by Sgt Tim
Senior Editor, Outlaw Patriot News
Contributor, The Hagmann Report
The views expressed herein are solely the views of Sgt Tim and do not reflect the views of Doug Hagmann, Joe Hagmann, or the Hagmann Report.
On June 19, 2017, I appeared on The Hagmann and Hagmann Report to discuss the situation unfolding in Syria and the rising tensions between the United States and Russia. It stemmed from the shoot-down of a Syrian SU-22 by and American F/A-18 Super Hornet and the flurry of statements made by each side that came within hours. While we discussed many prudent topics during that conversation, I wanted to write this article to give a picture of what a possible war with Russia might look like. You can find our conversation from June 19 below:
(Also, I want to thank those that encouraged and prayed for me during the above appearance, as well as those that did so the past couple of days as I was suffering some intense back pain. God bless each one of you!)
Before we get started with this assessment, it is important to point out that this analysis is written not to include even a limited nuclear exchange. It is my opinion that there would be no limited exchange, as a launch by one side or another would likely set off a chain of events that would see every nuclear-capable nation launching and attempting to destroy civilization as we know it. You might ask why. I believe that in the event of an exchange none of the nuclear-capable governments would want to take on the burden of the aftermath of even a limited exchange between the United States and Russia. We are not talking about the same level of destruction that was unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but weapons far more destructive. It would impact the global economy, environment, and human psychology in such a way that rebuilding would be next to impossible, and death from fallout and radiation could very well make most of the northern hemisphere inhabitable. The alternative would be destruction on a global scale, with no safe space to hide. I am a Christian and therefore believe in the events prophesied in the Book of Revelation, and so I cannot believe that this would be the end of the age of man. A limited use of tactical nuclear weapons would be possible, but I believe even their use would quickly escalate to complete annihilation of our world.
In addition, in this assessment there are certain strategic, tactical, and operational constraints that we must bear in mind. Primary amongst these is the fact that while Russia has been working at a frantic pace to modernize its military, it still does not have the capability to project military might outside of its region the way that the US military does. This could change in the next few years as Russia brings more naval vessels on-line, however, I don’t think it will as the ships it has coming are for the most part not those for projecting power abroad but still with a concept of homeland defense in mind.
Which brings us to the second constraint to keep in mind – despite trends of recent years of deploying troops in locations such as Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, Russia’s primary strategic focus continues to be defense rather than projecting power outside of its own zone of influence. Some would point out that offensive actions in these areas point to a growing offensive strategy, but I still consider these as defensive in the greater scheme of defending against American and NATO encroachment into its near-abroad, the term Russians often use when speaking of the former Soviet republics. Continued growth of NATO into these states has spurred a more aggressive defensive principle from Russia, as it is facing the creep of an existential threat to its very own doorstep.
With homeland defense central in Russian strategic planning and weapons development, it is developing equipment with its own unique terrain features and climate in mind, and can field equipment that complement their own military tactics. On the other end, the US has been known for building its military not just for rapid deployment in recent years, but over the entirety of its history, the US has often been faulted for development of equipment and tactics based on the last war it was engaged in, or where it is currently engaged, but without foresight to look ahead to the next war. In this case, we see that the US has shifted its military forces into a more expeditionary corps strategy, with equipment built for quick deployment in and quick extraction out. This equipment is lighter than in the past and relies on speed rather than bolstered defensive properties and crippling firepower.
The last constraint – though they be myriad – to bear in mind as we look at this is that the advent of the cyber age and the interwoven nature of the worldwide economic web makes warfare much more involved than it has been in the past, something of 4 or 5-D chess rather than the 3-D chess of the 20th century. While missiles that are launched may be tracked by radar, or even CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) elements may be traced back to their origin by certain manufacturing fingerprints, cyber warfare is about subterfuge and attacks may be launched from anywhere in the world with almost no way to telling for sure where the attack originated from. Implants can lie dormant for extended periods of time awaiting activation for some future war. Wholesale bombing of a nation’s industrial infrastructure is replaced by cyber-attack halting and even causing physical damage (see Stuxnet) to the industrial base directly, while manipulation of the currencies market can bring industry to halt through financial ruin. This is not our grandfathers’ battlefield, and perhaps not even ours – but perhaps this is the battlefield of our children who better understand the technology involved and how to properly launch such attacks just as similarly as they understand how to launch a social movement with a few clicks of a mouse or by incorporating social media.
With these constraints and elements in mind, just what would war with Russia look like here in the United States?
I said it when I was on the Hagmann and Hagmann Report, and I will reiterate it now – we will see actions over the coming weeks and months that will likely push us closer to war with Russia. Some of these will be done in the open, while others will be cloaked in the fog of war. We have a military right now in which somewhere between 100-200 officers have either been forced out or lower level fast-track officers were given bad evaluations because they would not bend to the political forces that have been in control of our country for the past 8 years. This has led to a military that is under the control of what amounts to political appointees and men and women with no spine to do what is right, instead choosing to be yes-men – cowardice on the scale of James Comey. With the former president, very much still in play with his attempts to set up a shadow government within our government, this makes for a very dangerous and erratic situation on the ground in a place like Syria, where US and Russian forces are operating in such proximity to one another. Especially when factoring in the very vocal desires on the part of the former administration to push war with Russia.
With the constraints listed above and this other information in mind, Syria is likely to be the trouble spot where a possible war with Russia could kick off. One miscalculation by either side could precipitate to open warfare. Given American tendency to fight on opposing territory and the fact that Russia lacks the ability to project power to American shores, it is likely that the war will be contained for a brief time within the Central Asian theater, primarily in Syria, with likely overflow into Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. It could spread into the Central Asian republics of Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. However, I believe that any such escalation outside of the immediate proxy warfare zone would see Russia quickly withdraw back into its borders, or at the very least, withdraw to Armenia and perhaps friendly former Soviet Central Asian republics, to quell spreading into Russia proper and prepare for the coming NATO storm.
Many analysts both inside and outside of the government have often posited a possible Russian push into the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to join the mainland with Kaliningrad. I grow suspicious when think tanks get involved in military strategy, and I think that in this case, either provocation would take place to try and lure Russia in there, or some action would be blamed on Russia to justify employing the forces deployed to the Baltics for the greater war effort while also pushing the American public to support at least retaliatory action against the Russian mainland. I think the original pitch would be short of invasion, but we would soon see the push for invasion. I know what many of you are thinking at this point, that surely our military leadership is smarter than to try an invasion of Russia, but I do not share that same faith.
If an operation were conducted on mainland Russia, this would unleash the total war machines of both sides, barring the nuclear option.
Cyber-attacks on both sides would shut down power to their homelands and bring their industrial and agricultural bases to a standstill. This could have profound effects outside of both countries, with Europe experiencing the consequences of their reliance on cheap Russian energy products, while other countries would experience the loss of American consumerism for their products. While this likely would lead to other nations getting involved outside of the Russia / NATO matchup, this is about war with Russia, and so we will suppose for the purpose of this exercise that it did not.
Invasion of Russia by American / NATO forces would be disastrous. America’s European allies do not have the military might to even properly support the US in this war. Let’s not forget that this isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan, it’s not even the Russia of the 90s, but a true existential threat. Slashed defense spending and dependence on American might have gutted most of our European allies, with perhaps the UK and France being the only exceptions.
Also, this would be the first time American ground and naval forces would be forced to operate in an environment where they did not enjoy constant and consistent air superiority since World War II, or even the Korean war. While, certainly, there would be times of air superiority, there would also be times when the Russians would have it, and this would prove more than a hindrance. Especially given the nature of American ground forces and the concept of rapid insertion deep behind enemy lines in place of heavy armor. Russia’s tank-destroying rotary aircraft forces would likely eat up our quick and lightly armored vehicles. Certainly, we still do field the Abrams, but our tactics are born out of the last war, and so their numbers are not what they used to be, and the generals controlling this battle are at the very least employing old tank tactics, but likely don’t know how to properly employ the armor.
Even if American war planners have the foresight to not invade in the middle of the brutal Russian winter, in warmer months much of Russia turns into swamp-land, with the frozen ground turning into something akin to quicksand. Our quick-moving forces would be slowed, as Russia also lacks the infrastructure of a highly complex highway system like the US has – forcing many movements across open terrain. In addition, even where there may appear to be a road on a map, this doesn’t mean that it is much more than the remnants of asphalt along a trail which would also be almost impassable. Lastly, if railways were to be used for transport of equipment, troops, and materiel to the frontline, they would need to be captured in route, and further feeding of the supply line in this way (as air-dropping of these resources would depend upon that coveted air superiority) would be tedious at best – you see, because the Germans did exactly this during World War II, the Russian railroads operate on rails that are wider than the standard around the world. Any trains crossing into Russia (and even some of the former Soviet republics) must change the wheel base of the cars before proceeding, a process that loses precious time when trying to get bullets and beans to troops in the field, and creates for sitting duck targets for air and cruise missile strikes.
Lastly, an element that often gets lost on Americans when talking about war with Russia is the amazing ability of Russians to survive. While American ingenuity is world-renowned, Russian survivability in the face of overwhelming odds does not get enough recognition. When faced with invasion by Napoleon, they burned their own fields and some even believe that insurgents hid out in the basements of some buildings when Napoleon made it to Moscow to find an empty city – and that these insurgents are what lit the fires that drove him from the city. One of my Russian instructors was a small child during the siege of Leningrad in World War II. He remembered the families cloistered in the basement of a building near the Hermitage and when they ran out of rats to eat, they began boiling cardboard to eat. You see the glue that held the paper together would release during boiling and thicken up the water to make your stomach believe that it was actually getting something in it. And when everything was exhausted, he awoke in the middle of the night to the discussion of the adults of which child to eat – him. He ran away and after wandering the streets for a couple of days, went back to find that they had scrounged up more materials. But that was a memory that haunted him for life.
In short, a war with Russia would be disastrous for the United States. Civil unrest would likely break out at the prospect of a re-institution of the draft, not to mention reports of daily killed in action (on both sides) reminiscent more of the numbers in World War II than in Iraq. Add in the fact that the facing of an existential threat would force rationing of supplies for our troops and it could very well lead to a situation where our country would implode before we had the chance to turn the tide of the war, which I do believe would eventually happen – we would either withdraw or turn the tide through that American ingenuity.
However, a far better option would be to avoid conflict with Russia – not through appeasement but through constructive engagement, on the level of what Reagan did in the 80s. If Trump were to arrange a global security summit with Putin, playing upon the desire of Putin to be seen as a power on the world stage again, it could very well lead to improved relations. Russia as a partner in the war against ISIS and a great counter-weight to a growing Chinese threat abroad and at home. Instead of allowing conspiracy theories to be propagated by the mainstream media of Trump-Russia collusion and forming a narrative of mistrust and fear around Russia, we, the American people, should reject these baseless accusations and push for an improvement of relations with a nation and people that are far more like us than the American people presently understand.