My professional opinion is that the beltway consensus was that the Russian army was what we had assessed it to be: professional, properly resourced and equipped, and powerful.Another part of the beltway consensus was that despite Ukrainian resolve their was no way they would withstand having the bulk of that force thrown at them.These two beliefs, which we now know like much of the beltway’s deeply held convictions are just wrong, were exacerbated and enhanced by the fact that Russia won the information war around Ukraine back in 2014 and almost every policy discussion and almost all of the news reporting was being done within the informational shaping that Russia had successfully undertaken.This includes everything from views of Russia’s military to views of Ukraine and the Revolution of Dignity to taking Russia’s nuclear weapons and usage doctrine exactly as Russia wanted us to.
Good for him. This is the correct response. https://t.co/i7euZINuUu— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) May 21, 2023
Russian propaganda is going crazy over the fact that Sullivan calls the strikes on Crimea legitimate as this is Ukrainian territory. These guys keep getting funnier. pic.twitter.com/cBRUYH17n7— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) May 21, 2023
These are exactly the answers that should be given every time Putin, Lavrov, whomever makes a threat or declares a red line. However, until recently this has not been the case.While hope is not a strategy, it would be nice if they’ve finally recognized that the US, NATO, our non-NATO allies and partners have to work within and promote our own framing of Russia and its actions and not work within Russia’s.
Ukraine is getting F-16s, and not only that, the administration is significantly firming up its position on Ukraine having the right to take back all of its territory....It is really hard to underrate what the president is doing here. He is not only making it clear that Ukraine will get F-16s, he is basically belittling Russian threats.The Russians have been, as usual, making their nuclear threats about aid to Ukraine, and they raised their rhetoric up a notch yesterday when the F-16 announcement was made.And here is the US President basically telling the Russians to go to hell—no other way to read this.It speaks of a few things. Most importantly, the administration must really believe the chance of Russia using nukes is non-existent. My guess is both good intelligence on the subject and some words with the Chinese (as I wondered about in the update yesterday).So that alone would be enough to mark a major change. However, that was not all.US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who had been reported to be the most escalation-averse member of the administration, at exactly the same time came out with a statement to CNN that the Ukrainians are more than able to attack Crimea with weapons the US has provided it.
Ukraine can strike Crimea using US-made weapons, Jake Sullivan, the US national security advisor to President Joe Biden, tells CNN— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) May 21, 2023
"We've said we won't allow Ukraine to use US-made weapons to strike Russia. And we believe Crimea is Ukraine," Sullivan said. pic.twitter.com/ZOgMaUZCce
...these changes in rhetoric seem to be extremely important, and point even more explicitly to the answer that last week was the week Ukraine won the war.In short:-Fears of Russian escalation are no longer having any real impact on US policy, and if anything, the administration is mocking the Russians.-Without a fear of Russian escalation, this war can be fully won by Ukraine.-Ukraine is being given a public green-light to do what it needs in Crimea.-All parts of the Biden administration are singing from the same hymn sheet (finally).
And in response, expect to see Russia continue to posture and to make empty threats:...the fundamental reality is that allowing Ukraine any F-16s is the right decision. It’s the decision one makes when transitioning from a long-term strategy of simply keeping Ukraine alive toward a strategy of driving Russia from occupied Ukraine and — critically — deterring renewed Russian aggression after this war.Perhaps the best short argument in support of the Biden administration’s decision was summed up by the former Ukrainian defense minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk. He told me to “ask a NATO general how to win this war without aviation.” Providing Ukraine with advanced fighters not only makes its task easier; it’s a sign the Biden administration is ready to turn the page from helping Ukraine simply avoid defeat. Now we are starting to help Ukraine achieve victory — and maintain the peace we pray is soon to come.
Russia tries to raise a new shitstorm.— Poems for Ukraine (@PoemsUkraine) May 22, 2023
More new AA kit for Ukraine was announced in Japan.
NASAMS have arrived on the scene.
33km or 50km ER, AMRAAMS [as on F-16] can be fired from them. https://t.co/iXnnCADL6C
Could be that the threat of sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine could be a not so subtle message to Russia to negotiate with Ukraine and end this needless conflict. It will months, if not years, before the Ukraine Air Force will be operational with these aircraft.
So far the air war over the Ukraine has been between aircraft of Russian origin.
The F16's have never been peer tested nor have the Russian aircraft!
That the war so far has been one of artillery forces and trench warfare says a lot about effectiveness of modern air warfare?
Fighter jets and cruise missiles are very expensive and their supply is not infinite.
Inexpensive small drones have become the weapon of the day along with, so far, an inexhaustible supply of cannon fodder that is the foot soldier!
We could learn more from WW1 tactics than from more modern wars such as Iraq to gauge where this is going.
During WWII seven million Ukrainians served in the Red Army!
The Red Army fought a war of attrition with Germany.
It would seem the same is happening today?
The big difference being that the Russian army does not have the will to kill it's neighbours? Tis an unpopular war.
Its not at all clear to me how this is going to work out, is it?
My son listens to a podcast about World War 2 week-by-week -- when we study history, we see mostly the big events and the overall trends. so it has been interesting to realize how difficult it was for the people living during WW2 to see the "big picture" as battles were happening between various armies in France, Africa, Norway, the Philippines, China, Africa, Ukraine, etc etc. I feel sort of the same way now about Ukraine -- battles are taking place here and there, some cities are ruined while others still stand, NATO and Russia are exchanging verbal barbs, we don't know exactly where China will end up. I think the F16 escalation will prove to be a game-changer, at least I hope it will.
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