If Ukraine Wins, Who Loses?

 

There’s the obvious answers – Putin, the image of Russian might, the Duginist dream of solidifying Russian control over its insolent children. 

Who else? The Russian Orthodox Church, for declaring this a holy war? Xi, for his association with a loser whose actions renewed Taiwanese determination to stave off an invasion? The countries that have been buying Russian military gear and now have a rep, however justified, for buying junk? US pundits who backed Russia’s invasion? Renewable energy advocates, suddenly on the back foot because nuclear is a better option than Russian gas? US intelligence agencies that failed to figure out how the Russian forces are ancient and hollowed out by corruption?

You could also note who else wins: the West, for one. Superior armaments and tech, better logistics, the products of a more energetic and innovative culture. I suspect there’s a non-insubstantial intersection between those who are comfy with Russian control of Ukraine and those who would be irritated by a Western win, because the West is decadent and subject to rule from our Davos overlords, and ought not to prevail until it is overhauled and remade. 

This is not a thread about whether Ukraine will win, or what victory looks like. Just a question about what shakes out when it is apparent to all that Russia could not prevail. 

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  1. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? There’s a place for nuance, for thinking three steps ahead, but I don’t think this is it.

    • #1
  2. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    James Lileks: US pundits who backed Russia’s invasion? Renewable energy advocates, suddenly on the back foot because nuclear is a better option than Russian gas? US intelligence agencies that failed to figure out how the Russian forces are ancient and hollowed out by corruption?

    Who are the US pundits who backed Russia’s invasion?  Seriously, who?

    How are renewable energy advocates harmed by Zelensky’s open armed Western global-warming embrace of renewables?

    How are US intelligence agencies, which backed Ukraine in a half-dozen ways, including with winning the war, losers by Ukraine’s winning?

    You could also note who else wins: the West, for one. Superior armaments and tech

    Here I sort of agree with you.  The armaments industries made out like bandits.

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I was thinking just today that it would be better for Putin and Russia if they lose. If they were to “win,” the anger and resentment toward them would be wild. It would be Chechnya on a global scale. Someone with nothing to lose will exact terrible revenge. 

    • #3
  4. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    If the globalist cabal who installed the puppet state known as Ukraine – clearinghouse for the most corrupt actors in the West – manage to retain it then everyone loses. People who don’t understand that have no grasp on history or the coming catastrophe. 

    • #4
  5. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    This video of Noam Chomsky is queued up to 7:30, but watch a few minutes from there.  He says in preceding minutes that there is one and only one Western statesman of high stature who has voiced a way to end the Ukraine war, and can do it.  And then Chomsky goes on to talk briefly about who is responsible for this war and who benefits.

    • #5
  6. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    No matter what happens the people of Ukraine have lost a lot. And a lot of Russians, too. The poor of Europe who will miss out on heating aren’t doing too well. And the global economy is taking a pounding. 

    War is bad. 

    • #6
  7. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    genferei (View Comment):

    No matter what happens the people of Ukraine have lost a lot. And a lot of Russians, too. The poor of Europe who will miss out on heating aren’t doing too well. And the global economy is taking a pounding.

    War is bad.

    Except for the warmongers.

    • #7
  8. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Flicker (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    No matter what happens the people of Ukraine have lost a lot. And a lot of Russians, too. The poor of Europe who will miss out on heating aren’t doing too well. And the global economy is taking a pounding.

    War is bad.

    Except for the warmongers.

    It’s great for Fox News, neocons, Hillary, Soros, RINOS etc…

    • #8
  9. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    No matter what happens the people of Ukraine have lost a lot. And a lot of Russians, too. The poor of Europe who will miss out on heating aren’t doing too well. And the global economy is taking a pounding.

    War is bad.

    Except for the warmongers.

    It’s great for Fox News, neocons, Hillary, Soros, RINOS etc…

    That’s weird.  I had just been thinking about commenting with 20 minutes of Tucker Carlson talking about how this war “it’s not about Ukraine”.  But he is making ratings talking about Ukraine.

    Oh, heck.  I’ll do it.

    • #9
  10. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Dream on.

    • #10
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Can we define win? I think genferei is sadly correct. 

    genferei (View Comment):

    No matter what happens the people of Ukraine have lost a lot. And a lot of Russians, too. The poor of Europe who will miss out on heating aren’t doing too well. And the global economy is taking a pounding.

    War is bad.

    I guess win is Russia leaves, but man, Ukraine is already devastated. 

     

    • #11
  12. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    No matter what happens the people of Ukraine have lost a lot. And a lot of Russians, too. The poor of Europe who will miss out on heating aren’t doing too well. And the global economy is taking a pounding.

    War is bad.

    Except for the warmongers.

    It’s great for Fox News, neocons, Hillary, Soros, RINOS etc…

    And arms dealers. And oil producers. And people who sell wheat, aluminium….

    • #12
  13. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    What does Ukraine winning look like?

    • #13
  14. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Zafar (View Comment):

    What does Ukraine winning look like?

    Being restored to the Pre-2014 borders. 

    In the first alternative, Ukraine losing only Crimea, but nothing else. 

    In the second alternative, Ukraine goes back to the Pre-2022 borders.  

    • #14
  15. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    genferei (View Comment):

    No matter what happens the people of Ukraine have lost a lot. And a lot of Russians, too. The poor of Europe who will miss out on heating aren’t doing too well. And the global economy is taking a pounding.

    War is bad.

    War is bad. The worst.

     

    • #15
  16. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Lukashenko in Belarus.

    • #16
  17. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Ukraine is losing and being ground down. It is the second largest military going up against the largest. Ukraine sends troops and weapons to the front in the south and east, but it will run out of troops. Eventually. And it is the most effective Ukrainian troops who die first and most.

    The weapons systems being sent aren’t very effective. Drones as a weapon system are easily countered. The systems to counter drones aren’t everywhere yet, but that is going to change. 

    The battlefield missle systems are being captured. The Ukrainian weapons have to travel the length of Ukraine, which is Chicago to Boston. And the rail system no longer works because it is electric and the substations have been destroyed. 

    What will Ukraine look like after? It will be devoid of a coastline, Transnistrea will be joined to the eastern part, and Kiev will be on the border. The war will continue for at least another year. And may just continue at low level for another 8 years as it already has. 

    The US, which is the main proponent of a long war , will have to wait for another administration . Even then no guarantee . 

    • #17
  18. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    I guess win is Russia leaves, but man, Ukraine is already devastated. 

    Even before getting devastated, Ukraine had big problems. Despite all its natural resources and nuclear infrastructure, it had a third world GDP. The war masked that. 

    What next? Corrupt international welfare state?

    But Russia is not going to leave. It will probably keep the big nuke plant near Crimea. That creates enticing opportunities for energy-starved Chinese industries to locate facilities. Perhaps with Chinese help Russia can make something out of southeastern Ukraine.

    • #18
  19. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    Zafar (View Comment):

    What does Ukraine winning look like?

    Based on the experience in Yemen, the losers will be the people in eastern/southern Ukraine.   Germany will be weakened, because they have a disfunctional energy market and their Global Warming mania will only increase, which will degrade their manufacturing base.  

    Not losers:  the Russian Church will be fine as the people will be more religious.   Poland, Hungary, Romania will try to be more self-sufficient, which will help them.

    • #19
  20. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Flicker (View Comment):
    How are US intelligence agencies, which backed Ukraine in a half-dozen ways, including with winning the war, losers by Ukraine’s winning?

    I mean, @jameslileks tells you one reason. You even included it in your quote:

    US intelligence agencies that failed to figure out how the Russian forces are ancient and hollowed out by corruption?

    We spend a metric buttload of money on our “intelligence” services every year. One of their primary missions, as I understand it, is to make reliable estimates and analysis of our adversary’s capabilities. They seem to have had no idea that the Russian military was in such dire shape. For example, many of their mobile units seems to be using tires made in the USSR, which went the way of all flesh 31 years ago. The Russian military’s logistical capability seems to be non-existent. There are many examples of just how badly our agencies failed in this part of their mission.

    But I don’t know why we should be surprised at this. Our so-called intelligence agencies have botched every major event in my lifetime, and probably most minor ones as well.

    As for our IAs contributing to UKR’s effort, well, that’s what they’re telling us. I don’t really think I believe them.

    • #20
  21. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Sometimes a movie best describes where we are now.  Putin is Liberty Valance.  The United States is John Wayne.  

    • #21
  22. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    James Lileks: Xi, for his association with a loser whose actions renewed Taiwanese determination to stave off an invasion?

    No. The war has relegated Russia to China’s junior partner in the new axis of evil. Xi’s bargaining power has massively increased in any dealings with Russia.

    The war has also emphasized China’s ability to devastate Taiwan. China massively outguns Russia and Taiwan is a more concentrated target than Ukraine.

    That being said, the RU-UA war going hot was a lost opportunity for Xi. Xi could have put enough money on the table to turn the whole Belarus-Ukraine-Southwest Russia region into a Chinese special economic zone for access to the EU market. Lots of Chinese companies would look at the cheap labor,  nuclear power, and natural resources in that area and see a massive competitive advantage over siting facilities in the EU (think of all the German energy and water regulations Tesla faces and contrast with what a BYD or Xpeng would face in UA).

     

    • #22
  23. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    If the globalist cabal who installed the puppet state known as Ukraine – clearinghouse for the most corrupt actors in the West – manage to retain it then everyone loses. People who don’t understand that have no grasp on history or the coming catastrophe.

    get over it- Ukraine is a legitimate state by any definition- Puppet states don’t destroy over 600 tanks of one of the mightiest armies of the world in weeks. The Ukrainian people have voted with their blood- they are as deserving of our support as anybody. Puppet states fold like Afghanistan- they don’t fight like lions. No army that is as corrupt as you try to claim could fight so well under such circumstances- it is plainly obvious that the Russians are an order of magnitude more corrupt than the current Ukrainian regime-not to mention war criminals.

    • #23
  24. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Who loses?  The US taxpayer and citizen no matter what.  The Ukraine people no matter what.  

    Who wins?  The Democrats and their cronies.  They have convinced themselves that Putin is the devil and will pump as much US money as possible over there so they and theirs can steal it back until they are made to stop.  

     

    • #24
  25. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    NATO would be a big winner.  The proxy war has shown how to fight against the Russians as well as depleting Russia’s best troops.  The loss in material probably means that the Russian’s plans to move on the Baltics and Eastern NATO are moot for a few years maybe as long as 10 if Russia really needs to fundamentally restructure its military.  Also the addition of two capable militaries in Sweden and Finland make the overall alliance stronger.  Germany rearming and rethinking its energy posture could be useful in the long term, but much short term pain is going to be felt because of the Green lobby/ party.  I doubt it will be very hard for the US to convince Europe to spend more on defense.  

    I disagree on Xi and China.  I think they could get in better shape if they were smart.  If the forced Russia too the negotiating table and brokered a deal which Ukraine could accept.  It would be a tremendous enhancement to Chinese influence and prestige on the global stage.  Then they would be able to use the belt and road initiative to help rebuild Ukraine which gives China two clients in Europe and cements Russia as the junior partner.  Additionally China now probably sees it needs to rethink its strategy on Taiwan.  It is enormously helpful to have a potential losing strategy pointed out by proxy.  

    The UN is a loser they have been shown to be Mos Eisley, “A wretched hive of scum and villainy”.  This weakens their standing as something that can preserve peace and points out what a tool they are of authoritarians.  

    The US is a long term loser because this hastens the end of the Dollar as the world reserve currency.  That will have a profound impact on the US economy and politics.

    • #25
  26. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    If the globalist cabal who installed the puppet state known as Ukraine – clearinghouse for the most corrupt actors in the West – manage to retain it then everyone loses. People who don’t understand that have no grasp on history or the coming catastrophe.

    get over it- Ukraine is a legitimate state by any definition- Puppet states don’t destroy over 600 tanks of one of the mightiest armies of the world in weeks. The Ukrainian people have voted with their blood- they are as deserving of our support as anybody. Puppet states fold like Afghanistan- they don’t fight like lions. No army that is as corrupt as you try to claim could fight so well under such circumstances- it is plainly obvious that the Russians are an order of magnitude more corrupt than the current Ukrainian regime-not to mention war criminals.

    LOL. Yeah, Ukraine is winning the war.

    • #26
  27. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    I agree with @bryangstephens that one needs to first define “winning”. What ever might be an advantageous outcome to the U.S., NATO or the broader West will come at a very high cost to Ukraine.

    I think that Ukraine has demonstrated that it has the will to keep fighting as long as necessary to drive the Russians out. Will this be at the end of a conventional, high intensity and full spectrum mechanized campaign? Maybe, but unlikely. I expect that the war will devolve into a long-term, low intensity insurgency mostly fought with small arms and improvised armaments. The war will continue as long as the Ukrainian people believe that their honor demands it. Does Russia have the strategic depth to fight an insurgency over a broad front for a decade or more? I don’t know. I doubt it, but I might be wrong.

    I note that the current US administration has not stated what the US national interests are in Ukraine, and what the justification is for providing Ukraine with aid and assistance. I think such interests exist, but (no surprise) Biden seems incapable of explaining them.

     

    • #27
  28. DrewInWisconsin, Oik! Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik!
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Who loses? The US taxpayer and citizen no matter what. The Ukraine people no matter what.

    Who wins? The Democrats and Republicans and their cronies. They have convinced themselves that Putin is the devil and will pump as much US money as possible over there so they and theirs can steal it back until they are made to stop.

     

    Slight addition to your statement which is otherwise accurate.

    • #28
  29. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Nato will be shown to be ineffective. The US will need to make a decision to either recognize Nato as a huge liability or step up to the plate and make Nato leaner (drop members) and more effective. Nato needs to either be a military alliance and stop being a social club . Otherwise,  we should leave.

    There also needs to be a huge retirement of brass in the Pentagon. 

    • #29
  30. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Flicker (View Comment):
    How are US intelligence agencies, which backed Ukraine in a half-dozen ways, including with winning the war, losers by Ukraine’s winning?

    Overestimation of Russian military capabilities. There are two things that are paramount in intelligence gathering: capabilities and intentions. The capabilities category is supposed to be the easy one.

    • #30
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