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United States vs Russia capability questions

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Posted (edited)

Strategic, operational, tactical levels are separate and distinct. Note how you discuss them.

The US posture in Europe was not only caused by the political limitations, it was also caused by the lack of understanding of operational level (even US's own historical experiences, note how for ALB US lifted Soviet terminology), tactical bias (generated by the career paths and mil education system, misinterpretation of German experience) and technofetishism (all too common belief that a given technology would be the deciding factor). This began, in part, to change with adoption of the ALB and culminated in the ODS, where US and it's allies conducted a classical offensive operation with envelopment of the enemy force. Note that during the ALB era it was still shaped by the above factors, the love for technological solutions and the political limitations lead to US creating depth in defense not through manuever (though counterstrokes were considered to some extend) but through deep fires (assault breakers etc).

As to Donbas - it is a fairly low cost operation sustained by locals, with their own officer schools and other such means. Projecting the operations there during early years of the crisis with some reported homeopathic (5-7 BTGs?) intervention onto any serious modern scenario is delusional in my opinion, considering the changes in the Russian peacetime force posture which lead to Armies being arrayed for contingencies in the region, with atleast two forward deployed divisions on the pre-2014 Russia-Ukraine border, either behind two LDPR corps or on the flank of the CTO forces.

Edited by ikalugin

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On ‎7‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 11:04 AM, ikalugin said:

Strategic, operational, tactical levels are separate and distinct. Note how you discuss them.

As to Donbas - it is a fairly low cost operation sustained by locals, with their own officer schools and other such means. 

you make the same mistake of confusing strategic, operational and tactical.  Yes in terms of force commitment you could call this "cheap".  However the impact for Russia at the strategic level has been anything but cheap.  And the locals aren't the ones "sustaining" it.  The threat of more large scale Russian intervention is what is sustaining it.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, sburke said:

you make the same mistake of confusing strategic, operational and tactical.  Yes in terms of force commitment you could call this "cheap".  However the impact for Russia at the strategic level has been anything but cheap.  And the locals aren't the ones "sustaining" it.  The threat of more large scale Russian intervention is what is sustaining it. 

Cheap is relative, in this case to other options Russia has (ie occupation of Ukraine) and to our capability to sustain current strategy.


While our forces in Russia do indeed deter Kiev loyalists from doing anything too exciting, it is the locals who are actually fighting the war currently and to that end they have built up relevant institutions such as equipment repair/maintenance, officer schools, etc. Considering the scale of their efforts it is unwise to under estimate them and reduce the whole situation to Russian intervention.

Edited by ikalugin

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2 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Agreed.....Considering the potential loss to Russia had they not 'enforced their claim' on Crimea, their action was a strategic masterstroke, cheap at twice the price. 

not really.  this isn't world war 1 thinking.  The cost for staking the claim on Crimea was huge and Russia will keep paying.  In the end though beyond some patriotic flag waving what is it really getting them?

 

4 hours ago, ikalugin said:

Cheap is relative, in this case to other options Russia has (ie occupation of Ukraine) and to our capability to sustain current strategy.


While our forces in Russia do indeed deter Kiev loyalists from doing anything too exciting, it is the locals who are actually fighting the war currently and to that end they have built up relevant institutions such as equipment repair/maintenance, officer schools, etc. Considering the scale of their efforts it is unwise to under estimate them and reduce the whole situation to Russian intervention.

The whole issue in Ukraine is exactly Russian intervention.  None of what has happened would have occurred were it not for Russia.  There would have been no uprising in the East and no continued occupation.  DNR and LPR are a bunch of thugs who couldn't manage their own bank account if it weren't for Russia.  Hell they shoot each other darn near as often as they shoot at Ukraine. (yeah that last bit is a bit of hyperbole, but you gotta admit there has been significant infighting there)

And no it isn't cheap to maintain that strategy.  Again you confound strategic and tactical.  Russia's actions continue to isolate it economically and politically and that cost has long term consequences in the oil industry.  Thing about technology is if you let it start falling apart it is a bitch to get going again.

There was a CIA study done a while back on long term prospects for Siberia. I'll see if I can dig it up.  Fascinating report on Russian demographics and the relationship to China.  The ending summary had a warning about China pretty much doing what Russia has done, claim ownership of space based on nationality issues.  The growth in Chinese labor and communities in Siberia being the basis.  Russia may end up reaping what they sow when China uses the same rationale to grab portions of the Russian east they never quite gave up claim to.

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The rebel commander 'Motorola' was about as Ukrainian as I am. The US has its own recent history of Russian 'agent provocateurs' falsely claiming to radicalized American nationals calling for armed internal rebellion.

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30 minutes ago, sburke said:

In the end though beyond some patriotic flag waving what is it really getting them?

What, apart form the continued security of their southern flank and total dominance of the Black Sea?  :rolleyes:

 

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1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

apart form the continued security of their southern flank

LOL security from what exactly? The narrative that Western Europe or Eastern Europe or the US is some how a direct territorial threat to Russia is just made up.

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1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

What, apart form the continued security of their southern flank and total dominance of the Black Sea?  :rolleyes:

err dominance of the black sea... an enclosed body of water with only one narrow exit?  Yeah that is worth undermining your entire global relationships.  So now the powerful black sea fleet (:wacko: )can sortie out into the..... yeah umm....Now if they had also been able to seize the Bosporus that would have been something! :P   Crimea is a sinkhole for money.  Look at how much investment Russia is having to dump into it with this bridge, electrical grid, water supplies.  Now tell me again just how cheap it is and the great strategic value of a region that can be severed from support by blowing one bridge.  I understand Ukraine and the international community reacting to it as an unlawful seizure but if I were Ukrainian I'd be secretly glad they took it.  Ukraine doesn't have to maintain it and Russia is having to invest a lot more than they likely planned.  

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I have to disagree - the advance of NATO right up to russian borders, in spite of diplomatic agreements not to move "One inch to the East",  is clearly a threat. No sensible Russian leader could ignore it.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, sburke said:

err dominance of the black sea... an enclosed body of water with only one narrow exit?

Really?  :rolleyes:

Are you aware how much money the US government is spending upgrading ports in the Black Sea:

https://breakingdefense.com/2019/07/us-upgrading-ukraine-ports-to-fit-american-warships/

Not that they would be able to access them in the event of hostilities.  :mellow:

31 minutes ago, IanL said:

The narrative that Western Europe or Eastern Europe or the US is some how a direct territorial threat to Russia is just made up.

Really?  :rolleyes:

Maybe you should ask a Russian how they feel about that and stop trying to preach at me?  ;)

2 minutes ago, JulianJ said:

I have to disagree - the advance of NATO right up to russian borders, in spite of diplomatic agreements not to move "One inch to the East",  is clearly a threat. No sensible Russian leader could ignore it.

What he said.....With big brass bells on.  :)

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Very interesting conversation, thank all for your thoughts.  I am seeing lots of good thoughts on this complex subject.

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1 hour ago, JulianJ said:

I have to disagree - the advance of NATO right up to russian borders, in spite of diplomatic agreements not to move "One inch to the East",  is clearly a threat. No sensible Russian leader could ignore it.

That "agreement" is a perpetuating myth.  Gorbachev himself denies there was actually any agreement, yet that doesn't stop it coming up about NATO encroachment. Big brass bells or not.

As to the US spending money to upgrade Ukrainian ports - let me get this straight, the validation as to the value of these ports is based on the reaction of Russia seizing the Crimea illegally.... isn't that a circular argument? If Russian had not seized the Crimea do you think the US would be spending this money or dispatching units into Poland etc?

As to NATO membership - The UN charter determines that nations have the right to decide their own agreements.  If Eastern European nations feel threatened by Russian aggression and seek to form protective alliances whose fault is that?  Man you guys really bend over backwards trying to find validation for Russia's aggression by pointing at other nations reactions to protect themselves.  I should be used to that on this forum, but it still befuddles me.  I am perfectly happy to argue about the mistakes my country makes strategically and politically (of which there are many to be sure), but the stone wall of defense of mother Russia never being able to be wrong, produce bogus super military hardware that is all about sound bites but is still defended as something that will kill NATO yadayadayada….  Do you guys listen to yourselves and wonder about your objectivity?  Guess not.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, sburke said:

That "agreement" is a perpetuating myth.  Gorbachev himself denies there was actually any agreement, yet that doesn't stop it coming up about NATO encroachment. Big brass bells or not.

And NATO doesn't stop marching towards Russia's borders.....Give it up, you are kidding nobody.

https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early

Fact is, if the US/NATO genuinely push their luck in the Black Sea, they'll find out exactly how good Russian anti-shipping missiles really are, and we'll be in WWIII.....If you think that war will be restricted to 'foreign places' you are delusional. 

Wake up, smell the coffee.....The days when the west could throw it's weight around with impunity are over.....Ask your $200 million drone.  :mellow:

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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25 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

And NATO doesn't stop marching towards Russia's borders.....Give it up, you are kidding nobody.

https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early

Fact is, if the US/NATO genuinely push their luck in the Black Sea, they'll find out exactly how good Russian anti-shipping missiles really are, and we'll be in WWIII.....If you think that war will be restricted to 'foreign places' you are delusional. 

Wake up, smell the coffee.....The days when the west could throw it's weight around with impunity are over.....Ask your $200 million drone.  :mellow:

gawd dude  it isn't NATO sending little green men into other countries  wake up and smell the vodka. 🤢  Russian aggression will draw a response.  You know the old doctor story, "it hurts when I lift me arm - well don't lift your arm" can be applied here.  If Russia wants other countries to not feel threatened it should stop threatening.  A lot of folks want to do business with Russia.  The country has a lot of resources etc.  That they can't is a direct result of Russia's own actions.

and you clearly don't understand the balance of power.  NATO doesn't have to send a single trooper east.  Just cut Russia off from Swift and wait for the collapse.  Wave your anti shipping missiles all you want, there aren't any ships coming....

Any way this has gotten way off topic and frankly silly.  The question posted had to do with optics equipment etc, not the geo political balance.  I blame myself partly for the diversion so maybe we just go back to answering the OP.  Though I am still trying to find that article on Siberia.  The demographics issues Russia faces and the situation in Siberia is frankly far more important for Russia than the fate of Crimea.

 

And just for giggles  the weekly world news has the best headlines :P 

http://weeklyworldnews.com/headlines/42042/siberia-to-become-part-of-u-s-2/

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Posted (edited)

Hold on mate, you just got caught telling porky-pies and now you want to change the subject!  :lol: 

20 minutes ago, sburke said:

gawd dude  it isn't NATO sending little green men into other countries  wake up and smell the vodka.

I was going to compile a list of all the countries that the US/NATO have invaded since 1990.....But I really don't have all night to waste on this.  :unsure:

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Of course there's always the domestic audience factor to consider also.  We always think foreign policy moves are actually about foreign policy.  Sometimes it's for domestic consumption.  Putin could do this because it makes him look tough and nationalistic to his own people, upholds russian pride, etc.  He could do it because Russian people think they are being disrespected and he needs to stand up to the west to keep his tough guy image. 

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Posted (edited)

Err I am unsure if I would like to continue in this thead, as it has turned political and may get nuked.

"DNR and LPR are a bunch of thugs who couldn't manage their own bank account if it weren't for Russia."
You really shouldn't underestimate the locals, or the local Ukrainian issues.

About the resilience of Russia and our strategy, you can find more here:
https://frivarld.se/rapporter/drivers-of-russian-grand-strategy-2/

As to the strategic vs tactical - essentially every political action Russia does in Ukraine is strategic in nature, if we are talking about military matters, as it forms the military-political level, from which military-technical level and military strategy comes.

Edited by ikalugin

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1 hour ago, sburke said:
2 hours ago, JulianJ said:

I have to disagree - the advance of NATO right up to russian borders, in spite of diplomatic agreements not to move "One inch to the East",  is clearly a threat. No sensible Russian leader could ignore it.

That "agreement" is a perpetuating myth.  Gorbachev himself denies there was actually any agreement, yet that doesn't stop it coming up about NATO encroachment. Big brass bells or not.

Exactly. This myth has certainly been pointed out as such on these forums before. It might even have been earlier in this thread. The fact that people continue to say them does not make them true.

To be clear there never was an agreement about changes to NATO member ship. It just did not happen. The Russian Government say it exists does not make it true.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, IanL said:

Exactly. This myth has certainly been pointed out as such on these forums before. It might even have been earlier in this thread. The fact that people continue to say them does not make them true.

To be clear there never was an agreement about changes to NATO member ship. It just did not happen. The Russian Government say it exists does not make it true.

Yes, we are well aware of the western narrative, I guess this has been argued here, with de-classified/leaked transcripts of relevant discussions cited.

But, hey, this has already turned into "Russia bad" thread, with predictions on how Russia is going to collapse/whatever, I wonder if anyone made those predictions back in say 2014 or 2015.

Edited by ikalugin

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3 minutes ago, IanL said:

Exactly. This myth has certainly been pointed out as such on these forums before. It might even have been earlier in this thread. The fact that people continue to say them does not make them true.

To be clear there never was an agreement about changes to NATO member ship. It just did not happen. The Russian Government say it exists does not make it true.

Please do me the courtesy of actually reading my posts:

1 hour ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

And NATO doesn't stop marching towards Russia's borders.....Give it up, you are kidding nobody.

https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early

Fact is, if the US/NATO genuinely push their luck in the Black Sea, they'll find out exactly how good Russian anti-shipping missiles really are, and we'll be in WWIII.....If you think that war will be restricted to 'foreign places' you are delusional. 

Wake up, smell the coffee.....The days when the west could throw it's weight around with impunity are over.....Ask your $200 million drone.  :mellow:

It's there in black & white at the George Washington University.....Full links to copies of the original documents and notes are included within.  :mellow:

Utterly ridiculous discussion.  :rolleyes:

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2 minutes ago, ikalugin said:

Yes, we are well aware of the western narrative. But I guess this has been argued here, with de-classified/leaked transcripts of relevant discussions cited.

yes it has been argued here and no one has yet come up with valid data to show that it is anything more than a myth, though you are certainly welcome to give it your best shot including citing these supposedly declassified documents or leaks that you refer to.

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2 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Maybe you should ask a Russian how they feel about that and stop trying to preach at me?  ;)

Oh I am well aware that many Russians believe that NATO is expansionist and planning to attack them. But that feeling of persecution does not make it true. NATO did not and does not pursue an expansionist posture. The fact that countries in eastern Europe who used to be under the thumb of the USSR continue to feel threatened by the Russian government is not NATO's doing it is the Russian government's. The further fact that the Russian government has been using State controlled media to tell the Russian people that NATO and the west is some how against them is also a big propaganda campaign.

Just because someone fears something does not inherently mean it is dangerous. If the Russian government were to act responsibly and fairly in dealings with its neighbours those neighbours would not fear them and there wold be no need to join a defensive alliance like NATO. In fact if we ever get there we would no longer need NATO.

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