My brother-in-law sent me the following CNBC piece of “journalism” which paints a dire picture of Russia’s “failure” in Ukraine.
It is laughably devoid of facts, but hey, that is what passes for journalism anymore in the West. I am old enough to remember the good old days (i.e., Soviet Pravda) when we Americans could chortle heartily at the spin coming out of Moscow. Well, I have now lived to see almost the entire establishment media outdoing Pravda in terms of flat-out lying to its audience.
The CNBC piece insists that “Moscow is facing unintended consequences of its aggression in Ukraine, ranging from high casualties among its troops to economic ruin for years to come.” Before delving into the 5 CNBC points, I want to comment on the talking point that Putin expected a “quick victory” and that the failure to conquer Ukraine in four weeks is a disaster for him.
This is ridiculous and is Western propaganda. There is not one statement from Putin or any of the Russian Generals promising a lightning war and a quick victory. Putin was very clear in the objectives of this military campaign–De-Nazify and De-Militarize Ukraine. Period. No deadline was ever announced. I have noted in previous posts that Russia’s progress in Ukraine outshines what the Nazis did in Operation Barbarossa. It took the Nazis seven weeks to reach the outskirts of Kiev and another seven weeks to quell the resistance in 1941. Russia has moved farther and faster in four and a half weeks.
And if speed of conquest is the metric, why did the United States fail to pacify Afghanistan after 20 years? People living in glass houses should not throw stones.
Now to CNBC’s 5 points:
1) Russian casualties are high Russia has been coy about releasing statistics on its losses, but one Russian Defense Ministry official said Friday that 1,351 Russian soldiers had died in the war so far, and that 3,825 were injured. Ukraine’s authorities claim that more than 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the conflict, while a senior NATO official last week estimated that between 8,000 and 15,000 have been killed.
If this were true, where are the pictures of miles of wrecked tanks and armored personnel carriers? Where are the pictures of the thousands of Russian casualties? What is preventing western reporters from going forward with the supposedly invincible Ukrainian units to film the carnage they are inflicting on the hapless Russian conscripts? If you tell me your house is guarded by a Rottweiler but I hear no barking and see no doggie turds, I will question whether you really have a dog.
One other point that I made in my last post, but it bears repeating. If Russian units suffered high casualties then those units would no longer be combat effective. The correct military decision is to withdraw the unit (or units) and replace them with fresh reserves. That has not happened. The nurses, doctors and support staff at Russian field hospitals would be talking and word would leak out.
One final observation–the NATO official “estimated.” Estimated? The U.S. and the U.K. have signed. They can intercept communications. Are we to believe that the Russian’s opsec is so magnificent that not a word of actual data has leaked out about their casualties? Russia is good, but not that good. If the West had actual hard intel the Biden Administration would be shouting it from the rooftops. That is not happening either.
2) Ukrainians now loathe Russia One of the likely consequences of this war is that many Ukrainians will harbor an abiding animosity toward Russia, particularly after the bombing of homes and civilian infrastructure — including a children’s hospital and maternity ward in Mariupol, as well as a theater where families were seeking shelter. These are widely seen as war crimes by the international community. Russia claims it has not targeted civilians. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy summed up the mood in the country in early March when he stated that “we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war on our land,” before adding that “there will be no quiet place on this Earth except the grave.”
Volodomyr Zelensky is reportedly more unpopular in Ukraine than Joe Biden in the United States. The Statista Research poll in October only “28 percent of the Ukrainian population approved of the activities of Volodymyr Zelensky as the president of the country. The approval rating saw a decrease in recent months. Furthermore, Volodymyr Zelensky was trusted by over 31 percent of Ukrainians in March 2021.” One of the main reasons for Zelensky’s flagging political fortunes was his failure to follow thru on his campaign promise to seek peace with Russia. I have not seen any new polls. CNBC is just repeating Western wishful thinking.
3) Economic ruin The international community was accused of being slow and ineffective when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. This time, it upped the ante when Russia’s full-scale invasion began, with Western democracies imposing wide-ranging sanctions on key Russian sectors, businesses and individuals connected to the Kremlin or who support the invasion. As a result, the Russian economy is expected to fall into a deep recession this year. The Institute of International Finance predicts Russia’s economy will contract by as much as 15% in 2022 because of the war. It also predicted a decline of 3% in 2023 and warned in a note last week that the war “will wipe out fifteen years of economic growth.”
More delusional wishful thinking from the West. Russia is self-sufficient. It is not dependent on foreign imports to fuel its economy. The World outside of Russia needs Russian exports–wheat, fertilizer, gas, oil, aluminum, neon and palladium, just to mention a few. Whatever damage Russia suffers from the sanctions will pale in comparison to the economic wound the United States and Europe have inflicted on themselves by their desperate effort to sanction Russia. Russia, China, India and Saudi Arabia have made it quite clear that they are no longer willing to genuflect before the once almighty petro-dollar.
4) Europe is dropping Russian energy The war has also accelerated Europe’s transition away from Russian energy imports, putting a large dent in the revenue the country gets from its oil and gas business.”? It has also made the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline — designed to bring more Russian gas to Europe (and which the United States, Poland and Ukraine warned would increase the region’s energy insecurity) — redundant, perhaps for good.
Good luck with that cowboys. There is no magic fountain of oil and gas to fill the cars and heat the homes of the Europeans. They might be able to work out a long term solution but the economic damage those economies will endure if they stop buying Russian oil and gas will be enormous.
5) Russia has united the West During Putin’s 22 years or so in power, he has systematically and repeatedly tried to weaken and undermine the West, whether it has been interference in democratic processes in the U.S. (with the 2016 election) and Europe (with the funding of right-wing political groups) or serious incidents such as the alleged use of nerve agents against his personal and political enemies.
I call this the Titanic fantasy. Yes, the Europeans and the Americans will politely step aside and encourage all women and children to get into the lifeboats. There will be no panic and the Western leaders will patiently and cheerfully sip scotch and smoke cigars as the ship is sinking under the weight of economic chaos. If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.