How Far Will Russian Tanks Go Into Ukraine?

This originally appeared at

Ray appeared on Tommy’s Podcast (Thomas Harrington) January 14, 2023 on Rumble.

I don’t think President Putin wants to occupy all, or even most, of Ukraine. That would be the kind of really stooooooped thing Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld would try to do.

But, if the U.S. really wants to avoid war with Russia, it must realize that, barring the use of nuclear weapons, Russia is not only determined to prevail but has the means to prevail. What has gone on in Ukraine over the last nine years poses an existential threat to Russia. It will not tolerate an existential threat.

Putin is not paranoid. He has heard from US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that:

“One of the US’s goals in Ukraine is to see a weakened Russia. … The US is ready to move heaven and earth to help Ukraine win the war against Russia.”

Russian military intelligence (like all military intelligence) must weigh CAPABILITIES, more than intentions. Can the US achieve Austin’s goal? No. Not without using nuclear weapons. President Biden says he doesn’t want to do that, because that would mean WWIII.

Thus, there is a gapingly large conceptual disconnect. Biden and his sophomore advisers do not seem to “get it”, and this makes it exceptionally dangerous.

Simply, the US cannot have both: “win the war against Russia” AND avoid WWIII. This has been clear for many months. The fact that the sophomores don’t “get it” puts the Russians on high alert – prepared for anything. How far west into Ukraine they will go, depends on some sanity and flexibility in Washington, of which there is not a plentiful supply.

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).

19 thoughts on “How Far Will Russian Tanks Go Into Ukraine?”

  1. The danger of nuclear war was great when the U.S. got directly and openly involved, and it’s still great. I’ve said all along that the most important thing in this war is to avoid nuclear war; all else is secondary. Biden, Zelensky, and Putin have all threatened nuclear war at some point. Psychopaths all, and no one is doing anything to stop any of them.

    1. Putin only “threatened” nuclear war should the West initiate it. At no time did they ever threaten anyone with them as a first strike as the US says it will do so whenever it feels like it. Will that change? Based on the history of lies that the West engages in… definitely.

      1. That may be, but I don’t abide anyone threatening the use of nuclear weapons for any reason. The U.S. already knows that if it launches nuclear weapons at Russia, Russia has an automatic system that will launch its nukes at the U.S. Threatening use of these horrible weapons is inexcusable, period.

        And to be clear, I’m very far from being a USA, USA Russia hater. I blame the U.S. for this war far more than Russia, even though Russia invaded and I don’t support that. But again, avoiding nuclear war has to take precedence over all else here, and threatening to use nuclear weapons for any reason just makes nuclear war more likely.

    2. The danger is I think not so much that anyone wants a nuclear war. That would be a small problem compared to what is actually going on, which means that all outcomes in terms of winning and losing a war, thus save a diplomatic settlement – which no one sees happening (even Kissinger has thrown in the towel) leads to nuclear war despite alle efforts to avoid, deny or worse trying to manage it. All that remains now is to try and stretch the duration of the countdown. And then we will all go down together.

      1. I’m extremely concerned and worried about nuclear war due to U.S. involvement here. However, my outlook isn’t as bleak as yours. I never give up hope, and will never stop advocating against U.S. involvement here or nuclear war, I see no alternative.

        1. It’s perfectly possible that I’m completely wrong of course. I hope so. I can’t help but notice that if there possibly was a dim chance to abort this spiral in the very beginning after the invasion, it faded very quickly and has now totally disappeared. Today I don’t think a solution exists compatible with a viable Ukraine.
          The US sees itself as not able to permit even the perception of anything other than a decisive victory against such a weak power as Russia, vis a vis US’s China policy. Russia sees its very survival at stake. They are simply not going to back down, even if ultimately that means nuclear war. Then there is no solution for Ukraine’s security interests (let alone completely unrealistic goals like taking back Crimea) compatible with that of Russia. Kissinger acknowledged that fact, I think, by stating that Ukraine neutrality is no longer a meaningful concept. That means, as far as I can see, this war has no end with both states surviving. And the US-Nato alliance has no interest whatsoever in ending this war without Russian humiliation and eliminating them off the shortlist of great powers.

          1. The facts you state are true & correct. But that doesn’t mean that people can’t change their minds, as often happens during wars when one side realizes that it’s better to negotiate than to get wiped out or face other catastrophic results. My realistic expectations here are not good, but I’m not giving up hope.

          2. Indeed, people can change their minds. But to the best of my knowledge and experience that happens very rarely under perceived existential threat. And there is no debate. Scholars are being cancelled for the slightest deviation of revealed truth. Calling for diplomacy gets you first a litany of derision then blacklisted. I cannot recall any time in which our national media has been so monotonously propagandistic, unapologetically belligerent and cryptoracist, and our press freedom is still listed slightly above places like Bhutan or Moldova (which by the way the US doesn’t.) So, it’s not easy to be hopeful, this is why I admire your attitude. You’re a better man than me. (That’s a much milder compliment than it might seem, because I’m not that much good anyway.)

  2. It’s already world war 3; the US is sending Ukrainians to attack Russia and positioning Japan and South Korea for an attack on China. So far it looks like Israel is the only volunteer to attack Iran.

    Seventy percent of Americans are too fat to fight and that’s why South Korea and Japan will have to supply the troops for China. Capitalist war mongers don’t care who does the actual fighting as long as US taxpayers are rich enough to squeeze a little more from.

    1. And the few fit americans like me? well, lets see, It seems I never got my induction notice. I must have been out vacationing with my family, like young men ought to be doing in time of war.

      America failed to enforce the draft in the 1980s. Why on earth should that change now?

        1. And how on earth does that change the enforceability of the draft? They had FBI agents going door to door attempting to deliver draft notices and induct people. these kidnap gangs failed to produce an army, so it was called off. How does changing Afghanistan out for Russia change anything? The draft is no longer enforceable, and never again will be.

  3. Good synopsis. As long as DC doesn’t start believing its own theater we’re OK, but as the author notes, sanity is not DC’s best subject, and this isn’t just another dust up in Wherethehellistan. We should be aware that with the government, the media, and the public all barking from the same hymnal there’s a real possibility of this thing coming off the rails and going nuclear.

  4. One point that makes america more hawkish than it ought to be: the military generals continue to believe if all out war breaks, they’ll be able to fall back on the draft. This is not the case at all!

    The draft utterly failed in the 1980s. It is completely unenforceable. This is not the ace in their hand that they think it is. There will be vast non compliance.

  5. Everyone calls them World Wars, but it would be more accurate to describe them as European wars of colonial dominance. They all have become accustomed to plundering the world and living at its expense, so much so that they consider any conflict of theirs to become the worlds foremost concern. Can’t really blame them, for half the planet is named after a shady European slaver named Amerigo Vespucci. Tell me, how many other continents are named after some shady guy and who decided this? Anyway, in each case Russia finds itself unwittingly pulled into aforementioned conflicts. In the latest two iterations of The European Wars it was and will be Russian weapons that decide the outcome.

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