German General Tells US Generals to Lose the Ukraine War as Soon as Possible to Prevent Losing the Empire in Europe

Yves here. On the one hand, retired Erich Vad, German general/former military adviser to Angela Merkel, speaking out against how the West is going about the Ukraine war is a break in narrative conformity. Or is it? His remarks appeared in Emma, Germany’s answer to Ms, and hence a small circulation outlet, unlike, say, Merkel’s interviews about her Minsk accords duplicity in Zeit and Der Spiegel. So one has to assume no outlet more establishment will let Vad-type criticisms see the light of day. This is in contrast to rising unhappiness among the business community and ordinary citizens over the costs of the conflict, both to the budget and the economy.

Helmer says that Vad has been attacked in the German press for his remarks. If so, that would be a promising development, since it would mean the Emma article is getting traction.

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

The German generals are trying it again. That’s the Wolf’s Lair plot of July 20, 1944.

To save themselves,  they are begging their counterparts in Washington, DC, to find a way to lose the war in the Ukraine as quickly as possible without losing the US empire in Germany. This means overruling or replacing, not only Vladimir  Zelensky’s  regime in Kiev but also the Green Party ministers in power in Berlin, Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock, and maybe Chancellor Olaf Scholz to boot.

The Wehrmacht plotter this time is a retired brigadier general named Erich Vad (lead image, right).  As German military officers go, he’s unusual. He was trained by a German-born Israeli infantry general turned academic.  Vad then reached general’s rank, according to a senior German politician, but “never led a battalion, never led a brigade, and was never deployed in active operations”; he is a “desk general”.

Vad’s self-advertisements  mention no active service or combat command. Instead, he has filled advisor posts at the Bundestag (2000-2006) and the Chancellery (2006-2013) when Angela Merkel was chancellor.  Since 2014 he has been selling his advice either through Vad’s own consulting firm in Munich  or a Swiss intermediary company in Zurich.

Merkel appointed Vad for the German military and the armaments industry to have a voice  inside her office. Because they didn’t regard Vad as one of their own, Merkel promoted him to general’s rank.

The bomb Vad has just placed under Zelensky’s table and under the Green ministers’ desks in Berlin can be spotted in an interview he published last week in Cologne.

In his new press statement, as in every one of them since he left the Chancellery in Berlin, Vad is a supporter of war with Russia and its allies. “It was and is right to support Ukraine,” he declares at the beginning, “and of course Putin’s attack is not in accordance with international law.”

In July 2014, in his German press debut, Vad supported Germany’s role, alongside the US, in bombing Serbia.   “As is well known, the situation for thousands of innocent people only changed when NATO soldiers set foot on Balkan soil.”

As Vad wrote this, Merkel had participated in the US overthrow of the Yanukovich government in Kiev; she had also begun her secret plan to rearm the Ukraine, and deceive Moscow of the German intention. A few days after Vad’s interview, after the Kiev regime arranged the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Merkel vetoed a Dutch scheme for a NATO intervention in the Donbass. Vad had been warning Merkel to rearm Germany and the Ukraine before committing forces – Merkel had adopted Vad’s buy-time line.

In 2014 Vad didn’t mention the word “Ukraine”, but he expressly supported Merkel’s notion of rearming Ukraine to fight Russia, particularly if it was profitable for German business: “A responsible security policy,” he said in mid-July 2014,     “also means supporting our partners [Ukraine] in the world across the entire spectrum of our capabilities, from development aid and good governance to equipment assistance and arms exports. As a global economic and financial power, we must not shirk our international responsibility. It is hardly comprehensible that pacifism in this country can go so far that we must not enable countries that act or want to act politically in our interest with the necessary means – e.g. with armaments – without the usual cries of horror. If we Germans ourselves do not want to or should not become militarily active worldwide, then we must at least be allowed to help those who are important for our national security interests in the hot spots of this world.”

In 2016, when asked to describe in detail what he had advised and agreed with Merkel in the earlier years, Vad said next to nothing.

In his latest press statement, dated January 13, 2023,  Vad has warned that the Scholz government’s decision to supply the German-made Marder infantry fighting vehicle, in a joint rearmament plan with the US and France, “is a military escalation, also in the perception of the Russians, even if the 40-year old Marder is not a miracle weapon. We go on a slide. This could develop a momentum of its own that we can no longer control.”

Vad means the war in the Ukraine has already passed the point at which the US and German military believe they can control the outcome. “Now the consequences must be finally be considered” – this is Vad’s acknowledgement the war against Russia is being lost in the Ukraine.

Asked what “consequences” he means,Vad has replied with rhetorical questions: “Do they want to reconquer Donbass or Crimea? Or do they even want to defeat Russia completely?” Vad was identifying the goals of the civilian leaders in Berlin and in the State Department.

“We have a military operational stalemate, but we cannot resolve it militarily”, he noted, adding “this is also the opinion of the American Chief of Staff Mark Milley.” What Vad was implying  was not “stalemate” but defeat – defeat by the Russian Army of the war allies in the Ukraine, including all the NATO reinforcements and operational plans. Those, Vad has dismissed: “There is no realistic end-state definition”.

He has then attacked the Green Party ministers in the German ruling coalition — explicitly Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, and implicitly Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck. “I am glad that we finally have a foreign minister in Germany, but it is not enough to just engage in war rhetoric and walk around Kiev or the Donbass with helmets and flak vests… I do not understand the Green’s mutation from a pacifist to a war party. I myself don’t know of any Green who has even done military service…The fact that a single party has so much political influence that it can manoeuvre us into a war is worrying.”.

February 8, 2022 – Annalena Baerbock (right) with Ukrainian military escort in the Donbass.

Vad also attacked Scholz. Asked if he were his military adviser, what advice would he have given in February 2022. “I would have advised him to support Ukraine militarily, but in a measured and prudent manner in order to avoid the effect of sliding into a war party. And I would have advised him to influence our most important politically ally. Because the key to a solution to the war lies in Washington and Moscow.”

Vad repeated this message. “The key to resolving the conflict does not lie in Kiev, nor does it lie in Berlin, Brussels or Paris.” Vad’s interviewer didn’t notice the German general had not included London, and was ignoring the British in NATO and in their “special relationship” with the US.

Vad was also attempting to appeal to the Pentagon to save the situation. General Milley, Vad said, “has spoken an inconvenient truth. A truth that, by the way, was hardly published in the German media…. What is being waged in Ukraine is a war of attrition… This strategy did not work militarily then [1914-18] – and will not do so today”. To his German audience, Vad was also reminding them of the threats to German economic survival and political independence which followed the armistice of November 1918 and terms of the Versailles peace treaty of June 1919, and then led into World War II.

General Mark Milley, November 17, 2022.

He then attacked the Scholz coalition for propagandizing the older German war aim without the military capacity to implement it against the Russian forces. “Military experts [and those] who know what is going on among the secret services, what it looks like on the ground and what war really means – are largely excluded from the [German public] debate. They do not fit in with the formation of media opinion. We are largely experiencing a coordination of the media, the likes of which I have never experienced before in the Federal Republic.”

Vad was implying there had been a stronger resistance to the war policies of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels,  but not now against Baerbock, Habeck,  or Scholz. “[From the German press] this is pure propaganda. And not on behalf of the state, as is known from totalitarian regimes but out of pure self-empowerment.”

“The Greens, FDP [Free Democratic Party] and the bourgeois opposition – flanked by largely unanimous media – are exerting such pressure that the chancellor can hardly resist it.”

Their war against Russia, Vad is warning, is not only lost in the Ukraine. It is threatening to destroy Germany in “a Third World War. And that’s exactly what doesn’t get into the minds of politicians and journalists here in Germany!”

“Germany is and remains an endangered nation”, Vad declared, adding that only the Americans can save the Germans from themselves now. “I myself am a convinced transatlanticist. I tell you honestly, when in doubt, I would rather live under American hegemony than under Russian or Chinese hegemony.”

He then revealed what he, his allies in the German General Staff and in German business circles want the Pentagon to negotiate with the Kremlin before the Russian Army advances to “the further destruction of Ukraine. What is left of this country? It is razed to the ground.”

“It is true that we must signal to the Russians: this far and no further!” How far across Ukrainian territory is that — Vad wasn’t asked and didn’t say. Nor did he disclose the terms which he and his German and US associates think can be negotiated in an agreement with Moscow against the resumption of the war against Russia in future. In fact, he doesn’t abandon the US-German war against Russian “hegemony” at all.

According to Vad, if the Pentagon concedes Russia’s “very specific geopolitical interests in the Black Sea region”, if the Donbass and Crimea remain Russian, “the territorial integrity of Ukraine would have to be restored, with certain Western guarantees. And the Russians also need such a security guarantee”. Exactly what “guarantee” can be negotiated after Merkel  and ex-French President Francois Hollande  have admitted their deception planning, Vad hasn’t advised, at least not in public.

“The West can send 100 Marders and 100 Leopards – they do not change the overall military situation. And the all-important question is how to deal with such a conflict with a belligerent nuclear power – mind you, the strongest nuclear power in the world! – without going into a Third World War. And that’s exactly what doesn’t get into the minds of politicians and journalists here in Germany!”

Left – the Schützenpanzer Marder 1, produced by Rheinmetall Landsysteme Maschinenbau in Kiel, between 1969 and 1975. Right, the Leopard main battle tank  by Rheimetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Maschinenbau of Kiel. Kiel voters think war against Russia is good for their incomes and have voted Green to achieve that result.  In the last federal election of 2021, the Kiel vote saw the Greens gain almost 14% to score 28% of the total, while the Social Democratic Party lost ground but held on to the seat with 29.5%. Just over two thousand votes separated them. The anti-war Left and AfD  candidates lost ground in Kiel, ending up  with 5% and just over 7,000 votes each.  

How does Vad and the Germans he is speaking for distinguish themselves now from the Wolf’s Lair plotters who believed – with secret US encouragement between 1943 and 1945 — that if the Wehrmacht could get rid of Hitler, they would make their deal with President Franklin Roosevelt to preserve Germany and continue the fight against the Kremlin? On one point, Vad is conceding  the Russian Army is now more powerful by several magnitudes than it was in 1945, and Germany weaker by even greater magnitudes. And the US too, in Europe. This is the meaning of Vad’s phrase describing Russia – “mind you, the strongest nuclear power in the world!”

In such a balance of forces, Vad has calculated that Germany cannot survive as it has until now  if the US protectorate is defeated in the Ukraine. He is also implying that the US protectorate which has now replaced Russian-made or locally made arms in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Greece,  and Cyprus in exchange for expensive US rearmament, will also collapse into a rout.

“Excellent!” A veteran German banker with longstanding ties to the Chancellery in Berlin comments. “For once a moderating voice!”

From the German media Vad has been attacked for publishing “the opposite reasoning of the US State Department and other military experts”, and for whitewashing the war crimes of the Wehrmacht. According to Volksverpetzer,  which claims to be a crowd-funded fact-checker,   “under the guise of ‘expert status,’ [Vad] can then circulate narratives that almost coincide with Russian propaganda and are celebrated by those who spread pro-Russian narratives and disinformation. In his role as an ‘expert’, he first announces the defeat of Ukraine, then downplays attacks by Russia, talks about a nuclear war if heavy weapons are supplied, and denies, contrary to the assessment of many other experts, that Ukraine can win the war. There are other military experts who deserve this status without fear that there might be a politically tinged agenda behind their argument (source). All in all, the favourite general of the New Right seems more like a mouthpiece of Putin than a voice that can seriously assess the current situation.”

NOTE: To understand how committed the German military were, still are, to war for the destruction of Russian “hegemony”, read the works of German historian Christian Gerlach, now at the University of Bern in Switzerland. Start with Gerlach’s interview.  Then his book, Chapter 9, “Hunger policies and mass murder”. According to Gerlach, for months before the attack on the Soviet Union began in June 1941, it was German military strategy to capture an area of Russia 2,000 kilometres deep and 1,600 km wide, seize all its crops and livestock to feed the German army and occupation forces, and starve the 30 million Russians to death. “This starvation policy [was] one of the biggest mass murder plans in human history [and] was designed earlier than any specific plans to kill European Jews, and was intended to kill far more [Russian] people.”  For reference, the territory of the Ukraine in 2014 was 1,316 kms west to east, and 893 km north to south.

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  1. Thuto

    A retired general makes a realistic bear case about the outcome of the war in Ukraine and the bulls come charging in to “fact-check” him. In prose dripping with contempt, the fact-checkers summarily revoke his establishment card, ignore his establishment bona fides (i.e. warmongering Russophobe), and brand him a Putin stooge just because he’s breaching the approved narrative by eschewing the phrases and soundbites common in the “Ukraine is winning” speaking circuit, and replacing them with an assessment of the situation grounded not in fantasy but reality. The endemic nature of entrenched incompetence and hubris in the western political and media elites would be amusing to watch if it weren’t so tragic.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Thuto: Yes, that last paragraph in particular, describing how his adversaries are engaging in all kind of double and triple axels and studied ignorance of facts to criticize what amounts to some fairly obvious conclusions. In a sense, there is nothing revolutionary about what Erich Vad is telling us.

      And yet in the U S of A, classified documents were a scandal at Trump’s lair until they started to turn up in the garage of Biden’s foundation (or whatever it is). Now they aren’t a scandal.

      This part of Helmer’s article is also worth underscoring because it also makes one wonder about the facts and about “narrations” of them: “I do not understand the Green’s mutation from a pacifist to a war party. I myself don’t know of any Green who has even done military service…The fact that a single party has so much political influence that it can manoeuvre us into a war is worrying.”

      Indeed. We now have the Zelensky-yammering-all-the-time narration along with the collapse of the moral compass of the Left. Or, in the case of the Greens, Leftoids.

      To support Vad, I recall an interview with foxy old Massimo D’Alema, former communist, who noted that the Partito Democratic campaigned in the recent Italian elections without mentioning peace. PD, too, is now a war party.

      All in all: Vad is right. But the chattering classes and the looting-and-pillaging U.S. / U.K. / EU elites are thoroughly entrenched. Just how does one get rid of Ursula van der Leyen and Roberta Metsola? When one can’t seem to get rid of Hillary Clinton, whose flexible virtue is at stake in this proxy war, now isn’t it?

      Thousands of dead later, a sizable country in ruins, and we can’t get these idiots to a negotiating table.

      1. Irrational

        We are in full propaganda mode here. I see references to this in a couple of blogs and an interview in “Kölnischer Rundschau”, not exactly a major publication.
        Very hard to find European-grown alternative news, so grateful for NC, Brian B., the Alexes and so on. Still, when (and how) will it end if no one comes to their senses?

      2. Michaelmas

        DJG, Reality Czar: Just how does one get rid of Ursula van der Leyen and Roberta Metsola? When one can’t seem to get rid of Hillary Clinton ….

        Tony Benn’s five questions —

        • What power have you got?
        • Where did you get it from?
        • In whose interests do you use it?
        • To whom are you accountable?
        • How do we get rid of you?

        Benn asked these questions everywhere he went …. ‘I saw him write them on the chalkboards of classrooms and lecture halls. I heard him repeat them at rallies, protests and marches. I think his favorite of the questions … was: “How do we get rid of you?”

        ‘“Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system,” Benn explained.’

        1. spud

          Benn should have also asked what kind of dim wits would get rid of their sovereignty so that they no longer had a voice in just about anything?

          you have to be sovereign first to ask and answer those five questions.

        2. Karl

          The “democratic system’s” response is easy: You vote me out of office! But it makes no difference who’s in office if the answer to the first four questions remain the same. It’s not the last question that’s important, it’s the first four.

          The converse is not necessarily true. Arguably, Putin is serving the Russian people’s interests better than Scholtz is serving Germany’s, or that Merkel served them. Are these “faces” really serving the German people’s interests? That depends on the answer to the first four questions. What’s sad is that the German people keep electing these same empty suits again and again. The U.S. is no better.

          There is frankly nothing to commend today’s “Democracy” over Russia’s system–in this case, rule largely top-down by a single person, Putin. The former is a facade for the control of a faceless minority. The latter is what every Russian sees–a person who is either effective or ineffective. In either system, which minority is being served requires answers to questions 2 and 3. I think the uniformity of the Western government’s propaganda reflects the uniformity of the interests being served: the top 0.1 % wealth holders, most of whom reside in the U.S. or are dependent on them.

      3. Henry Moon Pie

        I share yours and Helmer’s puzzlement at the power and bloodthirstiness of the German Greens. I also wonder whether American Greens are at least considering disassociating themselves from their German comrades.

        It gnawed at me enough that I looked up Baerbock’s and Habeck’s bios on Wiki. Nothing exactly screams CIA like Pete’s resume. Habeck was a freaking writer of novels and children’s books. Baerbock did a stint at the London School of Economics. Maybe MI6 picked her up after she realized she’d never be a rock star.

        Wondering at the answer to Helmer’s query leads to some pretty dark possibilities: a war plotted years in advance and with what kinds of crazy aims. Who are these people? How can they call themselves “Green?”

        1. tevhatch

          NSDAO (and Italian/Spanish) Fascism sells a return to the past, while grasping modern warfare with both hands. Trampoline artist Baerbock further follows form by denigrating democracy(Says Support For Ukraine Will Continue “No Matter What Voters Think”). Meanwhile Germany’s defense minster resigned.

        2. Ignacio

          The Greens have indeed been a (bad) surprise for outsiders/foreigners like me. The bigger surprise has been the “left” that has turned from internationalist to garrulous.

        3. Felix_47

          Bild had an article about the beauty makeover that Baerbock has had over the last year or so. Her beautician is on the government payroll at 7500 Euro per month. She goes all over the world with Ms. Baerbock. The before and after pictures show that being in government has helped her lose a lot of weight and improve her appearance substantially. Habeck apparently has a government paid photographer that follows him around at 350,000 Euro per year government salary.

      4. spud

        you cannot get them to the table, because the world is theirs in their eyes. whats mine is mine, whats yours is mine. free trade set that table. as long as we ignore that truth, the trampoline jumper in germany, will take her marching orders from oligarchs all over the world.

        russia, china and some others fully understand this now. and know there is no alternative but to take the free traders to the mat, and hope the dim wits don’t push the button when they realize that it was not the deplorable/MAGA types that did americas industrial strength and wealth in, it was the dim wits themselves. and they will never acknowledge it. that’s what makes them so dangerous.

      5. digi_owl

        The whole “green party” concept seemed to me like a clear case of doublethink from day one. They want to somehow transform consumerism to be more green but not slow it down.

        As in they want to continue their urban ritual of daily lattes and mid-winter strawberry smoothies, while at the same time kill the rural areas by skyrocketing living costs.

        And their rank and file are so saturated by US social media, that they likely take old Rammstein’s lyrics at face value rather than see it for the satire it is (kinda like how US conservatives love a certain Springsteen corus). Thus Putin became the great satan after Hillary’s loss and the whole Russiagate circus.

        What we are looking at is almost like a real life example of the Civ II Gandhi bug.

        1. Greg

          The only course to peace is nuclear war, Gandhi’s advice explains a lot about the new greens foreign policy. Thanks for the laugh, wife also appreciated your comment

      6. Mikel

        “But the chattering classes and the looting-and-pillaging U.S. / U.K. / EU elites are thoroughly entrenched.”

        At this point, I doubt Russia will feel secure until that entrenchment is dealt with. And it’s going to take more than some election that only changes the faces of blob representation every 4 – 6 years.

  2. Robert Gray

    > [Erich Vad’s] remarks appeared in Emma, Germany’s answer to Ms, and hence a small circulation outlet …

    Just in passing:

    It’s been a while (unless I’ve missed it) since anything from another ‘small circulation outlet’ has appeared here on NC; a source that used to be cited perhaps once or twice a month. I wonder what happened to Teen Vogue; did ‘they’ get to the editor, or what?

  3. Orban

    There is an IMHO important translation error. Vad is quoted as having said:
    “I am glad that we finally have a foreign minister in Germany, but it is not enough to just engage in war rhetoric and walk around Kiev or the Donbass with helmets and flak vests”
    whereas he really said
    “I am glad that we finally have a FEMALE foreign minister in Germany ….”.
    The German original text says “Außenministerin”, which is the female title due to the ending “-in”, not “Aussenminister”, which is the male title, and foreign minister Annalena Baerbock is indeed female.

    The statement as given in the German original strongly emphasizes the bewilderment, that a female and green minister is belligerent.
    I am a native German speaker, so i am not sure that the strong rhetoric nuance comes across adequately in the English translation.

    1. An Observer


      “Germany is and remains an endangered nation”, Vad declared

      It is clear from the original text that Vad is quoting Helmut Schmidt here.

  4. Tom67

    John Helmer is very wrong if he believes, that Ms. Merkel tells the truth about Minsk II. She is afraid to be shut out of polite society and suffer the fate of Gerhard Schröder who has become a non person in Germany for his ties with Russia. Therefore she lies that she had never been serious about Minsk II. Proof is the enormous pressure she withstood to push through Nordstream II. Nordstream II only makes sense if we see it as formenting a special relationship with Russia.
    Finally it is utter bullshit that the “German military are still committed to war for the destruction of Russian “hegemony”. “” is the foremost German military blog. It is fairly mundane and espouses conventional regarding Russia. the interesting part is the comments section. it had to be shut down a few days ago because to many soldiers posted “pro Russian” views. Finally the one party in the Bundestag that doesn´t toe the Antirussian line is the right wing AFD. It also happens to be the one party with the most soldiers in its ranks. I am surprised John Helmer doesn´t know that.

    1. vao

      That might be true, but then another high-ranking EU politician publicly confirmed what both Merkel and Poroshenko had already stated regarding the true purpose of the Minsk agreement (which he co-signed): former French president François Hollande.

    2. Lex

      Is it possible that there’s a rift between the political leadership of the German military and the officers and/or enlisted soldiers?

      1. Not Again

        He’s just Douglas MacGregor or Scott Ritter with a Teutonic edge. They will ostracize him if he’s wrong and character assassinate him if he’s right.

    3. tevhatch

      I thought it was a USA trap, more recently I believe it was a counter-measure by Russia to buy time and to distract the neo-cons, that if gas was sold that was great, but the most important goal was to hold back the west until they thought the master moment had arrived to use it against “Putin” along with their economic measures, the same measures which would have killed off Russia’s economy back Russia forced the Donbass to let go of the Ukranian army.

    4. JohnA

      This clip on twitter of Zelensky’s naughty schoolboy smirking sitting next to Merkel as Putin outlines what has been agreed in the Minsk Accords, says it all.
      Ze clearly knows Merkel and Hollande are going to ignore Minsk, rearm and train Ukraine to fight Russia on behalf of the west, and can barely contain his glee because he foolishly believed in the omnipotence of Nato.
      His actions, supported by Merkel, Hollande and Biden, have effectively destroyed Ukraine and caused a huge number of unnecessary deaths and maiming. He for one, deserves the fate of Mussolini.

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      I do not agree at all with your claims re NS2.

      From her prespective:

      1. Germany gets cheap gas and the ability to hold its own in manufacturing v. China

      2. The US/NATO will keep weakening and crippling Russia, which as we all know is a gas station masquerading as a country, so Germany will continue to get gas as Russia is brought to heel by the West or broken up.

      She never seriously considered a scenario in which Russian gas would be sanctioned by European countries that depended on it. If she though along these lines at all, she would have reasoned that the fact that Europe’s second big manufacturing country, Italy, was also dependent on Russian gas, would make gas sanctions impossible.

      1. Tom67

        Philip Mißfelder, the up and coming man of Germany´s conservative party, the CDU had the temerity to visit Putin´s birthday party together with Gerhard Schröder. A few month later he was dead. At 35. Supposedly thrombosis. His parents didn´t believe the cause of his death and wanted an enquiry. They got nowhere. Also witness what happened after Snowden published that the US listens to Merkels phone. She said you don´t do that among friends. And that is it.
        Finally: maybe in the US people believe that Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country. But certainly not Merkel who speaks Russian fluently. And also certainly not the 6000 German companies who used to have production facities in Russia.

  5. ZenBean

    It wasn’t particularly hard for the media to portray Vad as a clueless propagandist, because he has been quite bullish on the quickness of Russian military success: he predicted the war to be over in matter of days, he expected the fall of Odessa in mid-march, he assumed that Russian ground forces would commit to the siege of Kiev, etc…

    1. BillC

      Yes, many heterodox military commentators were bullish on Russian success early on (e.g., Scott Ritter, Larry Johnson). I believe their military judgement was and is correct, but they did not anticipate the entire Western political elite (excepting only Orban) would be eager to sign blank checks and give unlimited logistical and intelligence support to a nation universally acknowledged as the most corrupt and Nazi-infested state in Europe … until Russia finally and effectively countered Ukraine’s 8-year ethnic cleansing campaign by the only remaining untried means available.

      These commentators’ reasoning was based principally on the contrast in ongoing logistical and military recruitment capabilities between the two (and only TWO) parties and Russia’s demonstrated flexibility to adjust tactics and strategy to unexpected developments. Russia initially bet some their chips on Ukraine folding like a cheap tent as soon as a bunch of tanks and paratroopers showed up near Kiev and did not anticipate a need to liquidate NATO’s entire armory; OTOH, we bet ALL our chips on Russia disintegrating as soon we imposed sanctions. Russia has corrected their initial optimism far more effectively than we, even though the scale of their opponent expanded greatly while ours did not (ignoring of course that our assessment of our opponent’s capabilities was profoundly flawed).

      Russia has finally reached the final stage of mourning and accepted that the neoliberal west is firmly committed to their destruction as an independent and autonomous state and is chronically non-agreement-capable. Now that Russia’s military, economy, polity, and population have accepted this reality and adjusted accordingly, I believe that the heterodox observers’ expectations will prove correct, not clueless, for the same reasons that they initially identified, except having to act at larger scale over over a much longer period.

      1. digi_owl

        The pivotal moment was when Johnson, in person, told Zelensky to drop the idea of negotiating, as UK and US would supply anything needed to keep the fighting going.

        After all, the early moves by Russia had Ukraine sitting down to talk (even if that old bulldog Lavrov dismissed the experience as a farce afterwards). So the whole thing could have been over back in spring.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Where is China in all of this? Standing back, standing by to pick up the pieces? Is the Chinese government smart enough to walk through the hail of exploding incidents and movements to survive the Wailing West Wall, and from the viewpoint of us mopes doomed to scuttle around trying to avoid getting squashed under the feet of the dragon on the one hand, and the dinosaurs with tiny brains, as they thrash and flail, able or likely to keep the species from going extinct and maybe spare my little piece of Florida from getting drowned or burned or irradiated into sterility?

        1. digi_owl

          China has its hands full with USA, and vasalls, in the South China Sea.

          If anything China would likely love to see USA exhaust itself over Ukraine.

          In particular as while it is going on they get cheaper oil etc from Russia.

          1. Karl

            Ukraine is a land war. The war in the South China Sea will be decided (in Phase I) on the sea. Here the U.S. Navy won’t hesitate because it’s exhausted (it isn’t) but because of new realities. I don’t think the Navy likes what it sees in Ukraine–a new class of cheap offensive robotic aircraft (cruise missiles, hyper-missiles, drones) that can swarm and sink their precious ships. They can also see vividly the sophistication of Russian military systems.

            Our Navy must now know it that it has become essentially a Potemkin force due to advances in technology–effective to impress but not to actually use. For this reason, I think the U.S. sabre rattling over Taiwan will not work out any better than NATO’s expansionism. Surely this is becoming clear to China as well?

      3. Darthbobber

        If I recall, EARLY on (like the 1st month or so) publicly expressed belief in a quick Russian victory was nearly universal in the west. US military leaders had Kiev falling in a matter of weeks.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Sorry but this guy just strikes me as another Mark Milley and who has worked his way up the political system in Germany. The last time he commanded troops was as a company commander. I would rather hear from people that speak the truth and give the real deal on what is going on. As an example, listen to this Spanish journalist – Jose Miguel Villarroya – tear a few new ones at the start of this video. It is about the first 1:40 mins so is quick to listen too-

    1. redleg

      One thing to consider is that prior command isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for being a successful Flag Officer.
      For example: Eisenhower didn’t have a track record of commanding much of anything before 1942- he was known as a skilled staff guy and many questioned Marshall’s decision to recommend him to the post. I’m not saying that Herr Vad is the equivalent of Ike, who turned out to be a competent commander of both privates and generals, just that there’s more than one way to become a competent general than commanding a battalion, and this must be considered before discounting someone’s experience.

  7. david

    “it was German military strategy (1941) to capture an area of Russia 2,000 kilometres deep and 1,600 km wide, seize all its crops and livestock …….to starve the 30 million Russians to death”.

    And in 2019 – the Rand Report essentially the same breakup of Russia plus Merkel’s remarks about the Minsk farce, means the Russians know the risks of agreeing to anything.

    This goes the distance, which means Ukraine is cleared out end to end by the Russians

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It appears you are a new commentor, and we very much appreciate your participation.

      Your comment is fine but please choose another handle. We have a very long established “David” who has a professional background that enables him to opine with insight on some geopolitical issues. I do not want readers attributing your comments to him. The only way I know to assure that is to moderate your comments until you choose a new identity. Even “david1” would do.

    2. Soredemos

      I’m going to push back against this (and I’m kind of surprised no one else seems to have done it yet).

      “To understand how committed the German military were, still are, to war for the destruction of Russian “hegemony”…”

      and then to go on to cite a historian of WW2 and the Holocaust is a giant leap of logic. Do I have to point out the utter absurdity of citing the literal Nazis as evidence for modern German policy? The Nazis were hopped up on a combination of envy at other European colonial empires while not being able to project much force outside of Europe, so they turned to the ‘barbarous east’, supercharged by a bunch of racist social Darwinist claptrap.

      I’m not even saying necessarily that there isn’t a giant Western European paranoia about Russia, and you do better than Helmer by pointing to a recent Rand piece. But to go ‘the Nazis thought X, therefore so do modern Germans’ barely even qualifies as a chain of logic. It’s basically a non sequitur.

      1. Karl

        Actually, I think he’s speaking more about Russian fears as a driver of Russian aims than Western logic. However, the “logic” of Germany seeking wider, cheaper access to Russia’s seemingly unlimited resources continues to this day, which can only inflame that fear. Germany remains as resource poor today as it was in 1940. It still depends heavily on imports to feed itself and energize its industry, as it did then. It’s not Nazi logic, it’s economic logic. I base this in part on Adam Tooze’s Wages of Destruction, a fine economic history of the Third Reich.

        I totally agree that Russian fear is strong enough to force them to “go the distance” as david put it. That fear may seem extreme from our perspective but not from theirs.

        1. Soredemos

          I’ll point out that, just like Japan, Germany’s economic golden age has come after it gave up the empire building and simply bought what it needed, mostly from the same Russia it supposedly views as an existential threat.

  8. Stephen V

    A friend of mine only yesterday recommended to me a Russian novel called *Life and Fate.* Just the author’s life and the history of the publication (the book was ‘imprisoned’ for 24 years after the author’s death) are well worth a look! But in the Context section on Wikipedia about the novel, this factoid emerges:
    The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those powers to partition Eastern Europe between them. The pact was signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 …
    No wonder we’re so worried about pipelines!

    1. digi_owl

      Lately i have come to wonder if that pact was a chess move by Stalin to get UK and France involved directly by triggering their defense pact with Poland. After all, he had been trying to get them to intervene for some time and all that came from it was Chamberlain waving a paper around.

      All in all, WW2 was far more messy than Hollywood would want us to believe. UK even had plans to invade Norway to cut off German’s iron ore supply, but Germany got there first.

      1. Keith Newman

        @Stephen 8:48am and digi_owl 1:17pm:
        Stalin had tried to get Britain and France to put up troops with the USSR to deter the Germans from attacking in 1939 before the pact with Germany was agreed to. In effect the British refused.
        Here is Churchill’s account in August 1942 of what happened:* ”We formed the impression (said Stalin) that the British and French Governments were not resolved to go to war if Poland were attacked, but that they hoped the diplomatic line-up of Britain, France and Russia would deter Hitler. We were sure it would not. ”How many divisions,” Stalin had asked, ”will France send against Germany on mobilization?” The answer was: ”About a hundred.” He then asked: ”How many will England send?” The answer was ”Two, and two more later.” ”Ah, two, and two more later,” Stalin had repeated. ”Do you know how many divisions we shall have to put on the Russian front if we go to war with Germany?” There was a pause. ”More than three hundred.”
        Realizing the British would do next to nothing Stalin made the pact with Germany to gain time.
        *”The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”, William L. Shirer, Crest Books, 1962, p. 702.

        1. Darthbobber

          Unlike France, the USSR had no common border with Germany, and one big stumbling block to the Soviets’ preferred military alliance with France and Britain was the refusal of the Baltic states and Poland to agree transit rights for Soviet troops.

    2. Kouros

      The pact of non-aggression seems to have been a last ditch effort by Soviets to postpone war with Germany. They tried to set up an alliance with France, UK, Poland, but were totally dismissed, more directly and rudely by Poland and less so by UK/France, who just dragged their feet (a minor delegation was sent to Moscow on a slow fright ship and was not given any decision powers, at the beginning of August 1939).

      As such, the Soviets, in order to avoid or postpone as much as possible an immediate war with Germany, have entered in this pact. And for Germany it wasn’t difficult to give away things that they knew they will take back. Like eastern half of Poland, or the Baltic states. However, Romania lost Bessarabia again, and beside that Northern Bucovina, which the Soviets kept after WWII. Now Ukraine has it and the Romanian minority suffers.

      1. tevhatch

        I wish I could remember the book, but I recall recently hearing the TIKHistory channel on YouTube quote from the text about how USA and UK were conspiring with French acquiescence, to have Germany and Poland join together to invade USSR, including building up their military production capacity. The Applecart was upset because Poland’s leader both refused a corridor of land for Germany and wanted the lion’s share of Lebensraum for Poland. Hitler would have turned on Poland sooner or later anyway, but the idea was to have the two of them so badly smashed up destroying Russia that this tripartite could swoop in and get the goods. Conspiracy theory perhaps, but one with some documentary support from what was read out. It sounds about right for the primary three instigators of the 1918 invasion of Russia, where something like over 200,000 tons of Russian materials were stolen and exported to the USA alone.

  9. Lex

    “On one point, Vad is conceding the Russian Army is now more powerful by several magnitudes than it was in 1945, and Germany weaker by even greater magnitudes.” The latter half of that statement is true for sure, but the first half is way off. Sure, if we’re talking about nukes but in size and competency I’m not sure that the Red Army of 1945 has been topped in modern times. The modern Russian army is no 1945 Red Army. That’s not a criticism, because no modern army is the 1945 Red Army.

    On the actual point of the Helmer piece, I find this to be another example of the fact that western political-military leadership had a Plan A but no Plan A1, 2, or 3 much less Plan B. Everything since Russia didn’t topple the Zelensky government as goal number 1 to initiate a large-scale insurgency and the Russian economy didn’t collapse has been reactive and too late to make a difference. NATO’s going to send MBTs? Fine, the need for them eventually was pretty clear by June/July. All these decisions should have been made, the tanks restored, the crews trained and the tanks themselves staged starting then. Moreover, it should have been done without a thousands headlines.

    The apparent Russian strategy of degrading Ukrainian/NATO forces over time before launching a second major offensive only works as well as it is working is because NATO keeps drip-dripping the aid and training. Kharkov was effective partly because a strong, light infantry group was built up and then deployed. They may be attempting to rerun that scenario on a larger scale, but at this point they’re also racing the clock and a dire need to plug holes which leads to the temptation to stuff them with the drip drip of aid to hold the front.

  10. David

    Vad’s Wikipedia entry (only in German as far as I can see) shows him having an interesting soldier-intellectual career, of the type that you don’t find much in Anglo-Saxon countries. He has a doctorate in military history and held a number of staff appointments, including Chief of Staff in a Panzer Brigade, as well as jobs at NATO and elsewhere. In today’s tiny Bundeswehr, that’s not bad for someone who was obviously a bit unconventional.

    What he’s clearly worried about is that a decisive Russian victory in Ukraine will splinter NATO, and leave a lot of weak and divided states on Germany’s doorstep. But I suspect he’s also concerned that, precisely because the insane policy of the German government is so widely supported, failure in Ukraine is going to fracture the entire German political class, with unforeseeable but probably very unpleasant consequences. All in all he strikes me as someone who’d like to see the Russians lose but doesn’t actually think it’s possible, and fears the consequences. I suspect he speaks for a large number of serving Bundeswehr officers. (Serving German officers , for historical reasons, are of course subject to omertà rules of unprecedented ferocity.);

  11. Patrick M P Donnelly

    The Joke has many mirrors.

    Nazis to be killed.
    Russian speakers to be saved.
    The USA MIC to be tamed.
    The UK may be liberated from the masters of the bond market.
    Allowing China to recover and stabilise.
    Destroy the financial inflation machines as quickly as possible.
    Germany to be made a good neighbour in Europe.
    Mackinder to be vindicated.
    Russia to be secure.
    Avoid serious war.

    All these objectives are possible if handled well.

    No nation is a monolith. Understandings exist at many levels nationally and internationally. Equality and liberty are noble goals but allowing family owned corporates to secretly control nations has to stop with ‘nukular’ weaps and bioweaps, it may be far too easy to have Bigoil etc direct policy without true policy considerations. Simply put, the real BRHMNs are trying to reassert control. Commerce will once again serve the common good. The merchant classes have become so drunk with their power that bribery is almost open.

    To redress this imbalance will take more decades. Expect more destructions of the complexes that make obscene amounts of money by warping every value. More Jokes…

    Vad is opening the debate, shifting the window, allowing Res Publica.

  12. AG

    I am currently trying to draft some letter to German MPs about the US nuclear COUNTERFORCE strategy which along with NATO policy in Europe is a major cause for the Russians choosing the warpath now.

    Had US command revised their nuclear moderniztion starting 25 years ago in cooperation with Moscow and Bejing in an open and frank discussion this would not have happened.

    Because as it appears, a lot of people in the Pentagon now seriously believe that an unpunished first strike capability is not just possible but justified.

    That´s why they so recklessly have been pushing heavy weaponery to Ukraine.

    Washingot believes, they have the upper hand if this war really goes “ballistic”.

    They are just sitting there and waiting.

    The latest nuclear device B61-12 that will be delivered to Cologne now is just one element of this new approach.
    They have an adjustable yield of 0.3 kt upt 50 kt. (Hiroshima had about 15 kt.)

    So they say it´s just a “very small mush-room cloud”. No problem at all.

    the magic term is however the super-fuze.

    It is allegedly so pin-point strong that it destroys the most hardened missile-silos with a probability of 0.9.

    Take out the enemy missiles, de-arm the Russians without anyone dying, untill they lost 80% of their first-strike cap.

    This gives the Russians shivers. But noone in the mass media speaks about it because nobody knows.

    With other words: the fear of M.A.D. is just being completely rendered meaningless.

    You have to look into the very specialized scholarship by people teaching this stuff at Georgetown or Stanford.

    If the public did learn about the real nature of the threat things could be different.

    Just like with protests against the Pershing II.

    see for instance the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist” in 2017 in an excellent detailed study on the super-fuze:

    “How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze
    By Hans M. Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie, Theodore A. Postol | March 1, 2017”

    excerpt: “(…)The revolutionary increase in the lethality of submarine-borne US nuclear forces comes from a “super-fuze” device that since 2009 has been incorporated into the Navy’s W76-1/Mk4A warhead as part of a decade-long life-extension program. We estimate that all warheads deployed on US ballistic missile submarines now have this fuzing capability. Because the innovations in the super-fuze appear, to the non-technical eye, to be minor, policymakers outside of the US government (and probably inside the government as well) have completely missed its revolutionary im(…)

    “(…)The implications. The newly created capability to destroy Russian silo-based nuclear forces with 100-kt W76-1/Mk4A warheads—the most numerous in the US stockpile—vastly expands the nuclear warfighting capabilities of US nuclear forces. Since only part of the W76 force would be needed to eliminate Russia’s silo-based ICBMs, the United States will be left with an enormous number of higher-yield warheads that would then be available to be reprogrammed for other missions.(…)”

    p.s. in addition to this, Russian ground radar is vulnerable and Russian mobile nuclear units are probably being tracked very effectively by the US

    p.p.s. more affirmative politically but not less informed are works by Keir Lieber and Darly Press.
    Their study in Foreign Affairs 2006 e.g. on the insignificance of MAD caused quite some fuss in Moscow.
    The technological gap since has only widened.

    This stuff is important now.

    1. Chris A

      This info may be dated. I believe Andre Martyanov has expressed the view that Russian Air defenses are very capable on intercepting US ballistic nukes and aircraft. USA has constantly underestimated Russia and its technology. So far, the consequences are mostly in Ukraine.

      1. JBird4049

        It only takes one ballistic missile submarine to destroy an entire country of which Russia has a number; I assume that the noise over ostensibly being able destroy land based missiles is to get support for using nukes on Russian territory; even “winning” a full scale nuclear exchange would still mean having more deaths than any country did during the Second World War.

        1. AG

          I find it surprising, that when I bring this dangerous development forward in commentary sections online, and am suggesting that US nuclear capabilities could possibly outperform Russian defenses I often encounter the reflexive response, that´s not true or not to be taken seriously (any more).
          Russia will prevail etc.

          (Why? because Putin is a magician? And the 1.5 trillion$ for modernizing US nuclear arsenals is without technological consequence?)

          I dont´mind critique and exchange of views. That´s what it´s all about.
          It´s paramount. Especially now.

          But the info is of course not mine, I am merely quoting experts, who however have been working in this field for decades.

          And often readers/commentators just with the stroke of a few phrases seem to push aside the evidence and knowlede from long studies as the one quoted above. Or the scholarship of the people involved.

          The fact that blind trust in absolute superiority in US nuclear counterforce is crazy, doesn´t mean its not the basis of policy-making.

          As Chris Hedges and Theodore Postol among others have amply pointed out not just last year.

          This hubris is the new “thing” in the halls of the Pentagon. Which makes it so volatile.

  13. David in Santa Cruz

    I followed the link on Saturday to the Vad interview (Emma has a refreshing feminist/conservative editorial viewpoint that would be shouted-down by both the wokesters and the church-ladies in the U.S.). I read it three times over the weekend. Vad has bona fides as a creature of the CDU-CSU conservative elite, so he’s really sticking his neck out here.

    His fundamental point is that the amateurs running German foreign policy have “no realistic end-state definition” in “Ukraine” and that they are leading the world into a WW1 style war of attrition that can only escalate. “We go on a slide. This could develop a momentum of its own that we can no longer control.” If Germany is arming “Ukraine” at some point Russia must take action to stop them.

    Baerbock clearly took a few too many headers on her trampoline. Almost as bad as billionaire-spawn Blinken noodling on his electric guitar — or Donald Trump. Like Vad’s analysis of the media propaganda bandwagon, the self-regarding motivations of western “leaders” come from “pure self-empowerment” — words that strongly resonate for me.

  14. John Beech

    So, “We are largely experiencing a coordination of the media, the likes of which I have never experienced before in the Federal Republic.” is happening in Europe like NBC/CBS/ABC dominate what is placed before American audiences, also, eh? Sigh.

    1. Alan Roxdale

      This statement is probably worth digging into. In my mind, there is a hint here that the General is aware of more than he is overtly letting on. Here is the original German.

      Wir erleben weitgehend eine Gleichschaltung der Medien, wie ich sie so in der Bundesrepublik noch nie erlebt habe. Das ist pure Meinungsmache. Und zwar nicht im staatlichen Auftrag, wie es aus totalitären Regimen bekannt ist, sondern aus reiner Selbstermächtigung.

      My deutsche-fu is weak, but I want to go deeper on the word contexts here “Gleichschaltung” has been translated as coordination. But does the meaning of the word imply an overt coordinator? A Google search (increasingly unreliable as today’s links show) mentions the process of Nazification. Wikitionary says more or less the same. The root of the word comes from “synchronization”, which is pretty fitting given how the media act nowadays. Coming from a former General, this carries a lot of weight. Again I suspect he knows more than is being let on, probably on the particulars.

      This “synchronization” of the media is THE political scandal of our time. Having a good word for it is a good start.

      “Gleichschaltung”. Can anyone with better German give some information on the etymology? “Gleich” ~ “same”, “schalt” ~ “sound”? If so it’s a VERY good fit for our free copy-paste press.

      1. Tom67

        I am German and you NAILED it. It means to switch everything in the same direction. Gleichschaltung is the term that was used to describe the media during National Socialism. The warning is stark and he is really is sticking his neck out. I very much doubt he wants Russia to lose. He wants a solution along the lines of the Istanbul agreement last April that was scuttled by Boris Johnson flying to Kiev.

      2. BillC

        My German is limited, too, but I believe the “schalt” here refers to the word “schaltung” — switching (e.g., electricity, trains) or changing (e.g., car transmission gears, one’s choice among options).

        My compact Duden German dictionary offers three definitions for “gliechschalten.” The first deals with electricity. The other two each provide a single example, both of which imply (without so stating) an external determinant influence of unspecified origin. In all three cases: a uniform outcome, whether of electricity, government policy, or public opinion.

        Sounds to me like Mr. Vad picked exactly the right word for what he and we, too, are (not) seeing: a hidden hand that somehow ensures our “free press” toes the uniparty line. How far we’ve advanced since censorship required the expense and inconvenience of a formal government bureaucracy!

      3. caucus99percenter

        No, you’re thinking of Schall = sound — a different word.

        schalten = to shift gears / change the setting of a switch; Schaltung = in this context, the act of throwing a switch. (Less relevant: Schaltung as a synonym for Schaltkreis = a circuit, electrical or electronic.)

        Thus the mental image I get from Gleichschaltung is of some centralized actor “throwing switches” so that all readouts are the same / everything combines to reinforce the overall impression desired.

      4. berit

        Etiology of the German verb zu schalten is, according to my lexicon (Store norske leksikon) from electronics, coordinating/switching electrical currents to same (gleich), also, coupling/switching railway-tracks so make trains run in same direction. The word has strong historical connotations to totalitarian gleichschaltung of all and every sector of Nazi Germany under Hitler, ideological, thinking, doing, marching, fighting, killing as decided/ ordered by the then nazi hegemon, therefore problematic to use today. General Vad is issuing a not too veiled warning, I think.

        1. berit

          Etymology is about origin of words.
          I’m reading about what’s known, so far, about etiology of virus-sicknesses, rather complicated, as are discussions about the war in Ukraina, who to blame, Russia, Russia, Russia, and how to stop Covid, vaccines, vaccines, vaccines…
          Norwegian politics and most of media are “gleichschalten” on both issues, though there are cracks and tracks that seem lately to widen and diverge somewhat. I’m hoping for bouts of sanity to spread contagiously, though stupid, greedy characters in NATO and Washington DC and London and Kiev seem utterly beyond redemption.

  15. Mikel

    In the opening paragraph:

    “..they are begging their counterparts in Washington, DC, to find a way to lose the war in the Ukraine as quickly as possible without losing the US empire in Germany. This means overruling or replacing, not only Vladimir Zelensky’s regime in Kiev but also the Green Party ministers in power in Berlin, Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock, and maybe Chancellor Olaf Scholz to boot.”

    Well, isn’t that really asking Dr. Frankenstein to stop his monstrous creations?
    And the part about “overruling Zelensky”…as if Zelensky isn’t already a puppet.

  16. Susan the other

    I just reread two books about the Vietnam War, McMasters Dereliction Of Duty, and Kai Birds The Color of Truth. Both very instructive. That quagmire had to have been intentional. I think there is no other way to look at it. Maybe Macnamara was kept in the dark, but the rest of them were eyes wide open. I see an undeniable similarity in Ukraine. We could be looking at a much longer war to come and the rationale will be that is the only alternative to nukes.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      “I cannot get out of Vietnam, John. My friends are making too much money.” President Lyndon Johnson, to his CIA Vietnam briefer Col. John Downie in 1966, who regularly urged him to take that course. As quoted by William Pepper in The Plot To Kill King:The Truth Behind The Assassination of Martin Luther King, page xxxiv.

  17. Keith Newman

    @Susan the other @1:23pm
    I don’t think the US attack on Vietnam was the same. It was not a proxy war. The US had over half a million conscripted troops there and could escalate when it was ready. The Diem regime was not a direct threat to Russia or China so their assistance to Vietnam was limited.
    I agree with Lex above. The US neo-cons believed their own propaganda. They thought Russia was little more than a gas station with an army and would be devastated by sanctions and hopefully collapse or be bled white. There was no plan B.
    They were unprepared when it turned out that Russia had a great deal of military and industrial capability and was able to grind down the Ukrainian military very efficiently. So what to do now? Try anything that might conceivably work. Throw in (tens of) thousands of mercenaries and more weapons. What happens when that doesn’t work? Up the ante further? How? The public in the West has no appetite for a war with Russia. Also, the Russians have just sent advanced missiles on a boat trip around the world’s oceans that can hit any target in the West and nothing can defend against them.
    My guess is the Russians will want an unequivocal victory but one that is not seen as threatening by the Western public. The last thing they want is the military mobilisation of the US (+vassals). My guess is a very wide demilitarised zone across Ukraine as has been floated in one of Helmer’s articles.

    1. Susan the other

      I agree with your analysis but the thing that bothers me is that there is the same imperviousness in congress. That bust of Zelensky is absurd. and far worse is the OK the military just got to transport new tech nukes to Ramstein. We effectively denied the reality that it was a lost cause and continued with it for ten years. Another thing is the similarity of resistance by both Vietnam and Ukraine to refuse the 38th parallel solution. And I also think that neither VN nor Ukraine are proxy wars. Their weak governments have simply been taken over by us.

    2. tevhatch

      Perhaps it was more of a proxy war in the opposite direction. Even while Mao and Khrushchev/Brezhnev admins were barely speaking to each other, they both recognised that Vietnam was an attempt to hem in the the economic sphere of the USSR and PRC. Hence the cooperation along the line of the US & NATO colonies in Ukraine, i.e. of providing arms, training, and where reasonably safe, SAM operators and other technical staff. In a reverse again, the USA is playing the role of Russia now, claiming the fall of South Vietnam would be existential threat starting the fall of dominoes. What differs is also interesting, South Korea’s Rhee ordered an attacked on North first with USA supplied arms, and Diem & CIA were attacking North Vietnam ala OUN in Ukraine, where as the Donbas was held back by Putin.

  18. Tom Hickey

    I was watching an animal vignette on YouTube a couple of days ago. It featured a grizzly bear being attacked by a pack of ten wolves. When the fracas was over it a couple of minutes, the area was littered with ten wolf carcasses and a grizzly letting out a loud roar of victory — or of warning. Interestingly, I did not see the bear actually strike at any of the wolves with force. He just extended his gigantic paw and sort of touched them, and they went down. Do I need to draw the parallel? I think not. Gen. Vad seems to get this.

  19. jan

    “We must avoid driving the Russians into the arms of the Chinese, thereby shifting the multipolar order to our disadvantage.”

    Too late, that ship has sailed.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Biden was talking about that back in the 90s in a video clip I saw yesterday. He was actually mocking the very idea of that happening as Russia was on its knees and China was still getting its act together. And as a final laugh, Biden said that if it did not work out for Russia, then they could always ally themselves with Iran. Well now it is 2023 and Russia, China and Iran are now allying themselves with each other and it is not so funny anymore. And in a historic moment of irony, Biden is now President and has to deal with that fact.

      1. KD

        What can you do when your enemies run a geopolitical strategy against you, and you fight back by running a cunning public relations campaign? You would swear the American politicians think they are in a speech and debate tournament.

        I thought of a new product launch: we do a Sheila Baerbock doll, who emits another platitude about democracy (demonocracy?) ever time you pull the cord in back. It would be priced as a loss leader, and we’d make the real money when people fork out $5000 to buy accessories to change her hair style every month.

        1. KD

          I’ve got a David Frum doll coming too, which you can keep in the freezer and use like blue ice to keep your cooler cold when you aren’t playing with him.

  20. Altandmain

    I don’t think that the German political establishment is ready to come to terms with the reality of the war. The Ukrainians are at a severe disadvantage and facing a military collapse, especially once Russia launches their offensive.

    Note how the Establishment resorted to trying to cancel General Erich Vad rather than trying to refute his points one by one.

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the German Establishment refuses to accept the evidence in front of them. The outcome of the war is decided by the effectiveness of the Russian vs Ukrainian military (and its Western supplied arms) , not who gets “cancelled” in Germany or any Western nation.

    I have plenty to disagree with Vad – I don’t think that even the US can save this situation, something that Douglas MacGregor has hinted and the much discussed Rusi article on the “Return of Industrial Warfare” hints, but I see him as the closest mainstream voice to reason in Germany, which isn’t saying much.

    1. Tom67

      General Vad is no mainstream voice. Not if he has to publish in Emma, which has a minuscule readership of aging Feminists. Our establishment is totally deluded and in thrall to US propaganda. There will be a terrible awakening to reality and then all bets are off. The only sane voices in German politics regarding Russia are a few true leftists and Trump like right wing populists. For now they are still sidelined but if the vaccine debacle and the Ukraine war are revealed to be the catastrophies that they are I expect great changes.

  21. AG

    speaking of German politics and Gleichschaltung – this is a fun item:

    A blog entry by now Foreign Secretary Baerbock from 2010 against nuclear arms:

    (She got long hair back then. I guess that was just the fashion of the moment.

    I prefer the short now, on the photo Baerbock is a look-a-like of German actress Nora Tschirner. That wouldn´t convince any war criminal to obey.)

    end of gossip

    The link is still there at German Wikipedia´s text on “nukleare Teilhabe” / “nuclear sharing” (strange translation) – it means shared use of nuclear capabilities under NATO doctrin.

    (Which is actually a euphemism since almost all WMDs are under US final command.)

  22. dandyandy

    C’mon folks, not everything is bad;

    There is Ursula delivering a speech in Davos right now; she says Ukraine is just about to join the EU, how EU has acted in unison to provide lots of weapons against Russian Invasion, how EU will be helping pay for normal jobs, hospitals and accommodation and schools in Ukraine, how enegry prices have gone down rapidly after the initial blip last year and how we EU is on its way of getting to nett Zero, adopting clean and renewable energy across EU and making EU more industrialised and investor friendly, spearheaded with a £800Bln EU investment in cleantech as well as Japan investing 110BLN, as well as India, Canada, UK (no numbers mentioned), and a $600bln cleantech invesment in USA.

    All of this will be done right in time before the weaponized fossil fuels industry becomes obsolete.

    Her plan is the european Green Deal plan, which will turn the currently bad world into a good one, including getting all necessray raw materials thought this vastly improved and benevoltent Green Deal.

    At this point I could take no more and had to go barf.

    Audience shocked into silence, quite a sight :)

  23. AG

    (No idea if this book recommendation will be noticed at all since new blog entries are up but I found it better fit here.)

    I´ll give it a try:

    The new book (Nov. 2022) by Joan Roelofs on military Keynesianism

    “The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There Is So Little Anti-War Protest in the United States”

    About how the MIC with tons of money slowly undermined the anti-war culture in the US over the last decades.

    A good review from CovertAction Magazine


    “Joan Roelofs’ new book The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There Is So Little Anti-War Protest in the United States (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2022), starts with an important question: “Why is there so much acceptance and so little protest against our government’s illegal and immoral wars and other military operations?”

    Her answer is simple and convincing: Money.

    While successful propaganda, fear and distraction are important, the military-industrial complex that Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his Farewell Address in 1961 has penetrated so deeply into American life that much of the American public has essentially bought into acquiescence.

    Roelofs writes that “the economic impact of the military-industrial complex is a highly effective silencer. (…) Many in the middle class benefit from weapons manufacturers stocks in their mutual fund portfolios. In Roelofs’ home state of New Hampshire, the F-35 program supports 55 suppliers—35 of which are small businesses—and more than 900 direct jobs, many of them located at BAE Systems in Nashua, which Money Magazine twice deemed the “best place to live in the U.S.”

    According to Business Review, the F-35 program “generates over $481 million in economic impact in the state.”

  24. AG

    last post for this item:

    Vad says “(…)I myself am a convinced transatlanticist. I tell you honestly, when in doubt, I would rather live under American hegemony than under Russian or Chinese hegemony.(…)”

    What the fellow doesn´t understand – and that´s a point regarding our entire historical self-perception – the question is not whether he would prefer Germany to China (since Germany IS under US hegemony.)

    The correct question is and always was: would he prefer China to Haiti, China to Guatemala under the Montt dictatorship, China to Bangladesh, China to Columbia if it were the drug trafficking districts? Or Sahel or Yemen or Iraq or Libya or Afghanistan or Syria. etc.

    That´s also what Eastern European dissidents more often than not, missed completely.
    Who was it who said: “In the Soviet satellite states if you are a revolutionary they put you in prison. Where I come from, Latin America, they torture you and then kill you” (Neruda?)

    The late Stephen F. Cohen said the same thing: “I would of course rather live in Russia than Saudia Arabia.”

    Not to speak of Palestine.
    But that´s why Vad is in the CDU.
    So I don´t blame him.

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