Monday, September 25, 2023

Ukraine Running Out Of Cannon Fodder

Anyone who has looked at the demographics knows this.

Putting it bluntly in a July 1 post:

The war seems to come down to the question of who runs out first. Does Russia run out of money or does Ukraine run out of soldiers?

The ruble was approaching 90 to the dollar last I saw, an indication that there are deep changes going on in the Russian economy.

Ukraine is on its third army, the first two having been destroyed, and they are press-ganging 50-year-old insurance salesmen to fill the gaps left by the dead and wounded.

And the U.S. powers-that-be, through their media mouthpieces have dramatically shifted the story arc they wish to convey.

Two things about the  headline:

1) There are Western commentators, including general officers (ret.), who are either flat out lying about the situation on the ground or are so incompetent that they don't understand what they are seeing. Either way, they should be stripped of their pensions and have their security clearances, if any, revoked.

2) We tried to raise the alarm within a day of the "counteroffensive" beginning:
Oh My God, What Are The Ukrainian Generals Doing?
They are ordering their men to attack defense-in-depth without air cover and 1/10th the artillery the troops need....

More after the jump. 

And from the AGON substack, the headline story, September 5:

Vlahos: Ukraine Shares Same Fate as the South in the American Civil War
Danish journalist Flemming Rose interviews AGON's Michael Vlahos. 

Is the Ukrainian army headed for collapse? American military historian Michael Vlahos has an outside view of the issue. He joined Danish journalist Flemming Rose to discuss the state of the war.

The following is a translation of Flemming’s write-up for AGON readers.

For this week’s Free Thought, I spoke with U.S. military analyst Michael Vlahos, who believes that the Ukrainian army is heading for a collapse. Dr. Vlahos predicts that Russia will win the war and that Putin will sit at the border when negotiations on the future of Ukraine begin.

Does Ukraine Hold the Long End?
I don't know about you, but I think it's hard to understand the course of the war in Ukraine.

Despite the gloomy reporting from the front by major US media outlets—The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times—Western experts continue to insist that Ukraine is holding the long end.

Last week, security analyst Mark Galeotti stated in the British newspaper The Sunday Times that “Ukraine is winning the war”, even though it will continue into 2024. The same picture is painted by one of America's leading foreign affairs commentators, David Ignatius, in The Washington Post, where he predicts that this year, as a result of the ongoing offensive, Ukraine may succeed in cutting off Russia's land corridor to Crimea, thereby threatening Moscow's control of the strategically important peninsula.

In the journal Foreign Affairs, military historian Lawrence Freedman has also argued this summer that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is stronger than ever, while all trends in the conflict—military, economic and diplomatic—are going Ukraine’s way, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is therefore under increasing pressure. He has, states Freedman, no good options left.

Finally, the American security expert Edward Luttwak acknowledges in an analysis in the digital media UnHerd that the Ukrainian offensive has probably not gone as desired, but Luttwak still believes that Ukraine with a mobilization of 2–3 million men can win the war and liberate the occupied territories.

However, Luttwak bases his prediction on Ukraine having a population of 30 million. That number comes from January 2022. In an analysis by the think tank Jamestown Foundation, which is connected to the American intelligence community, it is said that the Ukrainian population has today shrunk to just 20 million, slightly more than the Netherlands, but fewer than Taiwan. And of the 20 million, according to the Jamestown Foundation, retirees make up over half: 10.7 million.

Jamestown estimates that about 2 million Ukrainians are mobilized, which corresponds to about 10 percent of the population. This is a high number, which in other wars has had negative consequences for a country’s economy. This applies to Finland during the Second World War and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. According to the Ukrainian parliament, there is a shortage of labor in the energy sector and in both industrial and arms production because the employees have been mobilized.

Add to this that in the past three months the Ukrainian army has only been able to recruit about half the number it had planned. This is the reason why President Zelensky has fired the heads of all the country’s recruitment offices citing corruption. And that is undoubtedly part of the explanation, but it could also be that there are simply no longer enough people left in Ukraine.

With that in mind, one may well have doubts about the realism of Luttwak’s prediction of a Ukrainian victory based on the math he presents.

Nevertheless, there is a wide range of Western experts who believe that Ukraine still stands to win the war. And maybe they are right.

Predicting Ukrainian Collapse...
....American military historian Michael Vlahos is of a different opinion. He predicts a collapse of the Ukrainian army and believes that it is in a situation that in many ways can be compared to the fate of the Southern states in the American Civil War. At the same time, he assumes that the Russian army will emerge from this war as perhaps the strongest in the world.

Vlahos—as the radical assessment above indicates—is not one of those who like to march in time. He once left his job at a higher education institution because he got tired of people saying one thing and doing the opposite....


More on Ukrainian demography:

July 26, 2023

It may be as serious a demographic situation as that which faced Britain after World War I.

By 1917 - 1918 it was becoming apparent that the death toll of the war was skewing the female/male ratio of young adults. In 2007 the Daily Mail did a book review headlined "Condemned to be virgins: The two million women robbed by the war" which was of course hyperbole, those girls and young women were having sex but the point of the book being reviewed was that, for good or bad, for bettor or worse, those girls became women who had a very different set of life options open to them than the generation that preceded theirs. 

And of course the same hard reality was being experienced in Germany and Russia and France and the rest of the countries that lost their young men in their hundreds of thousands and millions.

Demography is very, very hard reality....

July 21, 2023
"Ukraine may be running out of people"

November 2022
"The wicked weaponization of Ukrainian refugees "
....from the Asia Times, November 2:

Putin’s plan to destabilize Western nations with a flood of refugees hasn’t worked but Ukraine’s demographic decline is certain

Since the Russian invasion in February, about 8 million Ukrainians have fled the country. After eight months of fighting – and with no end to the war in sight – the prospect that many refugees may never return will exacerbate an ongoing population decline in Ukraine.

The mass exodus will make it harder for the country to remain a viable independent state with a functioning economy.

Ukraine’s total fertility rate at the time of its independence in 1991 was 1.8 births per woman – already below the replacement rate of 2.1. By 2001 it had dropped to 1.1, and after a slight uptick to 1.5 in 2012, it stood at only 1.2 in 2020.

Between 1991 and 2014 – the year of Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the Donbas – Ukraine’s population dropped from 51.7 million to 45.1 million. By 2020, if you exclude the territories already occupied by Russia, the population had dropped to 37.3 million. Long before the 2022 invasion, Ukraine was in danger of running out of Ukrainians.

Things are much worse now that more than a fifth of the remaining population currently lives in exile. These people are not a random cross-section of Ukrainian society. Nearly all are women and children – only 8% of refugees are men aged 18–59, as most men in this age category are barred from leaving.

The better-educated are also overrepresented: 75% have some tertiary education and nearly half have university degrees. They are also young – people 60 years and older account for only 17% of the refugee population, much less than their share in the Ukrainian population as a whole.

More may still leave. Attacks by Russia’s newly acquired Iranian-made drones, focused mainly on civilian infrastructure, are in part meant to terrify people and encourage them to flee across the border.

By destroying the country’s productive assets, these attacks further exacerbate the already dire state of the Ukrainian economy. GDP is forecast to decline by 35% in 2022, and the rate of inflation for 2022 is 30% – largely driven by the fiscal deficit, which is 23% of GDP....

July 28, 2022


There are a few things going on that point in that direction. First you have the country's total fertility rate at 1.4, only two-thirds of the 2.1 replacement rate, tied with poster child Japan in the who's-going-extinct competition. And lower even than famously-low-birthrate-Russia, which at 1.8 has a comparative population boom. So there will literally not be enough people to take up the job.

Second, compounding the lack of births is the Ukrainian diaspora, starting with the Bandera crowd heading for Canada after WWII and which really got rolling after the collapse of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in '91, picked up even more steam after the U.S. backed coup and Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and added another five or six million souls after the Russian invasion in February. 
Poland alone has taken in over three million and with a GDP per capita of triple (PPP) or quadruple (nominal) Ukraine's, is now wondering how to encourage the refugees to go home when the hostilities stop. As the old song says: "How you going to keep them down on the farm after they've seen Wroclaw?" 
Or something like that.

Third, a lot of people have coveted that thick black soil and not just Imperial Germany and then the Nazis with the whole lebensraum thing. One of the reasons for the 2014 coup was to get hold of that dirt, which is priced at a fifth to a quarter of the equivalent in Illinois. In furtherance of  the project the IMF made opening up land sales to foreigners a condition of one of their multi-billion dollar loan packages....

 If a damn blogger can figure it out you know the powers that be already have and don't care.

They have big plans.