Western military equipment destroyed in Ukraine
There is little doubt that Russia will be successful. While the Ukrainian army may be able to delay the Russians, it lacks any ability to stop them cold. If Ukraine tries to bring in extra forces to bolster their chances, they open themselves up to Russian threats elsewhere along the line of contact, writes Stephen Bryen, a former deputy under Secretary of Defense.
Avdeevka, no matter its importance, is just an excuse for Zelensky. He needs loyal people around him as his situation becomes more precarious. His European and American allies, who still say they want to give him what he wants in arms and financial aid, understand that Ukraine can't stand up to Russian military pressure.
That is why Europe is now in a panic and Washington is searching for a new policy.
Europe believes that if Russia wins in Ukraine, as now seems likely, then Europe is threatened by Russia and Europeans are not prepared. NATO's chiefs, and politicians in Germany, Sweden, Holland,Estonia, Poland and elsewhere are clamoring for strengthening NATO's defenses. The nearly five-month long NATO exercise, starting in late January, is an effort to demonstrate to Russia that NATO will stand and fight. But the exercise may also show the Russians just what they need to do if a conflict does come.
Europe has little to fall back on, as Europe's security is acutely dependent on the United States. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, perhaps well before, the Europeans have focused on social spending and have invested little in defense programs. Worse still, many of them have taken their strategic reserve war material and sent it to Ukraine, leaving them with empty shelves and warehouses. In Germany, which was supposed to rebuild its armed forces under the slogan Zeitenwende (Turning Point), the German government has been raiding the $108 billion dollar fund to give money and arms to Ukraine.
While Russia appears to have ordered its defense manufacturing companies to work additional shifts to produce armaments, little has been done in Europe or the United States to really move forward production. Instead there are labor shortages, supply chain issues, and slow procurement orders. Meanwhile the US has unloaded most of its critical war fighting supplies, sent to Ukraine, leaving great uncertainty if America could rescue Europe, even if it wanted to do so.
Putting aside the credibility, or lack thereof, of any imminent Russian threat to Europe, the US is changing its policy and is recognizing that it cannot win a conventional war against Russia. (Which also means that it can't win a conventional war against China, maybe not even Iran or the miniscule Houthis.) All of this is clearly visible in Iraq where US bases and installations are regularly bombed by Iranian militias, following orders from Tehran. Their goal is for US troops to leave Iraq and Syria and, accomplishing that, demonstrate that the US is unreliable and unfit to depend upon, concludes Stephen Bryen.
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