"British Luminary Also In denial About Ukraine"
by Larry Johnsonb
Sonar21.com (July 25, 2023)

You can have a lot of honorary titles and a wall papered with academic credentials and still expose yourself as inept analyst. Meet Sir Lawrence David Freedman, KCMG, CBE, PC, FBA. Wikipedia describes him as, ” a British academic, historian and author specialising in foreign policy, international relations and strategy. He has been described as the “dean of British strategic studies” and was a member of the Iraq Inquiry.”

A “Dean”? Made me think of Dean Wurmser from the comic classic, Animal House.

Animal House-Midterm grades

Sorry, but the latest work from Sir Lawrence smacks more of comedy than serious scholarship. Let me give you a taste:

Normally a person with the pedigree of Sir Lawrence would proffer some kind of evidence to buttress his assertion that Russia’s control of Crimea is tenuous. Nope. Nothing. Freedman simply repeats the nonsensical claim of Biden and Blinken that Russia is “losing” territory. Simply not true. I guess he has not heard of Bakhmut or what Russia is now doing up north as it crosses the Oskol River and is driving Ukrainian troops backwards.

Putin and the Russians have a pretty remarkable achievement with respect to one of their stated objectives at the outset of the Special Military Operation — demilitarize Ukraine. The catastrophic losses of manpower and equipment have left Zelensky and the Ukrainian Generals totally dependent on the flow of aid from NATO members. The situation for Ukraine is made even more dire because the United States and its NATO partners admit that they have drawn down their arsenal of weapons, ammunition and combat vehicles to dangerous levels. That is just on the military side of the equation.

You also have to take into account the political success Putin has achieved by forming a de facto alliance with China and defeating the economic sanctions imposed by the West. Russia’s robust military industry is churning out artillery shells, tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and drones while Joe Biden has admitted that the United States can no longer supply Ukraine with conventional 155 mm shells.

Corrupt practices? Last I checked it is not Russian weapons that are being sold on the international black market. Ukrainian military leaders, especially those responsible for logistics, are guilty of grabbing gobs of weapons and ammunition and spiriting them out of the country in exchange for bags of cash. I guess Freedman never saw the 60 Minutes piece from last year that describe this theft.

Sir Lawrence engages enthusiastically in psychological projection — i.e., he insists that Putin and Russia are isolated and wracked by low morale when the reality is that Ukraine, with its lack of air power, mobile air defense and declining stocks of artillery shells, is faltering and has no discernible path to stalemate, much less victory.

It is Freedman who is concocting a narrative of an illusionary victory by Ukraine. I think Sir Lawrence is miffed that Russia is not launching human wave attacks against heavily defended Ukrainian positions. The esteemed “Dean” gives the game away towards the end of his article — a Russian victory represents a massive defeat for NATO.

Freedman is not completely delusional. His admission that a Russian victory will be a “geopolitical catastrophe for NATO” is not hyperbole. Kudos to Sir Lawrence — he got something right. But his incompetence as an analyst or prognosticator is illustrated by his ridiculous, groundless claim that Ukraine is “united and effective in its fighting.” It is not. The following graphic is harrowing and underscores that Russia is bleeding Ukraine: