Geopolitics Update [i]
Ukraine, Argentina, and the Middle East
Some time has passed since my last geopolitics update, and there are several topics that we need to talk about. Nevertheless, I would argue that no critical events have taken place apart from the ongoing tragedies in Ukraine and the Middle East. I will be a little less detailed today, but there is still a lot to say about recent developments. The initial focus will be entirely on some developments in Ukraine.
I already communicated my thoughts about the general status of the war in my previous geopolitical update. In short, the Ukrainian combat effectiveness has dropped to a very low level. Almost to the bottom. Which I called ISIS level, i.e., armed men with Kalashnikovs and pickup trucks. No, they haven’t reached that phase yet, but they are just short of reaching it. We learned that if the combat effectiveness is low, one needs to invest exponentially more infantry to reach the desired results: In this case, holding the line.
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Russia’s combat effectiveness is currently the highest in the world. I am not saying that Russia has the strongest army in the world. Maybe America still does, maybe not. Maybe Russia has surpassed America. This is not the topic that I want to discuss here. What I want to say is that Russia has without a doubt the most experienced functioning and well-lubricated military war machine in the world. In my opinion, a possible unit of measurement for this combat effectiveness could be the following: The number of infantry units needed to conquer a predefined standard military fortress. (A theoretical one, for the sake of objectivity and comparability).
The number is, of course, low if you have well-trained soldiers with a high degree of unit cohesion, and using top level ISR, technology, and equipment.
On the other hand, the number increases exponentially in the case of low combat effectiveness.
The Russian military has experienced almost two years of high-tech warfare and has developed a well-functioning military industry and a well-grounded military training and education system beyond the reach of the enemy, and it is at the highest possible degree of combat effectiveness. The opposite is true for Ukraine.
The West is currently dumping everything it can in terms of Ukrainian human potential against the Russians, with the lowest possible investment, since the end is near. The goal of the West is to still cause the greatest damage to Russian human resources. To be clear, the Russian human potential is both Ukrainians and Russians, since the Ukrainians will soon be part of Russia again. Hence, to be entirely clear, the main target of destruction of this war is no longer the core Russian territory or Russian soldiers (or regime change in Russia), but especially and solely everything Ukrainian, since it will go back to Russia soon.
For months now, I have read reports about the situation in Kherson. How it could be critical and that the Ukrainians are about the break through at the Kherson front, to reach Crimea. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing the Western MSM. Their purpose is to write such stories, to keep the Western people committed to the war. To keep the morale of the people high by sowing the perception for almost the last two years that victory is right around the corner and the western audience needs only to suffer economically for a few more days and they will win everything.
I’m not referring to these (Western) psyops professionals. I’m referring to people from the independent media, and also to bloggers who usually see things more clearly. But in the case of Kherson, they were spreading doom and gloom.
Okay, there were mistakes on the Russian side at the beginning. I personally assume, without being able to verify it, that Russia has been surprised by the Ukrainian cynicism and haven’t prepared properly for an impossible scenario. What do I mean by that?
Last year I wrote extensively about the Russian withdrawal from Kherson, from the right bank of the Dnieper River. It had solely to do with the question of sustainability of maintaining offensive potential across a major river. It was possible for Russia, but it didn’t make any sense to invest that excessive resource demand for no real return. Russia withdrew across the river to save its precious resources in order to be able to use them at other fronts far more effectively.
Now Russia is a superpower in terms of availability of resources. Availability at the frontlines with relative (but not total) impunity in terms of logistics. Under such circumstances, Russia could have been able to sustain its bridgehead across the river. Ukraine does not have the same resource capability. It is not a resource superpower. And its logistics routes are within the reach of Russia’s weapons. Not only in the proximity of the frontline, but also in the rear.
There is no theoretical scenario where Ukraine could sustain any kind of offensive potential across the Dnieper River. I understand logistics, and I can assure you of that. So, what is/was the purpose of the Ukrainian landing parties in Kherson? The thing I have mentioned numerous times in my blog. Stretching the resources and logistics of the enemy. By maintaining a cheap bridgehead across the river, Ukraine makes sure that Russia is forced to divert precious resources from the real frontlines in order to repel the Ukrainian forces from establishing a strong position on the left bank of the Dnieper. Especially resources such as artillery, drones, missiles, reconnaissance, air defense, and electronic warfare equipment against drones.
Why is that bridgehead cheap? Because only cheap speedboats, infantry, and light weapons need to be transferred. No heavy equipment with all of its requirements in terms of logistics is needed. By sending an endless stream of infantry over the river (which gets constantly destroyed), Ukraine maintains a cheap distraction of Russian resources.
Russia made mistakes here, at the beginning, since it didn’t expect such a cynical behavior. Until a containment zone with all necessary equipment, troops, logistics and command centers have been established, it was somehow possible for the Ukrainian landing parties to create some kind of havoc in the Kherson region. Nothing serious, but still a pain that should not happen. The situation is now under control and the landing region is a containment zone, established by the Russians. Every unit that lands there, and is able to establish a position, gets destroyed.
Why are these landing parties not destroyed right after the landing? Well, there are a lot of reasons. And I guess that logistics and reconnaissance are important reasons here. Still, it is a huge area and we are talking about small units and boats. But I also think that Russia turned the game around. By letting the soldiers land in Kherson and take positions, Russia doesn’t kill their hope. Which encourages the Ukrainian command to continue. The real damage is being inflicted by Russia on the Ukrainian side of Kherson, with strikes behind the lines. Logistics equipment is being destroyed there, which is very important, since it is getting more and more scarce. This in turn complicates the overall logistics situation for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
For these reasons, I assume that the landings in Kherson will slow down and eventually cease in the near future.
Avdeevka is an interesting place currently. Many people are comparing the situation with Artemovsk (Bakhmut). There are some parallels, but there are also some differences. I’m going to name a few.
What is especially interesting is that Ukraine seems to have abandoned the practice of taking Russian civilians as hostages and transferring them to industrial zones. In almost all big fights in this war, this has been the common practice (see Mariupol or Severodonetsk). In other words, take several hundred pro-Russian civilians, and withdraw into a major industrial enterprise, as the Russian troops approach. This has two advantages for the Ukrainians:
Russia tries to save every single civilian life, as far as is rationally possible. Hence, Russia won’t use big bombs and guns against such structures if civilians are present.
Withdrawing and/or sheltering in major industrial enterprises brings an advantage for the (militarily commanding) West, in that it is ensured that the industrial facilities in the new Russian regions are destroyed. These enterprises usually employ tens of thousands of people, and these people will be unemployed after the war if the enterprises are destroyed. At least for as long as it takes to rebuild. This inflicts costs on Russia, binds its resources, and unemployed people are potential protesters. Especially if they are not entirely Russia friendly.
Russia is currently fighting for the Avdeevka industrial zone and also for the coke plant, although recent reports indicate that the industrial zone has been taken. I haven’t found evidence yet that civilian hostages have been taken. Maybe I oversaw it? Maybe there were no Russian civilians left? Maybe Ukraine abandoned this practice? Who knows? I only find it important to highlight this Ukrainian strategy. It was also used in Artemovsk.
Of course, the other big difference is that this is not a Wagner operation. Hence, instead of sending in assault detachments (prisoners) with a low probability of survival, Russia is using modern combined-arms tactics to approach fortified areas and buildings. Especially heavy suppression is being applied against possible nests of resistance with dire consequences for the Ukrainian “defenders”. At the same time this saves the lives of the Russian soldiers. According to my information, the Russian assault detachments are suffering very few losses. The biggest threat remains the enemy artillery with cluster ammunition. If the Russian side fails to suppress that, it always costs a lot of Russian lives.
Well, what I want to say is that we are seeing here the classic combined-arms doctrine employed by Russia to take this city. It is being conducted very professionally. Still, I believe that the cauldron won’t be closed until the end for obvious reasons. Always let the enemy fight in the least favorable place. Of course, supplying troops through a semi opened cauldron with fire control is the worst possible situation for fighting. It has the potential, to kill tens of thousands of Ukrainians. Unfortunately for the Ukrainian families, the Ukrainian leaders are not very keen to save any lives of their soldiers.
How long will the siege take? It will take as long as Ukraine is willing and able to resupply the garrison in Avdeevka. The same story as in Artemovsk. When Russia saw that the Ukrainian ability to hold the garrison dwindled, Russia put an end to it. Hence, it will grind as much meat as possible and then it will close. That might be in two weeks or it could be in six months. For Russia it is absolutely favorable to destroy the Ukrainian army in a place which is already entirely destroyed. If Russia moved deeper into the Donbass, to places that are still intact, Russia would need to destroy those places as well. Remember the large industrial enterprises?
The best, but unlikely, outcome for Russia would be if Ukraine keeps pushing what is left of its mobilization potential into already existing front cities where Russia can destroy the mobilized there. Whether that is probable or not is an entirely different story.
Now I hear often the question whether Avdeevka is strategically important or not. And I feel the same vibes like in Artemovsk. First, it was the most important city in Ukraine. Later, it wasn’t important at all. I assume we will witness the same story again.
Is Avdeevka actually important or not? Well, it is exactly as important as any other town, city, or village on the contact line. Not less and not more. Ukraine would be forced to defend the smallest village at any point of the line of contact in Donbass as it is forced to defend Artemovsk. Yes, I know, since it is in close proximity to Donetsk, it has maybe a little bit more importance because it gives Ukraine the ability to exercise pressure on Russia because of the attacks on the Donetsk civilians.
Why is Avdeevka only as important as a small village somewhere else? Because it is about the chain-of-defense. In classic maneuver and combined-arms warfare, large military formations try to penetrate the weakest point in the enemy defense chain to develop wedge-shaped pincers around strategic towns such as Avdeevka. Such armies would seek to penetrate as quickly as possible the weakest points and to develop an envelopment fist around bigger cities. The Second World War was full of that. And we saw it even in Syria from 2015-2018 by the Russian commanded Syrian armies. Especially by the Tiger Forces (Suhail al-Hasan). The exception was Aleppo. In Aleppo we saw the usage of the strategy that is now employed in Ukraine.
Russia doesn’t seek to penetrate quickly and to move forward to gain territory. Russia seeks to preserve its soldiers, as well as Ukrainian civilians, the Ukrainian infrastructure, and enterprises because Russia will be responsible for a large part of Ukraine (its former territory) going forward. Hence, we don’t see maneuver warfare, but the typical semi-cauldrons, designed to bury the Ukrainian mobilization potential in it, where it is the most favorable.
Game of Kiev
I personally do not believe that there is a big fight between President (???) Zelensky and the military leadership around General Zaluzhny. There are unlimited ways to get rid of Zelensky if he becomes uncomfortable. He is guarded by hundreds of MI5 agents. Hence, the West has full access to every possible scenario to get rid of him.
In reality, so I believe, there is a division of tasks. Zelensky is the public figure whose sole task is to collect money and motivate the Ukrainian and Western civilians to keep on fighting. I truly doubt that he is in charge of the military. He is not qualified to do that. The West knows that. It would never, not from the beginning, let him have any kind of access to the military. In fact, the Ukrainian campaign is being commanded from bases in Germany and Poland, and the staff of Zaluzhny is the interface between the NATO command and the Ukrainian army.
I assume that the public split between Zaluzhny and Zelensky is rather a prepared script to ensure the exit/evacuation plans of the highest Ukrainian leaders (traitors). The American services know very well how the war is going, and what will happen and what will not happen. As long as the industrial disposal of the Ukrainian (Russian!) people is going well, everything is fine. But there will be a point when Ukraine as a state will start to collapse. And at this point we only need to think back on what happened in Afghanistan when NATO withdrew. Remember the people falling from planes? Soon, this is going to happen with all the traitors of the Ukrainian people. This time with trains… The Ukrainians would/will kill all the current traitors on sight.
I guess the script to evacuate Zelensky is slowly but steadily being activated. Welcome to Miami… *sing*.
I’m not an expert of Argentina. Hence, I will keep this section very short and superficial. First of all, I think that the best possible president is the person who increases the quality of living of his people. Hence, the president who is truly working for his people should win election. Is Javier Milei such a President? I have no idea. At the least I wish that he is, for the sake of the Argentinian people.
The situation was very bad in Argentina, and it is entirely understandable that the people would elect someone/something entirely different than it was before. Still, one should ask the question: why has the situation been so bad…
But now, let’s go through a few indicators.
Milei wants to introduce the Dollar as a state currency in Argentina. This is very dangerous. In the short term he will have success, because it will stabilize inflation. Argentina had an inflation rate above 100%. In the short term, one can see several incentives. Considering the long-term consequences of losing the sovereignty of its own currency, the prospects for Argentina are bad. Especially in terms of having some kind of influence on the own imports and exports by working with the exchange rates and controlled inflation.
Argentina’s foreign trade will be at the mercy of a foreign power. Essentially the same problem that many Euro-adopting EU states have had.
Foreign controlled central banks are toxic. Has Argentina’s central bank been foreign-controlled? I don’t know. As I said, I’m not expert in that region. Still, completely getting rid of the central bank is a problem. One loses a lot of influence and leverage to adjust its local economy and trade if needed.
Personally, I see some short-term improvements, and then a far bigger crisis in the long term. But I won’t comment further on that without doing more proper research about the matter.
That Argentina would most likely not join BRICS has already been discussed, right after the summit in South Africa. So it was not shocking to me; it was expected. So, no big deal. For President Lula of Brazil, it is most likely an embarrassment. And for the whole of BRICS, it is a waste of one candidate. Instead of Argentina, another candidate could have been invited. But it is what it is.
By the way, I disagree with commentators, who argue that Argentina would have been bad for BRICS because of its economic problems. It would be a burden.
People who argue that way don’t understand what BRICS is. It is not an economic union like the EU, where one sick member pulls down all other members. BRICS is a political forum where all members are equal (multipolarity) partners. Hence, it would neither be good nor bad if Argentina joins. Maybe it would have been a geopolitical gain because of the geography. But that’s all.
I’m convinced that Argentina will sooner or later join BRICS. But it indeed shouldn’t have been invited yet, since it was already discussed back then that Milei would win and withdraw from BRICS. Not the brightest move. But here we are. Lula insisted.
In fact, I can’t comment much about the fighting on the ground. I haven’t been able to follow that front closely enough these days. What I can say certainly, is that things are still developing according to the framework I presented in my previous update. Fortunately, and as I assumed in the that article, there is no regional escalation yet. It very well could still develop according to my outlined escalation ladder, but for now it has not happened.
And here is what I assume is going on: the Americans decided to protect their precious asset, Israel, with a significant navy force. As I explained before, the Western Oligarchs are using Israel to control the world economy with a divide-and-conquer strategy for the entire middle east. That’s what I meant: they decided to protect their precious asset. Of course, the oligarchs don’t care for the Israeli or Palestinian people.
The US Navy gathered an impressive armada across the region, including an Ohia-class nuclear submarine. In fact, the force actually is impressive. And according to the information I received, the US Army, US Navy, and the Marines are actually ready and equipped to protect Israel and its occupation of Iraq and parts of Syria. This is significant. I guess the ball to escalate is now in Iran’s and Hezbollah’s hands. I can’t make any predictions or estimations, but it is very tense. We pray for peace. Especially, for the people caught between the belligerents.
If something significant in the regions happens, I will take time to analyze it properly and give you an update. For now, my previous articles are still valid.
In the next days I will release an economics update and then I’ll start writing Economics and Empires 6.
[i] Edited by Piquet (PiquetEdit@gmail.com)
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