Ukraine – sounds like World War III
The current push to arm Ukraine with modern Western weapons sounds like the Lend-Lease program that got America into WWII. Is this WWIII?
Hello, this is Darrell Castle with today’s Castle Report. This is Friday the 27th day of January in the year of our Lord 2023. I will be talking about the continual ascent up the escalation ladder in Ukraine by the United States and NATO. Things are starting to look a lot like 1937 again in Europe as a limited war with limited objectives is expanding into a full blown combined arms conflict.
Ukraine to get main battle tanks
Deals are in the making and have been for weeks to supply Western main battle tanks to Ukraine. Those deals will open the door for more and more advanced weapons to be introduced into the struggle. The Ukrainian President pleads for more advanced Western weapons telling the world that Russian “terror” can only be stopped on the battlefield. Several NATO countries have agreed to send advanced offensive weapons into the struggle.
Pressure to commit main battle tanks and thus expand the war into a combined arms struggle has been relentless and now it looks certain that the U.S. has succumbed to that pressure. The German Government has been under the most pressure and recently accepted the resignation of the German Defense Minister because of her reluctance to supply Leopard 2 main battle tanks. Poland’s tanks came from Germany and the U.S. and are not supposed to be exported without the permission of the country of origin, but now Poland says it with send them with or without permission.
The Ukrainian forces know that Russia is only waiting for weather conditions to improve before launching an all out offensive which could prove irresistible with the current supple of weapons. Ukraine has main battle tanks already from Poland and the Czech Republic but those are old Soviet cast offs which have been modernized. What they want now are the best in the world that being the U.S. Abrams, the German Leopards, and the British Challengers.
Spiffy new Western tank models
The Leopard is the primary tank for 13 European countries and they have about 2000 scattered around Europe. Those countries would all be expected to contribute under the new agreement. Finland, not yet a NATO member, and located on the Russian border said that it will also send Leopards. The U.S. is the crucial element in the deal because German Chancellor Scholz said that his position depends on that of the U.S. If the U.S. is in and willing to send Abrams tanks then Germany is in as well. German tank maker RheinMetall says it can make 139 more tanks and have the first batch ready by April or May of this year.
The British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to provide Ukraine with its main battle tank, the Challenger 2. Britain is to start by sending 14 Challengers but that is far short of the 300 main battle tanks Ukraine asked for. Don’t worry if you were afraid the war might calm down because the Biden administration is right there to make sure it doesn’t. From Reuters:
The United States aims to break the dynamic of grinding warfare and near-frozen front lines on Ukraine with newly announced military capabilities that it hopes will breath fresh momentum into Kyiv’s battle against Russian forces, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday.
Catalog of American weapons to Ukraine
The U.S. has announced its latest weapons package worth about $2.85 billion but these new weapons are offensive and designed to be game changers. The first part of the package includes 50 Bradley fighting vehicles, a medium armored platform armed with a 25-mm gun designed to provide safe transport for soldiers on the battlefield. The Bradleys are designed to complement and fight alongside the U.S. Abrams tanks and are a perfect combo for the plains of Eastern Ukraine.
The U.S. is sending 18 Paladin 155 mm self-propelled howitzers, and 36 105mm towed howitzers The Paladin can fire its 155 mm shell 40 kilometers and travel at 39 mph. France and Germany are also sending their own fighting vehicles into the struggle. Germany and the United States will be sending Patriot air defense systems as well. In addition to those weapons I have mentioned, the following will also be sent:
100 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, 55 mine resistant ambush protected vehicles (MRAPS), 138 High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles, RIM Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles which will be converted from sea launched and integrated into Ukraine’s land launched system, assorted artillery rounds, ammunition, mortars, rockets, mines, grenades, anti-personnel munitions, night vision equipment, along with spare parts.
Expecting the Russians to sit back and allow this?
The Russian Embassy in Great Britain pointed out to the British that bringing tanks in would intensify the conflict and add to the casualties but the British said they want to be a part of game changing developments in Ukraine. I’m guessing that they want to give Ukraine an offensive force possibly capable of retaking Crimea.
The Biden Administration went through some hand wringing exercises, but finally gave in and agreed to send 31 Abrams main battle tanks. The Western Countries’ supply of main battle tanks is a significant point, and it crosses the line previously set in support for Ukraine. Focus seems to be shifting from helping Ukraine defend itself to supplying it with offensive capabilities. Thank God there is still no indication of an intent to supply a long range strike capability. No agreement to give the Ukrainian missiles that could hit deep into Russia. If the Ukrainians got the U.S. Army Tactical Missile System then Russia’s entire position in Ukraine and Crimea could be untenable. Would the Russians permit delivery of such weapons? Just a guess, but my guess is no.
Arms race on the ground
Over the first 11 months of this war the armor has been the outdated soviet T-72. The new, modern tanks like the Abrams and the Leopard are game changers and could allow a breakthrough of the Russian battle lines. The Kremlin, through Russian Foreign Minister Dimitry Medvedev, reminded the West that Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons and would use them before suffering a crushing defeat. That reality doesn’t deter the Biden Administration which seems willing to risk World War lll to bleed Russia dry.
So, NATO countries are now directly involved in war with Russia. It is no longer truthful to say they are fighting a proxy war or cheering on Ukraine from the sidelines. They are directly involved in supplying the most modern weapons, intelligence, money, ammunition and even personnel in the battle. Poland which seems to be the most belligerent of the NATO countries has troops operating in Ukrainian uniforms. U.S. and U.K. special forces are inside Ukraine supplying intelligence and training. Often these special operators are hired as contractors by the CIA to disguise their identities.
Guided missile artillery, patriot anti-missile batteries and now Abrams tanks as well as cash, drones, satellite intelligence and human intelligence. Russia has the Wagner Group, a privately owned mercenary army which is currently on the frontlines of the conflict. Russia gets drones from Turkey and Iran. Soldiers are arriving from Syria and other countries hostile to the West. China provides financial support and technology which helps Russia replenish its supplies.
Who else is involved?
The countries now directly involved in this World War lll scenario through weapons, money, intelligence, mercenaries, or financial sanctions include the U.S. U.K., Germany, France, Poland, Lithuania, Canada, Australia, Ukraine, Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Japan, Romania, Belarus and Moldavia. That list spans most of the world and dare I say that it looks a lot like World War lll to me.
Turkey is an interesting player in international politics right now. Although it is a NATO member, it is clearly on the side of Russia and is supplying drone technology, which it got from the U.S. to Russia. It is holding up the NATO membership applications of Sweden and Finland and Turkish diplomats refuse to meet with NATO partners to discuss differences.
It will require months perhaps years to prepare Ukraine to use these new weapons. You don’t just get in an Abrams tank and drive it away, well I suppose you could do that but to operate it effectively in battle requires a great deal of training. The U.S. Army maintains bases in the U.S. designed to teach soldiers tank warfare. Some Ukrainians have been training under U.S. military leadership in Germany and some have even been trained in the U.S., but it will take a lot more so I suppose the war is projected to last a while. That’s the idea isn’t it just keep it going.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier…!
Now under the heading of just when you think it can’t get any crazier, I have to tell you about the almost 100 billion in weapons President Biden abandoned in Afghanistan. The DOD says the value of the weapons abandoned is far less than that, but nevertheless it seems that Mr. Putin is personally negotiating with the Taliban to purchase those weapons. So the United States could and probably will once again find itself supplying both sides in a war. Yes, that’s right folks each side in this Eastern European war will have high tech U.S. taxpayer funded weapons.
If that were all it would be plenty, but it gets worse. The new tanks now on their way to Ukraine or at least in the pipeline all fire depleted uranium ammunition as a way of penetrating the armor of opposing tanks. It tends to pollute the landscape on which the war is being fought but more importantly is that the Russians have said they consider it to be a nuclear weapon. This is very ominous and obviously a dangerous escalation.
Ukraine will be a peer to peer conflict
In conclusion folks, this war is not about the U.S. attacking or invading some weaker country and therefore its technological superiority makes the difference on the battlefield. This is more of a peer to peer struggle where economics usually prove decisive. A million-dollar missile can and often does shoot down a billion-dollar aircraft. Each side must calculate the cheapest way to inflict casualties on the other until ultimately one side is economically exhausted. This would already have happened in Ukraine except for the many outside forces who seek to keep it going for their own reasons.
Finally, folks, I pray for a negotiated peace, and that the sides will find a solution. I don’t think the neocons in both U.S. political parties want peace, but I know for certain they are human beings and therefore capable of changing their minds, getting a revelation, seeing the light etc. and stopping this death machine before it’s too late.
At least that’s the way I see it.
Until next time folks,
This is Darrell Castle.
This article appeared first at CastleReport.us and appears here by permission. CNAV has wondered many times before whether President Biden intends starting World War Three, perhaps to suit some shadowy benefactor(s). – Ed.
Darrell Castle is an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, a former USMC Combat Officer, 2008 Vice Presidential nominee, and 2016 Presidential nominee. Darrell gives his unique analysis of current national and international events from a historical and constitutional perspective. You can subscribe to Darrell's weekly podcast at castlereport.us
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