One thing that I have not been able to figure out is who would benefit from the US sending 8,500 (or 50,000 - the number keeps changing) US troops to Stalingrad in winter. We've seen this movie before and we all know how it comes out. There are pretty much no good arguments to do this - nothing but huffing and puffing about "deterring aggression" and "stopping Putin's land grab" and "country borders are sacred". Let's quickly dispense with these arguments and move on to who really wins.
Deterring Aggression. It's not 1939, and the US Establishment isn't Neville Chamberland. A quick review of the first two decades of this century will establish the wars we've fought: Afghanistan (2001-2021), Iraq (2003 - present), Libya (2011), Syria (2013). The problem isn't an American meekness; on the contrary. Vladimir Putin knows this, and doesn't have to read between the lines to understand what NATO expansion plans for Ukraine would mean to a Russia that shares a border with it.
Putin's "Land Grab". So Russia has demanded guarantees from NATO that (a) Ukraine will not be admitted to the coalition (as this would compel NATO to defend Ukraine in the future, by treaty), and also guarantees that NATO offensive weapons will not be stationed in Ukraine. The NATO General Secretary has explicitly rejected both demands, as has the US State Department (at least according to the Russian foreign ministry; while this is not proof, it does concur with the NATO General Secretary's public statements from two days ago). So what options does Putin have? More importantly, what options are we giving him?
"National Borders are sacrosanct". Well, except for the US-Mexico border, I guess. This doesn't pass the "red face" test - the fact that people can say this without shame only shows that our elites are, well, shameless.
So who wins in this showdown? We know who is facing the risks - you know, that whole Stalingrad in winter thing, but Russia is facing substantial risks as well from sanctions, a military with some good units but many not so good ones, potential guerrilla war, etc. NATO appears to be splintering before our eyes as Germany, France, and others refuse to do any heavy lifting (Germany's offer a a few thousand mil surplus helmets to Ukraine speaks volumes on how tight this "alliance" is).
Oh yeah - Russia has a bunch of nuclear missiles aimed at us. That would never go sideways, right? So there are lots of potential losers here.
China. This is long, but clearly and plainly laid out. I highly recommend you spend the time to watch it:
Other winners: The Military Industrial Complex (Defense suppliers and retired 4 stars who get cushy and well paid gigs on their boards of directors). The Biden Administration which gets to keep the Hunter Biden Ukrainian payoffs swept under the carpet. The Democratic Party which is desperately looking for something - anything - to change the electorate's focus from the disastrous Afghanistan bug out, or inflation, or the increasingly unpopular Covid lockdowns, or the Teacher's Unions destroying public education, or the weakening economy.
I guess that the Democrats aren't smart enough to figure out what adding that whole "Stalingrad in winter" thing to that list will do in the run up to the elections.
Tucker Carlson quite rightly asks: how does any of this make America stronger? Clearly it doesn't - to the contrary. But if you don't pound the jingoistic War Drum with the idiots in the media you're Putin's Stooge or Neville Chamberlin or unpatriotic. Or something.
I'm so old that I remember Democrats shouting that they were tired of their patriotism being questioned. Times sure have changed.
But remember: these people are all so much smarter (and nicer!) than you are. You stooge, you.
UPDATE 27 January 2022 17:46: Divemedic has a detailed post about another downside - our diminished military capability and top-heavy brass. You should read the whole thing but this is the summation:
The US has cut its ability to project power so severely, that it can no longer afford to be, nor can it be, the world’s policeman.
Russia and China know that.
But hey - on to Stalingrad!
UPDATE 27 January 2022 18:40: LOL:
The other things the BBC were moaning about were the winter famine wiping out the children of the Taliban and the poor pitiful Ukrainians who are ill-equipped to fight the Red Army. I see a confluence of benefits here. The Taliban have $89 billion dollars in high tech weaponry they manifestly don't need and the Ukraine produces most of Europes wheat. They could trade weaponry to the breadbasket of Europe for food. Win win!
Helpful. That's me.
Maybe $89 B of food would give them enough weapons to get to Stalingrad, amirite? Who says that Atomic War can't be hilarious?
UPDATE 27 January 2022 19:01: Yeah, yeah, I can stop anytime. Kurt Schlicter (LTC USA, Ret) has an informative post about the difference between the Cold War NATO of his service days and today's NATO. He echos and amplifies what Divemedic highlights, from an Army (vs. a Navy) perspective. He is even more pessimistic (and sarcastically so) than Divemedic is. But he gets deadly serious in his key point:
It seems like we might have trouble achieving our objectives. And one of the biggest reasons is that it’s not clear what our objectives would even be. Since none of the usual hawks can be bothered to articulate a vital American interest involved in defending Ukraine’s borders, that makes it hard to come up with objectives for the military. “Stop Putin” is not really a military objective; it’s sort of an amorphous goal.
So what does victory look like? Putin held off to the outskirts of Kiev? Putin tossed back over the Belarus and Russian borders? What’s our desired end state? Or are we not going to articulate that either? Maybe we can just sort of exist in a tense status quo over some sort of demilitarized zone for seven decades or so. Gee, sound familiar?
Now all these questions deserve answers, but don’t look for any since none of the answers are good. And bad answers would slow the rush to war, so we can’t have them come out. Instead, the establishment is going back to the classics. If you ask what America’s vital interest is, you love Putin. If you ask what our military objectives would be, much less how we can rev up the combat power way over there to attain them, you love Putin. Yeah, it’s always a delight to be a vet of the Cold War being who is told he digs the Russians by a bunch of DC saps whose experience with the Bear is trying a Moscow Mule once, deciding it was icky, and asking for a white wine spritzer instead.
The Ukrainians are getting a raw deal, and I hope they drown their invaders in a river of blood. But it’s not our fight. And, if we did fight, there’s a significant chance we would lose. Then every two-bit tyrant on Earth will be coming for a piece of the helpless giant. We’re weak right now, folks, and the worst thing we can do is get up in front of everyone and prove it.
This. This exactly. The Administration looks like it is trying to draw into an inside straight. With the potential death, destruction, and risk to America's international position, I'd sure like answers - any answers - to the question what do we get out of any of this?
When people are taken out of their depth they lose their heads, no matter how charming a bluff they put up.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald