Understanding the military realities regarding Ukraine
When it comes to a surprise attack against another country, there are two schools of thought. First, you can attack with 100% of your military strength to subdue the country instantly. Call it the "ripping off the Band-Aid" or the "shock and awe" approach to conquest. Second, you can go in with some delicacy to see how much pushback you're going to get from the country before you commit your best troops, especially if you'd like to keep civilian casualties to a minimum. This second tactic, Colonel Douglas MacGregor told Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night, is what Putin opted to do:
Note, too, that MacGregor does not believe that Putin wants to swallow Ukraine whole. Instead, Putin has definite objectives in the eastern half of the country and has been planning his angle of attack for a long time.
Incidentally, I'm not saying MacGregor's take is the correct one. I've heard from other people with good strategic and tactical sense that it's crazy (as noted above) to creep into a country and probe its defenses. In this day and age, you'd better know the defenses going in and be prepared to overwhelm them.
Another person sent around an email noting that, while Putin supplies Europe and America with fuel (and will soon do so for China), within Russia itself, there are fuel shortages. Whether that's true or not, it certainly seems to be the case that the Russian convoy is suffering from food and fuel shortages. Given what happened to both Napoleon's and Hitler's troops in Russia, one would think Putin would have paid attention to the dictum often attributed to Napoleon that "an army marches on its stomach" (and, nowadays, on its fuel tanks) and would have made sure that his troops were properly equipped.
To add another dimension to the debate about what Putin was thinking when he crafted his military strategy, it's clear that the Russians are now upping their game and fighting more aggressively against Ukraine's population centers.
Frankly, from a military point of view, Colonel MacGregor's take on matters made sense to me, but I'd be lying to you if I said I had any special insights on the subject that make me worth listening to.
Image: Colonel Douglas MacGregor. YouTube screen grab.