Victor Davis Hanson: The Cycles Of Revolution In Our Midst
American Greatness: 'Ukraine has been our Spanish Civil War for nearly three months, a laboratory of strategies, tactics, and weapons of wars to come. What are the lessons so far from that conflict?
'Western military technology still remains the world’s most lethal. Russian equipment is not just noncompetitive but reminds us that weapons are simply tools. Their operations hinge on skilled and zealous soldiers. The majority of Russian conscripts are neither.
'Moreover, Ukrainians remind us that well-trained, motivated, and courageous small teams of combatants—mastering online, computerized, and sophisticated Westernized anti-tank, anti-aircraft, and anti-personnel drones and rockets—can nullify vast military investment and manpower. So far, the Ukrainian hit teams have rained death upon thousands of Russian soldiers while destroying millions of dollars of supposedly impregnable Russian traditional assets like artillery, armored vehicles, tanks, and ground support helicopters and aircraft.
'Given the recent humiliating U.S. defeat in and retreat from Afghanistan—after abandoning tens of billions of dollars’ worth of sophisticated equipment to terrorists—and the ongoing destruction of the conventional Russian military and billions of dollars of its equipment, we are starting to revisit an earlier pattern of large and well-equipped expeditionary forces of big powers failing to achieve their strategic goals. They prove to be out of place and inept. China may learn the same lessons if it invades Taiwan.
'In the American case, the culprits are both White House political ineptitude and the Pentagon’s strategic confusion. In the Russian instance, there was a complete divorce of abstract strategy from reality on the ground, between demoralized conscripts versus motivated volunteers fighting for their families. There were systemic Russian failures to field competent and motivated soldiers and to maintain and wisely employ sophisticated equipment. Russia is showing the world that it is a global player only to the degree it can sell oil and periodically threaten any nation it likes with nuclear weapons—a fact no doubt privately conceded by Putin himself.
'In the West in general, and in the United States particularly, we are seeing a final fruition of decades of woke self-loathing. The sight of a pride flag flying on the Kabul embassy as the most lavishly supplied and funded military force in history scrambled to fly home, abandoning allies and employees, was a bitter metaphor of the arrogance, ignorance, and impotence of woke ideology. What was once an elite boutique parlor game confined to university departments and the schools of education has now filtered throughout all campus courses to the point of being institutionalized. It is lapping into the engineering, math, and physics departments and the schools of medicine and business. The idea of meritocracy is disappearing, replaced by woke reparatory fixations on race, in the manner the ideologically correct Soviet commissariat destroyed Russian institutions or Mao’s cultural revolutionary insanity destroyed millions of Chinese.'