Is Putin Finally Proving to the World that War is Obsolete?

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Opinions, Human Rights

Vladimir Putin examines the inside of a T-90AM battle tank, in 2011. Alexey Druzhinin/AFP

Is Putin Finally Proving to the World that War is Obsolete?

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Opinions, Human Rights

Vladimir Putin examines the inside of a T-90AM battle tank, in 2011. Alexey Druzhinin/AFP
There are lessons to be learned from the abject failure being demonstrated by Putin's infantile use of force.

Things are not going well for Vladimir Putin in his effort to conquer Ukraine by invasion. No one believes his maskirovka (his propaganda lines) that he’s just trying to “denazify” the area or that US biolabs have been found, or that Russian soldiers would be welcomed by the populace as they were being “liberated.”

For the majority of the country Ukrainians have held their ground. Some areas that were lost to the Russians were taken back with the occupying force driven out.

Today Insider published that Russian forces have already lost significant portion of their tank force to Ukraine’s defense forces.

Boom.

Another Russian T-72 battle tank is out of action, many of its crew likely dead.

These aren’t state-of-the art missiles, like the shoulder-fired Javelin. This is a Stugna-P, a less sophisticated anti-tank warhead made by Ukraine. A small group of soldiers can set up the missile on a tripod and wait for tanks to come into range. Using a remote control panel that looks like a hard camera case, an operator can paint the target with a laser until the missile strikes or allow its own laser-guidance to self-direct into the target.

It’s proving quite effective. In three weeks of fighting, Russia has lost at least 270 tanks, according to the open source weapons tracking site Oryx — almost 10% of its estimated active force.

Insider further reports:

Ukraine’s defense is proving so effective, in fact, that many analysts are attributing the failure of Russia’s offense not only to its commanders, or to its tanks, but to the very idea of the tank itself, as a front-line weapon platform that can gain ground. The emerging evidence of tanks’ tactical weakness is “striking,” as one expert put it, and it has opened up a debate about whether tanks might be on their way to joining chariots and mounted cavalry in the boneyard of military history.

Cheap, low-flying drones are striking tanks from above. Soldiers are using charred suburban landscape to ambush tanks with a new generation of fire-and-forget weapons that makes tank-killing unsettlingly simple, even in the hands of a volunteer. “An infantry that is determined to fight is now super-empowered by having things like a huge number of point-and-shoot disposable anti-tank rockets,” Edward Luttwak, a military strategist who consults for governments around the world, told Insider. Tanks have ruled land warfare for more than 80 years. It’s their job to punch through enemy positions so infantry can flood in and hold the newly gained ground. Tanks have long been susceptible to soldier-carried weapons like bazookas and recoilless rifles, as well as improvised explosives such as the anti-tank “sticky bombs” seen in the film “Saving Private Ryan.”

But looking at the ineffectiveness of Russian tank attacks in Ukraine, one can see how technology—particularly advances in high explosives and guided missiles—is further tipping the odds to favor anti-tank defenders, to the point where tanks could arguably be rendered obsolete. One defense analyst who spoke with Insider compared the role of tanks to that of the Swiss pikemen, Renaissance-era fighters armed with pikes and halberd who once were an army’s frontlines….

Meanwhile BBC reports that a Russian landing ship has been destroyed and two others damaged at the captured port of Berdyansk.

Add to this the almost total collapse of the Russian economy and Putin’s invocation of the memories of Stalin and his ruthless purges and we get a pretty distinct picture of a dictator on his way to oblivion. But not before he kills a lot more people.

The Lessons

What can we learn as a race (for the record there is only one human race) from the lessons of abject failure being demonstrated by Putin’s infantile use of force? There’s few.

1. War is not just destruction and murder and a profit center for weapon makers and all the other descriptions associated with this insanity. It is also lazy. The people who order or sign off on the actions of going to war have signaled that they are too stupid or inept to figure out how to get what they want or work out some sort of communication or compromise. This is the same as the mentality of the carjacker who shoots a driver to steal his car. He can’t or won’t take the necessary steps to properly obtain one—too stupid or too insane to operate as a human in conjunction with others.

2. War does not work. The use of force begets only force in return. It never resolves a question, it only drives in the conviction that it must be resisted. War is obsolete as a “technology” for mankind. Only primitive, uneducated, miseducated or insane people think it is worthy of even using as a threat.

3. intelligence will sooner or later always overcome the use of force. The dictum of von Clausewitz in his book Vom Kriege (On War) that “‘War is nothing but a duel on an extensive scale…an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will, directed by political motives and morality” are being shown now to be just so much bullshit. Von Clausewitz also taught that size mattered in war: the bigger the army, the more tanks, the more aircraft, etc., the better the odds of winning. Wrong again. Intelligence and necessity are proving the old texts and war planning courses obsolete.

It is time for the world as a whole to embrace the reality that war doesn’t work and thank Putin for the final lesson. But he should be “thanked” with incarceration at The Hague courtesy of the International Criminal Court.

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