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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2022 3:17 pm
 


When Russia invaded Ukraine, many people thought Russia would easily win. They were surprised by Ukraine’s resistance and the Russian offensive’s breakdown. Now, some commentators are wondering if Ukraine could win, treating the idea as if it was a shock. History shows that these kinds of wars aren’t a foregone conclusion, though. Sometimes the side that looks weaker on paper still wins because of any number of factors.

The United States is a classic example. Although the American colonists were outgunned by the British Empire, France and Spain helped the colonists with their own troops and large amounts of material aid. That help, along with British incompetence, sealed the Americans’ victory.

When Italy tried to colonize Ethiopia in the 1890s, the Ethiopians won in part because they knew the terrain and acquired better weapons than the Italians. They were also fighting to keep their homeland free from colonialism. The Italian troops were low-morale conscripts fighting with outdated weapons. Ethiopia winning the Battle of Adwa shocked Italy so much that it lost any desire to keep fighting.

Russia lost its war with Japan in 1905-06 because it underestimated the Japanese. It didn’t realize how much Japan had modernized its army and tactics. Russia had more resources than Japan, but Japanese victories like the Battle of Tsushima humiliated Russia so much that it started peace talks even when it could have kept fighting.

This was also how the Communist regime in Vietnam defeated the United States and eventually conquered the whole country. Despite the amount of resources the U.S. poured into fighting the war, public opinion turned against it as American losses kept piling up and there didn’t seem to be any way for the U.S. to win. The costs of the war became more than Americans were willing to put up with.

Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique won their independence from Portugal the same way. The Portuguese public became sick of how many resources their government poured into the conflict, the economic sanctions other countries placed on Portugal and the years of endless conflict, which lasted from 1961 to 1974. They finally overthrew their government and forced an end to the conflict.

We can see parallels between these past conflicts and the current Ukrainian-Russian war. Other parts of the world are providing Ukraine with money and weapons to help it fight, while reports are coming out of Russian vehicles breaking down from a lack of maintenance. Much of the rest of the world has also placed heavy economic sanctions on Russia, weakening its ability to keep fighting. There are also reports of Russian conscripts suffering from low morale, shocked at how the Ukrainians are reacting to their arrival. The Russian government has also had to crack down on angry protests by their citizens.

Given all this, the real surprise wouldn’t be if Ukraine won the war, but if Russia did. When he started this war, Vladimir Putin probably thought he’d be like Josef Stalin in World War II.

Instead, he’s been more like Tsar Nicholas II in World War I.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2022 3:53 pm
 


Excellent post.

Scape posted an excellent article from an outfit called The Drive (can't couch for them as I don't know them, but it was, in my view, an excellent piece).

Russia Has Already Lost

From a Russian perspective, there's really no scenario you can pick that would result in a Russian victory. In theory, they have the force to conquer the Ukraine, ignoring the utter incompetence to date. But what then? Occupy a country with a ready-made armed insurrection and funded (as you point out) by easy access to foreign arms. Retreat to protect the Donbass region? How would that not embolden Ukraine, and weaken Putin domestically?

Clearly, as you say, Britain could have defeated the Americans, the Americans could have won in Vietnam. They had the force to do so. But history teaches us that defending you home territory is a force multiplier, especially when your leader, instead of fleeing the country with suitcases full of cash, stays to inspire.

I have to assume that Putin's days are numbered.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2022 4:36 pm
 


Zipperfish Zipperfish:
I have to assume that Putin's days are numbered.


Let's hope he Kevorkian disconnects.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2022 12:02 pm
 


One has to look at the mindset of the soldiers involved in the fight as well. Do they have any skin in the game, or are they just doing their job. Germany did horrible things in Russia during WW2. The Russian soldiers fighting that war were looking for some serious payback. Germany WAS going to get a big Russian boot in the ass in return. Nothing was going to stop that. The Russian soldier fighting in Ukraine today does not have any skin in the game. He has no wrongs to avenge. He is some poor slob that got drafted. He does not give a shit about Ukraine, and he does not want to be there. The American soldiers fighting in the Pacific in WW2 were looking for some serious payback. The Japanese were going to surrender or be extinguished from the planet. That was their two choices. There was no middle ground. The U.S. could have nuked Japan into a big smoking hole in the ground. They could have killed 99% of the people living there, and very few people in the U.S. would have had a problem with that. Seriously pissing off your opponent is never a good idea.

The American service member serving in Vietnam had no skin in the game. They were drafted and they did not want to be there. The U.S. government was lying about the war from day one. They were trying to paint it as another Korea where evil commies from the north were causing trouble in the south. The fact of the matter was that the country had been artificially divided, and WE were the only invaders there. The VAST majority of the people in Vietnam WANTED communism. Premier Diem blocked the reunification elections in 1956 because he knew that Ho Chi Minh would win. I will say this for the American service member who served in Vietnam; he did a great job! He did not want to be there. He was forced to go there. He had no skin in the game yet he did a fantastic job. You would be hard pressed to find any battles that the U.S. lost in Vietnam. Unlike the Russians in Ukraine, the American service members in Vietnam were pretty much unbeatable in the fields. The problem is that the war was unwinnable as the vast amount of people in Vietnam (north and south) wanted communism. They were not going to be denied. The U.S. would have had to kill off 99% of the people living in the north AND the south to win. That was something that the vast amount of people living in the U.S. WOULD have had a problem with. The U.S. government lied and created an incident to get us into the war. They continually lied to us throughout the war with bullshit body counts and stories about how the war was almost over. We kept hearing how the Vietcong was on the ropes, yet the Tet offensive playing out on our television nightly was telling a different story. How was a foe who was supposed to be on his last legs looking this good? Obviously the war was nowhere near being over. The whole thing was total bullshit. I just wish that Walter Cronkite had publicly turned against the war earlier than he did, because that was the REAL turning point. President Johnson stated that if he had lost Cronkite, he had lost middle America. The jig was up.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2022 2:09 pm
 


IIRC, since the start of the 20th century, whichever nation has started a war, has ended up losing it. Looks like that track record is going to continue.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2022 10:06 am
 


rickc rickc:
One has to look at the mindset of the soldiers involved in the fight as well. Do they have any skin in the game, or are they just doing their job. Germany did horrible things in Russia during WW2. The Russian soldiers fighting that war were looking for some serious payback. Germany WAS going to get a big Russian boot in the ass in return. Nothing was going to stop that. The Russian soldier fighting in Ukraine today does not have any skin in the game. He has no wrongs to avenge. He is some poor slob that got drafted. He does not give a shit about Ukraine, and he does not want to be there. The American soldiers fighting in the Pacific in WW2 were looking for some serious payback. The Japanese were going to surrender or be extinguished from the planet. That was their two choices. There was no middle ground. The U.S. could have nuked Japan into a big smoking hole in the ground. They could have killed 99% of the people living there, and very few people in the U.S. would have had a problem with that. Seriously pissing off your opponent is never a good idea.

The American service member serving in Vietnam had no skin in the game. They were drafted and they did not want to be there. The U.S. government was lying about the war from day one. They were trying to paint it as another Korea where evil commies from the north were causing trouble in the south. The fact of the matter was that the country had been artificially divided, and WE were the only invaders there. The VAST majority of the people in Vietnam WANTED communism. Premier Diem blocked the reunification elections in 1956 because he knew that Ho Chi Minh would win. I will say this for the American service member who served in Vietnam; he did a great job! He did not want to be there. He was forced to go there. He had no skin in the game yet he did a fantastic job. You would be hard pressed to find any battles that the U.S. lost in Vietnam. Unlike the Russians in Ukraine, the American service members in Vietnam were pretty much unbeatable in the fields. The problem is that the war was unwinnable as the vast amount of people in Vietnam (north and south) wanted communism. They were not going to be denied. The U.S. would have had to kill off 99% of the people living in the north AND the south to win. That was something that the vast amount of people living in the U.S. WOULD have had a problem with. The U.S. government lied and created an incident to get us into the war. They continually lied to us throughout the war with bullshit body counts and stories about how the war was almost over. We kept hearing how the Vietcong was on the ropes, yet the Tet offensive playing out on our television nightly was telling a different story. How was a foe who was supposed to be on his last legs looking this good? Obviously the war was nowhere near being over. The whole thing was total bullshit. I just wish that Walter Cronkite had publicly turned against the war earlier than he did, because that was the REAL turning point. President Johnson stated that if he had lost Cronkite, he had lost middle America. The jig was up.


Even during World War I, your average soldier was willing to fight for King/Kaiser/Tsar And Country, while in World War II many of the Germans and Japanese bought into their leaders' claims that it was their destiny to overrun as much of the world as possible (e.g. the Nazi concept of "lebensraum" or the Japanese "Asian prosperity sphere".)


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