Russian Invasion Imminent – Have We Been Here Before?
I’m no military strategist, but having worked in some of the CIA’s counter insurgency operations, I’ve seen first hand how small groups of determined people can win where they are expected to lose. It seems to me that we have seen Russians attempt to take over another nation before and stopped it in its tracks with a rather simple strategy.
That nation is Afghanistan. The Soviet Union attempted to take over the country in the 1980s and were eventually forced to leave.
Our strategy was to support the Mujahideen with Stinger missiles which shot the Soviet helicopters down, making it impossible for the Soviets to conduct military operations. This is a form of asymmetric warfare, i.e. it is not designed to conquer, but is very effective when you have the advantage of knowing the territory better than your enemy.
So let’s see.
Will a stinger missile still work on Russian helicopters? Yes, they will, although perhaps not as easy as it used to be. And in fact, a Stinger will take down a jet aircraft under the right conditions. So a nice supply of Stingers, current price $120K each would prevent any permanent airbases or casual presence inside the Ukraine. Hmm, someone seems to like the idea.
What about those tanks? There seem to be a lot of anti-tank missiles to choose from.
A TOW missile appears to cost about $60,000. The Russians have massed about 1200 tanks near Ukraine in preparation for the invasion. It might take a while, but shooting at a $3.7 million T-14 Main Battle Tank seems cost effective. How many would have to be destroyed before Russia gets discouraged?
I’m not saying this would be easy. You will not stop Russian bombing raids, artillery, long range missiles or cyber warfare crippling the Ukraine infrastructure with these tactics. If Ukraine fights back, it will be bloody.
The terrain in Ukraine is not as unforgiving as in Afghanistan, supply lines will be easier to defend for the Russians.
And the Russians are correct that there are a lot of ethnic Russians in the Ukraine, who might easily become intelligence sources against a rebellious local militia.
And even more dangerous. Putin is a politician, he cannot stand to be embarrassed. What will Putin do if his proud army gets kicked out of what is essentially a third world country? He could pull out, but he also could level the country with bombs.
Biden is incompetent and clueless, and can never pull this off.
But if Trump were still President, I could see him developing a whole picture for Putin of the same quagmire that they were stuck in Afghanistan in the 1980s. No upside and a very costly downside. And Trump would be smiling, because Trump knows how to negotiate and knows when he has a winning hand.
After all, warfare is just an extension of politics, right?