The other day I heard a commentator say that the aid given to Ukraine by the Collective West is roughly the same as the entire Russian military budget. I had not heard that before so I decided to check and, indeed, that is the case. This is what I found:
There has been about 52 Billion euros (about the same as $) in aid to Ukraine
The entire Ukrainian GDP in 2021 was $200 billion and that is set to shrink
-The Russian military budget is $60 billion.
- The US military budget is $778 billion.
Whilst putting this together I found this interview by Solovyov with Scott Ritter from March.
I have found the Duran’s analysis first-rate throughout but some optimistic predictions of Alexander Mercouris have proven to be wrong.
For instance, before the SMO Alexander said several times that Russia would never invade Ukraine – to be fair, I think we were all proven wrong on that.
Then, they said (and no more than Gonzalo Lira) that there was no corridor through which the West could get weapons to Ukraine.
When Scott Ritter claimed that this was in fact happening and the West was supplying HIMARS and other weapons to Ukraine he was shot down in flames by Gonzalo and Scott Ritter was attacked in a way that shocked me at the time
I had assumed that Scott Ritter had not responded to Lira, but that was not the case. he, in fact raided the questions on the lips of many about his treatment at the hands of the murderous thugs at the SBU.
I have a lot of affection for Gonzalo but in hindsight I have to ask to what extent he is a serious commentator rather than as these comments on the Saker suggest, more of a cheerleader.
Given a choice between listening to Gonzalo Lira’s enthusiastic amateur cheerleading and Scott Ritter’s sober professional analysis, I’ll take Ritter all day long.
A few simple points of comparison:
Lira says the weapons systems that the west is supplying require training. Ritter doesn’t disagree. He points out that when the training was happening on Ukrainian soil the soldiers and the trainers were in danger of being blown up by the Russians. But now the training is happening in Poland (and potentially other places), and can be completed without the risk of dying.
Lira says the Ukrainians have a fuel shortage, Ritter points out that the Ukrainians received a giant fuel train from the West and they are (temporarily at least) well supplied with fuel and able to drive their tanks and trucks without worrying about running out. He points out that although the refineries in Ukraine are out of commission, that if the West is willing and able to continue supplying the Ukrainians with fuel, that enables them to maintain their resistance.
Lira says the Russians can bomb the Western weapons and materiel resupply at will. Ritter points out the previously mentioned fuel supply train (not bombed), and the state of the art M777 western supplied howitzers that Ukraine has actually been able to deploy at the front. (Yes, the howitzers may lack their advanced targeting systems, yes they might be destroyed after arriving at the front, but they are making it through, and if the training in Poland is successful, future iterations may well arrive with all their advanced systems intact.)
Ritter agrees that the Russians will inevitably crush the Ukrainians in Donbass. Where he says Russia is in danger of losing, is in the larger announced goal of the SMO: demilitarization of Ukraine. He realistically points out that as long as the West keeps pumping resources (weapons, fuel, food, intelligence and reconnaissance) into Ukraine, the western part of Ukraine will be exceedingly difficult to pacify and demilitarize. Lira optimistically prefers to focus myopically only on the Russian prospect for victory in the east, without thinking about the larger goals and longer term prospects.
Ritter may turn out to be wrong (as he will tell you himself), but his analysis is honest, intelligent, and informed. Cheerleaders like Lira thoughtlessly dismissing his concerns are doing themselves a disservice.
Who proved, in the end, to be correct?
Here, by the way, is Gonzalos latest offering.
I am not attacking anybody.
Rather I am coming to the point where it is almost impossible to discern what is true in the midst of what is turning to a terrible and bloody war of attrition.
That’s my 2 cents for today.