A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jul 1, 2022

The Reason Russia's Mall Bombing Is A Strategy, Not An Accident

This is a deliberate attempt to break Ukraine and the west's will to resist. And it will continue because Putin believes they can get away with it. JL 

The Wall Street Journal comments:

Russia’s strategy isn’t merely to defeat Ukraine’s military, which it has been unable to do. Russia’s goal is to break Ukraine’s will to resist, and attacking civilians is part of that strategy. "The mall  at Kremenchuk had “no strategic value” and posed “no danger to the Russian army.” The Russians know how to avoid hitting shopping centers. Russia has signed the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit attacks that target  civilian facilities. Mr. Putin doesn’t care, and he thinks he’ll get away with it if he can force it to submit to his peace terms. There will be more of this in more countries if Russia prevails in Ukraine.

Liz Cheney Is Narrating Jan 6 Hearings To Offset MAGA Disinformation

To build a narrative that tears down the MAGA and instill trust in the process, the Jan 6 committee has designed a series of testimonies and undermine the big lie and cause people who doubt election results to question their preconceived notions. 

And it seems to be working. JL 

Anne Applebaum reports in The Atlantic, image Washington Post:

One-third of the country, and two-thirds of the Republican Party aren’t sure who won the 2020 election. What is needed instead is the construction of trust. The designers of the January 6 committee’s hearings have created a giant fact-checking project designed not only to write an accurate account of what happened in the run-up to the Capitol attack, but to convince people to believe it. The point is not to establish whether some detail that one witness reveals is true or false, but rather to tell a larger story, using a wide range of perspectives. The hearings seek to embed all of the different facts into a coherent narrative. Three in five Americans have heard about the investigation. Majorities support the investigation and oppose the actions of those who broke into the Capitol.

"Assume You Can Be Jammed:" Electronic Warfare In Ukraine Revives Old School Methods

Analog phone lines, human runners ("Gallopers" as Lord Wellington called his order-deliverying aides at Waterloo) and other old school means of communications are making a comeback as electronic warfare jamming of signals makes relaying orders to drones and other eletronically dependent weapons becomes harder. JL

Jeff Schogol reports in Task and Purpose:

Russia’s use of electronic warfare in eastern Ukraine provides a preview about what it will be like to fight an adversary that can intercept and jam their communications, sever all links to their drones flying overhead, and blind their radars and other sensors.“They are jamming everything their systems can reach. We can’t say they dominate, but they hinder us greatly.” Ukrainians use analog landline field phones because they cannot be jammed.

Why Russia Was Forced To Abandon Ukraine's Snake Island

The island was one of the first pieces of Ukrainian territory captured when Russian began its invasion. It was the site of the famous "Russian ship, go f*** yourself" incident which became a Ukraine rallying cry - and even a postage stamp. 

Ukraine's acquisition of more powerful and accurate NATO weapons made Russian occupation of the island untenable. So they have withdrawn. JL 

Yaroslav Lukov and Paul Kirby report in the BBC:

After more than four months of repeated Ukrainian bombardment, Russian forces have abandoned Snake or Zmiinyi Island. (It) is located just 35km (22 miles) off Ukraine's coast - well within the range of missile, artillery and drone strikes from the shore.The island is exposed to attacks from all directions from air and sea, and the small garrison tasked with defending it - first Ukrainians and later Russians - has been described as "sitting ducks." Ukraine's armed forces have (made) a series of devastating attacks on the island and any vessel bringing troop deployments and heavy weaponry.

How Data Reveal Russian Conscription Is 60 Percent Below Target

Russia's conscription of new recruits is the worst in recent memory with some regions reporting less than 30% of expected intake. This suggests common social opposition to the war - at least as far their own sons' fighting it. The reasons are casualty rates in Ukraine and the widespread concerns about brutal treatment of new recruits. 

If they do agree to conscription, families want assurances from their local politicians that their sons won't be sent to Ukraine. The going bribery rate for a fake exemption is 14,000 rubles ($253.75). JL 

Dara Massicot reports in War In the Future:

he 2022 spring draft runs from April – 15 July; 85% of the time has elapsed. In the 8 Russian regions I found information on conscription intake, most are at 30% or less of their conscript quota as of mid-June.The best I found was 35% intake with 66% of time elapsed. Most were between 18-30%. 2022 draft intake numbers are lower at this point than the same point in previous cycles, suggesting this spring is different. parents want assurances from commissariats that their sons won’t be sent to Ukraine. (The reason) is casualty rates, stonewalling from the military about conditions. Bribes going rate is 14,000 rubles in Siberia for a fake exemption.

Jun 30, 2022

Ukraine-Russia War Poses Important New Lessons For NATO

Despite growing satisfaction at how NATO weapons, training and tactics have produced results versus the Russian invaders, NATO military leaders have much to think about. 

Among them are how to function amid crippling losses and the potential loss of important weapons platforms like ships, tanks, planes and helicopters, the latter being the most vulnerable of all. Every military command is studying these implications and revising plans. JL 

David Barno and Nora Benashel report in War On the Rocks:

Russian battlefield failures affirm the critical importance of leadership, training, discipline, and effective logistics during protracted conflicts. The Army needs to reduce electronic signals, especially from cell phones; defend against advanced drones; maintain munitions stockpiles and the defense industrial base. The Army must prepare to operate on a future battlefield where helicopters - its most important aircraft - may be unable to fly and survive  Artificial intelligence to track and target subtle patterns of military movements promises more deadly detectability. (And) the Army must be able to fight and win in future wars with crippling losses.

How Climate Change Is Affecting the Way Wine Tastes

Climate change - particularly warming - is changing the chemistry of grapes and of the fermentation process, which, in turn, changes how  wine tastes. 

Generally it is making wines sweeter, which is not to everyone's taste. JL 

Ula Chrobak and Katarina Zimmer report in Knowable:

Warmer temperatures can transform the flavor of wine, whose quality and identity depends on the chemistry of grapes and the conditions they’re grown in. Many winemakers are concerned that climate change is robbing wines of their defining flavors. When a region’s climate changes, that can disrupt the balance of sugar, acid and compounds by changing the rate at which they develop. Grapes break down acids and accumulate sugar as they ripen. At warmer temperatures, ripening is supercharged, leading to sweet, raisin-like flavor. Producers used to know which varieties to grow, how to grow them, when to harvest and how to ferment to produce a consistent, quality wine. Today, every step is up in the air