By Amarynth for the Saker Blog

Let me first give the links to the debate in question (and this is a sitrep, so it is more freewheeling than a serious article for the Saker blog).

We’ve been talking about Ritter’s 180 swing in his coverage on both the SMO-404 and the Russian capabilities.

This article, titled “Ukraine War Has No End in Sight” gives the Ritter view post his 180: and there were three prior videos where this view developed.  But this written form is good enough.

Andrei Martynov weighed in and Larry Johnson weighed in on various occasions and on a professional basis.  Gonzalo Lira weighed in his casual style.  On the Saker Blog, I weighed in during discussions and even analyzed a few paragraphs of Ritter’s article.

Even Pepe Escobar had to retract a quasi ‘Ritter sentence’ that he used.  This was his short and creative retraction.  “Martyanov is right on Western Ukraine. I should have emphasized the conditionalities – as it stands a 404 “New Model Army” is American wishful thinking.”

All of these people (including myself) were 180 opposite to Ritter’s view and I for one asked for evidence of this New Scary NATO army because clearly, Wunderwaffe came to mind.

Yet, there is no discussion and Ritter did it again.  This time in an interview with Sputnik here:

Both Andrei Martyanov as well as Larry Johnson weighed in again.

Before I quote from their work, let’s try to answer the question of Why?  Why are we responding to Ritter in this manner?  I will give you only my personal perception.  I view Ritter’s 180 as pushing NATO talking points and even spreading Ukrainian manure.   He assumes a static position from Russia.  After his 180, his tone changed and he presents NATO as the All Powerful and backed by the US Money Machine and Weapons Machine, as Invincible.  He creates new armies out of thin air, and professes knowledge of the Russian thinking and possible future actions which he cannot possibly know.  We can then discuss whether this is pure deception of his mainly western audience, or purely disingenuous, or a project based on a think-tank or something.  I hope it is none of those, and that he will enter into discussion and debate with his peers.  (Note Johnson’s article quoted later in this report).  If not, we have to question his whole basis for pumping American Wishful Thinking, as well as the substance of his presentation.

I’ll go back to an older quote from Martyanov:  “That is why when I hear that some piece of metal and a pile of increasingly diminishing US Dollars are going to make any real tactical, operational, let alone strategic difference in 404, other than being blown up or taken as trophies, I smile. Even LDNR people today complain (in Russian) that most of the US equipment when even not-expired and up to date, often doesn’t work and breaks down. I know, for true American patriot such as Scott it is difficult to accept this fact but in the last 20 years it goes without saying that institutional rot completely engulfed America’s strategic and operational thought and, and I wrote three books on that, US increasingly produced weapons which like Javelins or Littoral Combat Ships, or F-35 or Patriot PAC 3s are not really suited for a serious war against competent enemy who, in addition, like Russia, has all means to see the enemy and destroy it.”

Let’s go to Larry Johnson’s latest titled:  Debating Scott Ritter.

He deals with the new funding, western weapons supply, training and intelligence sharing.  And he posts a video of Gonzalo Lira, who in his casual format understands these matters.  Here are some points but read the whole article:

  • Money may make the world go around but it does not magically produce trained, enthusiastic troops willing and capable of using such weapons.
  • Ukraine’s problem right now is not a lack of equipment. They had combat aircraft, helicopters, tanks, artillery and drones. Russia destroyed a significant amount of that materiel and killed the soldiers and pilots who were trained to operate those systems.
  • Scott Ritter sees the training of Ukrainian troops in Poland and Germany as a critical variable that could really hurt the Russians. Training reinforcements on new technology might be a potential game-changer if the situation on the ground in Ukraine was static. It is not.
  • Scott also asserts that intelligence sharing gives the Ukrainians an edge. When you provide intelligence on Russian troop movements, locations or plans, there is an assumption that the recipients of that intelligence will be able to do something to hurt the Russians. How did that work out in Mariupol? How about fending off the Russian missile attack in Desna. In my view, sharing intelligence with Ukraine is an effort in futility. Am empty gesture that will not change anything on the ground.

How to actually understand this Hot Potato?, and it is an important one.  The Ukraine SMO is only but a small representation of what Russia means by stopping the growth of NATO, indivisibility of security, the security balance in Europe, and most important, military-technical measures.   And then, one has to bring into the calculus that China is solid behind Russia in the thinking, and further, that the US pre-amble to actual kinetic action in the Ukraine, is now being duplicated around China.  The dead give-away is that SHOULD in Biden’s sentence.  Remember the many ‘ifs’ and ‘shoulds’ that we saw in the runup to Russia entering the Ukraine.  “President Joe Biden said Washington could be directly involved in conflict should China try to take the island by force.”  They are again trying to project and create a condition that is not necessarily there.

And this is the tone change in Ritter’s work.  He is projecting a condition that is not necessarily existent and presents it as fact. 

We have to understand that NATO is now being presented as the ultimate force projection by the small collective west.  Those familiar with Martyanov’s work understand that this is but a paper tiger and the boogyman (although with destructive ability) under the bed.  This is a projection and the small collective west only has a boogyman left to threaten the world.

Here is another such projection, this time with a clown:  Klaus Schwab has just introduced President Zelensky of Ukraine to the World Economic Forum in Davos with a glowing tribute saying that all of Europe and the international order stands with him.

Lira’s view is important here, albeit not professional.  He asks the question, Why is it Absurd that the Ukraine is standing up a million man new army?  (Short, 7 minutes or so).

For comments, I remind you, that this is not a personality contest.  As Johnson says – it is a substantive matter.  So commentators, please be reasonable and kind, and don’t tell us who you like most.  At least present knowledge of the substance of this matter.  From the commentariat, let’s keep this one closely focused on the topic.

There is a bigger picture here.  From here and there in Europe, we see that everyone is now desperately scrambling for a peace plan.  A contributor sent me this one from Italy titled Now, Italy begins backtracking on its promises and extending an olive branch toward Russia.

I smiled, on two accounts.  This peace plan is Minsk redux!

And secondly, why this reach for a peace plan now?  Besides worrying about economics and gas and oil, it is another containment of Russia.  They all know Russia will win in the Ukraine, the way Russia perceives it, handsomely.   So, everyone desperately wants to devise new conditions, because the fear is that Russia will not stop.  So, they want to devise peace now, and send Russia back to Russia.  The news is that we are in a world-changing epoch, and Russia will not stop but take her full part in this world-changing epoch, preferably peacefully, but if not, military-technical.

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