To win the war in Ukraine, the United States needs to think outside the box. Whether or not it can remains to be seen.
At this point, the war is not front page news. The daily battles seem like more of the same and not anything new. Maybe if the Russian Air Force entered the fray that would be a game changer.
In public, we hear that Russia has sustained massive casualties. The number mentioned is over 200,000 dead and/or wounded. That is the same number we have hearing for weeks if not months. It calls into question that validity of the number.
In public, we hear that Russia is running low on artillery shells. Similarly that is a claim that has been made for weeks in not months. There always seem to be more.
One shocking image that has surface comes from space. It shows the map of Ukraine and the lights that are being generated. The photo of a nearly black country then is compared to a map of Ukraine prior to the artillery bombardment. The difference in palpable. These images attest the success of the Russian artillery barrage targeting infrastructure even without the Air Force joining the battle. If one were to judge the present status of the war based on these images, one would conclude that Russia is winning. If one were to judge the status of the war based on the facts on the ground, one would conclude that Russia is winning. Ukraine looks like Germany after the Allied bombing or Georgia after Sherman marched through it.
ARSENAL OF DEMOCRACY
During World War II, the United States became known as the arsenal of democracy. The nickname refers to the unleashing of American industrial might on behalf of the Allied cause. America’s multiple civilian factories were transitioned into producing the arms and armaments necessary to support the cause. Cars could become tanks. Civilian planes could become war planes. The very power the Japanese feared could be unleashed was, in fact unleashed.
Recently we have been exposed to the double fallacy of transferring the lessons of the past to today. First, there was a big to-do about whether or not to supply Ukraine with the tanks it needed. When the European nations advocating a more robust and immediate response to Ukraine’s plea, their own arsenals were found wanting. These countries had very few tanks to begin with and those they had often were is disrepair.
For that matter, NATO’s military production has been allowed to whither in country after country … especially if they did not border Russia. No one needed Donald Trump to decimate NATO as a fighting force, NATO had done it to itself. No matter how willing countries were to come to the military aid of Ukraine, they simply were unable to do so. They did not have the infrastructure necessary to manufacture the equipment needed and what they did have in stock often was not working.
Unfortunately, some of these shortcomings extended to the United States. Much of American manufacturing has been outsourced to China. Furthermore, technology changes since World War II mean it is not so easy to convert an automobile production line to a modern tank. Gearing up to produce war planes – in the event it comes to that – takes time. In fact up and down the line for the military equipment needed, expanding production to meet Ukrainian needs requires years.
Times have changed. Once upon a time, the Unites States military was supposed to be combat ready to fight two and one-half wars. We are not even remotely capable so doing. True the military budget is huge but is it adequate to fight one and one-half wars where the one is China for when it invades Taiwan? The answer clearly is “No.” We talk about the United States as a global power and have aircraft carriers around the world with many bases (including now back in the Philippines) but that does not translate into being ready for combat.
No one expected a land war in Europe such as the one we are fighting now. Perhaps after this war is over, it will be possible to indulge in such fantasies … unless, of course, even with Ukrainian victory this is only round one until Russia gears up again for round two (unlikely).
Still our ability to successfully predict the type of war to be fought has not been so good. We did not predict an Afghan type war. Nor were we prepared for a Ukrainian type war. This means as we strategize for future military encounters even with such likely opponents as China and Iran, we must recognize that they will be different from the current war.
OUTSIDE THE BOX
At this point everyone is expecting more of the same. The documents recently disclosed are not a recipe for success. They are a commitment to stay the course. The hope is that if Putin is living in the real world and not his isolated bubble, he will realize that he cannot win in Ukraine and eventually call of the war. He will have to content himself with a decimated foe even if it still exists as a country. The darken sky tells the story.
Sad to say, what the United States should do hasn’t changed since last year. Here are excerpts from that blog of thinking outside the box.
March 28, 2022
The time then is now for the United States to take the initiative.
In my last post (Putin Isn’t the Only Loser: Trump and the Woke Are Too), I mentioned Herbert Hoover and the Marshall Plan as two examples of the United States helping to build Europe back better. Now it is time to start planning to do the same in Ukraine.
We know the areas which have been devastated by Russian artillery. We know that there are mountains of rubble that need to be disposed of in some way. We know that there are buildings still partially standing in a dilapidated state that will have to be demolished adding to the rubble.
We have the expertise to conduct a giant 9/11 removal project. Now instead of it being two buildings, it will be cities as it was in Europe after World War II.
President Joe Biden should immediately call for the creation of a team of nations and construction companies to begin the planning for the removal of the Russian rubble. The planning for this international effort should begin now and it should be public.
President Joe Biden should then call for the creation of a team of nations, city planners, and construction companies to begin the planning for the rebuilding of the cities destroyed by Russian artillery. Working with the Ukrainians who lived in and governed these cities, city planners, architects, and engineers should begin planning for the new cities to be built once the Russian rubble is removed.
The time to start planning for the cleaning up of the Ukrainian cities and their rebuilding is now. We should not wait until the last minute. We should not wait until Putin allows us to do so. We should show the world now that we are planning now for the future of the country. We should show the refugees that they will have a country to which to return. We should show Russia that the Ukraine will not be destroyed.
The planning for the assembling of the “Cranes for Ukraine” convoys should start now. We saw how long it took for Putin to assemble his equipment for destruction. It will take time to assemble the equipment for construction.
Sadly, a year from now, there is a good chance I will be able to write a third version of this blog.