Ukraine Should Invade Russia

 

Simple Sun-Tzu. Attack where the enemy is not.

Russian forces are in Ukraine. In the South (the 60 mile-wide path from Donetsk to Crimea), Russians have numbers and have massed their resources. War now, as is usual in history, tends to favor defenders. Ukraine has enough force there to keep the Russians busy, terrified of a mass surrender from Kherson.

But in the North, there is nothing. The Russian rout from Kharkiv Region leaves Belgorod entirely undefended (with tens of thousands of people fleeing Belgorod as I write this).

Intelligent war strategy is to attack where the enemy is not. Ukraine can – and should – invade Russia where it is soft and undefended. Do lots of damage. Do it on the ground. you might even follow the highways around to encircle the Russian forces facing into Ukraine. Wreak havoc, and spread fear. And keep doing it until Russia sues for peace. Then you trade invaded Russia for invaded Ukraine.

Done and dusted.

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  1. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    I would think that this is exactly what a war-gamer would recommend doing as well. What is there to lose that they won’t lose anyway?

    • #1
  2. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    Columbo (View Comment):

    What is there to lose that they won’t lose anyway?

    Victim status.

    • #2
  3. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    What is there to lose that they won’t lose anyway?

    Victim status.

    As a Jew, I can tell you that victim status isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    • #3
  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Columbo (View Comment):
    What is there to lose that they won’t lose anyway?

    Is it possible that this is the thing that makes Putin want to use tactical nukes?

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Ukraine can’t occupy much. All they would be capable of doing is wrecking stuff. It would play into Putin’s position that he’s protecting Russia from dangerous Nazis.

    Probably not a good idea.

    • #5
  6. MDHahn Coolidge
    MDHahn
    @MDHahn

    I’m not sure this the right call logistically for Ukraine. Do they actually have the equipment or troop strength to do it? Also, it should only be done to out-flank the Russians and gain a tactical advantage, not merely create chaos. 

    I also worry about the soundness of the strategy at this point. How far do they swing around on the east? The area controlled by the Russians along the border is pretty significant. How much territory can you gain by flanking in that way? This is total speculation on my part, but your suggestion makes more sense if the Ukrainians are closer Donetsk or Luhansk first.

    • #6
  7. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Your question poses many good and theoretical questions.  (in the questions below I assume “they” are Ukrainians.)

    Are they fighting to determine a “winner”.  Does winning mean they force Russia to cede back their lands or accept total defeat? 

    Are they fighting to negotiate an acceptable truce?

    Are they fighting to regain their original territory?

    What is the value/risk of physically entering accepted Russian lands (as opposed to exclusively bombing from afar, munitions, factories, supplies and military bases)

    War is hell. I am grateful I can ask these questions from my secure and unaffected zone in PA., and not have to sleep with choices that have to be made. 

    • #7
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Losing victim status, appealing as that is, would also mean that the US and European weapons and other aid would vanish instantly. We didn’t sign on for invading Russia.

    There’s such a thing as pushing your luck. If David beats Goliath, great; pocket the win and go home. Don’t go to Goliath’s favorite bar and start trash-talking his mother. 

    • #8
  9. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    As satisfying as this would be, I don’t support it, and I think it would be a disaster.  I think they could reap some benefits by lobbing a couple of missiles at (say) Kursk, but I’m not even sold on that.  Trade-offs, to be sure.

    Rolling beyond the borders would likely over-extend them, resulting in a cut-off force being destroyed piecemeal.  Heaven knows, we’re all seeing once again how difficult it is to press through modern hostile territory, and nothing would galvanize flagging Russian spirits like having a bunch of Ukes loose in the countryside.

    I think it’s all downsides.  I would LOVE to see missiles hit Moscow.  I just don’t think it would work out well for Ukraine.  International support combined with Ukrainian testicles is what is keeping Ukraine alive.  Lose the support, and it will all be up a tree in Luton.

    (checking quote now…)

    EDIT: up a tree in Rutland

    • #9
  10. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Agree with the dissenters. More to lose than to gain.

     Now, somehow making Russia think that’s what they’re going to do, that’s a different matter. 

    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    What happened the last time someone invaded Russia?  What about the time before that?

    Nothing unites the Russians like an invasion. 

    • #11
  12. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    It would be just the excuse the EU was looking for to back out of supporting Ukraine and turn on Nordstream 2.

    • #12
  13. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    I believe Ukraine has neither the equipment, logistics soldiers, not training necessary to support an offensive operation outside Ukraine. Offense sucks a much larger volume of fuel, as defense burns through larger amounts of ammunition. So you must have sufficient fuel trucks, collapsible fuel storage bladders, pumps, filters… And specially trained personnel. And small to large unit training on refueling on the move (ROM).

    So, just on the feasibility question, not gonna happen.

    • #13
  14. jmelvin Member
    jmelvin
    @jmelvin

    I’m with you in heart, particularly if I thought they could be successful, but I’m pretty confident they cannot.    If they can manage to push the Russians out of their country and leave them as a joke for the rest of the world, that may be sufficient.  

    • #14
  15. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Agree with the dissenters. More to lose than to gain.

     

    Me too. 

    • #15
  16. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    iWe: Do lots of damage. Do it on the ground. you might even follow the highways around to encircle the Russian forces facing into Ukraine. Wreak havoc, and spread fear. And keep doing it…

    This is the kind of talk that makes me seriously question either your religious scholarship, or your very religion assuming your conclusions and speculations are accurate. I say this as someone who scrolls past your many posts regarding the Torah and interpretations which are, essentially, “what G-d really meant…” by this or that passage. I’ve had my fill of that kind of philosophical absurdity having survived 8 years of Catholic schools in the 1960’s.

    This sounds like a revenge fantasy as much as a strategy, and we know full-well that innocent people will suffer (unless the author doesn’t consider ordinary Russian civilians innocent or ‘people’). 

    Maybe I’ve been so well indoctrinated by the Christian precepts to find the advocacy of such wonton destruction and the spreading of ‘fear’ to be quite primitive, and perpetuates the very thing we as Christians (and Jews?) should be on guard to avoid. 

    While I fully understand the conceit probably lies in ending the war entirely, and thus all the suffering, history doesn’t produce much evidence that this is effective. In fact, more evidence points to escalation of conflict and atrocities.

    As others have noted, this would be used by Russia to declare a real threat and escalate, while at the same time taking away at least some amount of moral justifications and Ukraine’s “victim status”. By the way, if victim status isn’t “all it’s cracked up to be”, why is it so often employed?  

    Moreover, an invasion into Russian territory would require a military force, logistics and resources that might be better employed fighting the Russians in Ukraine.

    The casual application of ancient precepts such as “attack the enemy where he is not”  was never Sun-Tzu’s intention, dare I speculate. 

    In all fairness, perhaps you just don’t consider the human suffering that your abstracted war-as-a-boardgame ruminations would manifest in the real world with real people. 

     

    • #16
  17. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I’ll break this down:

    One of the biggest mistakes armies make is by doing what Lee did – aiming for the enemy army. In the runup to Gettysburg, the South behaved idiotically – they should have just gone North, and taken Philadelphia, held it hostage and sued for peace.  That they chose instead to fight was a colossal mistake, born from terrible strategy.

    The purpose of war is to win. And you win by convincing the enemy that he has lost. That enemy might be soldiers, or civilians. They might be nearby or far away. But the overall goal remains: you must convince them that they have lost. If you do this, then nothing “on the ground” matters all that much. See: Nam:Viet.

    Ukraine should invade Russia within the limits of its capabilities to do so. Whether that means 5 miles or 500, you still strike where the enemy is not. Your job is to make the Russians prefer to sue for peace and get back to normal life. And you do this through public, obvious, indisputable victories. Create the new reality – that invading Ukraine was not just a questionable decision, but a terrible, awful, no-good one. Once Russians realize they have lost, then they want to end all of it – the war, the sanctions, the hassle, etc.

    And make it abundantly clear to the Russians and the world: your job is to end war, not prolong it. As soon as the Russians agree to give back Ukrainian lands and restore the old borders, then you are good to go (the reparations are a bargaining chip).

    • #17
  18. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Russia has no conventional options remaining. Their army is hollowed out, their equipment is destroyed, their soldiers want nothing to do with war. And raw recruits are chewed up on the modern battlefield. Russia has no toys left, except those in occupied Ukraine. So Ukraine should attack elsewhere

    Would Russians mass mobilize if they knew that if Russia left Ukraine, there would be no Ukrainian military presence in Russia? Not a chance. Even now, recruits are refusing to fight. 

    • #18
  19. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Franco (View Comment):
     

    iWe: Do lots of damage. Do it on the ground. you might even follow the highways around to encircle the Russian forces facing into Ukraine. Wreak havoc, and spread fear. And keep doing it…

    This is the kind of talk that makes me seriously question either your religious scholarship, or your very religion assuming your conclusions and speculations are accurate.

    I don’t understand why you think a religiously devout person should not be interested in helping Good Guys win the Good Fight?

    Winning the war quickly will save a lot more lives than dragging it out. To win it quickly, Ukraine invades Russia.

     

    • #19
  20. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    iWe (View Comment):

    I’ll break this down:

    One of the biggest mistakes armies make is by doing what Lee did – aiming for the enemy army. In the runup to Gettysburg, the South behaved idiotically – they should have just gone North, and taken Philadelphia, held it hostage and sued for peace. That they chose instead to fight was a colossal mistake, born from terrible strategy.

    The purpose of war is to win. And you win by convincing the enemy that he has lost. That enemy might be soldiers, or civilians. They might be nearby or far away. But the overall goal remains: you must convince them that they have lost. If you do this, then nothing “on the ground” matters all that much. See: Nam:Viet.

    Ukraine should invade Russia within the limits of its capabilities to do so. Whether that means 5 miles or 500, you still strike where the enemy is not. Your job is to make the Russians prefer to sue for peace and get back to normal life. And you do this through public, obvious, indisputable victories. Create the new reality – that invading Ukraine was not just a questionable decision, but a terrible, awful, no-good one. Once Russians realize they have lost, then they want to end all of it – the war, the sanctions, the hassle, etc.

    And make it abundantly clear to the Russians and the world: your job is to end war, not prolong it. As soon as the Russians agree to give back Ukrainian lands and restore the old borders, then you are good to go (the reparations are a bargaining chip).

    Upon further review, my war-gaming reaction was completely wrong. In war-gaming you must think many moves ahead. And this isn’t the civil war. If Ukraine attacks Russia, they give Putin the only excuse that he needs to use a tactical nuke.  That would be very bad for Ukraine, as well as the rest of the world. The Ukrainian victim status would disappear immediately and any continued flow of needed weaponry possibly vanish.

    • #20
  21. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    What happened the last time someone invaded Russia?  What about the time before that?

    Nothing unites the Russians like an invasion. 

    The French and Germans wanted to keep Russia. 

    Ukraine does not. And everyone knows it, including Russians.

    • #21
  22. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    If David beats Goliath, great; pocket the win and go home. Don’t go to Goliath’s favorite bar and start trash-talking his mother. 

    David needs to win. You do what works, as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

    • #22
  23. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    I’m with iWe. Go in, kill as many Russians as you can, burn down their villages, dynamite their infrastructure, destroy their crop lands, bomb Moscow fer Crissakes. Grab Mr Putin’s nose and twist the damned thing until it breaks off.  After that, ain’t nobody gonna eff with Ukraine for another hundred years.

    But be prepared for viscous retribution.  Letting Mr Clinton talk the Ukes into giving up their Russian nukes was a really bad mistake.

    • #23
  24. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    iWe (View Comment):
    One of the biggest mistakes armies make is by doing what Lee did – aiming for the enemy army. In the runup to Gettysburg, the South behaved idiotically – they should have just gone North, and taken Philadelphia, held it hostage and sued for peace.  That they chose instead to fight was a colossal mistake, born from terrible strategy.

    My understanding is that Lee essentially blundered into the Union forces (such as they were) at Gettysburg. Stuart decided to ride around the Army of the Potomac instead of screening Lee’s army and providing Lee intelligence on Meade’s forces. 

    I know we have many military historians (pro or amateur), so please correct me if I’ve misunderstood this all my life.

    • #24
  25. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Invading Russia in the winter…brilliant. 

    • #25
  26. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    As I understand it, Lee went north to menace Washington DC in order to take pressure off of Richmond.  Lee had to go further and further north before trying to hook east, and as MWD points out, he was then blind due to Stuart’s ride.  Lee’s position was always one of necessity, and the Confederacy pinned its hopes on yet another miracle of Lee maneuver that would convert yet another bad prospect into gain and renewed options.  But the well was dry.

    I disagree that Lee should have gone to Philadelphia and besieged (or invested) the town.  That would have pinned him down and allowed Union forces to besiege Lee’s army.  He was far from home, his army was barefoot and hungry, and their luck had run out.

    • #26
  27. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    iWe (View Comment)

    Simple Sun-Tzu. Attack where the enemy is not.

    What did Sun-Tzu say about giving an enemy that has nukes an excuse to use them?

     

    • #27
  28. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    iWe (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    What happened the last time someone invaded Russia? What about the time before that?

    Nothing unites the Russians like an invasion.

    The French and Germans wanted to keep Russia.

    Ukraine does not. And everyone knows it, including Russians.

    That’s some serious mind-reading.

     

    • #28
  29. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):
    I’m with iWe. Go in, kill as many Russians as you can, burn down their villages, dynamite their infrastructure, destroy their crop lands, bomb Moscow fer Crissakes.

    I am NOT saying this!!!

    • #29
  30. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Franco (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment)

    Simple Sun-Tzu. Attack where the enemy is not.

    What did Sun-Tzu say about giving an enemy that has nukes an excuse to use them?

     

    Putin could use nukes at any time, for any reason. Unless his own troops refuse the order – which is quite possible, considering how many Russian soldiers are ignoring orders these days.

    • #30
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