Russia going. But at what cost? Eastern Ukraine is wrecked. Is the plan to wreck Western Ukraine too?

Turning Western Ukraine, a critical part of the world’s breadbasket into “Ukrainistan” purely to satisfy Washington’s determination to bleed Russia white must be an ominous prospect for Ukrainians and many European leaders. As always, it’s the bravest of the brave in Washington DC who are most eager to consign the people of Ukraine to years of this hell. The advocates for conflict with Russia certainly do not include the vast majority of American voters.

Only Warsaw rivals Washington in its hatred of Russia. In recent remarks, Poland’s Prime Minister insisted that Russia’s monstrous ideology—in his mind the equivalent of 20th-century communism and Nazism—must be destroyed. How the Polish PM can reconcile these claims with the indisputable Nazi presence in Ukraine’s forces is incomprehensible, but so is Washington’s unrelenting hatred of Moscow.

The question now is whether Europe’s leaders in Berlin, Paris, Rome, and the continental capitals are willing to put their governments and societies at risk of internal political upheaval to maintain Washington’s endless war in Ukraine against Russia. According to the German government, Russia is preventing Ukraine from exporting twenty million tons of grain, mainly to North Africa and Asia. Meanwhile, Berlin declines to support calls for a German or European embargo or tariff on Russian oil and gas (their reasons are not without merit).

Americans and Europeans are not experiencing a market correction. Our problems are not cyclical. They are structural and systemic. A food/energy crisis is here. Supply chain problems are a symptom—the underlying problem is misallocation of capital, insufficient or mismanaged infrastructure, and a broken political system. Why? The Federal Reserve has lost control. The bull market is finished.

From this point onward, stocks will experience a rolling, downward correction. Whatever Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues do now, their actions are unlikely to make much difference. If the Fed hikes interest rates, markets will collapse. If the Fed suppresses interest rates as they have to date, inflation will exacerbate leading to demand destruction. Inflation is not the only or even the core problem. The far more dangerous outcome is deflation; a collapse of asset prices that are artificially inflated in value. Today, the two most important assets propping up the global economy are mortgage bonds and treasuries; both are in danger as yields rise.

Either way, the end result is the same: serious economic crisis at home and abroad in Europe. The crisis will affect all assets and all markets. It will also widen the gap between Washington’s wish list for conflict overseas and the needs of American citizens at home.

Whether the internal crises confronting Washington will force a sober-minded reappraisal of our national security interests along with a decent respect for the culture and interests of other states is unknown. But in the words of the late Angelo Codevilla, “It should be possible, even for Americans who hate one another, to agree that the consequences of foreign wars, especially of wars unsupported by the American public, are not good for anyone.”


About Douglas Macgregor
Colonel (ret) Douglas Macgregor, U.S. Army, is a decorated combat veteran, the former senior advisor to the acting secretary of defense in the Trump Administration and the author of five books. His most recent is "Margin of Victory: Five Battles that Changed the Face of Modern War" (USNI, 2016).

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Trish Wood is Critical 5/13/2022


with Colonel Douglas Macgregor

As the Ukraine War drags on and civilian casualties mount, getting information outside the approved narrative is still tricky and military people who speak truth are subject to abuse and smears. Trish interviews esteemed US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor about winners, losers and the human cost.

Apple Podcasts 

Backup Audio:



Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The American Conservative 5/10/2022


The Threat Of Polish Involvement In Ukraine

The war against Russia in Ukraine has evolved, but not in the way Western observers predicted.



Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Presidential Palace on August 31, 2019 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

MAY 10, 2022|3:00 PM
DOUGLAS MACGREGOR

"In economics,” wrote John Kenneth Galbraith, “the majority is always wrong.” Galbraith might have added that in military affairs, there is a mountain of historical evidence to suggest that American generals and military analysts are always wrong, too.

When the Spanish Civil War ended in March 1939 after three years of brutal fighting that saw Soviet, German, and Italian equipment, advisors, and troops in heavy combat, senior military leaders in London, Paris, and Washington found surprisingly little evidence to suggest a profound change in warfare. In fact, a U.S. Army officer who later became a major general witnessed the fighting and suggested that, “In Spain, the theories proclaimed for the devastating power of Panzer divisions and other massed armored formations used ‘independently’ are apparently refuted by actual events.” Five months later, events in Poland would repudiate these words, but at the time, his views were widely shared in the West.

The war against Russia in Ukraine is different from the Spanish Civil War. It’s a proxy war designed to employ the full range of American and allied capabilities against Russia in Ukraine. If Americans are beginning to wonder whether Washington’s enormous investment in Ukrainian assistance has colored the opinions of U.S. analysts and their evaluation of events in Ukraine, their suspicions are justified.

Within days of the war’s outbreak, President Biden signed off on an emergency spending package that included $13 billion in aid to Ukraine, half of which was allocated for military purposes. Combined with the recently promised $33 billion in additional military assistance to Ukraine, the total cost of U.S. taxpayer-funded military assistance to Ukraine in 2022 approaches the Russian army’s annual budget. Perhaps most important, in Ukraine, U.S. advisorsprovide intelligence and targeting guidance along with the rapid resupply of critical war-fighting equipment.

As the fighting raged in Ukraine, as if on cue, retired U.S. Army generals appeared on television to herald an imminent Ukrainian victory based on the country’s allegedly spectacular battlefield successes and Russia’s extraordinary incompetence. Russian forces, they argued, were doomed to defeat by serious tactical errors, logistical shortfalls, and weak execution. In retrospect, some of these comments involved “mirror imaging,” but much of the criticism almost certainly reflected the sunk costs of U.S. investment in Ukrainian military capability.

It did not take long for American analysts to insist that the Russian military leadership had made the unpardonable mistake of not “front-loading” the Russian offensive in Ukraine with strikes from precision guided missiles, Desert Storm-style. American military pundits and their British colleagues were also quick to pass judgement on the failure of Russian ground forces to race west along two or three major axes. If Ukrainian forces could inflict enough human and equipment losses on Russian forces, the narrative went, Moscow would abandon its objectives and withdraw its forces. Of course, expecting the Russians to suspend operations on such spurious grounds makes about as much sense as expecting Washington to sue for peace after Pearl Harbor.

The retired generals paid little attention to the operational situation. Contrary to the picture painted by Western analysts, Russian ground forces pressed forward, moving methodically along a 300-mile front to identify and selectively attack Ukrainian forces.

Few analysts in the West knew or cared that Russian commanders were instructed to avoid collateral damage to the civilian population and infrastructure. Initially, concerns about collateral damage clearly constrained the Russian army’s action, but in time, Russian operations encircled key urban areas in Eastern Ukraine where Ukrainian forces sought to establish defensive strongholds stocked with ammunition, food, and water. Russian operational intent changed, focusing on systematically reducing the encircled Ukrainian forces and not on capturing metropolitan areas.

Russia’s enormous advantage in strike forces—rocket artillery, tactical ballistic missiles, conventional artillery, and aircraft—combined with significant Ukrainian deficiencies in mobility, air defense, and strike assets, made the Ukrainian decision to defend inside urban areas inevitable. But Ukrainian forces’ inability to effectively maneuver and coordinate counteroffensives on the operational level ceded the strategic initiative to Russian forces early. It also simplified the conduct of Russian “attrition by strike operations.” Key Ukrainian airfields, bridge sites, railway junctions and transportation assets were neutralized or destroyed, isolating forward deployed Ukrainian forces from resupply or reinforcement.

Ten weeks after the conflict began, it is instructive to re-examine the strategic picture. The war against Russia in Ukraine has evolved, but not in the way Western observers predicted. Ukrainian forces look shattered and exhausted. The supplies reaching Ukrainian troops fighting in Eastern Ukraine are a fraction of what is needed. In most cases, replacements and new weapons are destroyed long before they reach the front.

Confronted with the unambiguous failure of U.S. assistance and the influx of new weapons to rescue Ukrainian forces from certain destruction, the Biden administration is desperate to reverse the situation and save face. Poland seems to offer a way out. More important, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have both expressed the desire to erase the borders between Poland and Ukraine.

Unconfirmed reports from Warsaw indicate that after Washington rejected the proposals for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, along with the transfer of Polish MIG-29 aircrafts to Ukrainian pilots, the Polish general staff was quietly instructed to formulate plans for intervention in the Ukrainian conflict by seizing the western part of Ukraine. Naturally, military action of this scale would require Kiev’s approval, but given Washington’s de facto control of the Zelensky government, approval for Polish military intervention should not be a problem.

Presumably, the Biden administration may hope that a collision involving Russians and Poles in any form—including air and missile strikes against Polish forces on the Ukrainian side of the border—would potentially call for the NATO council to meet and address Article V of the NATO treaty. Whether a Polish military intervention into Ukraine justifies the commitment of NATO members to war with Russia is unclear. Action still would be left up to the judgement of each NATO member state.

About the most that any analyst can say with confidence at this point is that Polish military intervention would confront NATO members with the specter of war with Russia, the very development most NATO members oppose. Setting aside whether Polish ground forces are ready to execute the mission in the face of Russian opposition, Polish action would satisfy the neocons in Washington, D.C. Poland may well be the key to widening NATO’s war with Russia in Eastern Europe.

Why? Because the Polish catalyst for conflict with Russia presents the American people with a war that Americans do not want, but cannot easily stop. Such a war with Russia would be a war that began without an objective appraisal of American vital interests, the distribution of power inside the international system, or the existence of any concrete threats to U.S. national security.

Douglas Macgregor, Col. (ret.) is a senior fellow with The American Conservative, the former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, a decorated combat veteran, and the author of five books.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The American Conservative 5/4/2022


The War For Globalism In Ukraine

Washington’s proxy war in Ukraine is the globalist scheme to transcend the continuity of history, culture, and geography embodied in the nation-state.

MAY 4, 2022|12:01 AM
DOUGLAS MACGREGOR


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a meeting that also included U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on April 24, 2022 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty Images)

During the 1999 Kosovo air campaign, President Bill Clinton told Americans, “That’s what this Kosovo thing is all about.… It’s globalism versus tribalism.”

In 1999 very few Americans paid attention to Clinton’s remarks. Kosovo was yet another conflict on someone else’s soil with little or no relevance to daily life in America. Frankly, Clinton’s use of the word “tribalism” probably confused many Americans. To most Americans, nationalism means devotion to the country, the U.S. citizen’s readiness in crisis or conflict to place the needs of the country above the citizen’s own. American nationalists aren’t tribal. They want to protect and defend the United States, its historic institutions and the rights embodied in its laws, not start wars.

The term “globalism” has since evolved to mean much more than free trade and comity between nations. Today, the Western nation-state and the nationalism it inspires are condemned by globalists as the sources of prejudice, exclusivism, and war. In retrospect, Clinton’s use of the term “globalism” is in continuity with the Biden administration’s proxy war against Russia.

To Washington’s contemporary ruling political class, globalism involves more than purchasing products manufactured by cheap labor in non-Western countries. Washington-led globalism now promises the dissolution of traditional political and social forms of human organization—national governments, borders, identities, cultures—and replaces them with a world of consumers united only by their dependence on amorphous corporations, unaccountable non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and supra-national institutions.

Put another way, globalism is now synonymous with the progressive left’s view of the postwar liberal international security order that must expand to survive. Washington’s proxy war in Ukraine is the globalist scheme to transcend the continuity of history, culture, and geography embodied in the nation-state, to homogenize disparate peoples in the process of assimilating rapid social and technological change. In this sense, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent call for Washington and its strategic partners to establish global control of Russia’s nuclear weapons aligns nicely with the Biden administration’s progressive globalist vision.

And therein lies the problem. Nations and their peoples do not evolve in a vacuum, nor do they surrender their existence without a fight.

These points should alert Washington to the fact that its proxy war for globalism in Ukraine involves national identity, a dynamic force that stirs the deepest human emotions. Yet it is not just two kinds of nationalism, Ukrainian and Russian, rooted in language, culture, and history, that are in conflict. Washington’s brand of globalism, dressed in the guise of NATO expansion, directly challenges Russian national identity and culture. It is Russia’s unique geographic role in linking European and Asian civilization, as well as its Orthodox Christian culture—a belief system enshrined in Russia’s current state ideology, foreign, and security policy—that are imperiled.

In light of U.S.-led NATO military interventions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq, it is fundamentally dishonest to pretend that NATO’s encroachment on Russia’s western border is benign. But it is far more dangerous to ignore the truth that, in Moscow’s view, NATO expansion into Ukraine is inextricably linked with the extension of globalism to Russia.

Statements by the U.S. Secretaries of Defense and State that Washington wants to “weaken” Russia make it clear that Washington’s allegedly benevolent “rules-based order” is of no benefit to Russia. In fact, the statements simply confirm in Russian minds the belief that the U.S. is a co-belligerent in Ukraine’s war for NATO expansion.

Perhaps even more important is the suggestion that Poland, NATO’s proverbial wild child, would provide so-called “peacekeeping forces” to Ukraine. It’s no secret to Europeans that Poland dominated most of Ukraine for nearly 400 years, or that Moldova, though technically Romanian, spent 300 years as a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. Washington’s apparent readiness to introduce revanchist Polish forces into Western Ukraine and, potentially, revanchist Romanian forces into Moldova suggests that Washington’s globalists will do anything to harm Russia even if it involves advancing the territorial ambitions of Russia’s historic enemies.

War still tests the legitimacy of those who govern inside the warring states, as well as the resilience of their societies. This observation applies to the Biden Administration as much as it does to the governments of Zelensky and Putin. As he presides over fiscal crisis, scarcity, and rising criminality in America, and displays his willful ignorance of Eastern Europe and its peoples, President Biden and his supporters on the Hill are stirring a regional pot that could quickly boil over with dangerous consequences for Washington and its NATO partners. As Sigmund Freud wrote of Biden’s “internationalist” predecessor Woodrow Wilson, Biden “has a marvelous ability to ignore facts and believe what he wants.” However, it’s much tougher now than it was in 1917 to pull the wool over Americans’ eyes.

Washington actively cultivated Ukraine’s war with Russia for many years, harnessing Ukrainian nationalism—the incendiary force globalists claim to loathe—in service to their cause. It worked. Now the same globalists are prolonging the war with arms, advice, and encouragement, even though Ukraine is being destroyed.

In the last 30 years, Washington’s overemphasis on military assistance and intervention in the pursuit of regime change has drawn the U.S. into conflicts and crises in the Balkans, the Near East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. American nationalists are not responsible for the current war in Ukraine or the last three decades of Washington’s self-defeating wars. But American nationalists are needed now more than ever to stop the globalist war to destroy Russia before that war spreads like a cancer across Eastern Europe.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Scott Horton 5/2/2022

 
Scott Horton 5/2/2022 
Douglas Macgregor on New Russia and “Hatred in the Plural”

Listen to audio on YouTube:  

Listen to audio from website:

Scott interviews Retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor about the war in Ukraine. Scott recently interviewed William Arkin who believes the Russians are actually losing this war. Macgregor has a very different take, and Scott gives him the opportunity to address Arkin’s argument. Macgregor shares his view of how the war has unfolded so far and how he expects it to evolve. He believes the Russians will pivot and attempt to occupy Eastern and Southern Ukraine. He thinks a battle for Odessa is looming and that the Russians will succeed in this endeavor. Scott then asks about reports about the Biden Administration’s new overt intentions to fund another color revolution in Belarus. Macgregor gives his take on how it may happen and then predicts that the Kremlin will respond with similar attempts in Latin America. Lastly, Scott and Macgregor talk about some of the institutional barriers facing those who want to change the foreign policy status quo in Washington.





Friday, April 22, 2022

Tucker Carlson 4/21/2022


Weapons to Ukraine
Over One Billion in Cash and Weapons to Ukraine
Biden Admin Has No Idea Where the Weapons Go