Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

US – Ukraine – Russia: Information FAIL


For days I’ve been reading the tea leaves and predicting a Russian ‘invasion’ of Ukraine, primarily on my Facebook page.  The subsequent discussions by former military professionals has been interesting.

1 – Russian military exercises just north of Ukraine
2 – Soldiers take control of two airports in Crimea.  It is interesting that they’re only calling them “suspected” Russian troops when they’re clearly wearing Russian uniforms with the insignia removed.
3 – Telecommunications were just cut off between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine, source here.
4 – What appear to be Russian Speznatz troops breaching what looks like an ammo bunker in Ukraine
5 – Russian armored vehicle convoys outside the Russian Black Sea port in Sevastopol.  

It looks like Russian efforts are limited to Crimea, which has a predominantly Russian population.

Sergiy Aksyonov, PM of Crimea, called directly to President Putin, for assistance.  This is beyond gall.  He is publicly calling for another sovereign power for assistance inside Ukraine.  Classic and reads like a movie script.

Now, the Russian Upper House has voted unanimously to approve military force in the Ukraine.  Why?

The debate in the Federation Council has revealed that Russian MPs are united on the issue, with many of them sharing concerns on the recent events in Ukraine. The common notion was that since the power was seized in Kiev, the situation has only been deteriorating with radical nationalists rapidly coming to power and threatening the lives of those opposing their actions, most notably the Russian citizens living in Ukraine. Source: RT.

In the meantime President Obama had a press conference saying that Ukrainians have a universal right to determine their own future.  The US supports the Ukrainian government.  Source:, BBC Live, Ukrainian Crisis.

Recent discussions by retired military officers, including a bunch of strategic analysts, indicate that NATO has no history of ever upholding its obligations and preventing foreign incursions. The US only moves when public opinon calls for stopping apparent genocide.  By all counts, Western powers will do nothing.  Nada.  Zip.   Zero.

Oh come on, Mr. President.  We did nothing when Russia invaded South Ossetia in Georgia.  This after it was publicly shown that US forces were training the Georgian military.  We have less power and less reach in that part of the world than anyplace else on the globe.  Crimea voted over 75% of pro-Russian candidates in the last election.  You stopped short of condemning the Russian show of force and the unanimous approval of Russian military deployment to the Ukraine.  We know you are not going to launch a cruise missile and risk outright war with Russia.  We know you are not going to deploy a US carrier group into the Black Sea and risk conventional war.  We know that you are not going to launch the DRF-1 (the standby battalion from the 82nd Airborne Division who is designated for exactly this purpose), they could not be reinforced by conventional troops in a sane amount of time and would be, de facto, sacrificed.  We know you are not going to threaten an attack against Russian forces in Crimea.  We know sanctions are useless.  We know an embargo is useless.  I happen to think your diplomatic gestures are useless.  Mr. President, you appear to be wearing mom jeans, once again.

I predict a bloodless takeover and annexation of East Ukraine.  Eastern Ukraine voted over 75% in favor of pro-Russian candidates.  I believe there will be a call in East Ukraine for uniting with Russia, a bloodless coup and annexation.

In this case there is and was an information fail.  While the world focused on Sochi 2014, Russia was deploying to annex Crimea and possibly all of Eastern Ukraine.  While we sang praises of Russia hosting Sochi, you failed to act decisively, Mr. President.

8 thoughts on “US – Ukraine – Russia: Information FAIL

  1. The long-term consequences for the West, and especially NATO, are even worse than just accepting a Russian annexation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine – as bad a prospect as that alone may be.

    Don’t expect Europeans to race for the ramparts in Ukraine’s defense, either. They are not willing to give up the natural gas sold to them by Mother Russia.

    The Baltic States and Poland will realize that NATO assurances are as useless as Soviet-era toilet paper. The three Baltic States happen to have sizeable Russian-speaking minorities who – in contrast to their cousins in Ukraine – actually HAVE endured discrimination from their non-Russian countryfolk. Look for those populations to start becoming more assertive and restive — with or without encouragement and support form Moscow.

    Poland, itself the victim of multiple partitions and re-drawings of their borders by outsiders, is especially sensitive about the prospect of unchecked Russian aggression. Poland, too, knows what it is like to be sold down the river by its allies.

    The Iranians will see what happened to nuclear-free Ukraine and decide there is no way in HELL that they can afford to forego a nuclear deterrent. (I’m sure they already had second thoughts after they saw how well Qaddafi fared after he gave up his CBW program.)

    The Chinese are sure to be monitoring unfolding events very carefully. Like Russia, they, too have sizeable ethnic Chinese communities around their periphery. Not to mention Taiwan. I’m sure the Chinese in Beijing will feel emboldened after Putin successfully carries out his aggression against Ukraine with little more than harrumphing, hand-wringing and empty talk coming out of Washington, London, Paris and Berlin.

  2. Joel: some thoughts. 1) the timing of action #3 (cutting of telecoms) and actual physical/kinetic movements is decisiveit fits Russian military doctrine to a T. #2 once/if the Russians gain control of the Connectivity (see my thoughts re the Info Environment!) they will then engage the Info War, using their Content to shape the Russian–Ukranian-European and Global cognition of the conflict. classic info war, you might say. What should we do? Reread Clausewitz, for a start, and clearly understand what is going on. If the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine threaten to separate, should we let them (as if that was something we could or should dothat’s a Ukrainian decision) and if so, should we immediately grant western Ukraine NATO membershipand if so, THEN what?

    This was predictable/forseeabledid we? If so, what counter plans did we develop? We need to find a way to make Russia/Putin hurt because of this–I didn’t say militarily–and have the guts to keep it up. And domestically, anyone who tries to make domestic political points from this ought to be eviscerated—its more important than that.

    dan

  3. “While the world focused on Sochi 2014, Russia was deploying to annex Crimea and possibly all of Eastern Ukraine.” kind of misses the main event/point? During the Sochi Games US has been plotting and executing a coup, with the full information blockade and indirect military support. Like it has been doing it for the last 50-odd years all over this little world of ours (Latin America, MIddle East, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia, etc…). Finally there seem to be a welcoming and overdue opposition to this practice, and maybe just maybe such a practice would be sanctioned by the International Community (you know the rest 75% of the world, beyond the Western Countries) in the Future.

    1. Oh, that’s rich. Russia was deploying GRU and Spetsnaz to Ukraine and you overlook that? Most of the killing in Maidan was directly a result of Russia. And Yanukovych was overthrown by the people of Ukraine, he was a Russian tool.

      Russia and the Soviet Union have their fingers in more cookie jars, deeper too, than anyone else in the world. Don’t forget to look at those who are paying you to troll.

      1. Now you are full of knowledge JH, you even know where and when GRU and Spetsnaz deployed assets? Why is there no investigation into Maidan,Odessa or Mariupol killings? Why isn’t anyone from the west asking the questions? It is NOT going to work for the US/EU even this time, although they thought they were so close with Tymoshenko and for sure they thought they have done it with Yatz…. And I wish someone was paying me for this, would have been the easiest money ever made.

      2. Investigations will be launched once the Russians cease their fighting. Even now the Russians cannot abide by a ceasefire.

        Russia is the big loser, in the long run. Russia has lost face, nobody trusts Russia, the sanctions will increase, and Putin sucks the life out of the Russian economy.

        Start up a blog. If you are so good (as what you say you are), you’d make money.

    1. What you say makes no sense. “you have to misinform”, which means mis-state the facts, or are you just unintentionally stupid? Are you attempting to misinform? Why should I change the domain name for your unique stupidity? What do you know about influence? I suspect nothing.

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