A War with Russia Would Be an American Wipe Out

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by Scott Ritter

is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

A war with Russia would be unlike anything the US and NATO have ever experienced
Russian tanks T-72B3 take part in drills at the Kadamovskiy firing range in the Rostov region in southern Russia, Jan. 12, 2022. © AP Photo

In a recent press conference held on the occasion of a visit to Moscow by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about continued NATO expansion, and the potential consequences if Ukraine was to join the trans-Atlantic alliance.

“Their [NATO’s] main task is to contain the development of Russia,” Putin said. “Ukraine is simply a tool to achieve this goal. They could draw us into some kind of armed conflict and force their allies in Europe to impose the very tough sanctions that are being talked about in the United States today,” he noted. “Or they could draw Ukraine into NATO, set up strike weapons systems there and encourage some people to resolve the issue of Donbass or Crimea by force, and still draw us into an armed conflict.”

Putin continued, “Let us imagine that Ukraine is a NATO member and is stuffed with weapons and there are state-of-the-art missile systems just like in Poland and Romania. Who will stop it from unleashing operations in Crimea, let alone Donbass? Let us imagine that Ukraine is a NATO member and ventures such a combat operation. Do we have to fight with the NATO bloc? Has anyone thought anything about it? It seems not.”

But these words were dismissed by White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, who likened them to a fox “screaming from the top of the hen house that he’s scared of the chickens,” adding that any Russian expression of fear over Ukraine “should not be reported as a statement of fact.”

Psaki’s comments, however, are divorced from the reality of the situation. The principal goal of the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is what he terms the “de-occupation” of Crimea. While this goal has, in the past, been couched in terms of diplomacy – “[t]he synergy of our efforts must force Russia to negotiate the return of our peninsula,” Zelensky told the Crimea Platform, a Ukrainian forum focused on regaining control over Crimea – the reality is his strategy for return is a purely military one, in which Russia has been identified as a “military adversary”, and the accomplishment of which can only be achieved through NATO membership.

How Zelensky plans on accomplishing this goal using military means has not been spelled out. As an ostensibly defensive alliance, the odds are that NATO would not initiate any offensive military action to forcibly seize the Crimean Peninsula from Russia. Indeed, the terms of Ukraine’s membership, if granted, would need to include some language regarding the limits of NATO’s Article 5 – which relates to collective defense – when addressing the Crimea situation, or else a state of war would de facto exist upon Ukrainian accession.

The most likely scenario would involve Ukraine being rapidly brought under the ‘umbrella’ of NATO protection, with ‘battlegroups’ like those deployed into eastern Europe being formed on Ukrainian soil as a ‘trip-wire’ force, and modern air defenses combined with forward-deployed NATO aircraft put in place to secure Ukrainian airspace.

Once this umbrella has been established, Ukraine would feel emboldened to begin a hybrid conflict against what it terms the Russian occupation of Crimea, employing unconventional warfare capability it has acquired since 2015 at the hands of the CIA to initiate an insurgency designed specifically to “kill Russians.”

The idea that Russia would sit idly by while a guerilla war in Crimea was being implemented from Ukraine is ludicrous; if confronted with such a scenario, Russia would more than likely use its own unconventional capabilities in retaliation. Ukraine, of course, would cry foul, and NATO would be confronted with its mandatory obligation for collective defense under Article 5. In short, NATO would be at war with Russia.

This is not idle speculation. When explaining his recent decision to deploy some 3,000 US troops to Europe in response to the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, US President Joe Biden declared, “As long as he’s [Putin] acting aggressively, we are going to make sure we reassure our NATO allies in Eastern Europe that we’re there and Article 5 is a sacred obligation.”

Biden’s comments echo those made during his initial visit to NATO Headquarters, on June 15 last year. At that time, Biden sat down with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and emphasized America’s commitment to Article 5 of the NATO charter. “Article 5 we take as a sacred obligation,” Biden said. “I want NATO to know America is there.”

Biden’s view of NATO and Ukraine is drawn from his experience as vice president under Barack Obama. In 2015, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work told reporters, “As President Obama has said, Ukraine should … be able to choose its own future. And we reject any talk of a sphere of influence. And speaking in Estonia this past September, the president made it clear that our commitment to our NATO allies in the face of Russian aggression is unwavering. As he said it, in this alliance there are no old members and there are no new members. There are no junior partners and there are no senior partners. There are just allies, pure and simple. And we will defend the territorial integrity of every single ally.”

Just what would this defense entail? As someone who once trained to fight the Soviet Army, I can attest that a war with Russia would be unlike anything the US military has experienced – ever. The US military is neither organized, trained, nor equipped to fight its Russian counterparts. Nor does it possess doctrine capable of supporting large-scale combined arms conflict. If the US was to be drawn into a conventional ground war with Russia, it would find itself facing defeat on a scale unprecedented in American military history. In short, it would be a rout.

Don’t take my word for it. In 2016, then-Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, when speaking about the results of a study – the Russia New Generation Warfare – he had initiated in 2015 to examine lessons learned from the fighting in eastern Ukraine, told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington that the Russians have superior artillery firepower, better combat vehicles, and have learned sophisticated use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for tactical effect. “Should US forces find themselves in a land war with Russia,” McMaster said, “they would be in for a rude, cold awakening.”

In short, they would get their asses kicked.

America’s 20-year Middle Eastern misadventure in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria produced a military that was no longer capable of defeating a peer-level opponent on the battlefield. This reality was highlighted in a studyconducted by the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade, the central American component of NATO’s Rapid Deployment Force, in 2017. The study found that US military forces in Europe were underequipped, undermanned, and inadequately organized to confront military aggression from Russia. The lack of viable air defense and electronic warfare capability, when combined with an over-reliance on satellite communications and GPS navigation systems, would result in the piecemeal destruction of the US Army in rapid order should they face off against a Russian military that was organized, trained, and equipped to specifically defeat a US/NATO threat.

The issue isn’t just qualitative, but also quantitative – even if the US military could stand toe-to-toe with a Russian adversary (which it can’t), it simply lacks the size to survive in any sustained battle or campaign. The low-intensity conflict that the US military waged in Iraq and Afghanistan has created an organizational ethos built around the idea that every American life is precious, and that all efforts will be made to evacuate the wounded so that they can receive life-saving medical attention in as short a timeframe as possible. This concept may have been viable where the US was in control of the environment in which fights were conducted. It is, however, pure fiction in large-scale combined arms warfare. There won’t be medical evacuation helicopters flying to the rescue – even if they launched, they would be shot down. There won’t be field ambulances – even if they arrived on the scene, they would be destroyed in short order. There won’t be field hospitals – even if they were established, they would be captured by Russian mobile forces.

What there will be is death and destruction, and lots of it. One of the events which triggered McMaster’s study of Russian warfare was the destruction of a Ukrainian combined arms brigade by Russian artillery in early 2015. This, of course, would be the fate of any similar US combat formation. The superiority Russia enjoys in artillery fires is overwhelming, both in terms of the numbers of artillery systems fielded and the lethality of the munitions employed.

While the US Air Force may be able to mount a fight in the airspace above any battlefield, there will be nothing like the total air supremacy enjoyed by the American military in its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The airspace will be contested by a very capable Russian air force, and Russian ground troops will be operating under an air defense umbrella the likes of which neither the US nor NATO has ever faced. There will be no close air support cavalry coming to the rescue of beleaguered American troops. The forces on the ground will be on their own.

This feeling of isolation will be furthered by the reality that, because of Russia’s overwhelming superiority in electronic warfare capability, the US forces on the ground will be deaf, dumb, and blind to what is happening around them, unable to communicate, receive intelligence, and even operate as radios, electronic systems, and weapons cease to function.

Any war with Russia would find American forces slaughtered in large numbers. Back in the 1980s, we routinely trained to accept losses of 30-40 percent and continue the fight, because that was the reality of modern combat against a Soviet threat. Back then, we were able to effectively match the Soviets in terms of force size, structure, and capability – in short, we could give as good, or better, than we got.

That wouldn’t be the case in any European war against Russia. The US will lose most of its forces before they are able to close with any Russian adversary, due to deep artillery fires. Even when they close with the enemy, the advantage the US enjoyed against Iraqi and Taliban insurgents and ISIS terrorists is a thing of the past. Our tactics are no longer up to par – when there is close combat, it will be extraordinarily violent, and the US will, more times than not, come out on the losing side.

But even if the US manages to win the odd tactical engagement against peer-level infantry, it simply has no counter to the overwhelming number of tanks and armored fighting vehicles Russia will bring to bear. Even if the anti-tank weapons in the possession of US ground troops were effective against modern Russian tanks (and experience suggests they are probably not), American troops will simply be overwhelmed by the mass of combat strength the Russians will confront them with.

In the 1980s, I had the opportunity to participate in a Soviet-style attack carried out by specially trained US Army troops – the ‘OPFOR’ – at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, where two Soviet-style Mechanized Infantry Regiments squared off against a US Army Mechanized Brigade. The fight began at around two in the morning. By 5:30am it was over, with the US Brigade destroyed, and the Soviets having seized their objectives. There’s something about 170 armored vehicles bearing down on your position that makes defeat all but inevitable.

This is what a war with Russia would look like. It would not be limited to Ukraine, but extend to battlefields in the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, and elsewhere. It would involve Russian strikes against NATO airfields, depots, and ports throughout the depth of Europe.

This is what will happen if the US and NATO seek to attach the “sacred obligation” of Article 5 of the NATO Charter to Ukraine. It is, in short, a suicide pact.

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Fastlane
Fastlane
9 months ago

Nicely written but U R wrong. Listen to Fastlane: Russia more advanced than your spies able to discern. Don’t war with Russia. You’ll regret it.

SunflowerROOOSKIEEEfertilizer
SunflowerROOOSKIEEEfertilizer
6 months ago
Reply to  Fastlane

LOL UMMM….. LOL

Michael Hendrick
Michael Hendrick
9 months ago

Wow, aren’t you a smart guy ! Actually take a break and get a grip buddy, spend a little more time coming up with a strategic way of either helping our country with your brilliant military intelligence or just maybe spend 5 minutes on a strategic way of keeping peace with Russia, because according to you we have already lost a war before we have even fought it, I am happy the generation that saved the world from the grips of the Japanese and from the horrors of a diabolical mind in Hitler didn’t listen to a guy like you, damn I am so happy they didn’t act as cowardly as you and your modern day defeatist attitude, and obviously you have and will continual to be a know it all, so find a new hobby, like watching water drip……….and oh yeah, by the way, according to a guy just like you in the early 1940’s we didn’t have a chance against Hitler and Japan, well thank God they were not as cowardly as you are ! You were in the Military, please stop using up so much valuable oxygen big guy,…..breath easy, your a coward bub, go cry in some dark place, my God what a……..!!!!

K Lewis
K Lewis
9 months ago

Agreed. As far as it goes . . . But, consider, if Putin decides to let the nuclear missiles fly, we will let ours fly as well. Zero Sum End Game. We can all bend over and kiss our patooties Good-Bye! Meanwhile we have Trump worshippers talking (like you) about how smart, and well-equipped, and strategic and . . so forth Putin is. Putin is a pile of dog puke. Re-puke-li-cans are the party of Fascists. Those who value democracy are only 20 percent of the World’s countries. And only about 60 percent of the USA! We are ALL in deep poop if Putin succeeds in Ukraine! But, at least he doesn’t have is lapdog, Trump in the driver’s seat anymore. So, maybe some small spark of hope.

K Lewis
K Lewis
9 months ago
Reply to  K Lewis

Correction: I meant Trumpers like the author of the article . . . not at all like you. Sorry.

Dacian
Dacian
9 months ago
Reply to  K Lewis

What are your military qualifications to make such foolishly confident “predictions”? Did you check the author’s qualifications before making any association with, what’s his name? It starts with T… I forgot it…

Kit
Kit
6 months ago
Reply to  Dacian

K Lewis drools over Biden. He’s a lost cause. Forget him.

Philip Pryor
Philip Pryor
9 months ago

Rubbish. You do not think, research, analyse, construct. Loudmouthed garbage is useless in this topic. Comment, if you can, point by point, with evidence.

Matt
Matt
9 months ago

These deep state sorts are weird as hell, and scary. Article 5 is a “sacred obligation”, apparently like what, some sort of religious obligation or something? As far as I know, NATO was entirely and solely created to prevent communist domination over Europe and the world, with the major threat being from the Soviet Union at the time.
Today, the major threat of communist rule, and completely upending our “system” of government, because, after all, it was setup by people who had slaves, is from people like Joe Biden and the party he leads.
Today, Joe Biden and his party, have more in common with the Soviet Union, with their strange egalitarianism, than Russia does. NATO and the people in charge of it, General Milley, all of them, are absolutely useless as it pertains to the purpose NATO was created. Our stupid president, Joe Biden, seems to think it was setup as an eternal enemy to Russia, and to spread woke leftism, all over the earth. He is a very dangerous man.

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt
Sarah
Sarah
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt

BAHAI RELIGION will be the NEW WORLD ORDER. Queen Victoria acknowledged this religion 160 years ago after the founder wrote a letter telling her the British style of governance is ideal for a ONE WORLD ORDER.

The “BRITISH STYLE OF GOVERNANCE” did not work well for LIZZY VAN ZYL. People need to learn about Lizzy’s story because forgetting about Lizzy is why people do not see the threat today.

The British Empire never stopped the LONG TERM WAR GAMES they just used a strategy to deflect all attention away from them for one hundred years. They always controlled global propaganda because they were the world power when motion picture technology was invented. This is why HOLLYWOOD & other media is far left.

BAHAI promote CLIMATE CHANGE politics & they instigate ALL of the social justice issues people argue about.

Iran accuses BAHAI of being British spies. They say the religion was created by British Military Intelligence during one of the times England tried to conquer IRAN. Iran GOV says the religion was created to cause social chaos & disruption. They said only JEWISH people converted to this religion. The founder was paid by UK GOV & he was KNIGHTED by the BRITISH.

This is what the modern “CONFLICT” with IRAN is today.

Iranian GOVERNMENT warns citizens about the BAHAI religion because they know this is an international terrorist group working on subversion in many countries.

BAHAI act like they control the UN

https://iranbahaipersecution.bic.org/archive?keywords=america&field_year_created%5Bmin%5D=&field_year_created%5Bmax%5D=&field_year_created_persian%5Bmin%5D=&field_year_created_persian%5Bmax%5D=

https://iranbahaipersecution.bic.org/archive?keywords=ENVIRONMENT&field_year_created%5Bmin%5D=&field_year_created%5Bmax%5D=&field_year_created_persian%5Bmin%5D=&field_year_created_persian%5Bmax%5D=

Greg Mehsikomer
Greg Mehsikomer
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt

I believe the Russian Federation does have some superiority over American Forces, and I think it would be a mistake to get involved with any attempt by the Deep State to engage with Russia. I don’t trust a thing Putin says, but I distrust even more the New World Order set. If we have to deal with Russia or China for that matter, which I think we eventually will, then let us deal with them here at home, where guerilla warfare and Trump patriots could make a difference. I

paul cramer
paul cramer
9 months ago

I have always wondered how Russia could have such a powerful military when have one tenth the military budget that we do. I do not believe they do.

EnT
EnT
9 months ago

@Michael Hendrick,
Being ex-Army, most likely from a different generation from you, I think there is great wisdom in keeping your insecurities hidden and learning what you can first, WITHOUT bloodshed. Noone knows it all. While I applaud your patriotism, facts are facts and this is NOT the military I belonged to, anymore. Times have changed, people have changed and I believe we rely too much on our reputation from our victories in the past, our technology, and don’t really care how we are seen in the world.

I already know you are incapable of hearing what I’m saying, so this is for all the rest of you out there. Not all Americans are like this.

And to the author, kudos. Great article, well-written.

Hubie
Hubie
8 months ago

As I watch Russia getting their ass kicked by Ukraine in the first 2 weeks and Russia still doesn’t have air superiority I wonder where this author gets his information? Our military would crush Russia.

Dacian
Dacian
8 months ago
Reply to  Hubie

Where did you get such “news”? From CNN? IF you have such Breaking News, that nobody has, why didn’t you post the link to it?

Of course you cannot, because you are a zionazi troll. In fact, Russia is encircling the Ukrainian army village by village. See the map below;

6CE4248C-0868-4ECB-96C1-1A47C1C19734.jpeg
Riker
Riker
6 months ago
Reply to  Dacian

Yep extacty, village by village, the US would have won by now

HAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHA
8 months ago

This has aged well /s

GJL@K
8 months ago

What really make me, a woke liberal thru and thru, angry is how much money goes into the Pentagon budget every year (and increases every year). While I’d like to see some of that money go to schools, hospitals, bridges and water infrastructure, I cannot believe we are so ill-equipped to deal with an enemy like Putin. Seriously? 760 billion and they don’t have a plan to defeat our enemies? They keep building the What do they do all day?

And then there’s this: https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/03/26/the-worst-defense-program-of-all-and-its-not-the-f-35/

BlueWaterBuckaroo
BlueWaterBuckaroo
7 months ago

Well…. As of today’s date I believe the Russian military has proven themselves inept at waging war let alone winning one, and that’s against ill-equipped, ill-trained Ukraine! The author too, has once again proven inept at his job.

Last edited 7 months ago by BlueWaterBuckaroo
jimothy
jimothy
7 months ago

uh… how’s that theory working out for you?

Dacian
Dacian
7 months ago
Reply to  jimothy

Thanks for asking. Doing quite fine. Here is Boris Rozhin summarizing Putin’s and Lukashenko’s speeches, https://t.me/boris_rozhin/41756:

From Putin’s statements today on the topic of his own in Ukraine.1. The operation is progressing according to plan.

2. The timing of the operation is determined by the intensity of the fighting and the desire to minimize their own losses.

3. Negotiations with Ukraine have reached an impasse, as Ukraine violated the agreements concluded in Istanbul.

4. The decision to launch the operation was correct and timely, and the conflict itself was inevitable – Russia was left with no choice.

5. The sanctions blitzkrieg against Russia has failed, but Russia does not plan to close, and it will not be possible to close it.

6. The USSR, being in sanctions isolation, achieved great success in the space program. Russia will also be able to follow this path.

7. The United States plans to fight in Ukraine to the last Ukrainian. Ukraine is a means to achieve goals for the West.

8. The provocation in Bucha is the same fake as staged chemical attacks in Syria.

9. Russia in the previous decades got hooked on Western technologies, and now it is facing the consequences.

10. Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are a triune people, some of which are now trying to use the West in their interests.

We are waiting for the beginning of the 2nd phase of the operation in Ukraine, which Shoigu announced earlier.

Tony McIntosh
Tony McIntosh
7 months ago

You all are dead wrong, not a one of us will win its called MAD read the Reagan doctrine and you will see my friend !

Tarrasik
Tarrasik
7 months ago
Reply to  Tony McIntosh

Russia will win. Ukraine is just a distraction. It’s not the real battle. The real battle is over the dollar as reserve currency. Germany gets 60% of it’s energy from Russia. They literally cannot survive without Russia. Once Germany caves, the rest of the EU will cave and the US dollar craters.
Russia can afford to wait for years. They have plenty of gas, food, minerals. They can also replace most of the goodies from the West.

Twill Babcok
Twill Babcok
7 months ago

This didn’t age well. Dumb ass.

Rich
Rich
6 months ago

“As someone who once trained to fight the Soviet Army, I can attest that a war with Russia would be unlike anything the US military has experienced – ever. The US military is neither organized, trained, nor equipped to fight its Russian counterparts. Nor does it possess doctrine capable of supporting large-scale combined arms conflict. If the US was to be drawn into a conventional ground war with Russia, it would find itself facing defeat on a scale unprecedented in American military history. In short, it would be a rout.”

Wow, you couldn’t have been much more wrong about Russian combat strength!

Dacian
Dacian
6 months ago

https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/13.1.0/svg/1f1e8-1f1f3.svg The Chinese economist predicted the collapse of the West’s attempts to isolate Russia.

“The West is used to imposing sanctions against small states, <…> however, an attempt to isolate the economy of Russia, a G20 country with huge oil and gas reserves, a powerful military-industrial complex and diverse exports, will have serious consequences and will inevitably end in failure,” Gao Desheng explained in a publication for the Chinese Global Times.

He stressed that Moscow has already proved its readiness to counteract sanctions and has taken powerful countermeasures.

Dacian
Dacian
6 months ago

A terrible prediction on Friday the 13th from Medvedev.

The Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council predicted that the consequences of anti-Russian sanctions will be energy and logistics crises, new military conflicts, famine, epidemics and the activation of terrorists.

The result of the cataclysms will be a new security system and the collapse of the “americanocentric world”.

Medvedev stressed that this is “not a forecast at all.”

Kit
Kit
6 months ago
Reply to  Dacian

Dacian, I like your posts. You make sense. And I am American (by birth.)

Kit
Kit
6 months ago

Biden said, “I want NATO to know America is there.”
He’s mistaken. America is gone and many if not most Americans know this. Yesterday’s $40 billion gift to Ukraine from the US Congress, on top of the previous $14 billion, could be the final nail in the coffin.