The issue of timing is key: My forecast for 2023

31 January, 04:30 PM
Buildings destroyed by shelling in Kherson region (Photo:REUTERS/Anna Voitenko)

Buildings destroyed by shelling in Kherson region (Photo:REUTERS/Anna Voitenko)

My prediction/wishes for 2023: we must move as soon as possible to a new 1918 or 1945 and end this war with a victory over Russia

A year ago, I wrote that we were facing a new 1914 or 1939. And the main question is, in which direction will we head: towards more war, or away from it?

My prediction, or rather wish, for 2023 is to advance as soon as possible towards 1918 or 1945 and end this war with a victory over Russia.

This wish is dictated by the high price that we have already paid, which is growing every day. In addition, a price is being paid by the whole world. It is difficult to find a point on the map that has not been affected by the war in one way or another. Back in June, it was said that the populations of many countries in Asia and Africa were in for a real hell if the supply of Russian and Ukrainian bread to world markets was not resumed. American journalist Thomas Friedman even proved that the war in Ukraine was affecting the destruction of rainforests in the Amazon. And most of all, the nuclear blackmail of Russian President Vladimir Putin puts the whole world on the brink of the apocalypse.

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In the early 2000s, British experts wrote that the 20s of this century would be decisive for the survival of mankind: if certain threatening processes could not be stopped, then our continued existence was greatly in question. As far as I understand, none of these processes have been stopped, and in addition to them, humankind has also added the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The issue of timing is key.

The Russian-Ukrainian war has the chance to go down in history as the last conventional war and the first technological one

Putin started the war against Ukraine with the expectation of a quick and easy victory. But in war, unlike in chess, the initiator generally loses. In most cases, decisions to start a war are made mainly on the basis of false calculations and, as a rule, with a significant underestimation of the enemy's forces. This is exactly what happened on February 24, 2022.

Ukraine erased Putin's expectation of a blitzkrieg.

Since that time, it has become clear that this war was destined to be a long one. The reason is it’s conventional nature. A few years ago, there were predictions that the wars of the future would be high-tech wars - in the silence of offices, in front of computer screens, with minimal use of human power. That did not happen. By its nature, this war is akin to the First or Second World War with massive armies, fronts, artillery, tanks, and aircraft. And the Russian invaders are fighting the way the Russian imperial army fought in the First World War and the Red Army fought in the Second World War. Their main calculation is to smother the enemy with their corpses, and also, as in previous wars, to kill, rape, and rob the civilian population.

However, with all the similarities to both world wars, this war is still closer to the First than the Second World War. In WWI, despite the large-scale battles, there were no big breakthroughs, the forces of both opponents were approximately equal, so after hopes for a blitzkrieg, the fighting turned into a protracted positional war. As British officers sneered in the spring of 1917, if the front continued to advance at the rate it was, then their army would reach the Rhine in 180 years. According to British intelligence, the Russian army at the beginning of this war was moving at a speed of 6-7 km per month. At this rate, they would reach the Dnipro in the spring of 2251.

The Kharkiv breakthrough and the liberation of Kherson broke the pace. We owe this to the dexterity of the Ukrainian command, the heroism of the Ukrainian army, the resilience of the rear, and Western assistance. But there is another accelerating factor: the increasing use of drones and the emergence of gamers. Thanks to them, the Russian-Ukrainian war has the chance to go down in history as the last conventional war and the first technological one. This change not only reduces Russia’s chances of victory (it was and has remained a great but backward empire), it increases the chances of ending the war as early as 2023.

Ukraine was being prepared for the role of cheese in the trap for the Russian rat. But the Ukrainians themselves have become skilled rat-catchers. The soldiers and officers who came to the rotation from the front say almost unanimously: the Russian army has no chance to win on the battlefield. Putin seems to understand this too. Therefore, he is imposing a protracted war of endurance. For this, he is destroying Ukraine’s infrastructure, depriving it of electricity and heat, and returning it to the Middle Ages in order to break Ukrainians’ spirit. He is also counting on the fact that the West will get tired of supporting Ukraine, and Westerners, terrified by the prospect of a cold winter and an economic crisis, will force their leaders to demand peace.

Putin's biggest victory now would be to force Ukraine into a truce. It would stop the war for a while, but would not remove any threat to Ukraine or the world. In her biography of Putin, writer and journalist Masha Gessen writes that his philosophy is the logic of judo: to cling to an opponent, even if he is stronger, and not let go until he is completely exhausted.

Economists were wrong about how fast the Russian economy could collapse. Putin has managed to create his own economy built on oil, gas, and military production. It has little vulnerability to Western sanctions. Under such conditions, and given Russians' habit of despotism and poverty, Putin can hold out for a long time. Now time is on his side.

The only thing that really threatens the Putin regime is defeat at the front. This would undermine the Russian population’s faith in Putin as an invincible alpha male. The successes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces make it possible to end this war as early as 2023. Therefore, they deserve not only our support and sympathy, but also high-tech weapons, weapons, and more weapons.

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