Dmitri Orlov: Wartime Strategy: Russia, the Ukraine, Israel and the US

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Most everyone has heard of the great and wise General Sun Tzu (Sūnzǐ, 孙子), author of The Art of War and great Chinese general of the Eastern Zhou period (771 to 256 BC) who won... what great battles? Nobody knows for sure, but he is considered great and wise nevertheless. And yet most everyone completely ignores the no lesser Chinese military sage, Míngxiǎn Duìzhǎng (明显队长), who only achieved the rank of captain, but whose wise words on that selfsame art of war are no less profound. What this great mind produced was and is indisputably true and should be drummed into the heads of even the dimmest contemporary military commanders and the most feckless and corrupt politicians:

• If war is unavoidable, then you must fight.

• If you can attack, then you must attack.

• If you cannot attack, then you must defend yourself.

• If you cannot defend yourself, then you must retreat.

• If you cannot retreat, then you must run and hide.

• If you cannot run and hide, then you must capitulate and surrender.

• If you do not capitulate and surrender, then you die.

With these words of wisdom in mind, let us examine the positions of each of the contestants in two of the ongoing armed conflicts — the Ukraine and Israel — and how they reflect on the US, Russia and the rest of the world.

The Ukraine

The armed conflict between the Ukraine and the Russian (formerly Ukrainian) regions was finished on September 5, 2014, with the signing of the first round of the Minsk accords, which amounted to Ukrainian capitulation. However, neither the Ukrainian regime, nor its Western masters (as freely admitted after the fact by both Merkel and Hollande) were intending to comply with the terms of these accords and simply used them as a delaying tactic to buy time to rebuild and rearm the summarily defeated and humiliated Ukrainian military.

In March of 2022 the Ukrainian army was ready to attack again, but was thwarted by the sudden start of Russia's Special Military Operation (SMO), which has been ongoing since then. By the spring of 2023 Russia had expanded by four new regions (Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, Kherson) and formed a defensive line, which the Ukrainians have been relentlessly but ineffectually attacking ever since, with mounting losses and ensuing desperation. By now the Ukrainians have exhausted most of their war materiel, much of their mobilization potential and their Western support is fast fading away. As a result, they are being forced to retreat, slowly at first, then all at once. What is at question now is the speed, depth and duration of this retreat. At some point the Ukraine's potential for retreat will be exhausted and it will be time for it to run and hide, capitulate and surrender, or die. This will conclude the SMO (except for some search and destroy missions against those who ran and hid, which could go on for decades).

The US

But will this conclude the war between the US and Russia? It is obvious to anyone who bothers to look that the Ukraine was never anything more than a sacrificial lamb on the altar of US hegemony — a disposable proxy used by the US to harass and thwart Russia. The goal was to destroy the Russian economy using sanctions (except that Russia's GDP is currently growing at 5% a year), to weaken and humiliate Russia militarily (except that it is now, after dawdling for a bit as Russians are usually wont to do, once again the most powerful military force on the planet) and undermining it politically (Putin's popularity is still around 80% and not going anywhere).

Clearly, the US masterminds behind the Ukraine strategy are actually idiots and it is a wonder they manage to properly button their shirts and put their pants on the right way in the morning. It doesn't matter whether Russia (with its newly re-added regions) was attacked by the Ukrainians (whatever that means), by Polish mercenaries or by US special forces, it's all the same: the US attacked Russia using a proxy. And now that the proxy can no longer attack, the US will be forced to retreat, first as the Ukraine, then as its various other proxies and, eventually, as its own formerly grand self, withdrawing to within its geographic footprint. Whether it manages to hold together politically beyond that point, and for how long, is anyone's guess. After all, it has been more than a century since the US was last able to support itself without continuously robbing other countries (exporting inflation, disrupting economies, pretending to be a financial "safe haven", accumulating debts that it has no intention of ever repaying, overthrowing sovereign governments and installing quislings, gaming the system using sanctions, etc.).


While the US war against Russia can end with the US retreating out of Europe and the UK (and dismantling NATO), the US has a lot more retreating to do, and here we need to add another ongoing armed conflict: Israel. As far as Israel itself is concerned, it is little different from the Ukraine in that it is continuously sustained by some $50-60 billion of financial and military support, mostly from pro-Israeli Americans. Given the current state of the US, fiscal and financial and political, it is very unlikely that it will be able to continue to support Israel at the same high level, causing it to either melt away (controllably) or to melt down (uncontrollably).

Right now Israel, having demonstrated the breathtaking incompetence of its security apparatus and its military (killing scores of Israeli nationals through "friendly fire"), is still attacking while the formidable, mainly non-state forces arrayed against it are mostly biding their time. Geography dictates that as soon as Israel loses the ability to attack, its game will be up because it simply doesn't have enough territory to retreat. Even now the entire country is a shooting gallery from at least two directions (Syria/Lebanon and Yemen). In spite of a strained propaganda effort to paint widespread anti-Israeli sentiments as antisemitic, the fact remains that lots of people around the world hate Israel for what it has done to the Palestinians and that this has nothing to do with the fact that the Israelis are Jewish; they could be Martian for all anyone cares and still be detestable. It is their abominable behavior that's at issue, not their ancient heritage, whatever it may be. There are roughly three categories of Jews: 1. Israeli Jews; 2. Jews who support Israel; and 3. Jews who do not support Israel. The first category is causing much disgust; the second is in danger of some nasty pogroms if it doesn't keep quiet (political quietism is traditional among Jews) and the third deserves a hug. The sorting-out process among Jews, already underway, will take some time to run its course with the State of Israel remaining as a perpetually painful phantom limb long after it's been severed.

An interesting development took place after the beginning of the current armed conflict in Israel/Palestine: US military bases around the Middle East have come under almost constant rocket attacks. The US has no option except to sit there and bleed, maintaining a brave face in spite of an indefensible situation: it cannot attack and prevail while perpetually bleeding while defending patches of foreign soil is a fool's game; therefore, it must retreat, abandoning its military bases. The sorry state of US air defenses (the much touted Patriot system doesn't work) and the wonderful state of modern rocketry and drone technology elsewhere mean that it is a sitting duck for both state and non-state actors who wish to attack it.

* * *

Zooming out from the here and now, we see a world that is changing rapidly and although the details of this change vary from day to day and obscure the overall picture, this picture is nevertheless gradually coming into focus. The new configuration of the world that seems plausible as I see it is as follows:

• The US retreats to within its own footprint, then fissions into states, counties and warring ghettos, most of them destitute and dying of rampant fentanyl addiction, gunfire and preventable diseases.

• NATO and EU dissolve, some borders within Europe are suitably redrawn and whatever sovereign countries  that remain make their individual, bilateral peace with the major powers (Russia and China).

• Russia remains the major purveyor of energy to the world, sitting, as it does, on two-thirds of the Earth's remaining hydrocarbon resources, most of them not yet adequately explored. Russian energy is rebranded as "green", thus making it acceptable even to poor Greta: green uranium/plutonium, green coal, green oil, green gas... (Anyone who doesn't believe that Russian energy is green will have to have green eyeshades stapled to their heads.) The idea is an easy sell: Russia's main industrial product is CO2 gas which is... plant food! Plants are green, case closed. CO2 emissions also may help postpone the onset of the next ice age. Russia will also provide the world with a workable civilizational blueprint: an effective unitary state that is non-nationalist, multi-ethnic, religiously tolerant, socially conservative, economically liberal and focused on human development and well-being.

• China will remain as a major purveyor of manufactured products and technology services to the world but fails to provide any sort of guiding light, being pathologically insular and completely unable to combine in any meaningful fashion with other nations other than transforming them all into Han Chinese (given a century or two).

• Western civilization enters a terminal dark age as its ideal of self-reliant individualism presents its flip side of decadence, conformism, mind control and subservience. As the native populations of Western countries are replaced with spillover from a large number of failed states, many of them former Western colonies, Western countries degenerate into a mosaic of warring ethnic enclaves which their native populations struggle in vain to escape.

• Conservative Christianity, moderate Islam and various forms of Confucianism — mankind's three major civilizations — reign supreme.

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