War’s new frontier

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.




Previously regarding Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine:

[Note: the March 6 piece includes a list of information resources. I continue to add links to that list in the first comment under the post.]


So, how’s it going in Ukraine?


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Very difficult to say, fog of war and all. However, clearly, Ukrainian cities are being destroyed by Putin’s scorched-earth campaign.

Still, some observers/analysts do note circumstances from which to draw some speculative inferences. I’m linking below to a couple of information resources that respond to that question — they’re from my comment under the March 6, Putin’s criminal aggression post. Let’s highlight a few possibilities from the informed commentary of two observers.

Ukrainian sociologist, Mychailo Wynnyckyj, published an article on March 24, 2022, entitled: “Why are Ukrainians winning the Russo-Ukrainian war? A social scientist’s view.” As advertised, in it he explains why/how Ukraine is “winning” the war. Wynnyckyj writes:

So, what’s special about the local phenomenon?

    • Firstly, a smaller army is beating a larger one . . . .
    • Secondly, a nation that was (until a month ago) supposedly deeply divided along ethno-linguistic and regional lines has suddenly united in seemingly monolithic defense . . . .
    • Thirdly, in addition to the extreme civilian strife caused by Russian rockets and bombs (sadly – comparable to the human losses of other wars), combat fatalities experienced by the invader are unprecedented.

So, we have identified three factors contributing to Ukraine’s unexpected success against Russia during the early stages of the war. These three dynamics also explain the Ukrainians’ success in inflicting unprecedented losses on the Russian army.

These are:

    1. Technology (portable highly lethal weaponry);
    2. Identity (idealistic motivation / morale);
    3. Organizational structure (small teams vs. large hierarchic units).

The secret of Ukraine’s success lies in the combination of these three factors.

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Yale historian Timothy Snyder’s Substack newsletter for March 28, 2022, offers a report on open source information regarding what’s happening in Russia with Putin’s war. It is entitled: “The Kremlin’s formula for failure.” A sampling of Snyder’s thirty points:

1.  Putin is responsible for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and as a tyrant must redistribute blame for its failures.  For the tyranny to continue functioning, other individuals and institutions must accept the blame, while avoiding any talk of failure. This is difficult.

3.  Putin is the supreme leader in the Russian Federation.  The invasion of Ukraine was predicated on his idea that there was no Ukrainian state or nationHis views are widely repeated, though perhaps not as widely shared.  They were immediately proven wrong

4.  Putin’s idea of regime change in Ukraine in two days failed in practice.  His victory declaration of February 26th, accidentally published, revealed a vast gap between aim and achievement. 

10.  The decision to invade Ukraine seems not to have been accompanied by much of an operational planThis could well be a result of Putin’s erroneous premise and the lack of consultation allowed by the state’s tyrannical structure.

23.  Sergei Beseda is or was the head of the part of the Russian secret police (Federal Security Service, FSB) that is responsible for international affairs.  He now seems to be under house arrest.


“Conservative” “pushback” like “Is There A Path To Peace In Ukraine?” seemingly overlooks the agency of Ukrainians:


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A (related) non sequitur: drones are evil.

So, it appears a fit time to re-state plainly that “drones” used as lethal instruments of war are inhuman and, thus, immoral. My reasoning is straight-forward. Let’s see.


Marketing Image – General Atomics MQ-1 Predator w/two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles

The use of violence, especially lethal violence, is justified only in the instance of a personal existential threat — i.e., kill or be killed. The argument that drones take our own military personnel out of the line of fire is the same argument that I would use to make my moral claim. The drone operator is under no existential threat and is, in fact, at a very safe distance. Therefore, the use of a drone — from a safe remove — to do lethal violence by proxy to another is plainly immoral. Plus, such lethality is far too anonymous.

That drones are very effective instruments of war (see article here) only makes the moral problem even more difficult. 




“Hybrid warfare” (e.g., open source, aesthetic warfare, etc.) apparently favors the Ukrainian side over the Russian.



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Next week: Ukrainian genocide?! [this post ~800 words (3-minute read)]

Your thoughts? 




3 thoughts on “War’s new frontier

  1. The Ukraine War seems beyond my ability to comprehend. Why? I suspect some subconscious underlying racial reasons are at play. Maybe I have been conditioned to expect conflict between people of different color skins or different religions or even different cultural values.

    In this case, it seems harder to understand. It is almost like the US invading Canada. The mind cannot fathom it – seems so ludicrous and unnecessary. My real reason to comment was the statement about drones being evil.

    How are drones any more evil than a sniper who shoots someone from half a mile away? Or, the rocket launched from 50 miles away? Or, the cannon fired from a ship a mile off-shore? What about the landmine buried that blows someone up a year from now. We have been mining harbors for hundreds of years. I am not following the drones-are-evil logic at all.

    It is odd how our minds fixate on one aspect where it seems clarity of thought exists. Then the other aspects are ignored or forgotten. I feel a clarity about classifying drones and none about the war itself so felt confident commenting about drones.

    If I was to guess about how history sees the Ukraine War, it will likely go down as the last gasp of a strongman on his way out. Putin was arguably at the height of his powers and now his ego has dragged him down and made him look weak, irrational, and miscalculating. A famous saying in chess is [url=https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-winning-academy-7-why-is-the-threat-stronger-than-its-execution] “the threat is stronger than the execution”.[/url]

    For the greatest chess playing nation in the world to forget this admonition is a sign the leader and his close circle of confidantes have lost touch with reality. Russian still has formidable economic and military weapons and many more moves it can play to extend the game. That doesn’t change the fact they have a losing position. How does a grandmaster indicate he gives up when in a losing position? The king is laid over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hey now, Shasta Mike,

      Thanks for writing!

      > How are drones any more evil than a sniper who shoots someone from half a mile away? Or, the rocket launched from 50 miles away? Or, the cannon fired from a ship a mile off-shore? What about the landmine buried that blows someone up a year from now. We have been mining harbors for hundreds of years.

      Good points! I didn’t say that drones were any more evil than other forms of remote-control violence/lethality. Humanity could greatly benefit if all those practices (and others, B-52 bombers, etc.) were taken to task on moral grounds.

      I just think that drones make a simple and vivid illustration of how problematic it is to justify lethal violence executed by remote-control.

      All remote-control lethality has an anonymous quality but the idea of drones entering a given context and selectively executing it’s lethality boggles the mind, and diminishes the heart.

      My chief point is that if we as a nation are going to practice such things, then at least there could be a national public debate about the moral dimensions of remote-control lethality. I don’t want such things done in my name. I don’t think I’m the only one. I think humanity could benefit from a hearty discussion of this.

      imagine whirled peas,


      1. michael – ok, no disagreement from me on taking humanity to task about all weapons. Our country has been using drones without really any oversight of the Executive Branch for decades now to assassinate suspected terrorists. And, once a single person becomes judge, jury and executioner it is a slippery slope where the definition of “terrorist” begins and citizen with rights to due process ends.

        Liked by 1 person

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