I have a question for the room. This is a genuine question posed out of ignorance and curiosity, not, as they say, a rhetorical question. It concerns the prospect of a full-scale Russian invasion of all of Ukraine and unfortunately the time I spent in the Massachusetts National Guard 65 years ago does not really prepare me for answering it.
The question is this: if the Russians launch a full-scale invasion with the 190,000 troops that are positioned on the borders of Ukraine, what is the likely course of the war that will ensue? I have listened to a good deal of commentary in the past several days, some of it by people who seem genuinely knowledgeable, and although I have heard a good deal about what is going on in Putin’s head, I have heard virtually nothing about the likely course of the conflict.
Everyone who comments on the situation seems to assume without argument that the Russian troops will roll through Ukraine and very rapidly conquer the entire nation, whereupon they will establish a puppet regime and start hauling off Ukrainians to concentration camps or simply to be killed. I have heard nobody suggest that Putin might find himself mired in an endless struggle in somewhat the fashion that America did in Vietnam, nor have I heard any useful and knowledgeable evaluation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Russian and Ukrainian armies.
I am aware (or at least I have been told) that some of the Russian troops have been transferred from as far away as Siberia. How many of Russia’s troops have battle experience? What options do the Ukrainians have for an ongoing guerrilla war? Is such a war a probability? And so forth.
Has anybody heard anything useful on these matters? Does anybody have knowledge to share that might illuminate the matter?