Phantoms of the Eyewash: America Herds NATO’S Paper Tigers Into Oblivion
Within sight of the Stadium Albert Speer built for Hitler’s 1934 Olympics there looms a high hill above the fashionable Grunewald district. A rare sight in flat Berlin, it once had a ski jump on it and is still used by skiers in the winter. It is capped by a deserted NATO listening station used during the Cold War to eavesdrop on Russian forces and their Warsaw Pact allies.
But there is nothing natural about it. It is called “Teufelsberg,” the Devil’s Mountain, for good reason. And it is made of the rubble from the tens of thousands of ruined buildings removed from Hitler’s Berlin as the city was painfully rebuilt.
That was a consequence of the last time Germany sent tanks into Ukraine. And the Russians left a conspicuous reminder across the street from the burn- out Wilhelmine Reichstag building. It holds the functioning German parliament now called the Bundestag, which Olaf Scholz runs as its current Chancellor. Close by stands the massive Russian War Memorial surmounted by two of the T 34 tanks the Soviet Army had driven from Russia to smash into the heart of Germany in 1945.
But that hasn’t affected the massive incompetence of the latest US compelled NATO equipment contribution to the failing Ukrainians, well on their way to defeat. The problem of the American response in general, is the same problem the United States has faced in all its other failed military responses in the last half century. We seem to be able to define our mission, but not our objective.
In this case America sees its mission as responding to the Ukrainian offer to provide the troops to fight the war to victory if the West will supply the equipment. Unfortunately, the American Administration and Defense establishment haven’t taken the trouble to understand much less analyze the military realities facing Ukraine. Despite having US advisors on site in Ukraine, the Ukrainians have run through the almost 2 million shells sent them. Apparently American military planners didn’t do the math in advance and now they have awakened and advised Ukraine it isn’t necessary to answer all the Russian artillery coming in, currently at the rate of ten shells to one Ukrainian.
And instead of planning its objective and evaluating what manpower and equipment would be required to achieve it, the American NATO defense establishment jumped right in and waited until the beginning of 2023 to announce two studies, by CSIS and Rand projecting rough prospects.
This may not be too surprising given the careful avoidance of anything as tacky as actual military service by anyone in the Biden Administration. But they do have strong “national security” opinions none the less. And they overrule any senior military officers who raises glaring military issues that might differ with their PR objective. And that is the only war they and the Zelensky government are really concentrating on.
Fortunately for the Biden National Security flunkies, today’s American military appears to be commanded by the most astounding assemblage of carefully selected moral cowards in our nation’s history.
So it is also not surprising, if political eyewash, not effectiveness, is the only objective, that numbers to bulk up press releases are more important than battlefield impact. So we reached into our inventory of obsolete equipment and coughed up, for example, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers. These are tinplated Vietnam War era antiques and may be suitable for moving corpses or the wounded, but little else. They might more easily defined as “targets.”
We also threw in 50 or more Bradleys and the Germans contributed 40 Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs)), designed 50 years ago, both undergunned and designed to be used today only in combined arms configurations accompanied by one tank to 3 or more IFVs. Without tanks and the combined arms training, they, like the 113s, are pretty much targets. The French came up with some wheeled armored cars with some nifty little cannon that at least might be useful as an antitank weapon if dug in, but would never survive long on a modern battlefield which is why the French use them in Africa.
There are some MRAPS, and Humvees to bulk up the eyewash numbers with more targets that should burn really well, some under-gunned artillery and obsolete missiles and other filler. The only problem with all this equipment is that a lot of it has to be “reconditioned” and once it all gets working it is a maintenance nightmare of incompatible parts and differing weapons systems. This equipment will arrive in dribs and drabs at yet to be specified times and all require specialized training from the diminishing Ukrainian manpower available.
The problem is Zelensky is howling that if he doesn’t get tanks by August, this is all an academic exercise. And Lt Col Daniel Davis, an armor officer, can’t see any way tanks could be reconditioned, provided and its crews trained minimally before the fall.
None of this interrupts the strong arming by the Biden National Security flunkerati. What counts after all is the PR campaign and making sure the US and NATO can be seen as dedicating all the phantom equipment it can to meet Zelensky’s absurd “needs” in his own PR war to maintain some credibility for his collapsing regime.
So after an absurd shoving match at a meeting at Ramstein, the United States commited 31 of its Abrams M1s (after reconditioning of course) complete with support vehicles and crew training. That’s a whole tank battalion in a war that in 11 months has seen almost 8,000 destroyed Ukrainian armored vehicles alone. And against protest from his own Army, Germany’s Scholz has gallantly agreed to provide 112 of their advanced Leopard 2 tanks in “an unspecified period of time.”
Now everyone has their press releases in order, the phantom equipment that supposedly makes it up will be painfully, and no doubt with considerable uanticipated delays, assembled. Military contracters everywhere will be working up bonuses they got from their local national NATO appropriations for the work it took assembling and reconditioning the largest convoy of obsolete equipment in military history.
And just possibly, as the leaves fall later this year, and Zelensky suns himself at one of his mansions in Florida, there will be the damndest traffic jam ever at the railyards in Eastern Poland.
Most of Ukraine itself will be under a temporary Russian military occupation as the endgame gets sorted out. And the general staffs of several Western countries, including the United States, will be delighted to hear that the tanks their governments had paid to update without affecting their departmental appropriations, somehow never got shipped.
Unfortunately there were unintended consequences. After enduring 30 years of perfidious post Cold War behavior by the United States and the fraud admitted by Angela Merkel in the Minsk Agreement as well as the Istanbul Agreement, the Russians now totally distrust the West.
NATO’s failed and miserably planned effort in support of Ukraine revealed the hollow shell it has become. It is now more an impressive assemblage of flags than a credible military power. And Russia learned its own competitive strength under the pressure of Western sanctions intended to weaken and fragment it.
While loudmouthed American generals blather on publicly about meeting the Chinese challenge over Taiwan, the recent experience of Russian generals make them wonder if the American military could defend Catalina Island off California.
The Russians have learned a lot. What has America and NATO learned?
What will Russia do now?
Reprinted with permission from Sonar21.com.