Thanks to Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, we are now witnessing some of the limitations of modern day warfare. Despite new and more sophisticated weapons, and despite the overwhelming power difference between the two countries, Russia is failing to realize the expected goal of an easy victory in Ukraine. Let’s examine what’s happening there which makes this war different from other wars in the 20th and 21st centuries.
First, there wasn’t domestic support for the invasion of Ukraine despite hype from the Kremlin that if Ukraine joined NATO it would be dangerous to Russia. Only the staunchest of Kremlin supporters, those longing for the Soviet Union to be reborn, supported this invasion. If you look back to other so-called unjustifiable wars, i.e. The Korean War and Viet Nam War, Kennedy and then Johnson spoke on behalf of freedom. That if we didn’t get involved in these conflicts, Communism would spread and eventually over take us. Enough American’s believed that so until the body bags of our young men and women started returning home, there was strong support for the war. That of course is in contrast to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that didn’t require any propaganda. Our naval base was attacked and that is a declaration of war. In this conflict there really was no sentiment for fighting. The average Russian wasn’t looking to get involved in a long protracted war in Ukraine. Only Putin’s paranoia drove the Russia’s war machine. Eventually that will be his undoing.
Second, drones have changed the face of warfare. No longer are manned aircraft from airfields required to inflict damage on the enemy. Drones don’t require a long runway, are unmanned and difficult to detect They have been inflicting serious damage on Russian tanks which have not been difficult to find. As the technology improves further, they will play even greater roles in warfare. Larger and more sophisticated drone weapons will be possible and will give outgunned and out manned countries a fighting chance against a far superior enemy. They will be also be a tremendous deterrent against unwarranted and unjustified aggression.
Third, social media is playing a large role in this conflict as we are witnessing live coverage of attacks on hospitals, malls and housing complexes. Even allies like China will need to stand up against such aggression if she’s interested in keeping her seat at the table in world affairs. Social media makes the world a far smaller place despite attempts by Putin to censor the social media platforms. Never again will a country be able to hide its atrocities. While it hasn’t yet impacted Putin, world opinion ultimately matters if he hopes to keep his country from pariah status. It may already be too late as sanctions take hold.
Regardless of the outcome, Putin and the Russian people have already lost. Putin will not be allowed to simply replace President Zelenskyy with a puppet leader and government and bring back Ukraine into the Soviet bloc of nations. This isn’t post WWII and the allies are not divying up real estate. Ukraine is a sovereign and free nation who’s President was Democratically elected. Despite his idle threats of nuclear warfare, ultimately, NATO and the free world will not back down and Putin will be forced to leave Ukraine.