Quote of the day 26th August 2023

Whatever I may think of him as a political leader or as a man, Napoleon had few equals and no superiors in his understanding of the art and science of war.

Both Napoleon and his nemesis, the Duke of Wellington, had some important things to say on the importance of time on the battlefield, and none more significant that the quote above, "ask of me anything you like except time."

And in the current crisis in Ukraine, this is what too many Western leaders - with the partial exception of the governments of the UK and several of the nations which border Russia such as Poland and Lithuania - have failed to understand.

The Washington Post has a powerful article (see link at bottom of this post) about the cost to Ukraine of the time spent by President Biden and other Western leaders in making up their minds to send equipment which was always going to be needed and was eventually sent. It has given Russia time to dig in and build a massive network of fortifications in occupied Ukraine. In one of the few military actions since their illegal and unproved  invasion which have displayed even a hint of competence, the Russian army has turned much of the Ukrainian territory they hold into a string of heavily defended fortresses. 

Today's Russian generals - at least, the ones who have not yet fallen out of a window or otherwise mysteriously died - are trying to stop the Ukrainians from liberating their country in the same way their Soviet grandfathers stopped the Germans at Kursk.

They won't succeed. But there will be a high cost in blood and treasure to overcome the defences which the Russians should never have been given time to build.

Opinion | Ukraine maps show the price of allies' hesitation - Washington Post


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