Welcome to the View from the Front newsletter. If you just happened to stumble by here, let me say a quick word about what we’re doing here.
For those who don’t know, my name is Stan R. Mitchell, and I’m a prior Marine and journalist.
And as a guy who’s been deployed overseas, and who was a big-time history buff even before that, I care a lot about our military, where they're at, where they might be going, what conflicts might be about to occur.
Because these things matter. And as such, every week I publish news that you’re not going to easily find anywhere else.
So, if you’re a military member, a spouse of a military member, or a parent or grandparent of a military member, this is probably a great newsletter for you to subscribe to.
I’ll keep you updated on foreign policy issues, but I won’t do it like you’ll find everywhere else. First of all, the media almost never covers the military or looming hotspots. But if they do, they overhype everything. And they scare you and use lots of B-roll video with explosions and flashing graphics. Their biggest desire is eyeballs and ad dollars.
I promise you -- and you can check the past year of archived editions -- I do not overhype, exaggerate, or do any of that. If anything, I almost downplay. It’s a steady and calm voice that you’ll find here.
But on the flip side, foreign policy journals that do cover what I do also fall way short in my opinion.
Their articles are far too long, they’re far too dense, and they’re crammed with big words, technical mambo jumbo, and silly acronyms that only insiders truly know.
I couldn't find a show that met my needs, so I decided to create one.
Once a week, I’ll discuss military matters, while also adding in a little motivation, wisdom, and history.
Besides covering this news, and also sharing plenty of motivation at the end of each edition, I also work as hard as I can to unite this country.
Without question, I feel like our wide division and animosity toward those with whom we disagree is the greatest threat our country faces.
So, once a week I do my best to bridge this great divide, while also reminding each of us that most of us are being played by divisive political and news figures, who are ripping apart this great country just so they can reach a higher office or gain more followers and ad dollars.
Most Americans are good, and we need to remember this. Always.
While we face great challenges as a country, America has stood together for more than 240 years, and it’s only by pulling our country closer together that we can pass on a better future for our kids.
We need to hold and cherish the beliefs that got us here today. Beliefs such as patience, kindness, and a strong belief that our best days lie before us. These are the beliefs that got us to this point. And they’re also the kind of optimistic beliefs that will get us to a brighter future.
And with that out of the way, let’s get started.
One quick reminder before we get to the news…
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We’ll start this episode with the latest news about Ukraine, including the possible terms they’ve laid out (under pressure from the West) to begin some kind of peace talks. Then, we’ll move on to the following:
News that Russia has pulled its ships into the safety of port after the drone-ship vessel attack a week ago.
News that Ukrainian advances in the southern part of the country near Kherson have continued, and Russia announced it is withdrawing from the western side of the Dnipro River, which is obviously huge news. (As a reminder, this is the only regional capital that Russia managed to seize during its massive invasion this year.)
I’ll share what this withdrawal means for the tactical situation, according to one General who’s well-versed in the art of war.
I’ll share what one retired Army officer has said, who has come out and said that the Russians have already lost the war and have no real options left. I’ll share the reasons he has said this.
I’ll share video of a horrendous attack that the Russians attempted with an armored thrust on the eastern part of the front in the Donbas region, and how Ukrainian artillery absolutely decimated this attempt.
I’ll show the aftermath of what happened after Russians blew a damn in the east — yet another atrocity from them — and how they created a man-made natural disaster that emptied a massive lake that was more than 50 miles long and two miles wide. The reservoir is now completely shallow.
I’ll share a well-structured, well-reasoned argument for why supporting Ukrainian efforts to oust the Russians actually serves U.S. interests, and not just in deterring Russia. How that supporting Ukraine also aligns with U.S. interests in thwarting China's territorial ambitions and expansions.
I’ll even share a quick, must-read thread about the economics of possibly supporting Ukraine with tanks first.
I’ll share the balancing act that Ukraine is being forced to walk with China right now, something I wasn’t aware of — and I’ll bet you weren’t either. (This has seriously not been reported anywhere that I’m aware.)
I’ll share news of a disturbing phone call between China and Russia, which I haven’t seen reported.
I’ll remind everyone briefly that Nov 10th is the Marine Corps Birthday. It’s 247th Marine Corps birthday.
Finally, for the news portion, I’ll take about the size of our Navy, remind everyone of how large it used to be in World War II (just to provide some perspective), and share an idea that could be used to help thwart China with smaller ships and more missiles. It’s really quite fascinating how much this has all changed.
And, as always, we’ll end with our motivation and wisdom section.
NOTE: This is a lot of news. I
HIGHLY STRONGLY suggest listening to the podcast on your drive or while you work, if you can. It’ll be way more relaxing and enjoyable.
The biggest news of late is that Ukraine has laid out possible terms (under pressure from the West) to begin peace talks with Russia.
The bare minimum requirements are the following:
Moving along, Russia is having to pull its ships back to safety after the recent unmanned naval drone/ship attack by Ukraine. Not a good look for them, but their naval forces are about on par with their land forces, which is to say not good.
Similar to this Russian retreat of its ships, there’s some other huge news for Ukraine.
Ukrainian advances in the southern part of the country have continued, and Russia announced it is withdrawing from the western side of the Dnipro River near Kherson, which is obviously huge news.
As a reminder, this is the only regional capital that Russia managed to seize during its massive invasion this year.
CNN had a pretty good summary of the situation. Here is that reporting.
Retired General Mick Ryan discussed what this retreat will mean, and here is part of what he shared:
Here’s that map above in detail. You can see the river literally cuts the city of Kherson in half.
Continuing his thoughts:
5/ What about Ukraine’s next steps? It is unlikely the Ukrainians will be undertaking a large scale crossing of the Dniepr to the eastern bank anytime soon.
6/ Not only would this be a massive, deliberate operation, it would attack into a dense series of Russian defensive zones.
7/ Consequently, the Ukrainians - who prefer to attack indirectly, attrit enemy logistic and C2, and corrode the Russians from within - will look for other opportunities in other areas to clear the Russians from the south.
8/ Of course, Ukrainian deep strikes will continue. Their recapture of Kherson will expand the area in the south that systems like #HIMARS can reach for shaping and strike activities in support of future offensives.
9/ A second issue: this halts any future Russian designs on Odesa, but puts the Ukrainians a step closer to recapturing the south. Capturing Kherson is also an important enabling operation for a future campaign to recapture Crimea.
10/ A third observation: while this announcement was made by the military, ceding territory is political. There is no way this would have occurred without Putin’s sign off.
11/This is evidence that Putin can recognise reality, and can make rational decisions (as @MaxBoot describes here). But it is also evidence he is setting up the military as the fall guys for the Russian debacle in #Ukraine.
While we’re discussing withdrawals, Here what one retired Army officer has said, who has come out and said that the Russians have already lost the war and have no real options left.
I really think he’s dead on.
Here’s an analogy that I shared with a friend.
Putin is like the bankrupt small business owner who still has the Denali, speed boat, and mansion. The man is drinking and losing sleep because he knows there’s a three-inch stack of certified mail and he’s about to have to give up the toys, but most have no clue.
The employees still have jobs, the courts haven’t authorized seizures, and the man doesn’t hide at church or restaurants or at Rotary meetings. But he’s sweating and the truth will come out soon.
That explains the desire to negotiate, the threat of nukes, and the foolish gambit to break the Ukrainian spirit by attacking the electrical grid instead of military targets. Putin is a cursing, blustering business man, who’s threatening to sue the banks and lying to his wife.
Moving along, I wanted to share a video of a horrendous bloody nose that the Russians received, after attempting an armored thrust on the eastern part of the front in the Donbas region, and how Ukrainian artillery absolutely decimated this attempt.
Hat tip to Chuck Pfarrer, who first highlighted this.
And here’s the full video if you want to watch it.
Continuing our coverage of Ukraine, the atrocities committed by Russia have continued.
Here’s just another example in a long list of them.
the Russians blew up a dam and destroyed a lake that was 50 miles long and two miles wide.
The Oskil reservoir is now completely shallow.
I wanted to make sure I shared the below this week.
This is a well-structured, well-reasoned argument for why supporting Ukrainian efforts to oust the Russians serves U.S. interests, and not just in deterring Russia. Supporting Ukraine also aligns with U.S. interests in thwarting China's territorial ambitions and expansions. (Full thread below.)
Full thread from Twitter:
I have been hearing the idea from some Republicans that Ukrainian resistance comes at a cost to Americans. Nothing could be more wrong. Ukrainian resistance provides extraordinary security benefits to Americans. 1/
In fact, Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s genocidal invasion does more for American security than any American policy does – or could do. It has changed the global balance in a way that makes peace more likely in decades to come. 2/
Republicans present China as America’s real, long-term rival. Democrats agree. The scenario for a U.S.-China war is a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. By resisting a Russian invasion, Ukrainians have shown the difficulty of such operations, making this scenario less likely. 3/
By fighting in self-defense, Ukrainians have thus reduced the risk of a major war and of a nuclear war. This extraordinary achievement is due to the courage and skill of Ukrainians. They do not get much credit for it. They should get more credit, and more support. 4/
For decades, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have failed to formulate a policy that could prevent Russia from weakening and undoing the international order. Russia serves as a cat’s paw, doing what China would not wish to be seen doing. 5/
In defeating Russia’s armed forces and exposing Russia’s weakness, the Ukrainians have both made a larger war in Europe far less likely, and gotten China’s cat’s paw under control. 6/
The Ukrainians have reduced the possibility of Chinese aggression through Russia, and made direct Chinese aggression less likely. They have done all of this just by defending themselves, without making any move against China. 7/
Without the Ukrainians, the United States would lack the policy instruments for this. By resisting, Ukrainians created an opportunity for U.S. policy that would not otherwise have existed. 8/
No American lives have been placed at risk. U.S. assistance to Ukraine amounts to a rounding error in the defense budget. 9/
The gains Ukrainian resistance brings to American security are so enormous that the US national security establishment is embarrassed to speak of them directly. 10/
It is awkward to say that another country is doing so much for us. It is awkward to say that Ukrainian resistance has done more for the safety of Americans than any U.S. policy since the end of the cold war. But it is true and must be said. 11/
Reversing the U.S. policy of aiding Ukraine will undo all of these gains. There is still time to revive Russia and reassure China, which is what ending support of Ukraine will mean. Such a policy reversal would make Americans far less safe and secure. 12/
My concerns about the Russian invasion of Ukraine are the prevention of genocide and the defense of democracy. But those who think first of U.S. interests should acknowledge what Ukrainians are doing for American security. The least we can do is be on our own side 13/13
And while we’re on the topic, here’s a must-read thread about the economics of possibly supporting Ukraine with tanks first. (Full thread below.)
Full thread from Twitter:
A random thought: sooner or later, Ukraine will decide what modern tank to use. With its 40+m population and 2,000km border to post-Russian space it will need not less tanks than Poland (35m population). PL buys 1000 K9 Tanks now. UKR will buy those tank it knows. Huge market /1
To understand: one Leopard2 costs €3-7m. One K9: €3m. One Abrams: €6m. So it is about approximately €4b market only for the tanks and only for the units, without ammo, maintenance etc. The annual turnover of the whole German KMW, the producer of Leo2, is €2bn. /2
The country which sends its tanks to Ukraine first and makes them into the symbol of the victory over the Russian faZZism, will secure the market bigger than anything we know from the last decades. To arm Ukraine could be a recovery program for German economy, and a moral one. /3
Germany has ALREADY lost the €5-6bn order from Poland, it went to Korea. The Polish decision was dictated by the clearly unreliable position of the GER Chancellor and the Defense Minister. These two SPD politicians took German economy €5-6bn and undermined Nato and EU trust. /4
Now it is about what country will help Ukraine to protect its democracy, the peace in Europe, and will be rewarded by fat orders for its economy. The decision is up to our politicians. Who will send to Ukraine the first shipment of modern battle tanks? /5
One bit of news that I wasn’t even aware of is the below.
Politico reported on the balancing act that Ukraine is being forced to walk with China right now.
The complex irony with this view of the conflict is that political realities are forcing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to take a cautiously deferential stance toward Russia’s authoritarian partner, China.
Zelenskyy knows full well that he cannot risk antagonizing China, and wants to stop Beijing from offering even more support or sending weapons to Putin. Most significantly, Ukraine abstained from a crucial U.N. resolution vote last month on China’s abuse of the Muslim Uyghur minority. (Kyiv later had a change of heart, but too late to change the voting record.) Diplomats have also noted that China — with its massive infrastructure capabilities — will almost certainly be called upon to help play a frontline role in the reconstruction of Ukraine’s shattered cities.
But we really need to make sure we’re aware of the serious commitment China has with Russia. China does not want to see Putin fall. (See below.)
In a recent phone call between China and Russia, the following message was release by China:
Wang Yi said that the fact that President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory message to General Secretary Xi Jinping right after the 20th CPC National Congress has reflected the high-level mutual trust and firm mutual support between China and Russia. China will also firmly support Russia in rallying and leading the Russian people under the leadership of President Putin to achieve strategic development goals against all the odds and disturbance, and to further establish Russia's status as a major country on the international stage. Wang noted that both China and Russia are fully entitled to seeking its own development and revitalization, and this is fully consistent with the trend of the times. Any attempt to hold back the progress of China and Russia will end up in failure. China is ready to further deepen exchanges with Russia at all levels, and take China-Russia relations and cooperation in various fields to a higher level, so as to bring more benefits to the two countries and peoples, and contribute more elements of stability to the unstable world.
In other HUGE news, in case you didn’t know, today is like the most important day of the world. lol. (Watch this incredible video if you get a moment.)
Finally, let’s talk some naval thoughts for a moment. Currently, we have about 280 ships that are deployed or could be.
Compare that to the peak of World War II below.
And while the above will never happen again, here’s a thought that might.
Finally, let’s get to the best part of every episode.
Motivation and Wisdom:
You know, just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. And we all know that opportunities don't happen, you create them.
So, I want to make sure I do my best to feed you mentally. As you’ve probably heard, people often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing, that's why we recommend it daily.” That was said by the great Zig Ziglar, and I’ve found it to be true for sure.
Without further delay, let’s just begin.
This is the truest thing I’ve seen in some time. If you’re in that empty blank space, don’t you give up.
And, I always like to end with this one:
And with that, thanks for joining us this week on The View from the Front.
If you can, consider at some point becoming a paid subscriber.
The View from the Front is a reader-supported publication. The best way to support this work and make it sustainable is with a paid subscription. But at the same time, free ones are appreciated, too!
As a reminder, please be kind and try your best to love your fellow Americans.
So many men and women have sacrificed, fought, and died to keep this country together the past 240-plus years. Please work daily to unite our country again. The vast majority of Americans are decent, loving, great people.
Please don’t name-call the other side. They are mothers and fathers and folks not much different than you.🇺🇸🇺🇸
Also, please try to be a better person each and every day. Try to be kinder on social media and how you interact with others with whom you disagree.
Also, if you have a dream kicking around in the back of your mind? Go after it. If you have that friend or family member that you know you should reach out to? Reach out to them.
Finally, and this especially goes to all my awesome military folks listening out there, if you need help, reach out to someone. Please. Call that friend or family member. Do it for us all. We’ve already lost too many of the greatest folks that this country has produced to suicide. So I’m asking you to be brave once more, and show some vulnerability. Take a deep breath, breathe, and call a friend or family member or someone who can help.
I appreciate each and every one of you. Every tweet, every share, every email, etc. I can’t even tell you how much those mean to me, and I love each and every one of you.
Please join me again in our next episode, and please stay safe until then.
Thanks again, everyone! You guys are the best. As always, don’t forget to check out my books. You can find all 11 of them on Amazon.
And with that, I’m out.
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I’ve written a CIA/Marine sniper series, a detective series, a private investigator series, an action-packed Western, a motivational/biography book about President Obama, and two realistic war novels: one about World War II and one about Afghanistan.