Understanding the War in Ukraine
Long post from a military history teacher, not a particular expert in Russian/Ukrainian affairs, but seems to be generally politically knowledgeable (caveat that I am unable to distinguish that with certainty).
Russia is thus embarking, with fewer friends and fewer resources, on a war that may prove to be far more difficult than the wars the United States struggled with in Afghanistan and Iraq. And of course the very fact that Ukraine can win this in the long run will serve to stiffen Ukrainian resistance. Meanwhile, it is not entirely clear that Putin’s war has widespread popular support in Russia, though of course getting any clear sense of the popular mood within an authoritarian state is extremely difficult. Nevertheless, flagging public support at home, even in an authoritarian state where there are no political channels for that opposition, can translate into morale problems at the front, as Russians learned in 1917.
Overall, my sense of the military-affairs/international relations community is that the general opinion is that Putin is making a mistake here even though he is likely to win on the ground at first: the costs of controlling Ukraine are likely to be high, the rewards likely to be low, and this aggression is likely to solidify, rather than weaken NATO. Long-term success seems very difficult to achieve. I tend to concur with that assessment, though I’ll admit there is a lot of room for unlikely or unexpected outcomes.
An excellent thread of threads:
On the connection between Belarus, Russia, and why the Ukraine attack came through Belarus:
Interesting thread on the history of the Chechen state (as Chechen soldiers approach Ukraine apparently), argues that the Chechnyan army has been built up by Putin as essentially a personal fighting force, independent of Russia and beholden to himself personally.
Institute for the Study of War (which I had never heard of before, no idea what their bias/expertise is) with a long detailed post on the fronts as they stand currently (Feb 26):