a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.
Previously regarding Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine:
- March 6, Putin’s criminal aggression;
- March 13, Two things can be true at once;
- March 20, Another Apocalypse? Already?!
[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.]
- Last week, March 27, War like never before, we peeked at both sides of a new dimension of war, i.e., open source warfare. That’s John Robb’s hybrid warfare term in a memo from his Global Guerrillas newsletter: “Swarms vs. Nukes.” “Swarms” is Robb’s term for the internet phenomenon we’ve previously observed as “cancellation” by virtual means. One problem for Robb’s dark-catalyst reading: “Ukraine’s pipelines are still carrying Russian gas to Europe.“
So, how’s it going in Ukraine?
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.
- Technology (portable highly lethal weaponry);
- Identity (idealistic motivation / morale);
- Organizational structure (small teams vs. large hierarchic units).
The secret of Ukraine’s success lies in the combination of these three factors.
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 nation. His 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 plan. This 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:
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.
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.
Also, DRONES ARE EVIL!
Next week: Ukrainian genocide?! [this post ~800 words (3-minute read)]