Update on the war in Ukraine: introduction

(To Andrea Gaspardo)

On February 24, 2022, the world changed; forever. The large-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine by the joint military forces of the Russian Federation and the so-called People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk has been the catalyst for a dramatic clash between the heavyweights of world geopolitics that will inevitably shape the new balances of the globe in the coming decades.

In the past we had already published on other occasions various updates relating to the events of the current war. Now, more than 7 months after its inception, and in the absence of any sign that the end of the war is imminent, we begin the publication of a new series dedicated to the topic because in the meantime both the tactical and strategic situation has undergone significant changes over the last few months so an update is due.

As in previous times, our present series will undoubtedly examine the events on the naval, air and land fronts. As promised in the past, we will also address, together with Paolo Silvagni, the thorny problems on the economic side that have caused so much discussion and we will try to understand how these can contribute to influence the progress of the war as a whole. Finally, we will talk about the overall tactical-strategic scenarios, trying to make predictions on what we can expect in the coming months. However, before doing the above, we wanted to use today's analysis as a sort of "introduction" for the use and consumption of our readers to talk about some concepts of "methodological" significance that it would be necessary to recover in a historical moment in which, overwhelmed by the frenzy of "everything and now", all of us (analysts as simple readers) risk confusing the complex analysis with the "chronicle of events". In fact, starting from February 24, 2022, both traditional media and the mare magnum of the Internet overflow with evaluations, analyzes, reflections, comments and other observations (if not real invectives), often risky, approximate if not tendentious or partisan , originating from a myriad of specialists, consultants, experts and analysts or presumed such (and a good number of real charlatans!) who were immediately co-opted in a titanic effort aimed not so much at informing the public about the "mechanics of conflict As for propagating in a way I would dare to say “almost religious” the theorems that had little or nothing had and have to do with the complex and at times frustrating reality of a great conventional war such as the world has not seen since 1945.

Without pretending in some way to be "the smartest rooster inside the hen house", I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about some concepts that in my humble opinion are useful to everyone in approaching these burning issues. The first is that of "SOBRIETY". No, we are not talking about alcohol, even if the writer is a native of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and like any Friulian worthy of the name, he has a “good experience” regarding the intoxicating treasures of his land. In this context, "sobriety" has to do with the ability to analyze and investigate the events in question with moderation, measure and balance in order to give readers (obviously those who are really interested in learning something) a representation of the facts as faithful to reality as possible (obviously in light of the data that are available!). From this point of view, the work of the serious analyst differs from that of the "propagandist" (it does not matter if pro-Russian or pro-Ukrainian) who makes waste paper of any sense of measure and is instead committed to transmitting a narrative to one way and blatantly distorted in order to influence public opinion in one way or another.

Sobriety also means analyzing the facts in the most aseptic way possible, leaving aside what we might call "auspices" that are not sufficiently supported by evidence. An example relating to the present Russian-Ukrainian War is that concerning the surreal disquisitions regarding the health of Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who for months was described as literally "on the verge of death" until, at the end of July, it was the director of the CIA himself, William Joseph Burns, who finally put an end to the manfrina stating that "There is no evidence to that effect, and as far as we are concerned it is also too healthy". Yet for months an incredible bevy of "experts or suspected" had nothing better to do than shoot nonsense as if Putin's death causes cancer or some other virus sent directly from the depths of space was humanity's last hope. to save himself from the jaws of “Putler” (a term created specifically to associate the Kremlin autocrat with the deceased Führer und ReichsKanzler of the Germanic Third Reich in an at least risky way). In my opinion, this represents the most striking case, but many others can be done.

But be careful! "Maintaining sobriety" does not at all mean "avoiding taking unconventional scenarios into consideration". When, in the months immediately preceding the outbreak of the war, I was among the very few to expose myself in the first person, claiming that the crisis we were witnessing was truly "systemic" and was leading to a real military escalation that would culminate with the invasion to which we all witnessed it, I did not do it out of sensationalism but because, having analyzed all the possible objective conditions on the ground known to most people, I came "soberly" to the conclusion that the Muscovite elite was now ready to "cross the Rubicon" and that the same preparations Russian military had now gone too far to be stopped.

The second concept that I would like to convey is that relating to the difference between "OSCILLATION"and "TREND”And to do so I will use a rhetorical figure which is very often referred to in the world of economics: that of the so-called“ walk on the beach ”. Imagine seeing from above a beach on which a man with a dog on a leash is walking. While the man walks along the path of his choice, the dog (always kept on a leash) runs in front of him, moving now to the right, now to the left, but in any case keeping within the path traced by the owner. Well, the path along which man is walking is the "trend". It is in fact the owner who walks along the path chosen by him and, keeping the dog firmly on a leash, "dictates the line", so to speak. The dog, on the other hand, represents "the swing". In fact it is true that it can move autonomously with respect to the owner, but it will always be bound (by means of the leash) to the path set by him.

These are very important concepts because they help to understand one of the main "squinting" that afflicts the media and public opinion here in the "West": the characteristic of living and analyzing events daily, easily aroused, and failing in the objective of grasp the medium and long-term trends, which are, on the other hand, decisive for understanding the "mechanics of war" and try to anticipate how it can evolve up to its final outcomes, regardless of whether we like them or not we like them.

The analyst's main purpose is therefore not to report on the "war chronicle" as journalists do, but to grasp the difference between long-term trends and momentary fluctuations. In fact, for a long time both analysts and the public have wondered during these over 7 months of war whether the various defeats to which the armies of Moscow have been subjected have been simple setbacks (attributable to momentary fluctuations) or, taken as a whole, represent the signal that "the tide has changed its course and the war will now have a favorable outcome for Ukraine".

We already anticipate the answer by saying that: no, despite everything, the assertion that the outcome of the war is changing in Kiev's favor is not acceptable, nevertheless we try to analyze everything in an aseptic way to understand how we got to this point and how things could evolve in the near future with this new series of updates on the progress of the Russo-Ukraine War.

Photo: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine