By Steven J. Grisafi, PhD.

Our debate continues. My friend responded with the argument that restricting trade with Russia seems capable of eliminating Russia’s capacity to continue the war. My reply follows:

No, Russia cannot be stopped simply by withdrawing its ability to trade. There is such a thing as autarky – a closed self-sufficient economy. At times that is what the former Soviet Union was. Russia can return to autarky. The people will be poorer, the shelves in the stores will be empty, but they can survive. With sufficient hatred of the West for having done this to them, they will endure.

You are mistaken if you interpret anything that I have written as serving either justification or apology for the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. I never appeal to morality. My concern is the great danger this poses to the world. Soon President Biden, and the fools in his national security team, will recognize their mistake. The Spanish Civil War in the 1930s served as a testing ground for the weaponry to be used in World War II. If this war continues, what we are likely to see is that China will use this war as a learning experience to prepare their troops for the reunion of Formosa to the principles and practices of the mainland.

Too many arm-chair generals, and some real retired ones, have criticized the tactics of the Russian army leadership suggesting that Russian army officers have shown ineptitude and incompetence. I believe that is far from accurate. The Russian advance stalled primarily for two reasons. The first reason being that Vladimir Putin actually did believe as suggested by the previous president of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, that the Ukrainian people would welcome the Russian soldiers with flowers. As a result of this belief, the Russian Army did not do what they did to Germany during World War II. Germany lost an estimated 15 million lives during that war; second only to Russia’s loss. Under normal circumstances of war the Russian Army would pulverize the landscape with artillery fire from long distances away before any Russian troops would approach the land. They did not do that this time because of the horrendous slaughter it would inflict upon the people they wish to pretend that they are liberating from the “Nazification” of the Ukraine.

The second reason the Russian advance has stalled is something that President Biden hinted at when he said that it would be the lives of young Russian soldiers that would be lost. I myself addressed this issue several years ago. It is the matter of the missile defense used against tank warfare. I warned that tank warfare is obsolete because of the ubiquity of shoulder fired anti-tank missiles. I had this discussion forty years ago with two platoon sergeants. One was in the infantry the other was in armor. The infantry non-commissioned officer (NCO) explained to me how an infantry soldier would destroy a tank. He said that so long was you keep the laser pointed on the tank as it travels you are going to hit it and destroy it. The NCO from armor then explained to me that when the missile is fired it emits a puff of smoke. It is the responsibility of the machine gunner in the tank to direct machine gun fire in the direction of the puff of smoke. If the tank gunner can kill the infantry man aiming the laser that guides the missile toward its target the tank will be spared. I did some rough calculations back then using the speed of the missile and the speed of the machine gun bullets. I found that the gunner would need to notice and react within approximately three seconds of the missile’s launch. I concluded that riding in a tank was a death trap. The young Russian conscripts riding in those tanks are sitting ducks for a Ukrainian soldier with a USA made javelin missile. Those young Russian conscripts die a hideous, painful death roasted alive in their metal coffin. Sweden alone sent 5000 of these anti-tank missiles to the Ukraine. America sent many thousands more. There are more anti-tank missiles in the Ukraine than there are Russian tanks anywhere in the world. It is a simple matter that Ukrainian infantry soldiers are able to destroy a multi-million dollar tank with a single shoulder fired missile that costs a few thousand dollars.

This is what China is learning today. That inexpensive shoulder fired stinger missiles will destroy their costly attack aircraft. That inexpensive shoulder fired javelin missiles will destroy their heaviest and most expensive tanks. Eventually, I suspect that we will see Chinese soldiers fighting in the Ukraine. First they will go as “advisers.” But the reality is that they will go so as to learn first hand what China needs to know about 21st century warfare. Just as now with the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, China would want to limit the harm done to the civilian population. The reason we see Turkish drones being used so successfully in the Ukraine war is because the use of drones is most able to avoid wide spread destruction and death. In other words, they are best used as the Israelis use them for assassination and killing within urban areas. The Ukraine war will soon become China’s laboratory to learn what are the best techniques for warfare in densely populated areas where the attacker does not want to harm the civilian population.