I confess that at the beginning of September, after the Ukrainian “Kharkov counter offensive”, and influenced by the heavy criticism for Vladimir Putin and his “way of doing things”, for a couple of days I somewhat lost my faith in him. I swallowed all the critics, analysis and reports on several “friendly” channels, I processed the information and concluded that the allies might indeed, after all, lose this war. Also I thought that an “upgrade” from SMO (special military operation) to ATO (anti terrorist operation) was desirable, inevitable and imminent, because it was “so obvious” that Moscow had committed too few troops to the said SMO.
But then I came again to my senses and realised my misjudgement. Or so I think. There are several reasons why.
I believe I understood, like an epiphany, that Russia is fighting one single war on two totally different fronts: one is the conventional, military struggle against NATO on Donbass soil; the other is the economical and geopolitical wrestle against the US hegemony. But I insist: despite these two extremely disparate fronts, this is only one war, and therefore the respective battles must -or should- be fought in coordination.
Yes, it is true that Moscow made a blunder on the Kherzon area; a mistake of which I am confident they have learnt the lesson. It should not be repeated; although of course another blunders will ensue: probably the Russian high command and intelligence services are not performing as they should.
And, yes, it is also true that Moscow has too few troops involved in the SMO. The Kremlin perhaps ought to upgrade to ATO or even formal war, commit more troops and weapons, and finish Kiev off in one week, thus sparing thousands of civilians, soldiers and militias, plus goods, constructions, infrastructure, assets — in the short term.
But this might compromise the other front, which is as important as the military, because in the long term a lot more is at stake, and not only in Russia or Dombass, but in the whole world: freedom (in all its meanings), traditions, mental sanity, fair commerce, sovereign states — and many civilian lives too, because winning the regular war but leaving the Empire of Lies as powerful as before would mean an endless conflict and terror on the Dombass/Russia.
And in order to bring the US -and the collective West with it- to its knees, it may be convenient for Russia to prolong the war on Dombass soil for at least until the end of the winter. Once the EU economies collapse and the NATO countries deplete their stock of weapons (by sending them to the Kiev regime), the collective West might understand that they can no longer engage in direct war with Russia (except perhaps on a nuclear confrontation) and that they would rather talk some peace and come to terms with a multipolar world order. Only then the US hegemony could be challenged and overthrown once and for all.
Now, prolonging the war on the military front without committing more troops to the SMO seems to apparently increase the risk of a defeat. But does it really? The Ukrainian counter offensives we are seeing now might be desperate attempts on the part of NATO-Kiev to gain some turf, to hold the world’s attention and to keep the weapon deliveries going. Quite likely new counter offensives will follow, but eventually Kiev will run short of conscripts and trained soldiers, NATO short of arms, disatisfacction in Ukrainian society increase, EU economies plunder, its citizens freeze, and maybe those counter offensives will get less and less pushy, while all the allied forces of Dombass and RF need to do is resist in the front line. They might not even need to make major short-term progress in their military goals: those would come in due time.
Furthermore, let us do some geometry and logic: at present, the frontline has the shape of a crescent, and is therefore overstretched along roughly 1,000 km. As the allied forces advance slowly westwards in the center of the crescent the frontline becomes shorter and denser, more thickly packed with troops and weapons, which will make it stronger and more effective. Ideally, at its shortest, between Kharkov in the NE to Kherzon in the SW the front would measure only around 600 km, to the advantage of the allies. It does not matter how much liberated land is in the rear: what counts is the front. So, perhaps Moscow might not need, after all, to upgrade to ATO in order to totally defeat the Kiev-manned NATO army; although they will probably do it anyway, because there is strong domestic critizism inside Russia for the slow pace of the advances. But whichever the case, Moscow has said that, for the moment, changing the type of intervention is not on the table.
This is how I see things for the moment, and this perspective has helped me overcome my defeatism and pessimism; until some sensible commenter throws down my reasoning with better arguments, that is.