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