In Afghanistan the West was incapable of developing a strategy that might have brought a less tragic outcome for the Afghan people. That strategy would have had to be founded on the reality that Pakistan should to be forced to stopped supporting the rebellion north of the border line by playing the Indian card.

We failed in our short-lived and half-hearted effert, the Afghans lost.

And we failed to learn that a strategy for conflict must have a solid bridging between a realistic objective and the dedicated means and chosen methods.

So now we are in a hurry and therefore cannot accept the reality that Russia has chosen an extended strategy for what it has convinced its people is a defensive war against the West for its existential right to become (again) a traditional empire and thereby a main world power in defence of etarnal conservative values.

In this Russian struggle all international rules of war and humanity are obviously irrelevant, as only a defeated power can be held responsible.

The initial war theatre is Ukraine. Here Western politicians seem incapable of accepting that any attempts af compromise will only fuel the conflict. We must face the difficult and unwanted future as we did in 1948-49.

However, it seems impossible to accept the reality that the brilliant British analyst Keir Giles has described in his latest two books.

As the West is as always in a hurry it has to assume that Russia will not become able to develop a war economy that can support an extended war. We have to assume that our sanctions will work well enough to keep the Russians from getting what they need. We must ignore what they get by other channels … via “neutral” and neighbour states and from China (that has only limited herself by not supplying finished weapons, at least not openly).

We cherish at any rumour that Russia is running out of enough missiles, shells, tanks, etc. to sustain the war.

Everybody noted that the Russian Army of winter-spring 2022 was corrupt, backward and ineffective and thus over-rated. We noted all stories about badly equipped and disillusioned Russian soldiers, and we ignore the evidence that these stories have become less frequent. This it spite of Ukrainian information that the Russian forces have learned and improved tactics, logistics and command security. We are happy to continue our contempt for the Russian Army performance instead of seeking to understand where it succeeded at improving and where it remains sub-standard.

With deep lack of military professionalism we encouraged the Ukrainians to become convinced that some donated Western army equipment would enable them to break-through the formidable Russian defended obstacles that their engineer troops created in the occupied areas from last autumn.

Because politically we needed and early victory and we had un-learnt the ability to see bad news and moral courage to advice the politicians accordingly.

Right now we do not confront the situation that has been and will be created by the very high Ukrainian casualties that they have little hope of replacing.


  1. Unclear: what is it you are suggesting the West should now be doing? What would be your specific and practical advice?

  2. The only way to make clear to the Russians that their extended war strategy cannot succeed would be to do what helped to break the Soviet Union forty years back: Supercharge NATO and especially Western Europe by rebuilding effective large defence forces that exercise and prepare forward deployment to member states at the Russian Border (doing all what we did not do after 2004 and 2014 to avoid Russian accusations that we surrounded her).

    The defence preparations should be anchored in a combined regional and sub-regional command structure as the one of the 1980’ies.

    The Alliance should quickly re-create the common readiness plans and other framework documents that coordinated and focused the common defence effort.

    Our military industry should not only be expanded to arm own growing military forces but also to supply Ukraine with all she needs to regain lost territory, including new systems. The emphasis in weapon systems development should be on front technology that Russia would find impossible or very hard to copy.

    France and Britain should diversify and expand their nuclear deterrence.

    The Ukrainians should be discouraged from wasting lives in vain attempts to attack before the tools became available to their national autorities

    Invalided Ukrainian veteran cadre should be used to expoit their experience in the expansion and focusing of the West-European armed forces.

    The rather tragic lack of professional military analytic and predictive ability even among uniforms should be met with open critique and ridicule.

    Ukrainian males of conscript age among the refugees in the West should be made available to their country’s autorities

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