Doug WiseFormer Deputy Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
Douglas H. Wise served as deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from August 2014 to August 2016. After 20 years of active service in the Army, where he served as an infantry and special operations officer, he spent the rest of his career at the CIA.
Robert PapFormer Senior Executive, CIA
Robert Pap retired from the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior executive with extensive service and command experience abroad. He began his career as a cryptological officer in the US Navy and as a Russian linguist. He holds a PhD in Russian History from Columbia University and an MA in Russian Area Studies from Georgetown University and a BS from the US Naval Academy.
Opinions – According to this article, the massacre continues to escalate, the Russian military jaguar stumbles back and forth and the discussion stagnates. At some point in the not-too-distant future, historians and political scientists will try to answer the question, when did the fight against brutal aggression become a source of inspiration as well as a geopolitical condemnation of a heroic nation?
As Russia’s aggression in Ukraine continues at “full force”, NATO continues with “half-measures” and extremely cautious initiatives. For this article, we define the provision of military aid, the urge for Ukrainians to fight, and the “semi-measure” as an economic “war” against Russia – a response to an attack while avoiding a direct war with the Russian military (the authors believe that NATO in Ukraine Forces should have been deployed before Russian military forces violated Ukraine’s sovereignty).
We believe that in the future those who take extra precautions and do not intervene earlier and more decisively will judge us severely. They will sharply criticize us for harnessing the immense courage and determination of the people of Ukraine. We acknowledge that NATO’s anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, and other equipment and intelligence assistance from NATO member states have made a significant difference on Ukraine’s battlefield. As a result, observers around the world are taking a steady diet of social media images of burnt Russian tanks and helicopters reading the world.
In addition, we express our “solidarity” and internalize some comfort by encouraging Ukrainian resistance while we are inspired by President Zelensky’s courageous disobedience. As we culturally champion the underprivileged, we have a strong hope that the Russian forces are stagnant, have no ammunition, suffer from poor morale and training, are incapable of full victory, and the tide will be in Ukraine’s favor. But hope is not a plan, and we must accept the objective reality that Ukraine cannot force the Russian army out of Ukraine.
Despite the weak military advice Putin received from the leaders of his armed forces, Europe’s largest country matched his own vision of a quick victory, and we have to look objectively at what is happening on our soil. A comparison of the current strategic map of Russian progress with Putin’s infamous “historical” map of an illegitimate Ukrainian state suggests that he is not going to win decisively unless thousands of innocent Ukrainian civilians who have been victorious to Putin are killed. We also want a change of government in Russia. But is Russia really going against it when we are silently pleading for the mothers of those Russian soldiers who were killed in the war against the Putin government? Or are we blinded by our own optimism because we narrowly focus on the embarrassment of street protests, bloggers and newsrooms in Moscow?
We can call Putin a national leader, but it is doubtful that he is really isolated and needs to remember that he enjoys the support of the majority of the Russian population, and it is important to remember that some parts of the world have not spoken out against him. And some are even supporting him. Unable to win on the ground, Putin’s unethical way (which we have already begun to see) is to turn indiscriminately into missile and air strikes and barbaric rocket and artillery attacks on innocent civilians. As Putin became increasingly frustrated with the damage to the ground, he was already “culturally obliged” to use the time-tested Russian method of submission.
Cipher brief Subscriber + Member The only option available to Rob Danenberg, a cipher brief expert and former CIA chief of the Central Eurasia Division, is to increase his assessment, thus ending Putin’s war.
Russia has used these tactics throughout history, from World War II in Berlin, Grozny in Chechnya, and Raqqa in Syria. Since Putin’s inner circle has been personally banned, threatened with the title of war criminal, and facing the final economic collapse of the Russian Federation, they are stuck. Like Putin’s childhood “corner rat”, they have no choice but to join him and fight to the end because their wealth and power are from him and his state.
The injured bear must win and do it quickly. The total war in Ukraine is a logical consequence because half of NATO’s action is unlikely to deter Putin from seeking a complete and unconditional victory. While we may wonder why Russia is pursuing such a violent course, it is important to note that Putin’s “special military operation” is as much about military achievement as it is about humiliating and punishing Ukraine. When we see “irresistible Russian forces encounter with immovable Ukrainian objects”, can we reliably assess that a decisive Ukrainian victory on the ground is achievable?
Ukrainians must die trying, when NATO is constantly debating the broader idea of what constitutes war activity, as well as conveniently defining the limitations of NATO’s moral obligation (“attack on one” in the absence of Article V policy “attack on all”). Avoid doing.
At this point it may be useful to note that the NATO bombing of Belgrade in 1999, in order to protect the Albanians in Kosovo, was carried out in violation of Article V. No one, including the author, encourages Ukrainians to abandon their fate or to sue for peace on strict terms. But who gains and who loses from the continuing genocide and human suffering that NATO’s almost-but-perfectly-well-adequate-turn-tide-military support is inevitably enabling?
Soon the population of Ukraine, which has already seen the flight of nearly three million refugees, will have little left for the cities where it stood but will remain in ruins. The humanitarian effects of this unpleasant Russian devastation on the ground are only beginning to be felt and it is unlikely that the Russian occupiers will receive future humanitarian aid and assistance from the West for fear that it will bring a sense of independence without critically needed food, water, and medical care.
Other victims around the world and far from the killings have not yet been fully defined. As a surrogate for NATO’s military operations, the shiny layers of NATO’s economic war may not yield decisive results, but they will be satisfactory for Western leaders. For now forget the impact on the supply chain and world markets, stock market portfolios, hedge funds and currencies of developed economies. Forget about even potential cyber attacks or potential disabling of the Internet. Instead consider the epic plight of the poorest countries, who are still stunned by the price of wheat in the Middle East and beyond.
One constant of this war is its unpredictability. We are surprised at every turn and it is very possible that despite the cautious steps of NATO we will find ourselves in direct military confrontation with the Russian forces. If that happened then we would all be in for a rude awakening. We missed the opportunity to intervene because the Russians were massively increasing their offensive forces, so now we are fighting with Ukrainian courage while NATO is standing and watching.
Future historians will judge us harshly for exploiting and destroying the gifts that every fallen Ukrainian has given us. Let us respect and applaud the courage, determination and resilience of the people of Ukraine and condemn the barbaric Russian aggression. Let us also not be confused about the real impact of liking that does not change the final outcome in place of decisive NATO support. Cruelty comes in many forms.
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