A Blog by Jonathan Low


Aug 8, 2022

Putin Fires Three More Of His Generals. That Makes Six Since Invasion

At this point, it's more of a gig than a job. 

Another eleven generals or admirals have been killed by the Ukrainians. Certainly can't blame Russia's Ukrainian invasion problems on old leadership...: JL

Anders Anglesey reports in Newsweek:

Gen. Aleksandr Dvornikov, who had been charged with overall command of the operation in Ukraine, was removed from his post last week. General-Colonel Aleksandr Zhuravlev, who had commanded Russia's Western Military District, was absent from Russia’s Navy Day in St Petersburg a week ago and has likely been replaced. Another general was relieved of command of Southern Grouping Forces. At least six Russian commanders had been dismissed since Russian President Putin ordered the invasion earlier this year.

Why Ukraine's Drone-Hunting Teams Are Savaging Russian Troops

The strategy is to provoke a response which reveals targeting information - and the Ukrainians, using mostly commercially available drones - have become masters at it. JL 

Yaroslav Trofimov reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Russian electronic-warfare capabilities in the Donbas area, disabled GPS navigation systems used by most other drones but didn’t disrupt quadrocopters such as DJI Mavic 3 that can be flown manually. Firing on fortifications could force the Russians to reveal positions and provoke troop movements. Russian response artillery fire could be used to target Russian guns. And barrages of Russian positions would degrade Russian troops even if they didn’t cause physical casualties.“It’s a different kind of war now. As people here say, if it comes down to exchanging gunfire, you’ve already made a mistake.”

The Reason Russia's Ukraine Strategy Is Failing

Russia is failing in Ukraine primarily because Ukraine's strategy has confronted, beaten and undermined Russia - militarily, diplomatically and socio-economically. JL  

Mick Ryan reports in War In the Future:

The Ukrainian consistency in implementing their strategy of corrosion now sees the Russian Army under pressure, with insufficient reinforcements to replace an increasingly exhausted force that is under attack physically and psychologically. In corroding the Russian military physically, morally, and intellectually, the Ukrainians have evolved the military art. This is what 21st century war looks like. The Ukrainians have proved to be masters of it. Ukraine, largely, has refused to fight how Russia wants to fight. It has developed & implemented its own military strategy with great discipline. Strategically, the Ukrainians are corroding Russia’s international standing with their global influence operations.

How Putin and Xi Demonstrate the Perils of Autocratic Leadership

In an age of widely distributed knowledge and access to the means of revelation and protest online, the limits of autocracy - whether national or corporate - have become clearer even as strong, fierce leaders appear to have been having a moment. But as Xi's relative lack of support for Putin's failing Ukraine invasion demonstrates, ultimately their own needs always take precedence over having each other's back.

What Putin and Xi - as well as any CEO harboring delusions of grandeur - must now realize is that it is very difficult, expensive, risky - often counterproductive - attempt to impose one's will just because they think they can.  JL

Lawrence Freedman reports in Comment Is Freed:

It is not surprising that Putin and Xi, both 69, find much to admire in each other. They are both in the process of demonstrating that as autocracies provide supreme leaders with opportunities to act decisively and boldly, this can also lead them to follow catastrophically poor policies which are then difficult to abandon. Putin has failed to subdue Ukraine while Xi has failed to subdue Covid. Russia’s experience should warn Xi of the pitfalls of military action even when the odds look favourable. This is the peril of autocracy – a conviction that a supreme leader, beyond challenge at home and presiding over vast armed forces, should always be able to get what he wants and never needs to compromise.

Aug 7, 2022

How Ukraine Destroyed Another Russian T-90 'Supertank'

Cost-benefit: $3 million tank, Russia's most advanced,  destroyed by $18 thousand man-held rocket. JL 

Adam Solomons reports in Mailonline:

The T-90 is Russia's most-advanced tank, with the base model entering service in 1992. This T-90, nicknamed the 'Vladimir', was obliterated after its own ammunition is struck by a rocket. At least 20 Russian T-90 tanks plus two advanced T-90Ms, first built in 2016, are estimated to have been destroyed so far. As of this morning, the Ukrainian army claims to have destroyed 1,792 tanks, up three from yesterday. Days after the first $3 million T-90 was destroyed, a second was wrecked with an £18,000 Swedish rocket launcher. Another is said to have been blown up with a £400 rocket-propelled grenade.

Why Russia Has Arrested 3 Top Missile Scientists On Charges Of Treason

It sounds like some scientists involved in creating this weapon don't want Putin and his cronies to be the only ones to have it. JL

Uliana Pavlova and Jonny Hallam report in CNN :

A leading Russian scientist in hypersonic flight was arrested on suspicion of treason Friday, the third Russian scientist this summer to be arrested on suspicion of treason. His detention comes after the arrest of the chief researcher of the institute, who is suspected of transferring state secret data related to hypersonic missiles (from) a technology lab with unique wind tunnels purpose-built for simulating hypersonic conditions. Another researcher from the institute was detained on state treason charges for collaborating with China's security services. He died while being transferred from pre-trial detention.

Scientists Begin To Study "Worst-Case" Climate Driven Human Extinction

The phrase 'human extinction' kinda grabs one's attention. JL 

Tristan Bove reports in Fortune:

The consequences of climate change—from record-breaking heat waves in Europe to devastating wildfires in the U.S. this summer alone—are forcing themselves to the forefront of people’s attention. Some scientists are warning that we might be missing even bigger and more existential risks to humanity. Researchers argue the worst-case scenarios of climate change are being “dangerously underexplored.” The possibility of “ eventual human extinction” is not out of the question, as current rates of warming “may surpass thresholds that triggered mass extinctions” in the past. If temperatures increase by 1.5° C (2.7° F) shifts that “persist for centuries will cause long-term changes in the climate.”