Twenty prominent American supporters of the fight against Russia in Ukraine urge in an open letter headed "U.S. must arm Ukraine now, before it's too late." The authors argue that in order to win, Ukrainian forces require a large quantity of new equipment, such as the replenishment of ammunition and spare parts for artillery platforms, short- and medium-range air defense systems to counter Russian air and missile strikes, and ATACMS munitions fired by HIMARS with the 300km range required to strike Russian military targets anywhere in Ukraine or Crimea.
Meanwhile, Washington's European allies have slowed the flow of weaponry and munitions into Ukraine. An expert for European defense at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Daniel Fiott, snarked, "Ukraine needs hardware, not hot air." Importantly, Europeans are growing weary of hearing about refugees.
The constant influx of refugees into Europe has long since worn thin the patience of Germans and Hungarians, and now it appears to be doing the same to Poles. There are severe economic headwinds for Polish families. One of Europe's highest inflation rates may be found in Poland, at 15.6 percent in July. This is largely attributable to the conflict in Ukraine. With the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, it is easy to assume that public pressure on Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, Paris, and Rome to cease the war in Ukraine will increase dramatically as fall and winter progress.
But the fact is that no amount of additional armament systems will alter the geopolitical outcome in Ukraine. Ukraine's 700,000-man army lacks the training and tactical leadership necessary to conduct complex offensive operations, even if NATO's European members and Washington, D.C. provided them with a new avalanche of weapons and it reached at the front instead of vanishing into the black hole of Ukrainian corruption. The fact that Moscow would respond to this development by ramping up the confrontation is also not taken into account. Russia, in contrast to Ukraine, is not now mobilized for a wider battle, but might do so rapidly.
The top brass in the American military and government frequently disregarded the past and its lessons. Most crucially, they failed to recognize that the value of human capital in uniform is often the deciding factor in a conflict.
The German Wehrmacht invaded Russia on June 22, 1941, with more horses than tanks. Infantry divisions reliant on horse-drawn logistics and artillery made up the bulk of the German ground troops. While the German army as a whole was unquestionably strong, only a select few had the weapons, transportation, and protection they would need to win a war in Eastern Europe.
Roughly 450,000 to 500,000 German soldiers were part of the mobile armored army that launched the quick destruction of Poland, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. They had the most advanced weapons and were the best trained soldiers.
From 1939 through 1943, this vital component was weakened to the point that large-scale German offensive operations were no more conceivable. The fact that 55,000 German soldiers had been slain by October is crucial information to keep in mind.
These German officers were the cream of the crop in the ranks of the armed forces. They were responsible for the spectacular operations that led the underequipped Wehrmacht to within striking distance of Moscow while fighting on three fronts (Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe). They were the ones in charge when the offensives ended in the battles of El Alamein and Kursk.
The Luftwaffe had similar issues. Although German manufacturing could supply cutting-edge jet fighters, the Luftwaffe's top pilots and officers were irreplaceable.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, meanwhile, appreciated the value of his armed forces' human resources more than anybody else. Yamamoto declared, To beat the U.S. Navy we should assassinate its officers, and he planned to do just that in order to conquer the Hawaiian Islands. Yamamoto was aware of how much time was required to train and qualify an officer for the Navy. After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States was able to wipe out the Imperial Japanese Navy's elite air and naval units.
Human resources are crucial in both combat and peacetime. Unfortunately, Washington gives it little importance, and officials there are willing to relax requirements for enlisting and promotion. If this mentality continues, as I believe it will, the American military will be unprepared when it faces a formidable enemy.
John Adams, the second U.S. president, said, Facts are obstinate things; and our intentions, inclinations, or passions cannot alter them. Adams's original assessment holds true.
There has been a turning point in Ukraine's war with Russia. It has reached its natural conclusion. The intent of the letter's writers, on the other hand, is to encourage failure. They are demanding a disastrous course of action for Ukraine, one that will, at most, result in a reduced, landlocked Ukraine between the Dnieper River and the Polish border. These are the aftereffects of poor policymaking that began in the 1990s with the Clinton administration and led to Russia's political separation from Europe and Moscow's relationship with Beijing.
In retrospect, NATO's expansion to Russia's borders was a terrible mistake that has left Europe in ruins. As the conflict with Russia drags on, the country of Ukraine and its armed forces are going to suffer irreversible losses. Ukraine may perhaps achieve neutrality similar to that of Austria. Ukraine will become the new "sick man of Europe" and a continuing cause for future warfare if Washington insists on prolonging the country's war with Russia, eliminating the neutrality option and causing NATO's weak "coalition of the willing" to collapse.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on The American Conservative.