"Day 22 – where do we go from here? Two decisions"
The Vineyard of the Saker (March 18, 2022)
I think that three weeks into this special military operation we can take a few moments to pause and think about where we are and where we go from here.
My first observation is this: there are, roughly, two main groups of people out there, those who “get it” and those who don’t. In practical terms, this is what this means for me: when I write I am either “preaching to the choir” or I am trying to reach folks who are “unreachable” (being polite here).
For the past three weeks, I have tried to debunk the US PSYOP narrative, alongside folks like Andrei Martyanov at Reminiscences of the Future and Bernhard at Moon of Alabama. My health does not allow me to sustain such a crazy tempo and I need to enter something of a “temporary rest mode” if I want to avoid being forced into rest by my body.
Yet I still get a daily deluge of questions from those who did not “get it” and, frankly, I am exhausted trying to debunk the same stuff over and over and over again.
So, one last time:
In purely military terms, the picture we see now is simple: the Ukie military as a strategic instrument basically died in the first 24 hours. Then the Russians used a small force to bypass and block main cities. With some very notable exceptions (Mariupol) they did not try to enter them. Why? For 3 crucial reasons:
1. they did not have the manpower needed (in Mariupol the force correlation is about 1:1 when it should really be 3-5:1 in favor of the attacker)
2. they wanted to kill as few Ukrainians as possible and
3. they did not want to flatten cities only to have to pay for their reconstruction.
So where are the rest of the Russian forces and what are they doing?
They are mostly in their permanent deployment bases and they are ready for a war against the US+NATO.
And if you are the type of believes that “the Russians are running out of manpower” ask yourself why the Black Sea Fleet did not use its elite Naval Infantry, amphibious landing capability or its firepower (I remind you that all the huge damage done to the NATO base in western Ukraine was just a single salvo from one single small vessel (what the Russian call a “small missile ship”), probably with one (land or air based) Iskander to add some specific “punch” where needed. If the Russian were running out of manpower, would she not use the Black Sea Fleet to the max? Instead, she is keeping it near Odessa, ready to strike if/when needed, not only at the Ukraine, but at NATO too (ditto for the group of Russian ships in the eastern Mediterranean).
This is why Putin refers to this operation as a “special military operation” and not as a “war” or a “combined arms operation”.
Again, you either “get it” or you don’t. It’s that simple, really.
So here is roughly were we are today (yesterday’s Readovka map):
So we are likely to end up with something looking like this:
And I don’t see the point of reporting how we will go from the top map to the projection above blow by blow, town by town.
The real question that comes to my mind looking at the projection above is not “how do we get there?” but “where do we go from there once we make it?”. Right now this decision time is still probably a couple of weeks into the future.
Whatever may be the case, I have decided to stop posting updates every day (sometimes several times a day) and, instead, alternate analyses days and open thread days.
So from now on, expect analyses only every 2nd day (unless big events happen).
Next, I don’t see any other way to stop the US+UK+PL to intervene other than by means of a Iskander/Kalibr strike not “just” upon any target in the Ukraine, but also strikes on whatever NATO facility is central to the current war preparations by NATO, including locations in Poland , Romania or anywhere else in Europe.
I hope that I am wrong and that the US+UK+PL are not as terminally blinded by their hatred of Russia as to risk an actual full scale war in Europe.
But I have to admit that this hope is small and getting smaller by the day.
It is therefore quite possible, maybe even likely, that in the not too distant future we will see US and Russian military personnel meeting in combat. If that happens, not only will the risks of a fullscale nuclear war go sharply up, but it would place me personally in an impossible situation: I would be a guest of the USA (“Green Card” – I only have a Swiss Passport) while my country of ethnic origin would be at war with the USA.
I have therefore taken the following decision: if there is a war in Europe, I will continue to cover it until 1) Russian and US soldiers meet in battle and/or 2) a nuclear strike happens anywhere. If we reach either of these points, then this will not only prove that the Saker blog failed in its main mission (avoid war) but it will also place me personally in an impossible situation.
If either of the two events happen, I will then “freeze” the blog until the war stops.
I don’t like to have to take the two decisions above, in fact I very much regret them both, but things are quickly getting out of hand and I need to prepare, both the blog and my personal life.
Question: remember the Israeli war against Hezbollah in 2006?
Hezbollah won this war by a humongous margin, and the US+Israel had to surrender to Hezbollah terms. Not only that, but this war made Hezbollah much, much stronger than it was before. Yet it began by a miscalculation which Hassan Nasrallah himself admitted: Hezbollah never expected to Israelis to go so far overboard and basically hammer Lebanon with everything they had for over a month.
I see a parallel here.
No, I do not think that the Russian military operation has run into any major issues, by and large what happened in these three weeks must be pretty much what the Russian expected.
In economic terms, there is this big debate now about the Russian gold and foreign currency reserves which I am not capable of commenting upon since I am not an economist. I will let much smarter people than I deal with that.
I also think that the Russians knew in advance what kind of sanctions the West would introduce sooner or later, but I think that the Kremlin was taken by surprise at the speed and scope of the sanctions. How much of a problem is that? Well, I generally favor western sanctions against Russia because they force Russia to built a sovereign economy and because they de-couple Russia from the institutions controlled by the Empire of Lies.
Here, again, time will tell and much smarter people then I can offer their insights into this.
However, I think that most people in Russia are stunned by what is a full-scale “hate war” on Russia which we can call the “Cancel Russia war“. In essence, the West did throw everything it had at Russia short of a overt military aggression and knowing the geniuses in power in the US+UK+PL I would not even put it past them to try to fight Russia directly.
So what began as a special military operation to denazify and disarm Banderastan in a preemptive war turned into a global “Cancel Russia” world war.
How could I blame folks in Russia for not being able to imagine the utter suicidal depravity of the western ruling classes when I, who was born in the heart of Europe and lived all my life in the West could not imagine these ruling classes to be so absolutely out of touch with reality?
Again, to be clear, Russians were not “naive” to “trust” the West about anything, but they indeed assumed that the ruling class of the USA would not decide to blow up the planet economically and even possibly militarily because it would hurt the interests of the US ruling class. So if anybody is “dumbshit stupid” it is hardly the Russians, but rather the folks who rule over the USA (and, therefore, over the EU too).
There is also this Russian expression: “you should count your chicks in the Fall”. Let’s see by year’s end who was really dumbshit stupid and who will have prevailed.
Now I think that it is time for all of us, myself included, to let go of the thought “no, they can’t possibly by THAT delusional” and assume that yes, they are really THAT delusional.
I also see another parallel: remember how the USA forced Japan into a war and then wrapped itself in the mantle of an innocent victim and declared “this day shall live in infamy”?
That is exactly what the USA just pulled off in Europe. And the consequences might be just as immense.
But there is a big difference here: Japan could not meaningfully strike at the continental USA. Russia very much can, with both nuclear and conventional weapons.
Here I will only repeat the quote by Putin which I mentioned the day before the Russian special military operation: “if a fight is inevitable you should strike first“. In plain English this means that if the Russian come to the conclusion that the US is engaged in a “Desert Shield” type of operation (claim to be only defensive while preparing for months for a fullscale ground invasion) then you can be sure that Russia will strike EU airports, seaports or any other facility used to prepare an attack on Russia.
In fact, if the US/NATO do decide to attack Russia, this will be the final, nuclear, end for the western civilization as such. After 1000 years of genocidal imperialism, one could be forgiven for thinking that this could be a fitting, just, end” in the “chicken coming home to roost” kind of karmic justice.
Now it is in the hands of the US ruling elites.
Frankly, there is very little Andrei, Bernhard of myself can do about that. I sure have said all I have to say on this topic and, again, some see it, others don’t – and there is nothing more I can do to affect this ratio.
The future of our planet now depends on whether the traditional western hatred for all things Russian is bigger or smaller than the self-preservation instincts of US ruling class (the Eurolemmings are hopeless).
Only time will tell. All we can do now is pray and place our trust and lives into God’s hands.
Okay, these are the things I wanted to communicate to you all, my friends and readers. I still hope for the best, but I have to prepare for the worst, and I want to be fully candid with all of you.