Both sides have been fighting in Ukraine using World War I tactics, and developments in the war have so far recapitulated World War I.
Towards the end of World War I, the Germans, finally realizing they were going to lose the war of attrition, because of the immense industrial capability of America, attempted to regain war of movement, with underwhelming success, and eventually could no longer attempt to do so. They gained considerable territory, which gains merely put them in a worse position to fight the war of attrition. Like Ukraine, tactical victories but strategic defeats, as with the costly attempt to relieve Bakhmut, which has resulted in them advancing on the flanks of Bakhmut to a position far worse for them in attritive warfare.
Ukraine has been throwing reserves at various points on the front, with underwhelming success similar to that of the Germans in World War I, which similarly has resulted in gains that put them in a worse position for fighting a war of attrition.
They are now moving troops around from one active front to another, which you only do when desperately short of reserves. I previously posted that the Greatest Ukrainian Counter Offensive had started some time ago, and had not been announced for lack of impressive results. That they are redeploying troops involved in active fighting suggests that the Greatest Ukrainian Counter Offensive is now most likely over for lack of reserves, though fog of war makes it hard to speak confidently.
In World War I, the incapacity to mount further attempts at war of movement was followed by 100 days of increasingly rapid and costly German defeats and retreats in attritive warfare, and it became apparent that if the Germans did not make peace on any terms they could get, then eventually there would be attritive warfare all the way to Berlin, most German men would die, and Berlin would be flattened. So they cut a deal where they handed over their heavy weapons, but the army and the nation remained an army and a nation. Without that deal, the war would likely have gone on for years, with enormous costs for everyone, but by far the greatest costs for Germans.
And a sane and capable Global American Empire would accept, in a hundred days or so, the deal that Putin has been offering – assuming it will still be on offer after major retreats and losses in attritive warfare.
But a sane and capable Global American Empire would probably have been capable of winning.
So a possible and likely outcome is that the war goes on till Kiev starts being flattened and most Ukrainian men are dead. Which may well take quite a while. At which point there is a significant likelihood that Nato will be thrown in to relieve Kiev.
In a full war between Russia and Nato, neither side has any incentive to refrain escalating all the way to nukes.
If Nato intervenes the rationale will be that quick decisive victory is attainable, which is unlikely to be the case. So, nukes.
Do anyone’s nukes still work?
My guess is that Global American Empire nukes stopped working a long time ago, but some Russian nukes still work.
Nukes were and are made out of components that deteriorate over time, and have to regularly refurbished, reconditioned and sometimes rebuilt. And if you are not testing, your maintenance process is likely to go off the rails when the men that built those bombs retire. The test ban treaty was a stealth slow motion nuclear disarmament treaty.
If someone’s nukes still work, this is likely to bring the war to a quick and decisive end, with relatively small destruction and casualties. I estimate that only about twenty percent of Americans would die in the course of losing a nuclear war, deaths insignificant compared to abortion and all that, and destruction insignificant compared to the Rust Belt and all the Detroits. No big deal in the broad historical sweep that this blog looks at.
If, on the other hand, technological decay means we fight World War I all over again, but this time political decay means that it is fought all the way to the end, the death and destruction could be considerably greater. But perhaps, in a hundred days or so, while the Global American Empire still holds most of the Ukraine, as the Germans still held most of Europe, the Global American Empire will figure out that it is 1918-11-11 all over again.
We shall see.