Discover more from The View from the Front. By Stan R. Mitchell.
The Stan R. Mitchell report for 2/25/22.
Happy Friday, everyone! Hope everyone’s week has been good. (And that you’ve done a better job than me balancing the invasion of Ukraine with your own mental health.)
One quick personal note before we begin this edition.
I wanted to thank the subscriber (I don’t even know their name), who upgraded from a free to paid subscription this week. I still don’t have a ton of paid subscribers, so each and every one means a lot to me. And trust me, the paid subscribers not only support my work, but they also help fund (and justify) my research and improve the product.
For those who don’t know, I subscribe to multiple news sources (some more expensive than others), all in an effort to better inform my understanding, which hopefully also helps you. I assure you that I will always work hard to make sure each newsletter is factual and contextual, and that I give you the sober, mature view, with a slight bit of my optimism peering through.
Thank you for the brief interruption. And if you’re suddenly dying to sign up or switch to paid, here’s the link:
Now, to the horrendousness that is the situation in Ukraine.
For months, I have written that Russia would likely invade. (I even got into a heated email exchange about a month ago with a reader who said I was wrong. And that an invasion by Russia made absolutely no sense.)
I truly wish I had been wrong. I would have screamed it in the middle of Times Square or done anything in my power to prevent what is happeneing from happening.
Unfortunately, the worst fears of myself (and most of the intelligence community) have come to pass. A tyrant, who’s increasingly “unhinged and living in a bubble” (as Tom Nichols said on a podcast with Charlie Sykes), made the foolish, immoral decision to invade Ukraine.
Putin (I do not intend to call him President anymore; he is a dictator and has been for years) stormed Ukraine for the third time.1 Putin’s troops plunged into Ukraine from the north, east, and south. (See map below.)
This man, who jails and kills opposition leaders, intends to destroy the Western-backed government of Ukraine and replace it with a pro-Russian regime, according to experts quoted in The Washington Post.
This is a horrible and despicable action in every way. (And frankly, it’s going to be a long time before I ignore or forgive those on Fox and the so-called Republicans who, prior to this war, cheered Putin on and called this a small border dispute — before it turned into a full-scale invasion; now they’re a lot quieter. As a former Republican, I miss the old Republican Party that was a beacon for democracies and a concrete wall — if not a hammer — against dictators, but I digress.)
Ignoring the moral and religious implications, there are a few small problems with this plan by Putin.
First, he under-estimated the resistance. Badly.
No one who’s lived under freedom wants to give up such a thing without a fight.
Here’s just one example of the courage and tenaciousness of Ukrainians.
Some of Russia’s best troops poured from helicopters to seize an airfield near the capital. This was a force of two hundred men, reportedly, but in heavy fighting, the Ukrainians took it back. (See below.)
As Colonel Jason states, stories like this spread through the ranks like wildfire.
There is also the story of 13 Ukrainians who would rather die than surrender, even though they were basically helpless. (See below.)
The second big problem with Putin’s plan (besides under-estimating opposition) is I think he OVER-estimated the ability of his troops. And even their will to fight.
An entire platoon gave up with hardly a fight. And the craziest part is they didn’t even expect to have to fight. (See below.) This is NOT how you win a war, I assure you.
I think the third big problem with Putin’s plan is he did not expect Russian lack of support in such a large scale. Such as this:
And also this, from the oligarchs, who are also speaking out.
The final big problem is I think Putin thought the world would let this invasion slide, as it has for the most part with the two previous invasions of Ukraine (Donbas and Crimea), not to mention other invasions by Russia of countries such as Georgia, Chechnya, etc.
But he was wrong this time. Already, major sanctions have been leveled. Russia’s largest banks have been frozen and additional sanctions target virtually every major part of the country’s economy.
I don’t care who you are, $1 trillion is a lot of money. And the pain is even worse than the frozen assets. Germany has halted the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline because of the invasion. (This is no lie: I have looked for what this might cost the Russians in real dollars and it’s so big, you can’t really find a value. Just building it would have cost $11 billion. And it would have delivered 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe each and every year. I found a link that 1,000 cubic meters in December was worth $2,145. How much is that a year? I tried to figure it out, but don’t trust myself on the zero’s; I’m a writer and journalist, not an economist. but let’s just say it’s a shit-ton of annual, recurring money and be done with this exercise.)
There’s still a chance Russia will be removed from SWIFT, but some European countries are holding off on that. For the moment. Anger about this invasion is only growing and more repercussions will fall, I predict.
To recap, Putin mis-calculated on this invasion. And while Russian forces will probably take the capital and parts of the country, they have grabbed a wolf and wrestled it to the ground, only to realize they are in a hell of a fight and they won’t get away without being chewed up badly.
One final note, if you missed President Biden’s address, try to watch the first 8 mins of this.
Let’s move to China briefly. This report was incredibly concerning.
China is moving in a direction that isn’t good for anyone long term. It’s concerning and there are no easy answers, but we don’t have the time or space to get into that now.
There was some other news out there, but I think the focus for this edition should rightly be on Ukraine.
This will be an incredibly trying time for them.
But their leaders are responding.
This is a photo of the mayor of the capital city of Kyiv. He has pledged to fight.
Here are images of the Ukrainian President visiting the front lines.
Even if you think these are simple photo ops, leadership matters. Seeing your leaders at the front matters.
Our own George Washington lost nearly every battle he fought for several years, but with him rallying, exhorting, and begging the troops, we somehow held it together against the greatest army in the world at that time.
I think the Ukrainians can -- and are -- doing the same.
This is their capital city below. It hasn’t been taken yet, but keep the city and residents in your thoughts and prayers. They’re going to need it.
That’s it for this edition. As a reminder, please be kind and endeavor to love your fellow Americans. We need to pull this country together, and that starts with all of us.
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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 leadership/biography book, and two realistic war novels: one about World War II and one about Afghanistan.
About me: I am a proud vet and moderate, who wants to unite this country. I’m also a proud independent author, who used to own a small weekly newspaper for nine years that was probably (in hindsight) too generous on pricing to my advertisers and too lenient on my collection terms (I’m honestly just almost too nice). I also sought to downplay controversy, understate headlines, and never create panic, all of which is a terrible way to sell newspapers (but a responsible way for a media outlet to act). Looking back, it’s clear I had (and have) a big heart and that I wasn’t made to be some kind of cut-throat business executive. It’s this same streak in me that prevents me from signing any book deals, even big ones. I just don’t trust ruthless business executives at the big publishers. And even if I did, that very same company that I trusted could be bought and purchased overnight. Sorry, but I’ll pass on that. The truth is that while I’ve relented and signed some distribution deals, such as the one I did with Audible for my Nick Woods series, I’m just not willing to be owned by any of the big publishing houses. If I want to speak out on China? I will. If I want to send free books to military members? I will. (And I have.) I don’t ever plan to be owned by some New York publishing house. (The only person I answer to on this earth is my wife and I plan to keep it that way.) My success to this point has been made by doing it the right way: gaining one new reader or one new subscriber at a time. So join me on my journey. Let’s build a community of like-minded Americans, who believe in this country and in our fellow citizens (even those on the other side of the aisle). People who believe in small businesses and independent dreamers on their own journey, whether it’s owning a small farm or staying autonomous in their creative fields. And when it comes to politics? No name calling. No screaming. Just honest discussion and a genuine search for the truth. In the end, we truly all want the same: good government, unity throughout our land, and ethical leadership.
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I know, most news sources don’t say “third invasion,” but first Russia invaded the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. And they followed that up by invading the eastern part of the country in the Donbass region, also in 2014.)