SCOTT RITTER: The Fantasy of Fanaticism

Despite what some “defense analysts” may be telling Western media, the longer the war continues, the more Ukrainians will die and the weaker NATO will become.

Main square of Severodonetsk, Ukraine, February 2018. (Visem, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

For a moment in time, it looked as if reality had managed to finally carve its way through the dense fog of propaganda-driven misinformation that had dominated Western media coverage of Russia’s “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine.

In a stunning admission, Oleksandr Danylyuk, a former senior adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and Intelligence Services, noted that the optimism that existed in Ukraine following Russia’s decision to terminate “Phase One” of the SMO (a major military feint toward Kiev), and begin “Phase Two” (the liberation of the Donbass), was no longer warranted. “The strategies and tactics of the Russians are completely different right now,” Danylyuk noted. “They are being much more successful. They have more resources than us and they are not in a rush.”

“There’s much less space for optimism right now,” Danylyuk concluded.

In short, Russia was winning.

Danylyuk’s conclusions were not derived from some esoteric analysis drawn from Sun Tzu or Clausewitz, but rather basic military math. In a war that had become increasingly dominated by the role of artillery, Russia simply was able to bring to bear on the battlefield more firepower than Ukraine.

Oleksandr Danylyuk in 2015. (YouTube, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Ukraine started the current conflict with an artillery inventory that included 540 122mm self-propelled artillery guns, 200 towed 122mm howitzers, 200 122mm multiple-rocket launch systems, 53 152mm self-propelled guns, 310 towed 152mm howitzers, and 96 203mm self-propelled guns, for approximately 1,200 artillery and 200 MLRS systems.

For the past 100-plus days, Russia has been relentlessly targeting both Ukraine’s artillery pieces and their associated ammunition storage facilities. By June 14, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that it had destroyed “521 installation of multiple launch rocket systems” and “1947 field artillery guns and mortars.”

Even if the Russian numbers are inflated (as is usually the case when it comes to wartime battle damage assessments), the bottom line is that Ukraine has suffered significant losses among the very weapons systems — artillery — which are needed most in countering the Russian invasion.

But even if Ukraine’s arsenal of Soviet-era 122mm and 152mm artillery pieces were still combat-worthy, the reality is that, according to Danylyuk, Ukraine has almost completely run out of ammunition for these systems and the stocks of ammunition sourced from the former Soviet-bloc Eastern European countries that used the same family of weapons have been depleted.

Ukraine is left doling out what is left of its former Soviet ammunition while trying to absorb modern Western 155mm artillery systems, such as the Caesar self-propelled gun from France and the U.S.-made M777 howitzer.

But the reduced capability means that Ukraine is only able to fire some 4,000-to-5,000 artillery rounds per day, while Russia responds with more than 50,000. This 10-fold disparity in firepower has proven to be one of the most decisive factors when it comes to the war in Ukraine, enabling Russia to destroy Ukrainian defensive positions with minimal risk to its own ground forces.

Casualties

This has led to a second level of military math imbalances, that being casualties.

Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior aid to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, recently estimated that Ukraine was losing between 100 and 200 soldiers a day on the frontlines with Russia, and another 500 or so wounded. These are unsustainable losses, brought on by the ongoing disparity in combat capability between Russia and Ukraine symbolized, but not limited to, artillery.

In recognition of this reality, NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg announced that Ukraine will more than likely have to make territorial concessions to Russia as part of any potential peace agreement, asking,

“what price are you willing to pay for peace? How much territory, how much independence, how much sovereignty…are you willing to sacrifice for peace?”

Stoltenberg, speaking in Finland, noted that similar territorial concessions made by Finland to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War was “one of the reasons Finland was able to come out of the Second World War as an independent sovereign nation.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on June 22 discussing the alliance’s Madrid summit at the end of the month. (NATO)

To recap — the secretary general of the trans-Atlantic alliance responsible for pushing Ukraine into its current conflict with Russia is now proposing that Ukraine be willing to accept the permanent loss of sovereign territory because NATO miscalculated and Russia —instead of being humiliated on the field of battle and crushed economically — is winning on both fronts.

Decisively.

That the secretary general of NATO would make such an announcement is telling for several reasons.

Stunning Request

First,  Ukraine is requesting 1,000 artillery pieces and 300 multiple-launch rocket systems, more than the entire active-duty inventory of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps combined. Ukraine is also requesting 500 main battle tanks — more than the combined inventories of Germany and the United Kingdom.

In short, to keep Ukraine competitive on the battlefield, NATO is being asked to strip its own defenses down to literally zero.

More telling, however, is what the numbers say about NATO’s combat strength versus Russia. If NATO is being asked to empty its armory to keep Ukraine in the game, one must consider the losses suffered by Ukraine up to that point and that Russia appears able to sustain its current level of combat activity indefinitely. That’s right — Russia just destroyed the equivalent of NATO’s main active-duty combat power and hasn’t blinked.

One can only imagine the calculations underway in Brussels as NATO military strategists ponder the fact that their alliance is incapable of defeating Russia in a large-scale European conventional land war.

But there is another conclusion that these numbers reveal — that no matter what the U.S. and NATO do in terms of serving as Ukraine’s arsenal, Russia is going to win the war. The question now is how much time the West can buy Ukraine, and at what cost, in a futile effort to discover Russia’s pain threshold in order to bring the conflict to an end in a manner that reflects anything but the current path toward unconditional surrender.

The only questions that need to be answered in Brussels, apparently, is how long can the West keep the Ukrainian Army in the field, and at what cost? Any rational actor would quickly realize that any answer is an unacceptable answer, given the certainty of a Russian victory, and that the West needs to stop feeding Ukraine’s suicidal fantasy of rearming itself to victory.

Enter The New York Times, stage right. While trying to completely reshape the narrative regarding the fighting in the Donbass after the damning reality check would be a bridge too far for even the creative minds at the Gray Lady — the writing equivalent of trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. But the editors were able to interview a pair of erstwhile “military analysts” who cobbled together a scenario that transformed Ukraine’s battlefield humiliation.

‘Military Analysts’

They described a crafty strategy designed to lure Russia into an urban warfare nightmare where, stripped of its advantages in artillery, it was forced to sacrifice soldiers in an effort to dig the resolute Ukrainian defenders from their hardened positions located amongst the rubble of a “dead” city — Severodonetsk. [Ukraine forces withdrew from the city  Friday.]

Gustav Gressel in Berlin in February 2020.  (Politikwissenschaftlerin, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

According to Gustav Gressel, a former Austrian military officer turned military analysts, “If the Ukrainians succeed in trying to drag them [the Russians] into house-to-house combat, there is a higher chance of inducing casualties on the Russians they cannot afford.”

According to Mykhailo Samus, a former Ukrainian naval officer turned think-tanks analyst, the Ukrainian strategy of dragging Russia into an urban combat nightmare is to buy time for rearming with the heavy weapons provided by the West, to “exhaust, or reduce, the enemy’s [Russia’s] offensive capabilities.”

The Ukrainian operational concepts in play in Severodonetsk, these analysts claim, have their roots in past Russian urban warfare experiences in Aleppo, Syria and Mariupol.  What escapes the attention of these so-called military experts, is that both Aleppo and Mariupol were decisive Russian victories; there were no “excessive casualties,” no “strategic defeat.”

Had The New York Times bothered to check the resumes of the “military exerts” it consulted, it would have found two men so deeply entrenched into the Ukrainian propaganda mill as to make their respective opinions all but useless to any journalistic outlet possessing a modicum of impartiality. But this was The New York Times.

Gressel is the source of such wisdom as:

“If we stay tough, if the war ends in defeat for Russia, if the defeat is clear and internally painful, then next time he will think twice about invading a country. That is why Russia must lose this war.”

And:

“We in the West…all of us, must now turn over every stone and see what can be done to make Ukraine win this war.”

Apparently, the Gressel playbook for Ukrainian victory includes fabricating a Ukrainian strategy from whole cloth to influence perceptions regarding the possibility of a Ukrainian military victory.

Samus likewise seeks to transform the narrative of the Ukrainian frontline forces fighting in Severodonetsk. In a recent interview with the Russian-language journal Meduza, Samus declares that:

“Russia has concentrated a lot of forces [in the Donbass]. The Ukrainian armed forces are gradually withdrawing to prevent encirclement. They understand that the capture of Severodonetsk doesn’t change anything for the Russian or the Ukrainian army from a practical point of view. Now, the Russian army is wasting tremendous resources to achieve political objectives and I think they will be very difficult to replenish…[f]or the Ukrainian army, defending Severodonetsk isn’t advantageous. But if they retreat to Lysychansk they’ll be in more favorable tactical conditions. Therefore, the Ukrainian army is gradually withdrawing or leaving Severodonetsk, and upholding the combat mission. The combat mission is to destroy enemy troops and carry out offensive operations.”

Mykhailo Samus on March 27. (YouTube still)

The truth is, there is nothing deliberate about the Ukrainian defense of Severodonetsk. It is the byproduct of an army in full retreat, desperately trying to claw out some defensive space, only to be crushed by the brutal onslaught of superior Russian artillery-based firepower.

To the extent Ukraine is seeking to delay the Russian advance, it is being done by the full-scale sacrifice of the soldiers at the front, thousands of people thrown into battle with little or no preparation, training, or equipment, trading their lives for time so that Ukrainian negotiators can try to convince NATO countries to mortgage their military viability on the false promise of a Ukrainian military victory.

This is the ugly truth about Ukraine today — the longer the war continues, the more Ukrainians will die, and the weaker NATO will become. If left to people like Samus and Gressel, the result would be hundreds of thousands of dead Ukrainians, the destruction of Ukraine as a viable nation-state, and the gutting of NATO’s front-line combat capability, all sacrificed without meaningfully altering the inevitability of a strategic Russian victory.

Hopefully sanity will prevail, and the West will wean Ukraine off the addiction of heavy weaponry, and push it to accept a peace settlement which, although bitter to the taste, will leave something of Ukraine for future generations to rebuild.

Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

77 comments for “SCOTT RITTER: The Fantasy of Fanaticism

  1. June 28, 2022 at 14:34

    Thank you Scott Ritter for your integrity, your analysis here provides hope of a possible peace, despite the blindness of leaders that created this conflict, and what you tried to help people see about Iraq and Syria going back 20 years. Sorrow for all who died and were injured because of that blindness

  2. Simon
    June 28, 2022 at 10:17

    Thank you, Scott, once again for your time & input. Brilliant

  3. Doug
    June 28, 2022 at 06:46

    3 observations for never ending war mongers, those who make money out of this carnage
    We now know there is no such thing as ‘Nuclear deterrent ‘
    Russia and China would win any conventional war
    Russia will succeed in the Donbass because they are playing at home
    None of the usual suspects are capable of occupying a first World country, they simply do not have the boots on the ground anymore
    All they are capable of is obliteration
    This year’s Darwin award goes to
    Ukraine

  4. Erelis
    June 27, 2022 at 19:25

    The next step is mass NATO/US direct action in Ukraine. That is, NATO crosses into Ukraine with troops and “air power”. I read where a blogger who claimed that NATO/US troops are manning the HIMAR systems.

  5. June 27, 2022 at 14:50

    Excellent analysis, see also John J. Mearsheimer, “The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis” published in The National Interest based on a speech he made to the European University Institute in Florence on Thursday, June 16, 2022.

    • merton23@gmail.comJ. Merton
      June 27, 2022 at 18:40

      See also “The Red Famine” for full analysis of Soviet, then Russian, attitude toward and treatment of Ukraine going back to the early 1900’s.

  6. June 27, 2022 at 12:49

    This war won’t end until after the US mid-term elections, when Republicans size control of both houses. In between now and then, the western media will begin to try to extricate themselves from the propaganda they have printed about Ukraine winning the war.

    After Republicans seize control, Biden will then blame the “isolationist” “America First” Trump Republicans for not funding the war effort, which was successfully defeating, isolating, and humiliating the Russians,.

    Then, Biden will declare mission accomplished, pressure Zelensky for a deal, and portray himself as a world leader who avoided nuclear annihilation, strengthened NATO, unified Europe and the west agains Russian imperialism. and built a new coalition to contain and make war on China.

    Of course, the lapdog US media will spin this propaganda.

    • ptownpt
      June 28, 2022 at 13:48

      The war in Ukraine will be over only when Russia achieves the goal to demilitarize and deNazify Ukraine . In practical terms, this means Ukraine as a nation state will have to cease to exit to prevent Ukraine’s neoNazi ideology from surviving and metastasizing again to threaten the Russians. Ukrainia deluda est!

  7. June 27, 2022 at 11:45

    Thank you for a clear and professional analysis of the situation in the Ukraine let us hope and pray that sense will prevail to save the lives of Ukraine forces who Russia asks to surrender their arms at the start of the conflict.

  8. June 27, 2022 at 10:51

    Re denazification: Ukraine in its’ new shape (Lugansk and Donetsk internationally recognized independent Republics) will have to draft a new Constitution, outlawing Nazi ideology.

    • BB
      June 27, 2022 at 17:17

      I agree

  9. Rick
    June 27, 2022 at 10:39

    The irresolute defence and support of Ukraine is undiminished in UK. Boris has unequivocally staked his political career on support for the Zelensky regime stating in no uncertain terms that the UK public must be prepared to pay the price for Ukraine’s freedom which currently stands at almost three billion with another 11.5 million pledged at G7 summit in Germany today. This price he stressed includes the long term impact of defending the rules base system of Western aka US military and financial hegemony i.e. from Russia and China. The UK public is currently suffering rising inflation as the crisis of neo liberal finance capitalism intensifies add to this the costs of sanctions against Russia plus continued financial and military support for Ukraine. Boris compares it to the defeat of Nazi Germany inWW2 expecting no less a sacrifice from the propagandised majority of the UK public. This is a PR job by Boris using the Ukraine crisis to cover his tracks before imposing a new bout of IMF style austerity on the UK. Scott hopes sanity will prevail in the West unfortunately “the Fantasy of Fanaticism” looks set to strengthen in the UK as Boris embarks on his Churchillian odyssey.

  10. Ray Knowles
    June 27, 2022 at 10:25

    Mr. Ritter right about the future outcome of the war in Ukraine. In the long run Russia will win. The only reason for the war to continue is because the US wants a defeated Russia so it can concentrate it efforts on countering China. The US will lose that confrontation as well because we will be fighting a war six thousand miles from the continental US on China’s doorstep. Anyone who believes that Japan, South Korea, Philipines (sp?) will join the US in that war is foolhardy.

  11. Heidi Walter
    June 27, 2022 at 10:15

    An interesting video. Unfortunately not in English but Russian and with a German translation. Maybe someone is able to translate it into the English language hxxps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60DvsgvbDa4

  12. Vera Gottlieb
    June 27, 2022 at 10:13

    NATO should die – NOT Ukrainians.

  13. John Drake
    June 27, 2022 at 09:56

    I wonder how much is driven by this:

    From one of the more honest and reasonable Ukrainian telegram channels;

    Colleagues, our source in the OP said that the head of the GUR, Kirill Budanov, is involved in the scheme, and representatives of MI6 are in charge of all arms sales. It must be understood that Western weapons cannot be sold directly to African countries, but those allocated to Ukraine and written off as losses at the front can. The head of the OVA, Maxim Marchenko, is involved as a curator in the Odessa region, and they must take out weapons in one of the ships with grain! That is why the West is against the inspection of ships with grain by Russia, otherwise the scheme with the supply of modern weapons to Africa will be revealed.

    @rezident_ua

  14. Adrian
    June 27, 2022 at 09:37

    Ritter’s analysis is always a gem, something I’ve closely read since before the war started, and his insight is spot-on. No wonder the state is trying to censor him via their corporate proxies. I remember Ritter’s analysis in 2003 before the Iraq debacle began and once again he demonstrated his integrity and cogent analysis. Of course, the empire ignored him then, and we had to learn our lesson the hard way, although it doesn’t seem we have learned anything, given our policies. Another insightful person is Alex Mercouris, who recently pointed out that thanks to 4 decades of Neoliberal de-industrialization in the US, we simply lack the ability to consistently supply Ukraine with any more weapons, and any war we got into with Russia, we would lose very quickly because we lack the industrial base to resupply weapons and equipment. Ritter echoes this in his above article. Quite fitting how corporate policies in their short-term myopic vision called for de-industrializing the country, a policy that now makes it impossible for us to maintain our military hegemony and corporate domination of the planet. The gods have finally enacted their revenge against our hubris, and I am enjoying it immensely. I plan on eating popcorn and watching this entire disgusting system we call the rules-based international order and American Imperium unravel faster than anyone anticipated.

  15. peter mcloughlin
    June 27, 2022 at 08:44

    “Hopefully sanity will prevail” and the crisis will not escalate into world war, for states have a consistency in eventually facing the conflicts they are trying to avert – their own destruction. For more on this and the perils humanity faces search: the pattern of history and fate of humanity – a free ebook.

  16. IRISH
    June 27, 2022 at 07:58

    all those pictured need to hit the front lines and get first hand experience.

  17. Carlos Marques
    June 27, 2022 at 03:36

    Scenario: it’s 2023, late Spring.

    Russia achieved all objectives: Novorussia – liberating all pro-Russian territories from Odessa to Kharkov, passing through Dnipropetrovsk. The deNazification (nazi/banderist parties are now illegal, while all pro-russian and left-wing are now legal again) and deMilitarization (no more Western weapons enter through Lviv, neutrality will be on the Constitution) in Ukraine have been accepted by Kiev regime in order to achieve a ceasse fire. In the end, more cities fell like Hirs’ke and Zolotoe, in encirclement and without fight/destruction as seen before in Mariupol or Severodonetsk. And with allies (Russia, DPR, LPR) advancing faster in areas without entrenchments.

    Ukraine, in Kiev and the West, had a popular uprising against any more military drafts. Mother and wives said NO! to more cannon fodder just to defend territories full of enemies. More candid reports from channels like France 2, showing people in Donbass welcoming Russian army, also helped in this. In the end, it was the propaganda backfire that helped overthrow Zelensky after he had to sign the surrender paper. He fled to Poland by car and from there to USA by plane. New elections will be held soon.

    Europe is still in chock from the winter crisis (all the dead homeless people, a record high in covid/flu cases, increasing hunger and poverty due to inflation, and unemployment due to bankrupted companies because of energy prices) and is now dealing with bigger and bigger rallies of people anti-NATO, anti-2%GDP for war, anti-Sanctions (that created this crisis). People want food and heat, not more profit for the Military Industrial Complex.
    In the meantime, because NeoLiberal ECB’s President Christine Lagarde and other NON-elected EU technocrats still believe the that higher interest rates are the ones that lower inflation (and because they had to follow FED’s decision, in order to keep the €uro from devaluing against the USA $) and because the Quantitative Easing (printing money) had to stop, the sovereign interest rates are again rising as if it was 2010/2011 again. Greece is again near default, and this time Italy is the 2nd in that debt trap race. Talks of austerity are again on the table, but will the already angry people accept that attack again? Or will we see the implosion of €uro Zone?

    In USA, after a landslide win of Republicans in the Midterms, the “Democrats” have the minority in both Congress and Senate. The inflation here was also bad, and China (and others) getting rid of USA treasure bonds, is making it even worse. The USA $ still stands, but more and more countries in NON-Western world use national currencies for trade. The paper-tiger currency is becoming more evident for more and more people. We still don’t know who the Republican candidate will be, but Biden has a historical low in approval rating.

    After another military defeat, NATO still stands, after all even in a crisis, USA/Pentagon/CIA money still flows, and the corrupt European oligarchy still stands in their palaces, while people are in the streets. Turkey is still vetoing Sweden and Finland, where polls show pro-NATO camp is lowering, thanks to the failure of NATO in Ukraine, but also thanks to the truth (bad Ukraine regime, Donbass the real victims, Russia not so bad after all) becoming louder and louder while more reports of Western media follow the example of France 2.

    As I said, between Russia and Ukraine there was a ceasse fire, not a PEACE treaty. To sign such a document, Putin makes a press conference for the Collective West to hear. The main topics:
    1- all sanctions against Russia and Russia’s friends (Iran, Venezuela, etc) must end immediately;
    2- all frozen assets in Western banks must be unfrozen, and a penalty equal to the interest rate over those assets must be paid to Russia;
    3- NATO needs to add an article stating it cannot expand anymore, anywhere in the World;
    4- since NATO claims to be “defensive”, it must also add an article stating it can only launch operations inside its members borders, or in other adjacent countries IF, and ONLY IF that operation is part of a UN approved TRUE humanitarian mission;
    5- an European security arrangement must be made in order to reduce USA presence in Eastern Europe (on post-1997 NATO members): no USA bases, no USA missiles, no USA permanent troops – to be achieved progressively, with Russian observers, until the end of the year. And also complete retreat of USA military from occupied territories of Syria and Iraq.

    Compliance clause: non compliance with each step goals of point 5, the deletion of points 3 or 4 from NATO rules, or the next ILLEGAL (non UN approved) sanction, or asset frozen, to a NON-Western country, makes this PEACE treaty void.

    6- this one has to be made now, and since it can’t be unmade, it’s not subjected to the Compliance clause: all Western governments and media have to apologize to Russia for all the lies and attacks and promotion of hate against Russians. They all have to release to the public in a very visible way a list of all the lies, accompanied by the actual truth. If you no longer remember all those lies, contact the respective Russian embassy, we provide the list.
    7- this can be undone, but it’s not reason to make the PEACE treaty void, so it’s also out of the Compliance clause: immediately stop all censorship measures against Russian or pro-Russia media in the Collective West.

    This is a NON negotiable PEACE treaty that we are ready to sign right away. Now, either the Collective West accepts PEACE, and accepts terms that assure it is a LONG LASTING PEACE, or the Western leaders will have to explain their voters why they’re the ones who want war in Ukraine until there is no more Ukraine, and insecurity in Europe that allows the USA to make coups and provoke wars like this one.

    • Simon
      June 28, 2022 at 10:14

      I like it

  18. Hari
    June 27, 2022 at 03:35

    Things must be bad for ukraine if they have to fall back on austrian military analyists.

    Mr ritter, thx a lot for your insights, and greetings from austria

  19. June 26, 2022 at 23:07

    Very good piece, Scott

  20. Tom Gianopoulods
    June 26, 2022 at 22:25

    Nothing is mentioned that Germany is an occupied country and will obey the US master.

  21. Enginer01
    June 26, 2022 at 16:21

    It is necessary to remember the incredible personnel losses and relocation of productive assets Russia underwent in contributing to the defeat of Hitler during WW II. If you think that same country is now weakened to the point it will fail in Ukraine, you are silly.

    Whether this will weaken NATO or stop the CIA’s incessant empire building efforts is another matter.

  22. Mondo Cane
    June 26, 2022 at 14:03

    Scott is not a great speaker (too much going on in his mind simultaneously and all vying for an exit at once) but boy, is he a great writer. Not the first time I’ve noticed it but my first time to praise it. Well done, Scott.

  23. Piotr Berman
    June 26, 2022 at 13:42

    Scott Ritter made a good summary of the military picture: Russia was predicted to be loss in a quagmire skillfully prepared for them by Ukraine, not without Western advise, but its strategy clearly reduces the pace of operations, precisely to avoid such pitfalls.

    On economic and diplomatic front, the position of neutrality and acceptance of Russian oil (and fertilizers too, I guess) by India is a huge game changer. This automatically emboldens countries in Asia and Africa to follow their interests instead of “persuasions” from the West. The West cannot sanction India… The concept of “isolation” as a guiding principle of foreign policy is breaking.

  24. Mark Thomason
    June 26, 2022 at 13:24

    It is time to consider what the world would look like if the US loses badly, besides the end of Ukraine.

    The Baltic states would be Finlandized.

    It would likely fracture NATO. Poland would be isolated, and likely rage against Germany as well as Russia to its ultimate detriment.

    Other countries would finally be wary of being the “friend” of the US, in Kissinger’s old phrase, “it may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal.”

    Confronting China would be done without Europe, certainly with NATO expanding to worldwide reach.

    The widespread economic damage to the world would have consequences, and it would include efforts to avoid the US, its dollar, and the oversight of the IMF (that always served the US).

    The old US dominance would have been shattered by US mismanagement, long before that ever became inevitable (if ever).

    The big winner would be China.

    Russia would be set on a long term course that is as bad for the US as it is possible for it to be.

    France and Germany will cling to each other, excluding the US and Britain. Likely Italy and Spain and Portugal would seek to join them in that, though it is not clear if they’d be wanted.

    The there is India, and the Global South more generally. They can easily be imagined to find a path that is far from US democracy and far from being subsidiaries of US capitalist enterprises. For example, Modi is a “democrat” in only the most limited terms, and has other enthusiasms not at all democratic.

    I see an article today about how the world might be reorganized if Russia loses and breaks up — how would the US like to see Eurasia re-organized to the benefit of the US. We really need to be thinking about the opposite. It is on current developments at least as likely.

    We need to face up to the harsh reality that getting into the war was bungling, and fighting the war is being bungled, and the world’s economic needs are being bungled. It is bungling on everything the US touches today.

  25. Alex Cox
    June 26, 2022 at 12:56

    It’s worth noting that the “Russian” media source Meduza is funded by NATO governments and based in Latvia!

  26. Daniel Good
    June 26, 2022 at 12:37

    From this situation report it is hard to see why Russia needs to negotiate anything. They should just continue the war. Once a proper democracy is re-established in Ukraine and the east Ukraine is equally represented, and the government controls corrupt oligarchs, then Russia can withdraw. This will only happen once the main fighting force of Ukraine is crushed, at which point Ukraine will be more amenable to peace. One has to wonder where all the hundreds of billions spent by the US and NATO on defense went. Will anyone in Congress raise this question? Maybe the Russians figured out the answer.

    • BB
      June 27, 2022 at 14:20

      You are absolutely right!

  27. Alan
    June 26, 2022 at 12:34

    There was never a moment when the outcome of this war was in doubt–not from the first day up to the present. The Russian general staff knew this, and so did Scott Ritter, who was said so publicly on repeated occasions. The only questions were how extensive Russia’s military operation would be and how long it would last. We are now seeing that the demilitarization of Ukraine, which President Putin declared as one of his main objectives, is being pursued with great thoroughness. The same is true of denazification, although we have no way of measuring the success of that endeavor.

    And perhaps most importantly, the United States and other NATO nations are witnessing the stunning strength of the Russian military machine. If they are capable of self-reflection, they will understand that the Western alliance is not capable of defeating Russia in a conventional war in Europe and that it should never again attempt to do so.

    • Gerry Kachmarski
      June 27, 2022 at 13:59

      Never in doubt? Scott Ritter doubted it, pronouncing scant weeks ago that weaponry from Nato would be a “game-changer.” John Mearsheimer, as recently as earlier this month, opined that the conventional ground war could drag on indefinitely, and is now expressing his alarm at the possibility of nuclear escalation. People seem to have a highly selective memory that often confers the remarkable capacity for what I call “retrospective omniscience.” Perhaps you were always right, as you say. Others were not, and may not be even now, although it certainly appears that things will turn out badly for Ukraine and Nato.

      • Nathan Mulcahy
        June 28, 2022 at 07:49

        Yes, Russia’s victory was never in doubt, even for Scott Ritter. Ritter did indeed say that NATO’s significant involvement has changed the game for Russia (which is absolutely true), but he has also said, every time that there is no doubt that Russia will still win this “changed” game.

        So in spite of a lot of criticism, Scott Ritter had been right all along. BTW, there is no contradiction in saying that a game has changed and that a certain party is still expected to win. Scott Ritter was right.

    • BB
      June 27, 2022 at 17:56

      Unfortunately, the leaders of the US and other NATO countries do not understand that they are not capable of defeating Russia. For this reason, they refuse to sign the serious and clear agreements proposed by Russia in December to ensure common security in Europe and the world. In doing so, they put humanity in an extremely dangerous position.

  28. Mike
    June 26, 2022 at 12:11

    This is not a comment, but a question. Why has Russia not destroyed the runways of Kiev’s international airport? We see NATO weapons and ammunition being delivered by plane there and see US congressmen, and many others, visiting. I would think that this could be destroyed from the air. What reasons does Russia have for leaving it intact?

    • Adrian
      June 27, 2022 at 09:30

      I also wonder why the Russians have not done this, nor why they have not interdicted incoming NATO weapons, unless they hope to capture them.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      June 27, 2022 at 10:14

      Just the guess of an by-stander: perhaps one day Russia will need/make use of these runways.

    • Snowleopard
      June 27, 2022 at 10:39

      “Never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake”. Western and NATO weapons are pouring into Ukraine much faster than they can be replaced, which weakens and/or postpones NATO’s ability to cause new problems for Russia. These weapons are making no discernible strategic impact on the conflict, so why not let your enemy disarm himself?

    • Sergey
      June 27, 2022 at 11:59

      Actually, most of politicians get into the Kiev by train. They does not trust Ukrainian AA defenses and for the good reason. Most of the supplies, again, get in by trucks and trains, and train infrastructure is targeted.

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      June 28, 2022 at 07:54

      Scott Ritter has answered that question long ago: because Russia is NOT fighting a war but a “special military operation” with very well defined goals. That also means that Russia is fighting in a way that imposes certain external and internal constraints. And yes, as Ritter has also pointed out, Russia act very legalistically.

  29. Chris Herz
    June 26, 2022 at 11:27

    I just wonder how many such losing foreign entanglements the U$A can endure before its own state collapse.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      June 27, 2022 at 10:12

      Not to worry…as long as the US has full control of money-printing equipment…the sky is the limit.

  30. Jeff Harrison
    June 26, 2022 at 11:18

    The gentleman these guys need to be reading is Von Clausewitz. “War is politics carried out by other means.” Most of the time country A attacks country B with the intent of defeating and subjugating it. That’s not what Russia is doing and that is part of the reason that The West will fail. Russia said at the outset that they were going to free the Donbass. I predict that when they accomplish that and kick the murderous Kievian regime out of the Donbass, they will stop. The EU will then be left trying to pick up the pieces of the Ukraine after their geopolitical effort to contain Russia fails. It will be, as Marshall Auerback said, NATOs Waterloo.

  31. michael888
    June 26, 2022 at 10:49

    The US would not allow Zelensky, the Peace with Russia candidate, to follow through on his >70% massive Election victory, to follow through with negotiations. Ukraine is a US puppet state with no real “independence and sovereignty” (as they keep bragging, it’s a myth!); Ukrainians have been controlled by the CIA since the Orange Revolution in 2005 (installing Yushchenko and his American State Dept/CIA wife), and with Biden running things as Viceroy since 2009, including the overthrow of democratically elected — UN certified– Yanukovych in 2014 (he might have still been involved, as the Trump impeachment over Ukraine suggests– “consensus policies”, before being elected. Although illegal, Kerry, as a private citizen, continued advising Iran not to negotiate with Trump. Laws are for Little People.) Even though the UkroNAZIs killed over 10,000 in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk between the 2014 Maidan Coup (the breakaway republics voted overwhelmingly for the democratically elected President) and 2022, Putin pushed for eight years for Ukraine to honor the Minsk II accords they signed in 2015. Now after copying Clinton’s Kosovo maneuvers to keep Russia within UN law, and expended Russian blood and treasure to protect ethnic Russian Ukrainians in the new republics, what is the chance that Russia will negotiate with the US/Ukraine, whose words and signatures are worthless? More likely Putin will take the South coast and Odessa, throw a few thousand long distance missiles at Kiev, Lviv and Galicia, and dictate terms, such as allowing movement of Ukrainian wheat through coastal ports and out the Black Sea. (If Putin is clever, like Biden, he might not honor his words either!)

    • Tristan Patterson
      June 27, 2022 at 14:28

      Great point about keeping within international law. I’ve yet to see and international law expert being interviewed on TV then asked about the precedence already set.

  32. Claire Mkinsi
    June 26, 2022 at 07:07

    The depth and intelligence of Scott Ritter’s analysis is so refreshing set against the background of MSM jingoistic trivia. Although the biased narrative spanning virtually all media outlets – from left to right – is a reflection of western policy on Ukraine, I don’t understand why there is such blanket conformity to what is self-evidently, a disastrous strategy. Anyone now can see that is not working and worse – it is costing lives on a horrific scale. When I studied WW1 in history – as a kid at school – I was appalled that politicians willingly fed young men into the trenches as cannon fodder, and I thought ordinary people would not be fooled so easily again. How wrong I was! How many more pointless and devastating conflicts have we initiated since then – all with overwhelming public support and encouragement? It’s so depressing. We have learned nothing.

    • June 27, 2022 at 12:57

      Agreed. At least back in my days of youth, during Vietnam, the US media at least reported the Tet Offensive and the Pentagon Papers, which exposed pentagon lies and propaganda.

      Mariupol should have been the equivalent of Tet, but US media has totally collapsed and been corrupted by corporate ownership.

      • Eddy
        June 28, 2022 at 03:14

        Agree with you. I believe the U.S. and other nationalities learned a serious lesson from those events, and that was, “never allow the MSM onto the battle field and file their action reports”. Nowadays, any such reports are issued by the military themselves and the MSM obediently file them as legit. In our day, filming was done live of the battles and then made it’s way into the lounge rooms where the folks back home could see the war in all it’s glory and their little Johnny getting blown to bits by the enemy. Thus the Hue and Cry against conscription. Nowadays, NONE of that is allowed, and the only pretend live action allowed is thoroughly vetted before given the all clear for publication.

  33. Victor
    June 26, 2022 at 06:33

    Everyone keeps talking about a negotiated settlement as if Russia is just waiting for one to be agreed.

    But I suspect Russia will never agree to a negotiated solution in Ukraine or anywhere else in the foreseeable future as it has lost all confidence in the West’s ability to agree to anything and keep its word.

    I think Russia will keep going until it has returned all its historical lands to its bosom. After that, I believe she will then turn her back on Europe and the West and permanently turn her face eastward. It will be a complete disaster for Europe and the West when she does so, as she will take her abundance of natural resources and agricultural production with her, leaving the West to fight it out for the remaining, now highly expensive resources of the non-Russian market.

    • Jimmy
      June 26, 2022 at 21:36

      In the end there will techinally be a negotiated settlement of course, the same kind of negotiated settlement that occurs in a armed robbery , where the robber that has a gun on the victim says, lets make a deal , give me your wallet and I won’t shoot you , the victim hands over his wallet and the robber does not shoot him lol

    • Bill Jones
      June 27, 2022 at 05:28

      I agree. In a couple of months time we’ll see the EU concoct some rationalization for easing/ending the sanctions. It is not apparent to me why Russia should increase energy supplies. The EU failed to see where the one-way street leads before turning into it.
      The next two years will see the de-industrialization of Europe.
      The world is realigning itself along Halford MacKinder’s World Island based on cooperating sovereign states while the Helots of the Exceptional Nations hegemony crumble.

    • Ames Gilbert
      June 27, 2022 at 22:34

      Exactly. Russia has no need to negotiate, and there is no–one to negotiate with anyway. The best offer was last November, the final Russian appeal to reason. Russia warned the west openly and clearly, and also stated this was the best offer, and that the terms would become increasingly stringent as time went by. The big player, the U.S., is not open to reason, and is not capable of formulating or keeping agreements, even if they are backed by the U.N., as were the Minsk II agreements. They and the rest of the western states have fallen into the trap of believing their own propaganda, that is, believing (per Karl Rove) that they ‘create their own reality’, and whatever they wish magically comes to pass. How can you negotiate with people like these?

  34. Henry H
    June 26, 2022 at 05:45

    IMO – the majority of these European nations military forces are no more than choreographed, dance troupes in camouflage managed by fat business men – they have no combat experience. Hence, their opinions are, at best, not based on reality. Russia by contrast has extensive combat experience.
    Although I have little sympathy for Ukraine, the needless death and destruction of its country and people to support US hegemony is sickeningly sad.

    • Ian Stevenson
      June 27, 2022 at 05:57

      Henry, I was speaking to a Ukrainian lady who has lived in England for some years but goes back regularly.
      She was brought up 20 minutes drive from the Russian border. She is fluent in both languages and says she never experienced any discrimination in speaking Russian. Her grandfather won three medals with the Red Army -as it was up to 1945-but she is glad he hasn’t lived to see the war.
      The Russian army has only fought people who lack modern equipment. (They have struggled against the Ukrainians. )This is true of western armies. But in terms of combat, you are not correct about European armies. They have participated in the Balkans and Afghanistan. No doubt there are weaknesses as well.
      If you think the Ukrainians are fighting because they are supporting US hegemony, you really don’t understand. They are fighting for old fashioned patriotic reasons. They know the nature of the Russian Federation and want to be part of Europe.
      A number have gone to Russia but few of them can be contacted. Why do you suppose that is?

      • Deniz
        June 27, 2022 at 18:17

        So Ukrainians mothers are happy that their boys are being conscripted and slaughtered by the 10s of thousands in a hopeless Russian meat grinder instead of Zelensky just signing a peace treaty and stating Ukraine wont join NATO?

      • Eddy
        June 28, 2022 at 03:31

        IF Ukraine was such a wonderful place, why does this lady live in the U.K. ? I too have neighbours from this location, (Rumania) they too have business interests still back home, and visit regularly every couple of years to keep tabs on their interests. Every time they return and I speak with them, they regale me of the incredibly poor conditions prevailing in their old country, and the others around them. The black market you must access to obtain proper medication if your ill, at outrages prices, the lack of many commodities that are readily available here, but not in her homeland. The last time, (last year) they visited, she off loaded their business interests and does not plan on revisiting her homeland again, as it’s far too depressing for her at her advanced age. Next door, I have Macedonian family, who whenever we have get togethers, always end up raving on about their homeland, and what a wonderful place it is. One day I was not very appreciative to listen to this same old story, and I posed the question, “If Macedonia is such a wonderful place, what on earth are you doing living here in Australia. Do you get subsidised medical treatment and hospitalisation in Macedonia ? Do you get unemployment benefits there, how easy is it to get a JOB that you can build a future upon ? ” You could have heard a pin drop, no answer was forthcoming, and no further get togethers have occurred since then. So the question remains, “why has your friend chosen to turn her back on her home country and live in the U.K. if her home country is such a wonderful place” ?
        If you think I have an axe to grind with migrants, you need to be aware, I too, am a migrant. And I would not return to my country of birth if I won lotto tomorrow. I’m very happy in my adopted country. I may not agree with the Government decisions it makes from time to time. But my loyalties lie with it.

  35. Humwawa
    June 26, 2022 at 05:03

    Ukraine benefited hugely from territories it was given during the time of the Soviet Union. Still, Moscow respected Ukrainian territorial integrity until the US-engineered ultra-nationalist coup in 2014.

    Without the nationalist coup that made Russian-speakers 2nd class citizens in their own country, Ukraine could have kept Crimea. If Ukraine had implemented the Minsk II peace accord in good faith, it could have kept the Donbas as an autonomous region. If Ukraine hadn’t decided in 2021 to take back Crimea and Donbas by force, and if Ukraine hadn’t further put the screws on the Russian speaking part of its population with a new racial law, Russia probably would not have launched its military operation in defense of the Donbas.

    Adding to these losses, Ukraine will keep on loosing as long as the conflict continues. Unless Ukrainians come to their senses now, they’ll likely lose everything from Kharkhiv to Odessa to become an impoverished land-locked rump Ukraine. In addition, many thousands of Ukrainians and Russians will lose their life. What a tragedy!

    Ukrainian nationalists can only blame their own hatred and the intrigues fomented by the US for this tragedy.

    There is only one scenario that can save Ukraine and Europe now:

    – make peace with Moscow,

    – enshrine neutrality in Ukraine’s institution,

    – scrap the sanctions,

    – reinstate the Russian language as an official language,

    – give full rights to all ethnic minorities in Ukraine,

    – remove the ultra-nationalists from the levers of power,

    – investigate nationalist violence such as the Odessa massacre and prosecute the perpetrators,

    – allow Russian administrative oversight of the conquered territories,

    – form a common market between Ukraine, Russia and the conquered territories,

    – link that common market with the EU’s common market.

    Failing that, both Ukraine and Europe will suffer irreparable damage. As a European, I don’t want to suffer because of the hate-filled omnipotent phantasies of Ukrainian nationalists. The politicians that have taken us down this path will have to pay a heavy price. Has this generation already forgotten the damage extreme nationalism has done to Europe in the 20th century?

  36. Ryan
    June 25, 2022 at 23:05

    Superb analysis. I find that on many so-called news outlets and interviews, there is not allowed to be a dialogue. Rather, one must represent anti-Russian attitudes immediately or face ridicule. Truth and reality prevails, nonetheless.

  37. Claudio
    June 25, 2022 at 22:16

    Hi there Scott.
    Glad that are loads of Americans with Brains and some good sense and moral.
    From the moment that USA (democrats and republicans – all the same puppet Cheap W. for the banksters) have approved 48 billions to Ukraine, Russia knew that NWO Pimps would do any kind of game to hurt Russia.
    Said that.
    1) Russia wont let any Bandera, azov, nazy anything alive.
    2) There will be Ukraine, Russia will go, from region by region, and i BET my all 10 fingers on that, Ukrainian people will vote anytime to be part of Russia. Why? Because WESTERN TWO FACE F…. are not trustfull. They have treated Ukrainians all around the Europe like trash. They have betrayed Ukrainian goverment and people (this is nothing new for russia, they did it in 2WW).
    3) If Lithuania keeps in this way, Russia will have motive to make its way into lithuania, to make sure, they will GO ACCORD TO WHAT HAVE BEEN AGREED UPON BEFORE, after WW2, and Russia will have the right to go trought Lithuania, if not, will be a flat down country. And if those midge countries say a thing, they will vanished in dust.

  38. Ab
    June 25, 2022 at 20:54

    Finally some sanity here.

  39. Sam F
    June 25, 2022 at 20:32

    Thanks to Scott Ritter for this useful analysis.

    While Russia was forced to protect Donbass independence to protect ethnic Russians there, using Donbass as a buffer state will still leave Ukraine on its border. Russia may have to take Odessa to weaken Ukraine militarily and economically, and to prevent a NATO naval base next to Crimea. But then it can agree to allow export of Ukraine’s grain in exchange for peaceful relations.

    Peace depends more on NATO states getting their bully-boy MIC subculture under control, getting MIC bribes out of their politics, cutting their military budgets at least 80 percent, and moving the tribalist tyrants into international aid programs or road building. That requires constitutional amendments to prohibit donations to elections and mass media beyond the average day’s pay annually. But the rich already control the tools of democracy, so peace is unlikely.

    • Dan
      June 26, 2022 at 06:50

      Thank you Sam for making the point that Russia must take Odessa in order for a chance at a peaceful outcome to this war. I agree that by controlling the Black Sea ports Russia may be able to leverage Ukraine’s grain trade into a sovereign Ukraine being neutral. The alternative would be to force Russia to go all the way to Lviv at a terrifying cost and unpredictable outcome. And thank you Mr. Ritter for another great article. You are my “go to guy” for facts and analysis in this most critical period.

    • Mark Thomason
      June 26, 2022 at 13:29

      “Russia was forced”

      It was forced to do something.

      There may have been better options, just as we can imagine even worse options.

      For example, Russia would have made a move it could then trade away, such as in the Cuban Missile Crisis, or on Iran, or on North Korea. It could even have stepped in hard on China’s side over Taiwan.

      The US could have been made to jump, without rolling tanks.

      But yes, Putin was forced to do “something.” This was not his worst choice either, even if there might have been a better, certainly different ones.

      • Sam F
        June 27, 2022 at 19:41

        Yes, I wish that I could think of a very symmetrical move like the Cuba Missile Crisis, that Russia “could then trade away” in several US provocation situations, but so far have not found one. And Ukraine had been so thoroughly polarized and incentivized to destroy Donbass, having been at it for eight years, that I now doubt that a US reversal would have stopped them.

  40. James Walter
    June 25, 2022 at 19:55

    The bottom line is how much would Germany/Eu have to spend to equal the US expenditures in the EU?

    • John
      June 26, 2022 at 07:55

      The US spends zero in Europe. The US simply prints completely worthless dollars and forces its vassal states in Europe and around the world to buy them with real earned funds, …. or else.

      The financially occupied countries of the world, and that is most countries, thereby pay for their own chains.

      The US hasn’t paid a single red cent for anything since it came off the Gold standard in the 1970’s and resorted to extortion of “its allies” via military might. And that might is waning fast so the US can expect to get the same kicking on the way down as it was more than happy to give others on its way up.

    • Mark Thomason
      June 26, 2022 at 13:30

      No, driving up worldwide defense spending is not the best case, bottom line need shown by an avoidable war.

  41. Sgt. Pepper
    June 25, 2022 at 17:20

    We’ve known since Rumsfeld (at least) that the ‘defense analysts’ on TV are scripted by the Pentagon and delivering the message the Pentagon wants to deliver. Also that the ‘networks’ are quite happy with this situation as long as viewers keep watching and the corporations keep buying adverts. If they thought younger actors would better deliver the propaganda, then you’d see them instead. The former rank and any uniforms are just props. Truth does not enter into the equation at any point.

    We knew this quite clearly near the end of the Cheney regime, and nothing that has occurred since has pointed towards any sort of ‘reform’ in either the Pentagon or the Networks that could lead to the conclusion that this is not still occurring. Of course, in a capitalist society, money is the root of the evil. The Pentagon wants to see their budget go up, up, up. And the networks are happy as long as the advertisers are getting the eyeballs they pay for.

    But, it is important to understand that this is all that is going on when a ‘defense analyst’ is on the telly. They are all making money from your eyeballs watching, and nobody in America today believes that it is wrong to lie to make money. I heard a rumor that they are going to put “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” as the new motto printed on all the currency.

    • Carolyn Zaremba
      June 26, 2022 at 05:47

      I got rid of my television 10 years ago. They don’t get my eyes on any of their crap and lies. Good on Scott Ritter for telling us the truth.

    • Art Thomas
      June 26, 2022 at 09:38

      There are many millions of ordinary people in America who believe it’s wrong to lie to make money, who earn their living honestly. And who find the US federal government abhorrent, a blight upon the world and absolutely destructive of their own freedom, peace and prosperity.

    • Newton Finn
      June 26, 2022 at 10:00

      “(N)obody in America today believes that it is wrong to lie to make money.” Point well said and well-taken. Are we now reduced to hoping that people think differently in Russia or China or elsewhere? Or are we forced to put our hope in a kingdom not of this world?

      • Ed Nelson
        June 26, 2022 at 18:05

        Put your hopes wherever you want to, but there is no “Kingdom not of this world.” That kind of thinking just ended Roe, removing a womans right to choose.

        • Newton Finn
          June 27, 2022 at 16:55

          Before painting with so broad a brush, you might consider what REV. Hedges says in the current lead article. Nothing is as liberating or radical as the kingdom preached by Jesus, marginalized when the church married the empire that killed him. Marginalized but still alive in all its glory, because the darkness, including that of the Christian fascists, cannot quench it.

    • Tim N
      June 26, 2022 at 11:31

      Ha! That would be great, and honest. At what point do heads roll here for this ongoing, fantastic miscalculation, this crime in Ukraine? Oh yes, that’s right, the imbecile neocons and the dolts and stenographers in the Media pay no price, and many of them get promoted.

    • Piotr Berman
      June 26, 2022 at 20:49

      I think that the “In God we trust” is a very good motto. What are the alternatives? Not a gold standard or some “commodity basket”. Trusting Federal Reserve to maintain a balance between circulating money and the supply of goods? Not so much recently. While the prayers of millions that their electronic bank accounts will have a modicum of value (purchasing power) in the future are not solving the problem, it is hard to suggest something more effective.

    • Deniz
      June 27, 2022 at 18:51

      Most Americans think it is wrong to lie make money, unfortunately they arent the ones who count.

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