Since the Spring of 1988 … the Western consensus of Sovietological opinion has become an automaton intolerant of dissent, even as public debate on the subject has narrowed. The pronouncements of veteran ‘anti-communists,’ once against disoriented by ideological change in Moscow, are a tangle of self-contradiction and self-deception.Andrei Navrozov, 1991
The more things change, the more they stay the same. And so, confusion reigns again. Navrozov’s brilliant little book, The Coming Order, fell on deaf ears in 1991. In Chronicles Magazine, Arnold Beichman reviewed and debunked Navrozov with a self-satisfied and stupid polemic. In the spring of 1992, I spoke briefly about Beichman’s hit-piece and Navrozov’s book with Patrick J. Buchanan. He responded by saying that he thought Beichman had put Navrozov in his place. I begged to differ. There was something to what Navrozov was saying, I told him. Buchanan’s parting remark was, “Good luck with that.”
I do not believe Buchanan ever read Navrozov’s book. And it is evident that Buchanan never reconsidered his interpretation of the “fall of the Soviet Union.” Today a Soviet civil war rages. Moscow is putting the Soviet Union back together again and many conservatives are cheering for Moscow. Few understood the events of 1989-1991. These events, in retrospect, are more critical than ever.
Below are passing notes on the war in Ukraine. Afterwards, I have posted a follow-up to an earlier conversation with Trevor Loudon on communist strategy. During the interview I misspoke by referring to Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko as an “actor” when I meant to say “athlete.”
Notes on the War
- Prologue to invasion: (a) On the eve of the invasion, Putin designates what he is about to do as a Special Operation; (b) He says that the breakup of the Soviet Union was illegal. Ukraine is already Moscow’s territory. You do not invade your own territory. Therefore, any outside interference with his invasion would be aggression. THE IMPLICATION BEING that Moscow will use nuclear weapons if anyone interferes.
- The decision to invade: (a) This decision was almost certainly taken before last summer or earlier because the first movement of troops into Belarus, to prepare for the staging of other troops, began in August; (b) Last summer Putin published an essay, “On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians” which justified a future invasion; (c) Going even further back, last April Russian cities were instructed prepare graves for a mass casualty event related to war. This preparation was finalized on February 1, 2022.
- QUESTION: Why invade in February 2022? Given that the invasion date was chosen between April and August of last year, why did they pick February? (a) The first answer is, in February the ground is usually frozen enough to support armored operations; (b) the threat of cutting off Germany’s energy supplies is more potent in mid-winter.
- DID THE PLAN MISCARRY? It now appears that Russia expected a quick victory. However, the weather did not cooperate, the ground was soft instead of frozen. Heavy vehicles will sink in soft ground, immobilized when exiting a paved road. An attacker under such conditions would be forced into narrow attack corridors along paved roads (except where airborne and air mobile forces could be used for flanking. Attacks of this kind can be repulsed by a determined and vigilant defender.
- QUESTION: Seeing that the snow was melting, that the ground was soft instead of frozen in late February, why didn’t Moscow call off the operation? That is the BIG mystery.
- Possible explanations are as follows: (a) By refusing to mobilize Ukraine’s reserve forces during the Russian buildup on Ukraine’s border, and by publicly denying that an invasion would take place, Zelensky signaled weakness to Moscow; (b) Less certain information here comes into play. I am told by Ukrainian sources that, in addition to this, the SBU fed false information to Moscow about Ukraine’s willingness to fight; (c) Taking an overly optimistic view, Moscow thought they could simply march into Ukraine and the resulting panic would lead to rapid collapse.
- THE ACTUAL INVASION. Clausewitz, the philosopher of war, called friction the force that turns the easy into the difficult. Famously, Clausewitz wrote: “Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. The difficulties accumulate and end by producing a kind of friction that is inconceivable unless one has experienced war.” The Russians failed to take Ukraine or surround Kiev in a few days.
- RUSSIAN SUCCESSES. In the south of Ukraine, the Russians broke out from Crimea, their one major success.
- DEADLOCK. The war in Ukraine will probably remain stalemated until the sun comes out and the ground dries. Then the Russian numbers can be used to flank the defending Ukrainian brigades and destroy them. Therefore, in May or June Ukraine will be crushed by superior Russian numbers.
- THE WEST VERSUS RUSSIA. The danger of conflict with Russia will intensify as Ukraine collapses. (a) First, Russian economic warfare measures will be fully focused on the countries that have supported Ukraine; that is, on NATO and the USA; (b) China will be emboldened by Russia’s late victory in Ukraine; (c) The West will be in moral shock, horrified at the fate of Ukraine, and false narratives about the defeat of Ukraine will abound on every side.
- The danger of nuclear war will then be real. MOSCOW’S FOCUS WILL BE ON NATO. China will then have an incentive to activate its position in the Far East. We are ALSO told that Iran is about to acquire nuclear weapons. All pots come to a boil at once, and this will not be a coincidence. There is a curious timing here. (a) This war follows on the heels of the damaging COVID pandemic; (b) It coincides with Iranian strikes against Saudi oil capacity; (b) it coincides with the Presidency of Joseph Biden, a man who has always worked for the weakening of America’s strategic deterrent.
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