Glenn K. Beaton is a writer and columnist living in Colorado. He has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Powerline, Instapundit, American Thinker and numerous other print, radio and television outlets.
Ukraine reports that it has killed about 26,000 invading Russian soldiers. Ukraine’s reports of Russian losses – unlike Russia’s own reports – have been fairly reliable, say observers, though NATO estimates a somewhat lower number. As for Ukraine’s own dead, they appear to be significantly fewer than Russia’s even after including the civilians that Russia has murdered.
Ukraine’s figures are not inconsistent with a report from the U.K. that over one-fourth of Russia’s 150,000-man army attacking Ukraine, amounting to perhaps 40,000, has been rendered “combat ineffective.” That means they’re dead or wounded badly enough that they can’t fight.
Russian deaths amount to about 400/day. They truck the corpses back to Russia at nighttime to conceal the carnage.
Put that into the context of modern warfare. The United States lost about 2,400 soldiers in 20 years in Afghanistan. We lost about 6,800 soldiers in the war for Iraq over the course of 14 years. The Soviets lost only about 14,000 soldiers in the ten years they fought in Afghanistan – a number they’ve far exceeded in ten weeks in Ukraine.
World War I was no picnic for the Germans. About two million German soldiers were killed and countless others were crippled. The Austro-Hungarian Empire on the side of the Germans lost another million and a half.
The loss of life on the side of the Allies was similar, with about two million dead amongst France, UK, Italy and Romania, in that order. The American dead were a fraction of that, a little over 100,000.
The Allied country suffering the greatest number of dead was Russia, where life has always been cheap. Two million Russians were killed, matching the combined total of the other Allies. This proved a presage; the Russian dead in the next world war totaled over 20 million.
To the victorious Allies of WWI went the spoils. In the Treaty of Versailles, they confiscated about 10% of German territory and imposed punitive reparations of about $270 billion in today’s dollars. They prohibited the rebuilding of the German military (we know how well that worked over the next two decades) and stripped Germany of its overseas colonies.
Most humiliatingly, the Allies required Germany to acknowledge that the war had been all its fault. If WWI had been a football game, the Allies would have been flagged for end zone taunting.
The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were undoubtedly satisfying to the Allies, and perhaps gave them a measure of comfort that the Huns would not be at their doorstep again for a long, long time.
I explained a month ago that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a disaster for Russia in today’s global economy. Russia would be financially crippled by sanctions and would alienate its European oil and gas customers.
Moreover, I explained, the Ukrainians are not defenseless, and would probably put up a spirited fight. The Russians had little to gain in an invasion and much to lose. I confidently concluded that Vladimir Putin was not foolish enough to invade.
Events have proved me right in every respect except my conclusion. It turns out that Putin was indeed foolish enough to invade.
His invasion has not gone well. The Ukrainians have destroyed hundreds of Russian tanks, aircraft and artillery. They’ve killed four Russian generals. They’ve blunted the Russian attack and are now counterattacking.
Last August, Joe Biden abandoned Afghanistan to 13th century barbarians. The result was and is an ongoing bloodbath. Getting out of Afghanistan may or may not have been a good move, but the way Biden did it was destructive and disgraceful.
Biden’s generals told the press that they recommended to Biden a more orderly approach. Biden denied that. He essentially said his generals are liars.
Paradoxically, Biden simultaneously contended that his cut-and-run was “an extraordinary success.” If he believes that, then why doesn’t he say, “Yeah, the generals recommended a more measured withdrawal, but I was smart enough to override them in order to obtain this extraordinary success.”
Lawyers call this “pleading in the alternative.” There’s an old lawyers’ joke where the accused murderer says, “I didn’t kill him and if I did it was in self-defense.” In Biden’s case, he says, “It was an extraordinary success for which I’m responsible but if it wasn’t then it’s the generals who are responsible and they’re lying if they say they aren’t.”
Vladimir Putin is not afraid of Joe Biden, the newly-woke U.S. military, the Keystone Kops at the NSA, CIA or sundry other alphabet organizations right down to BIPOC and LGBTQ, or his speechwriter “doctor” Jill, or the yes-men (er, persons) in the White House. The Kamala Kackle gives him pause, but he has people to handle her.
No, Putin is not afraid of any of them. In fact, it’s that collection of nitwits that tempts him.
Here’s what he’s afraid of, for good reasons.
First, war is semi-obsolete in today’s global economy. Just as China doesn’t want war with the United States, which is its biggest manufactured goods customer, Russia doesn’t want war with western or even eastern Europe, which are its biggest oil and gas customers.
Say what you will about the perils of globalization, but it does discourage war. Bombing your customer or even your customer’s neighbor is bad for business.
It all starts with Joe Biden’s truculently delinquent and pathological son, Hunter. You know, the guy who was and apparently still is a cocaine addict and was drummed out of the Navy. The deadbeat father who denied paternity and avoided support obligations to the mother whom he met at a strip joint.
But those are the least of his troubles. Hunter’s “business” is to monetize his dad’s political position. He did so in the Ukraine where Hunter was paid millions by an oil and gas company, though he probably doesn’t even pump his own gas. The payors of these millions thanked him for introductions to dad.
The Bidens admit that the son’s payments from the Ukraine were because he was Joe’s son – they couldn’t possibly deny that – but contend that the payments did not affect U.S. policy toward the Ukraine. In other words, they say they accepted the payola but it’s OK because they cheated the Ukrainians out of getting anything for it.
It’s a little like Hillary’s pay-to-play speech schemes. She demanded and received $250,000 payments for one-hour speeches from connected people who wanted political favors, but denies that she ever gave them the favors they paid for.
Yes, his father was born in Kenya, and his brother was born in Kenya. But that doesn’t mean he himself was born in Kenya.
And yes, for 16 years he allowed his literary agent to circulate a one-paragraph bio stating that he was born in Kenya, which was revised numerous times over the years while continuing to state that he was born in Kenya. But I’m inclined to think he did that because it seemed cool and a way to sell books and not because it was true.
And yes, he refuses to release his college transcripts, as other presidents and candidates have done. But I’m guessing that’s because they show poor grades and not because they state he was a foreign student.
And yes, for many years he attended a church where the pastor sometimes exclaimed, “God damn America!” but I think he was just trying to fit in.