Tag Archives: war

Antony Beevor on Russia’s New Winter War

Antony Beevor has a fine historical review of Russia’s winter wars in Foreign Affairs magazine. He revisits the wars waged by and against Russia since the beginning of the 18th century with Sweden. Many of them were great victories for Russia: this war against Ukraine may be different.

For instance, in WWII, Beevor writes:

German soldiers referred bitterly to winter conditions as “weather for Russians.” They envied the Red Army’s winter uniforms, with white camouflage suits and padded cotton jackets, which were far more effective than German greatcoats.

Now in the Ukrainian war zone:

While Russian troops curse their shortages and lack of hot food, Ukrainian troops are now benefiting from supplies of insulated camouflage suits, tents with stoves, and sleeping bags provided by Canada and the Nordic nations. Putin seems to be in denial about the state of his army and the way that General Winter will favor his opponents.

It’s easy to assume that Russia comes out ahead in wintry weather wars. Read Beevor’s piece and you’ll get the sense that this may be just the opposite: Russia’s New Winter War: Could Putin Go the Way of Napoleon and Hitler?

P.S. As an aside, it’s great to see a writer like Beevor depend on more than what happened in WWII to help us understand what is happening in our world now. So many writers have a limited historical range. Beevor is not one of those.

I highly recommend Beevor’s books. My favorite is Stalingrad, but all of them are worthwhile.

Shocked by the image of the Syrian boy in the rubble? Here’s how to help | World news | The Guardian

Syrian civil war as of 08-2016

There is much outrage over the images of dead and injured children. If you feel compelled to do something, here’s a good source of information on how: Shocked by the image of the Syrian boy in the rubble? Here’s how to help | World news | The Guardian

If you are wondering why it is so terrible, especially around the city of Aleppo, then you can read this: Lina Khatib on the Battle of Aleppo – Council on Foreign Relations Lina Khatib on the Battle of Aleppo – Council on Foreign Relations.

Khatib argue that because Aleppo is seen as crucial for success by both regime and opposition forces, much terrible fighting is occurring there. To add to that, partners and proxies are joining the fight, turning it into something that looks like a modern day Stalingrad. At this time, there does not seem to be many (or any) good diplomatic or military solutions. Hence the terribleness that is happening.

 

 

 

 

One of the greatest disrupters is one never mentioned in that way

The word “disrupters” is very much in vogue (see here and much of what comes out of start ups from Silicon Valley). Although not spoken of in those terms, one of the great disrupters of the 20th century, Mikhail Kalashnikov, creator of the AK-47, just died. Most disruption is a destructive action as well as a creative one. The AK-47 allowed more disruption to occur than almost any other technology in the last 100 years, and while it brought death, it also brought great change. I don’t support change brought on that way, but when people heap praise on disruption, ask them what they think of the AK-47. If they don’t have a good answer, they don’t have an opinion on disruption worth listening to.

Visualizing wartime

IBM has a tools called Many Eyes that allows people to create visualizations of day. This is related to my previous entry, but this time it’s Coalition fatalities in Iraq