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We hear that Putin is losing the war.  Really?

We hear that Putin is losing the war.  Really?

Virtually every news report these days explains how Russian President Vladimir Putin is losing the war in Ukraine.

He was dramatically unsuccessful in his initial plan to take Kyiv.   He is currently losing some of the ground he gained in the early phases of the invasion– but he still controls more than he did prior to the invasion.

As evidence of Putin’s losing, we hear how he has had to conscript 300,000 more soldiers – and how they are unprepared.  We hear about the terrible death toll among Russian forces – including a number of generals and commanders.  They have lost a lot of military weapons and equipment.  Supposedly, Putin is running out of major offensive missiles even as he is hitting Ukrainian cities on a daily basis.

Then there are the problems back home.  Rather than be conscripted, young Russians are fleeing the country.  Organic anti-war protests are erupting all over Mother Russia. The government news agencies are expressing criticism over the conduct of the war – although most say Putin needs to get tougher.  It is rumored that even Putin insiders are expressing criticism.

And of course, most of the world’s nations have increased their criticism of Putin and demanded that he end the war in Ukraine – although they are not very specific about what that should look like.

We can all agree that the war has not gone as Putin would have liked.  His hoped-for quick victory and possession of all of Ukraine has been dashed.  But losing the war?  If Putin was losing, Kyiv would be winning.  Despite impressive victories – and a few symbolic actions, such as the sinking of the Moscow and the bombing of the Russia-Crimea bridge – Ukraine is not winning.  And if Ukraine is not winning, then Putin is not losing.

He is not losing because of the west’s – and especially the United States – “too-little/too-late” policy.  We allowed Putin’s build-up on the border without a countermove on the strategic chessboard.  We dribbled out ineffective sanctions only after new egregious actions by Putin. We doled out critical weapons only after advances by Putin – and just enough to keep Ukraine from losing.

Amazingly, we still have unapplied sanctions – even after President Biden assured Kyiv and the world that we had hit Russia with all the sanctions on the shelf.  He lied.

And now we are CONSIDERING sending sophisticated air defense weapons – but only after Putin shot-gunned hundreds of missiles and drones all over Ukraine – committing more war crimes in the process.

Along with all the weapons we have sent, there remains an admonition not to use them to attack military installations inside Russia.  Putin can indiscriminately bomb every major city in Ukraine … can destroy the civilian infrastructure (and civilians) … steal the grain … and maintain troops on Ukraine soil … but Ukraine cannot attack Russian military staging sites and ammunition depots in Russia.  That is a HUGE win for Putin. (Imagine the outcome of World War II if the Allies were not allowed to attack inside Germany and Japan.)

As long as the west’s policy is maintaining a war of attrition and “measured responses,” the war will go on needlessly – and Putin will eventually win. 

Even though Ukraine is not a member of NATO, we do have a defense agreement that was the result of Ukraine giving up its nuclear arsenal.  That was a preliminary win for Putin – and the fact that we will not uphold the agreement is another.

If this war is waged with Putin attacking and occupying Ukraine as he is protected from counterattacks by the United States and NATO policy … Putin wins.

At this point, the most likely acceptable outcome for Biden & Co. is a negotiated settlement with Russia possessing a chunk of eastern Ukraine – and Ukraine with a destroyed infrastructure.  If that is the outcome … Putin wins.

And by the way … to all those concerned about the cost of the war.  A quick victory is a lot less costly than a looooong defeat – a lesson we should have learned in Afghanistan.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Ace of ♥️

    Putin’s keeping his military exercise aka war with Ukraine has evolved in ways he did not expect, prognosticate, anticipate, and dream about in the years beforehand. And, as the months ground on and on, he displays a Trump like grasp of reality.
    If anyone is being gaslighted by close advisors and handlers, it is Putin the puppet master. Pulling the usual nefarious strings have not delivered Ukraine under Mother Russia’s filthy blood soaked apron.
    To say he is winning is far from contending he is not loosing. Consider the total of his losses and recalculate the bottom line cost to claiming he is wining.
    With the West’s hopefully not capitulating as winter’s cold arrives and fuel to warm Europe becomes scarce. And we in America double down in regard to detesting Putin enough that we will him into defeat. True, proving we have grit greater than Russian’s surviving Siberian extremes. The cost In America will be increased prices at gas/diesel pump and price ramp ups continuing as Putin’s stranglehold on world wide markets is completely broken.
    Resolve, to present a monolithic opposition to Putin’s despicable, inhumane, and war criminal actions is our most lethal weapon. Weaknesses in the West’s responses further emboldens Putin’s tyranny. Democratic nations must grow, strengthen, and endure. Putin registering a win at this time is poison for Democracies in general and our Democratic Republic in particular.
    Therefore, any and all persons having an audience on line, on media, in public, and access to a micro- phone have the responsibility to unite people in support of America’s Democracy irrespective of personal political philosophy. Division and perpetuating divisive opinionated thought processing, as being widely practiced today is the proven message destructive to Democracy.
    Full respect given to First Amendment’s freedoms. You may agree, there is a limit to what is permissible before activity exceeds sensibility becoming another example of a bridge to far.
    Indefensible activity resulting in irrevocable harm with attendant longterm damage to this nation’s governance by democratic means are inexcusable.
    Do we, Americans of every color, gender, and heritage, choose democracy not anarchy?. Given the negative vector this country is on, its all hands on deck making a positive constructive change possible.
    Putin’s situation being considered in the win category has a context which gives perspective.
    My belief about study focused on any subject must
    include factual context allowing it beginnings with truth, good, bad, or ugly. With real case context determining appropriate consequences
    American football has context involved, agreed or not by fandom.
    . Different weights are allocated to a win, as well as a loss.
    Think Putin as the team coach dictating plays called in the huddle. He is head coach at a University in the US fabled for football trophies won. Unbelievably, they have an out off state community college’s football squad scheduled for the game on homecoming Saturday.
    On game day Putin is confident, although he is technically coach and gives orders on plays run, his players fear more than revere him.
    Coaching at this community college is someone beloved by every member of the team and the entire student body, as well.
    The game commences with Putin’s team making impressive gains with each possession. Surprisingly, his offensive squad’s run/pass game failed to get across the goal line when close. His kicker made only a couple on several tries. Against all the odds makers predictions, Coach CC ‘s team came energized, ready, and focused. The team worked together well and managed to almost match point for point the University big money financed organization.
    Beginning the 4th quarter, Putin’s team was ahead by one point, only. The game was rough on his players. One by one his starters left the game injured or otherwise unable to continue play, The homecoming crowd grew silent and disgusted.
    The final quarter would tell the story. Even if Putin’s team could hold the single point lead, what would that win be worth.
    With out actual context, statistically it’s a win like any other. However, context comes to bear in compassion for team ranking. A win is not a win, when all the inputs do not add up.
    In the game of football, the win came by game rules. By any other standard with which fairness and Justice are weighed. CC’s team merited earning a win.
    But, who is brave enough and willing
    to stand and demand justice?. If not the strongest of democracies, then who.
    If the President and a state Governor occupy two opposing contentious opinions come together for a common humanitarian purpose and unify. Why is it not possible the same be accomplished in Ukraine dealing with Putin? Putin is no match in comparison to Ian.

  2. jboo7

    Mr. Horist is a qualified war-trumpeter who won’t let a trumpet go when he sees one. But the facts about Ukraine are not what we’ve been told:
    The war in Ukraine was and is a CIVIL WAR in a MULTINATIONAL LAND:
    There are no “Ukrainian Nationals”! There are Western Ukrainian Nationalists versus Eastern and Odessa ethnic Russians.
    The Eastern Ukraine, from Charkov down to the Krym was never part of Ukraine. The name “Ukraine” (at the border) was given by Poland to the Western stretches and just along the Dnepr which they occupied for centuries – from whence comes also the new “Ukrainian” – a Ukro-Polish Creole
    The Eastern parts were only given to the FIRST UKRAINE STATE, 1918, BY THE GERMAN ARMY who drew the frontline for its Truce with Soviet Russia. THIS GERMAN GIFT ALSO INCLUDED THE POLISH REGION OF GALICIA, AROUND LVOV – which was in WWI and II ETHNICALLY CLEANSED from Poles and Jews by our friends, the Ukrainian Nationalists. The Westerners were for centuries under Polish occupation – for which they took brutal Genocidal Revenge – but kept the former “Masters’ Language” intermixed with their original Eastern Slavonic of the Kievan Rus and Russia
    All the Nationalist theories and leaders came from the Lvov area, also influenced by Italo-Croatian Fascism, which made their collaboration with the German occupiers in World War II a natural cooperative alliance.
    It followed the earlier collaboration with German occupation in WWI, when the German Army Command first added Polish Galicia and Russian DonBass to Ukraine, to draw the line of the German-Russian Truce of 1917 -keeping the industry out of the new Soviet Russia. And when the first big “Ethnic Clearances” happened, under the Hetman Petlyura, it was that time only in Polish Galicia.
    The ratios of the nations in Ukraine are now: Ukro-Polish 45-50%, Russian, 40%, the rest Hungarian, Rumanian, Bulgarian – plus some Tartars and Roma (“Gypsies” – who were, after 2014 often stripped half-naked and tied to trees/lampposts).
    Taking all that into account – which gives the REFERENDA in the Russian-populated regions good sense and legitimacy – the main question should be:
    The only sensible solution I can see is:
    ATTEMPT OF RE-UNIFICATION ON A FEDERAL BASIS which would include a re-organized Western and Central Ukraine with the Federal States of
    These regions are mainly Russian-populated – have never been “Ukrainian”, i.e. Polish-occupied (as the term ‘Ukraina-Borderland’ came from the Polish occupiers.)
    [-KRYM would not be included, as a land cannot be given as “present”, including its people – Khrushchev’s “gift” of 1954 was illegal, as was Ukraine’s invasion and re-conquest after 1991.]
    Such a ‘UKRAINIAN FEDERATION Would be the only feasible and rational solution of this conflict!
    It could, however, only be achieved, if all false nationalist ideologies were abandoned – and that is, after their re-appearance, under the brutal, racist Bandera-banner, in several armed organizations, e.g., Asov, Aidar, et al., not realistic, at this moment.
    Other Obstacles: OUTSIDER INTERESTS
    The Russian Interests are, in two ways, very logical and even moral:
    • Russia does not want to be put into a “Siege Situation” surrounded by hostile powers right on her doorstep. See a parallel in the US-opposition to Soviet missiles on Cuba in 1962!
    • Russia feels a duty to protect ‘relatives’ – i.e. ethnically, culturally, and language-wise Russian people, as well as other nations in the Russian Federation, as has been shown before in Georgia, when South Ossetians came under relentless artillery-fire.
    The Western, i.e., US and NATO interests were utterly commercial and “imperialist”, and instrumental in creating this Civil War, as a tool for producing a PROXY WAR between Russia and the European States are another block on the way to peace in this region – although the main aims of President Obama’s intervention in Ukrainian Internal Affairs, e.g. the Presidential succession in Kiev, have already been achieved, as they were analyzed from the past 8 years and finally formulated by the RAND Corporation laid down in their Government advice of 25 January 2022 (just before the onslaught in Donetsk) :
    • The German-Russian Cooperation on the basis of energy supply and industrial trade has been destroyed.
    • Any, quasi, Russian membership in the EU -as indicated as wish by Mr. Putin in 2001- has also been destroyed for long times;
    • Therefore, Germany, France, and the European Union have catapulted themselves, through participation in this proxy-war, back into a pre-1990 situation, economically and politically;
    • Germany, France and the European Union are back, fully entrapped in NATO.
    • Any plans of a, independent ‘European Defense Farce’ is dead!

    • Russia has been pushed out of Europe and become part of Asia – which may be good for the Ruble and for Asia, with regards to oil and gas, in general: energy exchanges, as with regards to other valuable commodities, esp. in ‘Electrically Controlled Systems’, as Russia has the richest sources of Lithium and Rare Earths;
    • From this aspect, the EU may find grounds for deep regret about this senseless war;
    • Even the United States may feel regret about this Obama-style Adventurism.
    Taking all this into account, it should be clear that a good and sensible end to this war could be easily reached – as Elon Musk argued recently, for which he deserves great praise:
    • Freezing the frontlines – respecting the borders of the Oblasts (Districts) to be occupied by NEUTRAL peacekeeping forces!
    • Repeat of Referenda (using 2014 civil registries for voter recognition!) under UN Control!
    • Setting up Federal States throughout Ukraine – but with West-East Separation, until renewed State-wise Referenda on Re-Unification and Constitution.

    • ACE of ♥️

      So, it’s historically, ethnically, and politically complicated. Ukraine’s fix goes way beyond winning against Putin, It has pre-existing conditions like every other country has with a plurality of cultures attempting to be a single nation.
      The US is similarly tasked with accommodating multiple nationalities’ cultures and traditions. Added to our National conundrum is the divisive politicalization seemingly infecting otherwise apolitical domains from teaching History to the weather to pastor’s sermons.
      Politics to the right of me and politics to the left of me. However, we in this country are fortunate. In Ukraine it’s bombs in coming to the left and buildings exploding on the right with death all around. Through no fault of their own, oppression from an evil neighbor brought senseless destruction.
      We, on the other hand, have only ourselves as the guilty. Americans have the greatest freedoms and liberty unmatched on earth today. Yet, all we have is squandered and unappreciated. Precious time and energy is wasted on vain persists commending one’s personal value and worth while denigrating others’ persons for differing perceptions and philosophies. It’s a fool’s errand the right undertakes to convince others. The same is true for the left. Are we so ornery?
      Yes, we are and it’s a sickness worse than any pandemic ever killing people, It’s a virus infecting our Republic and stealing our democracy.

    • larry Horist

      jboo7 … Nice run through history, although not entirely accurate and unbiased. However, international diplomacy is best conducted like golf — you play the ball were it is. The modern fact is that Ukraine is an internationally recognized independent nation with established borders. Your approach is like purchasing an empty lot for your neighbor and than having him say he can use it as he pleases because it was once his. If we accept your theory, the Austrian, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Italy and Iran can make historic claims of hegemony over Ukraine.

  3. jboo7

    Some hacker has, again, turned the “Independent European Defense Force” into a “Farce” instead – presumably Mr. Stollwerck of NATO