I’m Matt Bellamy founding partner of Puck news and I’m covering the inside conversation about money and power in Hollywood, with my new show, the town I’m going to take you inside Hollywood with exclusive inside on what people in Show, Business are actually talking about multiple times a week.
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Tell you what’s really going on.
Listen now, today we return to Ukraine for the dawn of a dramatic new phase in the war against Vladimir Putin’s.
After months of bloody stalemate, a breakthrough for Ukraine.
Over the last week, Ukraine is staged a lightning counter-offensive against Russia, sweeping into the northeast of the country and liberating towns that Putin’s military had controlled completely.
Most importantly, Ukraine has captured the eastern city of is IAM.
It critical Rush.
Stronghold which now if Lies Beneath Ukraine’s, yellow and blue flag, Global newspapers are announcing that this defeat for Russia is the most devastating blow to Putin.
Since his Retreat from Keith the Atlantic sand Applebaum.
A Pulitzer Prize winner who has appeared a couple times and this show wrote today, that this masterstroke from Ukraine could be a fatal blow to Putin’s illusion of strength.
And just underneath that headline, Story.
There is another story of technology and media that I found particularly compelling in this Ward.
So earlier, this year, the government of Russia embedded bloggers in the front line of their military, to tell the story of how evil the ukrainians were, which all these Russian soldiers were confronting.
But in the last few weeks, these bloggers who were meant to be propagandists started sounding an alarm, they started writing about these startling developments, they were seeing on the frontlines.
Ukraine seem to be building up Counter-offensive in the Northeast.
And Russians were not ready to Stage a defense quote.
One of these bloggers asked, are we ready to fend off an attack in this direction on August 30th?
A Kremlin spokesperson told State journalists that the invasion of Ukraine was still going in accordance with the plans but Days Later Ukrainian forces smashed Russian defenses and it was obvious the Kremlin had no idea what was happening on its front lines today.
Russian Ins and government figures are reading those bloggers and these writers again, embedded to be propagandists are instead serving to Chronicle, the failure of Putin’s military Mark.
Bennett’s these Sunday Times foreign correspondent wrote this weekend quote.
It is no exaggeration to say that the apparent scale of the collapse of the Russian army poses.
Potentially the biggest threat to Putin’s rule since he came to power. 22 years ago, hardliners are Furious Achieves unwilling to be made scapegoats.
Next week could be very interesting end quote.
Today’s guest is Professor Paul post a repeat guests of this podcast from the University of Chicago.
He studies the history and strategy of war and in this episode we review the four phases of the Ukrainian Russian war to date.
We talk about why this Ukrainian counteroffensive is so important and so reminiscent of D-Day and in keeping with Paul’s specialty, we lay out several ways.
The war could go from here.
I’m Derrick Thompson.
This is plain English.
Professor Paul Post, welcome back to the podcast and great to be back.
It’s been a while since our last update.
So I was wondering if you could help to reframe last week’s developments in the broader story of this war.
How should we contextualize what just happened in the last Absolutely.
And it makes sense that it’s been a while since we’ve had an update.
Because to be honest, there hasn’t been a lot over the past few months, that’s really changed.
And so there wasn’t really a lot to talk about.
But obviously, in the past, say, 72 hours, 96 hours everybody has been talking about it but understand why?
Yes, I do think it’s important to kind of recap.
What, how do we get to this point?
So, remember that back in late, February, was when Russia launched this invasion.
In or excuse me, special military operation as they’re referring to it into Ukraine.
And at that point, they were following what I’ve been referring to as a chromium model.
And what I mean by that is you go back to 2014.
When Russia first took control of the Crimean Peninsula, what they did was they sent in their troops rapidly, took control of the country, took control of the peninsula and basically did so without Shot being fired.
And what you could tell was that in late February, when The Invasion started they try to do that same thing.
But at scale they try to take control of the entire country.
They were using the roads and yes, there was fighting, but I think they believed that they could carry out kind of a lightning strike and be able to take control of the country.
Impose, maybe regime change that seemed to be an objective.
Take control of kyiv.
That was what happened at first?
I was kind of phase one but that soon bogged down largely because I think the Russians were surprised by how fiercely in capably Ukrainian forces were able to start.
Fighting course, this was very famously captured by the quote by president.
Solinsky of I don’t need a ride, I need ammo, right?
The idea that they were going to try to get him into Exile and he’s like, no I’m not leaving and so that then set up the second phase of the war.
You then had Ukrainian forces, pushing back, starting to receive assistance from the West largely NATO allies.
And in particular, the United States that in turn led the Russians to shift their strategy from this Crimea model to more of a chechnya model.
And what I mean by that is if you look at the years that Russia was carrying out military operations in its province of chechnya it was doing so in a very Indiscriminate manner, it was targeting civilians.
There wasn’t a lot of strategy involved.
It was very much based on punishment, and you could see that that was what the Russian strategy was shifting towards.
If we’re not going to be able to take kyiv, if this is not going to be a lightning strike, then we’re going to start punishing the ukrainians and then what that led to was as they were shifted to that.
They also started to shift kind of the overall objective, it was clear.
They were no longer going to be able to take control the entire country.
So the For sister to consolidate control in the eastern part and Southern portions of the country, which are contiguous with the Crimean Peninsula.
And so that would make sense that this would be an area as well as the provinces that are adjacent to Russia itself.
And so that’s where they started to consolidate their control.
And what that has led to then is over the past several months, you have had the beginning of a traditional Warfare.
Meaning this is kind of the next phase of just the two sides.
Kind of slogging it out, ukrainians receiving weapons, the Russians still using their weapon jury fighting in this manner.
Firing shots, maybe small attacks here and there, but there wasn’t a lot of movement and that was leading a lot of people observing it.
Myself included to think that we were heading towards kind of a stalemate, long protracted conflict.
I even was making comparisons that And depending on how things went, we could end up in a situation almost like the iran-iraq war of the 1980s that was an eight-year War.
We’re basically, after the first few months of fighting, it just became trench warfare and lasted for eight years like that because neither side was backing away.
Neither side was being able to move both sides were being supported by external powers, and that just led to massive deaths.
You had over a million Battlefield deaths in that war.
And I was very much looking at that we could be heading in that direction.
That now sets up what’s happened over the past few weeks, and what’s happened in the past few weeks is that Ukrainian forces have been preparing to launch a counter-offensive.
So, rather than being content to just leap State have to be in this kind of stasis stalemate type situation.
They’ve started preparing themselves to launch a counter-offensive.
And so, they’ve been using a lot of this weapon tree.
That’s been provided by the West, to just, for example, fire artillery.
Rochelle’s and just start pounding the Russian positions and pounding them at pounding them.
They’ve also been amassing troops in the southern part of the country as well as the northern part of the russian-controlled, part of the country.
And so, that is the city’s, basically, the cities of kherson, which is the city in the South, and then the city of kharkiv, which is in the northern part of the Russian control territory and So that’s where they start amassing forces and then with a data was about 96 hours ago, they launched a counter-offensive where instead of actually attacking care song which is where the Russians thought they were going to attack.
They actually attacked in the northern part kharkiv and made huge progress, stunning progress, in terms of the amount of territory they were able to take.
They were able to acquire the reports or somewhere in the neighborhood of over.
Thousand square kilometers of territory.
They’ve been able to retake in three days that Russia took them three months to be able to gain control of.
And so that’s that is the scale of what has happened.
And that’s where we are now, is watching this counteroffensive and seeing the Russian forces in that northern part of their controlled territory, basically melt away.
And this is now leading people to think.
Well could this war be Over sooner rather than later and over in a way that’s Victorious for Ukraine.
Thank you so much for that.
Masterful synthesis I want to talk about tactics.
I want to talk about strategy and I want to talk about what could come next.
But first, let’s go a little bit deeper on this Ukrainian counter-attack.
As you said Ukraine has reportedly be captured more territory in three days than Russia captured in three months.
John Spencer, the chair of the urban Warfare studies at the war Institute called this, quote the greatest counter offensive, Of since World War Two, he said Ukraine has regained liberated over 1,000 square kilometers of land and cities.
I suppose that amount of land is now tripled, Ukraine is winning.
He said, Ukraine is defeating Russia once thought to be the second most powerful military in the world.
And quote, help me understand why is this counteroffensive and the recapture of is IAM in particular so important.
So the reason why this counteroffensive is so important is there There’s multiple reasons.
So, first of all, there’s just the pure morale element to it right that this was something that by pulling this off, it is a way for the ukrainians to be able to Signal.
Not to the Russians, that we mean business, but to the Western supporters that we mean business in that we can win, that’s going to be extremely important because there’s a lot of concern about Any interest in the west especially as winter comes and you’re going to have higher energy prices and then, will they want to continue to have those sanctions and will they say well why are we doing this with Russia?
I mean, you know, they’re just going to keep fighting and it’s not going to end anytime soon.
Why should we be going through this economic harm?
Moreover, a lot of these governments have had to take certain political risks, to be able to supply weapons, to Ukraine.
And so, by carrying out, This counteroffensive regardless of where they carried it out, but by being able to carry on a successful counteroffensive, it is a way for them to signal that.
Look, we are capable of winning this.
All we need is for you to keep supplying us.
If you do this, we can win.
And so that is one of the main reasons why this counteroffensive is so important.
Now, there’s other reasons that it even more practical of why this is important.
So the area of kharkiv the Part of where Russia has controlled.
That is an area.
That’s kind of key for Russian supplies to be able to come through.
And so that is very important.
But this is actually why a lot of people thought that the offensive was going to be in kherson because that is in the southern part that’s near the coast that would be kind of a key port area.
And so also from the standpoint of being important for Supply, you would think that that would have been where they would have launched the attack but they actually kind of Deceived them by, then launching it in the northern part.
So there’s also these kind of just practical reasons to.
But for me, the most significant part of this is that again, regardless of where they actually attacked, is the fact that they’ve had this success and that will give them a momentum and that’ll make it easier for say, president solinsky to be able to turn to the other leaders of NATO to say just keep giving us the arms we can win this.
This is not going to be if you will good money after bad.
One of the things that I love talking with, you is your historical analogies, helping us to see what’s happening right now by pointing to, what’s happened in the history of warfare.
Tell me a little bit first tactically.
What this reminds you of?
So there’s a couple famous counter-offensives that people will point to and obviously we just mentioned like World War Two has some of these and we’ll come back to that in a moment.
Other folks have pointed to the Yom Kippur War.
And in particular to Israel’s response, the counter-offensive they launched and and that’s a significant one because the Yom Kippur War.
Hence the reason why it’s called the Yom Kippur War is it was a surprise offensive launched by Egypt and several other neighbors of Israel against Israel on Yom Kippur, right?
So they were totally caught off guard Israeli forces, then regrouped, and then launched a massive Counteroffensive and were able to quickly take territory.
So that’s why a lot of people were kind of pointing to that as being indicative of what we’re just witnessing now, Ukraine doing, but for me, the example, I keep coming back to the more and more that I’m learning about exactly what they did.
I keep coming back to the Normandy invasion in 1944 and the reason why is because there’s a lot of parallels.
Now, obviously the biggest not parallel here is, you know, there was an amphibious assault.
That’s Not what’s happening here, but there were a lot of similarities.
First of all, one of the keys and I already alluded to this a little bit, but one of the keys to this offensive working was deception that they were using.
They were attacking the southern portion of the Russian controlled territory and they were amassing troops.
They’re making Russia.
Think that’s where they’re going to launch the major offensive and that actually LED Russia to divert forces, From the northern part to the southern part.
So that kherson was heavily fortified that meant they were now fewer forces in the North and then they came in and they launched the attack in the north.
Now they still hadn’t attacked going in the South so it was actually a dual attack but the main thrust was in the north.
And this is very similar to what happened with the Normandy invasion.
Is that the key to the Normandy invasion was that that everybody knew that the Americans, the British and the Canadians were going to launch this second front and they were going to go across the British channel, the the Germans knew this, everybody knew it.
The question was, where where are they going to do this?
And the Germans thought that it was going to be the landing was going to be near Caillat?
Because that’s the shortest distance across the channel and indeed, the British Canadians.
American forces actually were amassing troops there to make it look like they’re preparing for I think, at one point, they even had the British maybe had like a, someone who looked like General Montgomery like actually hanging out there just to make it look like, you know, hey, we’re going to, yes, there is there.
They’re actually preparing for this and then of course they didn’t do that.
They launched it at Normandy.
And so that’s first of all, the idea of deception.
But the other part of it is that the way that Normandy was carried out of this very different from say, looking at what happened, Yom Kippur is Is and I already talked about this was that there were weeks and weeks of just pounding the Russian positions with artillery, artillery supplied by the west and that’s very similar to Normandy as well.
That it wasn’t just a sudden invasion.
They went for much just hitting the coast of France where all the German positions were trying to soften it up before they actually launched the attack.
And so those reasons are, that’s why the more I look at it, the more I see actually parallels with the Normandy invasion.
And how that was carried out, that’s fascinating.
I had never thought of this being akin to Ukraine’s D-Day but hopefully by the end of this war will be able to look back and say that it was as decisive toward the end of this conflict is D-Day was decisive in World War 2.
You also made this really interesting comment online where you contrasted this counteroffensive with the Russian response to the Nazi invasion in the 1940s Operation Barbarossa.
A tell me a little bit about that comparison as well.
So in that That particular instance Operation Barbarossa was the largest land Battle in History, larges, offensive in history.
And so that was the offensive that the Nazi Germany launched June 22nd 1941.
Of course, they were allies with the Soviet Union.
So this was a surprise attack.
They launched the attack, of course, how much of a surprise?
Apparently there were a lot of, like, Stalin’s military official trying to tell them.
Look, I think it’s They’re going to do this but he didn’t necessarily listen to them.
But regardless, you know, the Nazis come in and they’re making big progress.
Very quickly, eventually, you know, Skip a lot of details here.
But eventually, the tide turns and the Russians or excuse me, the Soviets are able to start pushing the Nazis back.
Now, this takes time, this took even more time than what we’re witnessing here.
It was when it’s a 1942.
To really that I didn’t turn into like 43 with this, but they were able, the tide was able to turn.
Not just because of Bravery on the part of the Soviet Fighters though, indeed.
They were, you know, They Carried a huge burden in terms of trying to fight the Nazis but the biggest reason, one of the key factors was the armaments but they were receiving from the west and largely the United States but also the British and this was through The Lend-Lease program.
So on the day that Bob Operation Barbarossa started The United States went ahead and made Soviet Union part of Lend-Lease and said they were already starting to receive US tanks u.s. arms Weaponry, airplanes so on and so forth.
And this allowed them to have the weapon jury, they needed to be able to then carry out this counter-offensive against the Germans.
And so in that sense, that’s where I see the what they called, the Great Patriotic War.
Which is this for, that’s what’s referred to in both Russia, as well as in Ukraine and other countries, that were part of the Soviet Union.
But that’s where I see the parallel is that they were able to launch this counter-offensive.
They were able to push Nazi Germany back, but they did, so because they had so much assistance from the United States, since the old the phrase, the arsenal of democracy, if you will.
And so that’s the parallel that I see with this offensive.
Is that an Ukrainian officials are more than willing to admit.
This is said, look, this was possible because of the arms that were receiving from the west.
And so, that’s where I see the parallel with what the Soviets did to the Nazis.
And we’ve had episodes about that to just the sheer amount of Weaponry, that the US has supplied Ukraine, the ground air missiles, the intelligence in terms of figuring out where the Russians might be relocating, an enormous amount of investment in James from the u.s. to Ukraine that has bolstered their incredible bravery in terms of this County of counteroffensive.
I wanted to turn to Russia for a second contemporary Russia, not 1940, Soviet Union.
I’m curious to know what you think.
This counteroffensive says about the state of Russian forces today.
So this weekend, the New York Times reported that quote, the Russian military is collapse that led to the loss of is IAM.
Can largely be attributed to one.
Simple fact, T’, Russian forces left their flanks undefended, perhaps, because of growing troops, shortages exhausted, conscripts and low morale and quote, Paul why does Russia have a growing Trooper shortage?
This is really a key problem for Russia and they have this, they have this for a couple reasons, first of all, there’s the first and foremost, there is, and we’re becoming more and more aware of the level of dysfunction.
In within the Russian military that it is not.
It doesn’t operate in the same efficient manner.
That we maybe are used to for thinking about how a lot of Western militaries run professionalism so forth.
There’s a lot of corruption that’s become evident.
And so what that means is, like, for example, undersupply, you know, the Russian troops are like, well, wait, we’re supposed to have medical supplies but I don’t, we have medical supplies.
You mean, these are things that are there and it’s like, oh, the money’s there.
But it’s not being brought in so This is one issue that’s that’s one part of why it’s just really.
I don’t want to say it was a house of cards but there was very much a perception that the Russian military must much stronger than what it actually is.
And I think that that is kind of number one.
But number two and this is more, this is less of a structural Factor, that’s more of like a structural Factor.
The number two reason is more specific to this operation and that is well that word operation.
Remember this is a Military operation, and because of that, and they’ve been very deliberate by.
They I should really meet.
Putin has been very deliberate and calling it that doesn’t want to call to war because he doesn’t want to, and he doesn’t want to have to run the risk of calling up conscripts Mass mobilization for the war.
He’s been trying to carry out this operation.
If you will on the cheap using the existing Russian forces, Rather than say declaring it a war to where you would mobilize and then he could even constrict because he knows that doing that is probably going to lead to more unrest than what he’s currently witnessing.
And so that’s a big that’s that is specific to this instance about why they’re having this problem is they’re not calling up.
People who could be called up because they don’t want to call it a war instead.
They’ve been like relying on Mercenaries have been trying to bring in people from other regions.
It is just but they’re not pets policy.
There, let me pause you there because I have a question.
I remember when we first spoke back in the winter and it seemed to me that the reason why Putin might be interested in a budget war was because he thought this was going to be easy to your point.
He was using the Crimean Of warfare, not the chechnyan model of warfare.
The we just roll the tanks down the streets model of what Warfare.
But now it is six.
Seven months later.
It’s obvious that this isn’t Crimea.
This is going to be something more like chechnya.
Why do you think Putin hasn’t updated his own model and try to conscripted a little bit more?
Try to fight with more soldiers?
Is it is Is there a shortage that I’m not seeing like what else might explain?
Just the the sheer lack of troops and equipment that we’re seeing in the Northeast right now.
First of all, it is still possible that Putin could call up.
You could go ahead and declare this award.
If you go back to May during Victory Day, people thought that that was maybe going to be something, he was going to do then and then he ended up not doing it.
And I think part of the reason why he didn’t do it was because of things we were talking about earlier in this episode.
The third about how the war had kind of just bogged down into the stasis and it’s like, well we can sustain this right.
You know, there’s no need for a mass mobilization.
We can sustain this with, you know, kind of the budget model just, you know, bring in arms.
Maybe we’ll be able to get some assistance from China to be able to go with this.
So I think up, until a week ago, there was very much a perception that, you know, what?
If this is just a long-term drawn-out, stasis, that’s okay.
We can sustain that and we Could sustain that relatively cheaply.
What we win as a past week is significant because it could this could be an event that leads Putin to start to update to say, okay know, if they’re going to push and to him, it’s so important to be able to accomplish something with this.
I think that’s become very evident he wants, it would be a disaster to him, not just politically.
But I also think personally, if they lose everything, if they lose control of all that they have in Ukraine and even And potentially the Crimean Peninsula, right?
Because that’s now become an objective for Ukraine, is to actually recapture the Korean Peninsula that they lost in 2014.
So I think that seeing what happened here.
If that were to continue, you could then see an update to where he says, Nope.
We’ve got to mobilize now, I’m calling up the troops and reciting them in the other thing though is and we’ve talked about this a little bit before on the podcast, is you got to keep in mind that the The model has always been kind of just throw stuff at it, right?
That’s always been you know they are not it mean if you look at it historically going back we even talking about the counter-offensive against the Nazis.
It wasn’t necessarily that it was carried out in a great strategic fashion.
I mean there was there was there was definitely elements of it there were strategically sound but it was mostly just material just throwing material at the problem and that was what was accomplished and it didn’t matter if things broke.
And it didn’t matter who got killed.
This is just the nature of Russian war fighting and that was very much what you saw even during the Soviet time was this approach and we see that in other instances in which Russia has been carrying out military operations over the past few decades.
So I think part of it is There’s always been this perception that, you know, we don’t have to have the most efficient distribution lines.
We don’t have to have the most efficient supply lines.
We can always just kind of throw the resources Adam.
But again the key is here, they’ve been reluctant to call in all the resources because of the concern that of the potential domestic.
Unrest that would result from doing that.
You mentioned at the Russian war model is always been throw stuff netted.
It also seems important that due to Russian sanctions.
They have less stuff.
They have less access to German manufacturing.
They’re missing that part.
That is necessary to build a new plane.
They’re missing, Global material that they might otherwise rely on to wage a year-long war to conquer a determined Foe.
And so there’s the sort of global economic story to adhere in addition to all the domestic concerns that you mentioning Jump Right In.
And you know, the one thing I Say is in that regard, is, that’s going to come to start biting soon, right?
Then it’s like when it comes to the economics of warfare.
First of all, it takes a long time for you to mobilize, to be able to have say convert or, you know, the phrase that’s used turn your, your plowshares into swords, right?
That takes time.
So usually when you first carry out a war, you’re operating with what you already have, you know, the famous phrase that Rumsfeld used regarding the Iraq War.
He’s you fight with the Army, you have not the Army you want, right?
And That’s what Russia did was, it’s like, well, this is what we have, we can carry this out and it goes back to what we just talked about, they thought they could do it quickly.
We’re these sanctions will start to matter is, if this goes on many more months because then that’s where you could have started to say, well now we need to start producing more weapons.
We need to start producing more missiles.
We can’t produce more missiles, right?
All our stockpiles are exhausted and that exhaustion is that’s going to start to bite pretty soon.
Right now, of course.
At the same time, the Russians think that the it’s also going to bite for the other side, right?
Because if they’re cutting themselves off from energy coming from Russia, Russian gas in the Winter’s coming, will the Western countries want to continue the sanctions.
So there’s kind of this, like, you know, standoff of who’s going to Flinch first.
But that’s the key thing.
I think to emphasize with the sanctions, as they’ve absolutely been, having a bite on the Russian economy, but the there is a lag from when That b happens to wear it translates into actual deterioration of military capability.
The story behind the story right now, which is a tech and media story and that’s why I’m very interested in it is that the Russian Hawks on the front lines.
Right now seem very outraged, these bloggers reporting from the front lines of the war are slamming, the war effort across the board.
They’re pointing out the fact that these Russian soldiers don’t have enough night, vision goggles are flak jackets or first aid, kits, or drones and I think this is so Eating at these bloggers that Russia purposely embedded with the military to advance the idea that ukrainians are Nazis are now reporting on facts on the ground and these facts are horrific lie.
Embarrassing to a Kremlin that is consistently tried to minimize setbacks by saying whatever happened yesterday, as a part of the plan, whatever happened last week, is exactly what we intended to happen.
There are some Western commentators, I named a few in our open who are saying that the time has come for us to imagine The idea that Ukrainian victory in the Northeast and maybe also in the South could bring about the end of the Putin regime that this is a domino set that could begin to click into itself where ukrainians Ukraine successful, D-Day they’re successful counteroffensive could lead, I guess, you know, metaphorically to the Hitler in the bunker moment.
To what extent do you think this is a reasonable thing to look out for the idea that Victory right now, could spell a significant downturn in Putin’s prospects in Russia.
So there’s two ways to look at this one.
One way that’s in favor of this argument that if this war goes south for Russia, it will lead to the downfall of Putin and then there’s a way to look at it safe mode.
So the precedent for it to say that it could is another historical example that I’ve brought up, which is the 1904 You know five russo-japanese War.
Now I won’t go into the details of it but basically what happened was it was hence the name of it was a war between Imperial Russia and Japan.
The perception was that Japan was inferior to Russia.
This is going to be something where she can win and they didn’t they lost and they lost at Great cost in Military and that’s why some people have been pointing to that were saying this seems kind of similar what we’re seeing now and then that led in turn to a serious Of protests and uprisings in Russia in 1905.
Which is you know a lot of folks will talk about, you know, people always talk about the 1917 Russian Revolution, but there was first, a 1905 Russian Revolution and that was due to how poorly the russo-japanese war went for Russia.
Now, the response wasn’t that Czar.
Nicholas s got deposed that will course wouldn’t happen until 1970 instead.
What he did was he implemented a whole series of reforms To try to Tamp this down.
They also use repressive measures and so forth, but there was it was it was disruptive.
That is both something that you could look to to say, okay well, could you see something similar?
But he but Putin doesn’t survive, but I think number one is important to remember that Nicholas did survive.
Number two is the conditions are very different and as for the reasons we’ve talked about before is that a Of the key supporters of poop.
And a lot of times when you see leaders autocratic leaders deposed, we often think about the protest in the streets and so forth and that’s great.
It’s almost always done by the Inner Circle.
It’s almost always done by the inner struggle, the Putin’s Inner Circle is very tight to him.
They’re very Reliance on him for their wealth.
You know, these oligarchs is people refer to as so that gives him a bit of a buffer when it comes to To carrying out whatever it is, he wants to carry out even if it’s a bad idea.
Is that first of all, people may not tell them, it’s a bad idea.
They should have told him.
This was a bad idea wedding Ukraine.
But secondly, it gives him some leeway that if it does turn out to be a bad idea, he’s not as susceptible.
He’s not as vulnerable to being deposed.
So, I think that that’s kind of the counter-argument to this.
Yes, there is some precedent for unrest, due to war is going badly.
But I Putin is still relatively safe, even though it is the case that we’re hearing people, you know?
I think there was some signatures by certain political figures in Russia calling for him to resign and so forth.
But I think by and large, he’s not going to be going down due to this.
Obviously, I want to know what comes next.
Everyone listening wants to know what comes next.
Is this D-Day?
Or is it just another chapter in an endless Saga that really ends up being more?
Like, as you said the, the The war between Iraq and Iran, which is just an eight-year war of bloody attrition one that you’re so good at is pointing out that it doesn’t make so much sense to predict the future singular.
As, to predict Futures plural, and rather make a prediction here, I’d love you to draw out a few scenarios that you consider plausible.
What are some plausible path, paths forward from here.
So I think there’s several paths forward and I think a good way to think about these pants is to also kind of if you will put some cabbie odds into the enthusiasm kind of Tamp down the enthusiasm that people have had because of this offensive, right?
People have looked at this and they said, oh my goodness, Ukraine’s going to win.
This is like, wow, this is amazing, but folks are already starting to realize that.
Well, we got it.
There’s a need for some cautious optimism here.
And I think that these point to kind of scenarios of how things could go.
So first of All.
Zalinsky himself said on Saturday that the next 90 days, 90 are going to be critical.
Not the next nine days.
Next, 90 days, next three months that’s a while.
But the reason why is, because even under the best case scenario for Ukraine, which is that they could continue to just push, basically, this kind of Blitzkrieg type operation Russia, still has control of a lot of Ukrainian territory, you know, if you look at a map and there’s all sorts of maps that you mean one can find of like how the operations look.
But if you look at a map of Ukraine currently, and if it shows the control that Russia has and it shows what this counter-attack is taken, care of, it’s only reclaimed like the top Northern portion of all the territory that Russia has.
So Russia, still controls a lot of territory.
Even if the Russian military continues to falter and Ukrainian military continues to push, it would still take.
It’s still take at least three months for this to play out and that would be under the best case scenario, which I think is unlikely.
So I don’t think this war is going to be over in three months, but I think that that’s kind of the idea of the best-case scenario.
There’s also though the other kind of if you will caveat the needs to be in here regarding all are Enthusiasm for what we sold this counteroffensive.
The other one is that there’s a lot of concern that this could turn out to be a catastrophic success for Ukraine.
And what I mean by that is, there’s a lot of concern about overextension.
There were some reports that some of the Ukrainian generals were, like, we’re losing track of where our forces are.
They’re moving so fast, right?
And that’s a situation where my understanding is that they receive.
A lot of advising a lot of training and planning help from American forces for American personnel and they were warning them about going too fast.
That if you go too fast, you could end up putting yourself in a situation, where your supply lines get cut off.
And even if you’re a superior Force, if you’re surrounded, and your supply lines are cut off, you’re going to have to surrender.
And so there’s real concern that, even if they were to continue to push that, they could leave themselves kind of vulnerable and have again.
Kind of this idea of a catastrophic success.
It is going so fast so easily that you would end up putting yourself in a situation where you get caught, you know, very similar to, you know, a boxer who’s dominating imagine and suddenly just lost track of things and gets hit in the jaw gets knocked out.
And that’s it, it’s very similar.
So that could lead to a scenario where it’s still favors Russia, it’s still very much favors, Russia, a third scenario is, and this one I think, is the, you know, Least likely but it is a concern is that Ukraine continues to push?
They don’t get caught, they don’t overextend they’re not having a catastrophic success.
They’re being deliberate and Putin because of reasons I talked about earlier where he really feel strongly about this.
He becomes desperate we’ve talked about this before on the podcast is notion of gambling for Resurrection, right?
Could he turn to using Tactical?
Acts as a way to try to stop Ukrainian offensive and this is something that is not an unprecedented idea.
Back during the Korean War, when US forces were being pushed back by Chinese forces.
Invading from the north General MacArthur thought about, should we use nukes to try to stop that defensive?
And the concern is now, of course that was vetoed.
That was not done.
But it was it was something considered There’s concern that there’s not going to be that same kind of like break on someone like Putin that if he wants to authorize something like that, that it could be done and that’s a scenario.
That’s very scary.
Now, of course you would accept, what would that even achieve?
What can achieve a lot?
It could lead to the Ukrainian forces to stop, right?
So, fine, we’re going to stop.
We’re not going to keep advancing.
So that’s a third scenario.
The final scenario though is and all honesty, I think is one of the more Realistic scenarios is that this offencive was amazing.
It shows that Russia can’t win, but that doesn’t mean Russia will lose if you will that we could end up still in kind of a stalemate situation, right?
And some of that could be contingent on as we were just talking about if Putin updates and he decides, you know what I do need to call up, we are going to declare war.
We’re going to have conscripts now that could lead to kind of this like Continued stalemate, a continuation of what we saw in the summer and that would lead to if not iran-iraq war level.
It could lead to a drawn-out, a traditional type of War.
So those are kind of the scenarios where I see that this could go.
Is yes, it is possible that Ukraine can end this thing in the next three months, but it’s also possible that we go back to kind of this stalemate War of Attrition that we’ve been witnessing the past, three months.
Yeah, just to summarize for my own benefit.
Number one is were three months from the end of the war and Ukraine outright winning.
Number two, is this is a false Dawn, Ukraine will have over chanted itself and Achieve Victory.
So quickly at they cut themselves off and your own supply lines and Russian Russia, immediately retakes a lot of the land that Ukraine is now occupying or reoccupying.
Number 3, gambling for Resurrection the possible deployment of nukes, which as you say is, or a tactical nuclear weapons, which as you say is, is in the land of possibility.
But not Sara Lee probable or remotely or closer probable.
And then finally that this is simply an incremental development.
In a broader War of Attrition is that a fair way to sort of summarize that the scenarios absolutely one more.
One more factor.
I just want to insert into this analysis.
Is the factor of material.
I’m thinking back to your analogy to Operation Barbarossa and the fact that Russians push the Nazis, Sue’s me the Soviet Army, push the Nazis out of the Soviet Union in part because they Had all this help from the West right now that help from the West, is funneling towards Ukraine, not Russia, this winter.
However, things could change this.
Winter could go very wrong for Europe, the Nord stream pipeline, shutting down, could create or contribute to a multitrillion-dollar energy shock.
To the European continent is a possibility of outright recession across Europe which could change the calculus for supporting Ukraine.
There’s potential for Republicans to sweep in November and insist.
That you bought the B Administration cut off Aid to Ukraine.
And try to, you know, clampdown on the purse.
So maybe just finally before we go talk about this, this this key factor of material because without the help of all of these countries, the incredible bravery of Ukraine is not going to have the armaments that it needs to secure its Endeavors.
I really like this question because it gets into something that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit over the past few days which is that Up until a few days ago, this was a bilateral war between Ukraine and Russia where the West Was assisting Ukraine, assisting them substantially but it’s just even the way in which Ukraine carried out this counteroffensive.
It’s like at this point, this is truly.
Now a proxy war between the west and Russia that is like Ukraine was able there fighting.
I mean, this is not to take away at all, from with ukrainians are doing and Forces are doing.
But again, they would even say this is possible because of the weapons we have and, you know, and US military planners were assisting in the planning of these operations.
Now, Final Call was by the ukrainians but they’re assisting, the planning providing the intelligence.
They’re doing everything but actually the fighting that’s what the ukrainians are doing.
And so, what that means is that the stakes for what you’re talking about or even higher now.
Because now this is truly a war.
Between the west and Russia.
And if the West certainly backs out because of the scenarios you’re talking about that really puts Ukraine in a tough position because they’re carrying this burden right now largely for themselves.
But also they are.
And this is something that political figures.
Justin Trudeau, talked about this, you know, that Ukraine is representing, you know, our values and so forth.
But Ukraine is fighting on behalf of the West against Russia, Those things start to happen that you just laid out.
That’s going to put Ukraine in a very dire situation, which I think.
And I’ve thought this from the beginning that I think Putin is aware of, that’s why I don’t think the sanctions have concerned him as much.
Not yet, because I still think that he thinks the sanctions won’t last, because of the economic harm leading to political change, the hardships during the winter that could lead to Political change, within these countries.
I think Putin thinks he has time on his side when it comes to the economics.
I think we’re going to learn a lot in the next few months about what price, the West puts its values.
Because those values of liberalism are going to get more and more expensive in the coming months, Professor Paul post, thank you so, so much.
Absolutely, it was my pleasure, I’m Jerry Thompson.
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