Scott and I focused initially on President Biden’s just-completed Excellent Adventure in the Far East and the U.S. effort to woo countries away from China or, at least, pre-empt closer bilateral ties.
I again posed the question (see my brief talk Thursday, embedded here), Why must China’s “win-win” approach be dismissed out of hand – especially when it was so mutually beneficial 50 years ago in reducing tension and keeping the peace?
Recent developments, including talks with Chinese officials, have fortified Scott’s view that China remains extremely reluctant to go to war over Taiwan. Nevertheless, China will do so “in a heartbeat” if Taiwan declares independence and develops a more substantial military relationship with the US.
Bottom line: Scott predicts that the US will be at war with China within six months to a year – and will lose. This could be avoided if the US takes the military aspect out of the equation in confronting China and does the sensible thing in limiting the competition to the economic sphere.
Ray discussed the lemming-like bloc heads now leading the NATO bloc and compared them to statesmen and stateswomen of the past – the German Social Democratic Party’s Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr, for example; and Angela Merkel (no Socialist she), who told President Obama to his face that Germany would not join any effort to send offensive arms to Ukraine. Sadly, serious leaders of the past, experienced in foreign affairs as well as politics, have been replaced by political hacks with little or no experience (or even interest) in Ostpolitik, which yielded a peaceful, mutually beneficial détente in the 1970-80s.
The economic sanctions are already making themselves felt, however, in Germany and elsewhere. And there are preliminary signs that even some bloc-head lemmings may be having serious second thoughts. Fissures are cracking open and expanding among the NATO countries – particularly among those most affected by the sanctions.
Scott reiterated his long-standing view that Russian forces will prevail on the ground in Ukraine, adding that recently they have been performing in a very impressive, professional way. This, despite what the NY Times and Washington Post has been saying, (and even their narrative of Russian “blundering” has begun to change under the force of circumstances). One major question: If Establishment media find themselves forced to acknowledge strong Russian advances in the coming weeks, will they turn on the Biden administration as the mid-term November elections draw near? Snippets of truth have begun to appear in the likes of the NY Times and Washington Post.
The way things have evolved on the ground, serious embarrassment may be unavoidable. Will Biden cut his loses? I suggest the answer to that is No. Rather, with no adults in the room, Biden may instead be persuaded to up the ante (see below). I do hope someone tells the president that the Russians will not back down in the face of escalatory steps they are capable of neutralizing, and that this includes what they call “offensive strike missiles” capable of reaching Russia.
In this context, the trial-balloon-type media reports yesterday afternoon, after our interview, that the US is preparing to send long-range rocket systems to Ukraine, takes on added importance. A final decision by the White House is expected as early as next week.
One key weapons system under discussion is the U.S.-made Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) capable of firing a torrent of rockets 180 miles or more. This is much farther than the systems currently in Ukraine’s inventory, and could put Russia itself within range. This system has been sitting atop the long list of requests from Ukrainian officials, who say it is needed to curb advancing Russian forces in the Donbas. US officials reportedly “have concerns” that Ukrainian forces might end up firing into Russian territory, causing major escalation.
Meanwhile, CNN reports that Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, who was part of a congressional delegation trip to Kyiv earlier this month, told CNN he believes the systems could help Ukraine gain significant momentum against Russia.
Crowing About the MLRS
“I think it could be a game-changer”, Crow** said, not only for offensive attacks but also for defense. He explained that Russian conventional artillery, which has a range of about 50km, “would not get close” to Ukrainian urban centers if MLRS systems were positioned there. “So it would take away their siege tactics,” he said of the Russians.
The Kremlin has warned that any country providing advanced weaponry to Ukraine will face harsh repercussions. Yesterday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the West has “declared total war” against Russia. The Russians would see any attempt to provide MLRS to Ukraine as additional proof of the West’s intent.
I would expect any MLRS that make it into Ukraine to be neutralized as soon as they are detected. And then Lockheed Martin (poor thing) would have to manufacture and sell still more! The money is there; the only problem is how fast it can be spent down. And so it goes.
** Jason Crow styles himself as something of a specialist on Russia. He has asserted that: “Vladimir Putin wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night trying to figure out how to destroy American democracy.”
This originally appeared at RayMcGovern.com.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
20 thoughts on “Ray McGovern and Scott Ritter on Ukraine, Russia, China”
The US will press China’s buttons with Taiwan as they did with NATO in Ukraine. But first they have to prepare the terrain with the Quad and all the rest of the alliances in the Pacific.
They are counting on the lemming bloc heads in the Pacific countries genetically similar to those in Europe. For sure they will find it in Japan (an occupied country) and South Korea, a vassal state. As far as Australia and NZ, they are part of the anglophone clique being groomed to control the world.
Terrific discussion. Blinken and Sullivan are maniacs. Think Hollywood sci fi maniacs.
“He explained that Russian conventional artillery, which has a range of
about 50km, “would not get close” to Ukrainian urban centers if MLRS
systems were positioned there. “So it would take away their siege
tactics,” he said of the Russians.”
Once again, someone with zero concept of military operations has an opinion which is absurd. Has he forgotten Russian air supremacy? Russian air missiles can take anything out far from said target, and if not, land-based missiles can. Does he think Russia can’t see the battlefield?
Morons run this country.
The Russians almost certainly have air superiority.
The Russians almost certainly don’t enjoy air supremacy.
A distinction without a distinction. How many Russian jets have been shot down? How often has Ukrainian jets actually hit Russian ground target – or anything else?
Next to zero. So take that pedantic crap down the road. Half a dozen remaining Ukrainian jets put together of spare parts from others are irrelevant.
You’re sort of like the Notorious Bugblatter Beast from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which believed that if someone couldn’t see it, it couldn’t see them. Only you believe that if you don’t know the meaning of a term, nobody else does either.
I think it’s fair to say that they have air superiority in parts of Ukraine.
They probably have air superiority in parts of Ukraine, and air supremacy in most of the Donbas.
In other parts of Ukraine, they could probably achieve air superiority if they needed to. But if securing the LPR, DPR, and a land corridor to Crimea are their objectives, they only really need to if they know of some developing Ukrainian troop concentration, etc. that might be preparing to make a move in that direction.
I continue to operate on the assumption that the Russian shot-callers aren’t idiots just because they clearly initially misjudged either their own capabilities, their opponents’ capabilities, or both.
“I continue to operate on the assumption that the Russian shot-callers aren’t idiots”
I don’t think they are idiots either, however, the Russian command-structure appears to be extremely inefficient. All tactical decisions seems to be taken by generals, leaving no operational freedom to lower officers. The result has been a rigid force that often fails to exploit various opportunities.
In pretty much every war, all sides make initial mistakes in calculating how effective their forces will be and/or how effective the enemy’s forces will be.
In pretty much every war, defects in existing doctrine that weren’t obvious until large-scale fighting began become apparent.
Neither of those things reflect idiocy on the part of the belligerents. They’re just “fog of war” elements that were there the whole time and not seen until the metal met the meat.
The mark of competency is how they respond to and correct for the initial mistakes and defects. And the CURRENT fog of war makes it hard to know how they’re doing on that count.
“In pretty much every war, defects in existing doctrine that weren’t obvious until large-scale fighting began become apparent.”
That is true, however, what played out north and north east of Kyiv weren’t minor miscalculations. They were total breakdowns and inefficiencies on an enormous scale.
“The mark of competency is how they respond to and correct for the initial mistakes and defects.”
The defeats they suffered around Kharkiv strongly suggests that the leadership is still engaging in gross mismanagement.
The only reason the people in the top haven’t been held accountable is because they answer to no one, one of many deficiencies with dictatorships.
Idiots is a strong word, but given their overall performance I guess it’s fair to call them something similar.
Clearly it would help the Russian army to achieve their objectives, regardless of what they are, if their air force had air suupremacy in the whole of Ukraine. E.g. they could knock out all fuel reserves for the Ukranian army and make sure that most of the weapons from the west never reached the front lines.
The fact that they haven’t been able to do so, tells us a lot about the state of the Russian air force. Clearly they can’t be considered a peer adversary to the US or China.
Military assets are scarce resources. If you’re doing one thing with them, you can’t be doing another thing with them at the same time.
Expecting air supremacy in the whole of Ukraine would be like expecting to be able to buy all of every item at the grocery store.
Also, the Russian forces don’t seem to be very good at combined arms operations. Air supremacy isn’t a value in itself, it’s a value because it makes other things possible. If those other things are already sketchy, worrying about air supremacy per se is missing the point.
Outside of the nuclear arena, neither Russia nor China are “peer adversaries” to the US. China seems to be advancing toward that, while Russia has seemingly largely relied on a fearsome reputation to cover its inadequacies, much as it did during the Cold War when it built lots and lots of tanks and jets that turned out to be janky kludges compared to their US/NATO counterparts.
“Expecting air supremacy in the whole of Ukraine would be like expecting
to be able to buy all of every item at the grocery store.”
Not if you claim to be a super-power, but as you correctly stated, Russia isn’t a peer adversary to the US (even if 90% of the people on this site seem to believe so).
It is obvious that it would be very valuable for Russia if they could dominate the skies, but luckily for Ukraine they can’t.
If nuclear weapons didn’t exist, Ukraine would have defeated all the Russian forces by now with the help of the USAF.
You can understand why the empire is targeting Ritter and McGovern.
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