“Frailty” Is Putting It Mildly

I wanted to call attention to one sentence in Walter Russell Mead’s latest Wall Street Journal column:

If Ukraine had depended on Europe alone for help, the Russian flag would be flying over the ruins of Kharkiv, Kyiv and Odessa.

If one thing emerged from the wargames to which I have repeatedly referred it is how vital European preparedness is.

Dr. Mead refers to the frailty of European triumphalism about the Ukraine war. IMO that’s understating it. Any “triumphalism” is fantastical but it’s part and parcel of how the Europeans, the Germans in particular, have been behaving lately. They’ve been treating posturing and position statements as though they were accomplishments.

2 comments… add one
  • bob sykes Link

    After the fall of the USSR, the European members of NATO reduced their land forces by fully 75%, with very large, but smaller, reductions in the other forces. War stocks were reduced to a very few weeks, as was shown in both Serbia and Libya. Moreover, Europe as well as the US underwent substantial deindustrialization. The upshot being that we cannot sustain Ukraine’s current rate of arms expenditure, and it will take a few years to rebuild that industry, assuming we have the engineers and skilled workers to do it.

    Russia has maintained it manufacturing base, and, helped by sanctions, is rapidly increasing it. Even before the current war, Russia’s real economy (manufacturing, resources, agriculture) was 2/3 of the US’, 4 times Germany’s, and 10 times the UK’s. Combined with China’s manufacturing sector, which is 50% larger than the US’, the Russia-China coalition pretty much dwarfs the West.

    Three lunatic Republican Senators today proposed massive transfers of American weapons to Ukraine, claiming America’s own survival depended on a complete victory over Russia, including its expulsion from Crimea.

    Recently, quite a few Russian leaders have raised the prospect of nuclear war. No one in Washington or Europe believes them.

    The likelihood of a major war in Europe and North America, on the scale of WW 1 and 2, is probably on the order of 50%. It will be the fault of the US.

    I will repeat what I have written before. Get out of the city before summer. At least get a rural refuge, and keep go bags and a vehicle with a full gas tank.

  • bob sykes Link


    The US is going to send at least 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. They go with American crews, necessary if they are to be used anytime soon.

    This was a German precondition for the transfer of Leopards to Ukraine.

    Tanks alone are not enough. You also need tank transporters and recovery vehicles and their crews. And APC’s for infantry support, and self propelled artillery, and air support (F-16s, A-10s) and logistical tails. Abrams guzzle fuel, and the turbine engines need to be swapped out regularly. This is almost a brigade sized unit. At least a regimental sized unit. At least 2,000 to 3,000 American soldiers and airmen in Ukraine.

    NATO is full in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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