Daniel R DePetris

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Russian tanks seized by Ukrainian forces are paraded in Kyiv. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Helmuth von Moltke, the chief of staff for the Prussian army, once made the astute observation that no war plan survives “first contact” with a hostile force. If there was ever a war to validate that claim, it’s the one currently churning in Ukraine. As the conflict in Europe’s largest country marks its six-month anniversary on Wednesday, 24 August, the main protagonists have all experienced their fair share of jolted assumptions, operational mistakes, and misplaced beliefs about what is and isn’t possible. Inflated expectations have been punctured, hopes have been dashed, and strategies crafted to cause the enemy discomfort instead produced unintended consequences that are just as painful.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘The longer the war proceeds, the greater the likelihood the west will lose some of its unity against Russia, especially as soaring energy prices, rising inflation, and worries about a recession lead western politicians to focus on the home front.’ Photograph: Eliot Blondet-Pool/Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock

Wars are a series of twists and turns. Momentum can shift and quickly alter fortunes on the battlefield, and intangible elements like leadership and motivation can shred the assessments of the most seasoned military analysts. Military campaigns that look promising initially can, over time, turn into quagmire, as mistakes accumulate, terrain changes and the adversary alters its tactics. The war in Ukraine is a textbook case in point.

During the war’s first two months, the Ukrainian army proved to be formidable, courageous and highly innovative against a better-armed Russian foe, which military experts had almost unanimously expected would prevail. A day after Russia’s invasion began, the US intelligence community was concerned that Russian forces would capture Kyiv in a matter of days.…  Seguir leyendo »