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The War that nobody wanted (but everyone engaged in)


Brussels (50).

Two years in the war of Russian aggression against the Ukraine the balance is grim. Let us take stock. Leadership. The EU model of command and control consist of an old grumpy old general, an Austrian, who nobody has heard before, taking a political control of a pretty large army based of a defeatist model. The question to pose is the General who often is compared with Franz Josef I. suitable for modern command? The likely answer is no.

The European play wars.

The Europeans appear to be out of the fight. NATO command is in contradiction with EU command with different levels of leadership taking active role in the war against Russia. The ground war in the Ukraine is just one of the examples. Is the potential NATO and EU partner pulling the weight? After Avdiivka where a devasting judgment by one battalion commander removed a considerable element of its front, critics of the Ukrainian battle doctrine are louder.

Demoralized, worn out, short of ammunition, the Ukrainian army packed up and left, leaving a gap in the front line promptly exploited by the Russians. Life was lost, ground captured while the U.S. haggled over war aid. Politics cost life with both, the European and its American allies to take the blame.

Josep Borrell was quoted, “Europe is in danger, as I have said this many times. We live in an era of strategic competition and complex security threats. We see the return of power politics, with hybrid threats growing, interdependence being increasingly conflictual and soft power being weaponized.”

In the meantime, the EU high command produces glossy brochures of their paper victory. It writes, “The overall objective remains to involve the enlarged military and civilian community serving Europe’s security and defense, in building up and consolidating a most needed common European Defence culture”. It reads like the who-is-who to operate “inter-operationability” congratulating each other for a “job well done”. However, the Russian reality is a bit different in Africa and the Ukraine.

Enter the French.

War command of the Europeans is that the Germans don’t want to fight, the Americans don’t want to take on the Russians, who is left? The French, the Baltic states, and the leftover of the old eastern bloc with little appetite to take on the Slavic monster, the Russian overlords. U.S. policy is to strategically “exhaust” the Russians.

The French 3 REI, of the famed French Foreign Legion surprise upped the stakes of the game. So did the American weapons supplies. Rockets nevertheless hit the Russian depots assembly points, Ukrainian special forces unleashed a series of fires and explosions, and Russian spies were arrested in Bavaria. So far, the hot war is heating up with each side holding their peace.

War will lead to more violence, more injuries, more deaths. On both sides.

The shifting of strategic balance.

Taken the kinetic out of the question, the hybrid option lacks consistency. Central command of the European lack the spirit to fight to win. Political debates are given way. No Double Cross committee leads the propaganda efforts against the Russian Federation anywhere on the planet. The bureaucracy is stifling, the legal framework is prohibitive and not responsive. Operational security is limited to the involvement of the Central Intelligence aiding the Ukrainians, however what if does not address the changes of political winds in Washington and in Brussels. Recent adventures in Niger, Mali, Afghanistan does not give confidence in Washington capability to counter Russian disinformation efforts.

Russian beware.

The question no one asked how is Russia functioning? Its economic picture does not sound right. The oil richness does not translate to individual wealth creation. The supply chain is disrupted with shortages of beef, chicken, and potatoes.

For now, the public stands behind Vladimir Putin. How long is the question. Whereas the older generation steadfast defends the president, polls show discontent within the younger generation of Russians. The revolution will come from within.  

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