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Ukraine War (redux)

You have forgotten the Ukraine War. Actually, I haven’t forgotten it—rather, it’s just nothing has happened. There was a Ukrainian counter-offensive, and now the Russians have tried to push back. If you read what the people who follow the war have to say you would think that everything had changed on the battlefield.

But I flicked up the maps, and the maps were the same as seven months ago. All that has happened is that people say “Russian forces advanced and took Orikhivka municipal waste disposal site”—and that is taken as a major breakthrough, an advance of 450 yards.

About a decade ago, there was a craze for “steampunk”—for steam-powered computers set in Edwardian times, and so on. The Ukraine War is the “steampunk war” because it is like WWI, this Edwardian event, but with modern technology—so everyone fights with drones and social media, but from trenches that look like WWI.

Just like WWI, nothing much happens—and it’s a squalid business. There aren’t many films about WWI, partly because it doesn’t concern the Jews as much as WWII and they make the decisions in Hollywood; but there are also fewer films about WWI because it’s more dismal.

In WWII, there are all these theatres—you can drive around in tanks, parachute behind the lines, sweep over miles in a day. In WWI, even though it is more significant, especially for Britain, there’s no glamour—you just sit in the mud and charge at the other trenches from time to time (watch all your friends from the village be killed). It’s claustrophobic, like death itself, whereas somehow it doesn’t seem so bad to die as your tank sweeps across a field. But to be blotted out in a trench by a stray shell, amid the rats, water, and mud is grim.

Well, the Ukraine War is like WWI. There are two sides in stalemate. The Russians reassure themselves that the Ukrainians will “run out of men”, but wars don’t work like that—it’s about the economy. Ukraine still has the bigger economy behind it, because although Russia collaborates with China she doesn’t get military kit from them (she has to rely on Iran and North Korea for that)—whereas Ukraine gets everything she needs from America plus Europe.

The Russians have only been saved by the Israel-Hamas War, because it has thrown the weak and ineffective US administration into confusion—and will interfere with the aid supply to Ukraine as America supplies Israel. But it can’t win the war for the Russians—the Germans in WWI had to be starved into submission, but they could still launch major offensives right up to the last moment.

People draw incorrect inferences from the fact Ukraine calls up women. Ukraine does that for the same reason they legalised gay marriage and are trying to legalise pornography—they want to bring their state into line with the values their patron promotes, such as women in the military. It’s not because they’re “running out of men”.

At the moment, it’s stalemate—it has actually been stalemate since the second month of the war. And, just like WWI, the commanders are faced with an array of new technology that is about symmetrical in its power, and they have to work out the strategies and tactics as they go along—so they end up stuck.

There is no sign that either side is about to make a breakthrough—the stronger arm is still on Ukraine’s side, but with China to back up the Russian economy the conflict could go on indefinitely. Only the Israel-Hamas War has saved Putin from a disastrous year, in which, it should be remembered, his country almost fell into civil war. At the moment, it really depends on which side suffers an internal political crisis first—since that was what finally finished Germany in WWI.


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