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Russia Update

By Tiia Monto, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28359019

I have surprisingly little to say about the two biggest stories to emerge over the last week. To take the second one first, Ukraine blew up a bunch of warplanes at a base in Crimea. Ukrainians are pretty mum about how they carried out the attack, talking up special forces and not talking much at all about long-distance precision munitions. If not quite a game changer it’s going to force Russia to modify the way it does forward deployed airpower. I think we may be approaching an inflection point in the air war, as more aircraft become available to Ukraine and the sophistication of weapons increases. I do have to say I’m bothered by the flood of Russian tourists fleeing Crimea because what the hell, vacationing in a combat zone?

The other (slightly older) story is the Amnesty report that found fault with Ukrainian defensive preparations within cities. My only real thought here is frustration with the gulf between the actual war crimes and “war crimes.” Long story short, a lot that we feel should be criminal turns out to be legal, and a lot that we feel should be legal turns out to be criminal. I do think that the hard wall separating jus in bello and jus ad bellum is an extremely sound way of approaching LOAC.

And I have a short piece at 1945 talking through the Darkest Timeline:

The US has paid for the luxury to build a military sufficient to fight in both Asia and Europe, and not generally with the same weapons. There is undoubtedly some overlap in terms of air capabilities and logistical assets, but the immense fighting power of the US armed forces would not be inordinately strained by the need to wage war in both theaters because the theaters made different demands.  Even if the war in Ukraine escalated to direct conflict between NATO and Russia, it is likely that the fighting would involve the fielded forces of European countries, with the United States playing an important support role. In short, the United States can fight both Russia and China at once… for a while, and with the help of some friends.

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