The Guns of August

"World Wars begin in Europe in August, when the harvest is being gathered and the granaries are full."

My old university modern history tutor, the late Dr. Hans Schenk, dean of Wolfson College, Oxford taught me that simple truth.   

The reason for that is simple, obvious and was routinely pointed out by many wise generations of European historians: The harvest had to be safely gathered in and the granaries filled to feed the armies for the coming campaign. After all, world wars never last long and they’re always all over by Christmas, right?

Dr. Schenk, who was also the author of the classic “The Aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars”  loved to point out that it was typical of the punctual, methodical, superbly organized Prussian/German general staff that they always started their world wars on the very first day of the month. It made all the paperwork and accounting so much easier. Dr. Schenk, of course, was Czech.

Now we are in the month of August and once again it is the August of a Dark Summer, as the wonderful writer Gene Smith described the Summer of 1939. Once again, the thunderclouds of a far worse and fearful conflict are gathering in the east. Except this time Poland and the Western democracies are not fearfully awaiting the firestorm: They are actively fanning the flames for it to begin.

As in the Dark Summer of 1939, the warning signs and dark omens arise with increasing size and frequency on every side.

In Washington, on Friday, August 4, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland will rise even higher in the Byzantine labyrinth to succeed Wendy Sherman as Acting Deputy Secretary of State. Queen Log will be succeeded by Queen Stork.

The bureaucratic, plodding, colorless Sherman – obsessed with minutiae and righting the endless imagined wrongs of gender discrimination along with climate change and so many other ethereal meaningless Good Causes – will be replaced by the relentless, focused energy of Nuland, someone determined to disintegrate Russia and establish America’s Global Power for Eternity.

This is not just demented and insanely dangerous, it is also the highway to catastrophe.

On the other side of the conflict, the government of Russia has announced the coming mobilization of half a million men: This is the largest mobilization of reservists either Russia or the Soviet Union has ordered since the end of World War II.

The purpose of this is not to replace the horrendous losses Russia is, wrongly, claimed in endless tame Western outlets to have suffered from the brilliant US and NATO policies of stripping their own weapons arsenals to equip the miserably trained and appallingly led doomed Ukrainian Army.

Indeed, the Kiev regime’s current armed forces are the third army Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thrown into the meatgrinder of the war in only 18 months, as the eminent US analyst, retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor has pointed out.

On the contrary, Russia’s losses have been relatively light. Colonel Macgregor and other genuine US military leading analysts put their combat losses at only one seventh to one tenth of those of the Ukrainians and the ratio may be even more extreme.

Instead, as Colonel Macgregor warned in an article this week in The American Conservative magazine, the aim of the mobilization appears to be to expand the scope of the war, which Russia originally planned to be a highly limited one. Once it is completed and the already trained reserve forces are deployed, they may well drive all the way across Ukraine to the Polish border.

Poland, initially, is suicidally actually eager for this to happen: The Polish reckoning is that once they start fighting the Russians, they will sweep all before them and also that US and NATO forces will then be sucked in – or rather, that the tamed Western Mainstream media will immediately create among their brainwashed – brain dry cleaned, indeed – publics the moral outrage to approve direct Allied military intervention and that will be the end of Russia.

The plan, US military insiders say, is to send in the Poles and Lithuanians. When the Russians attack them, then NATO and the US Army will ride to their rescue with air and ground forces.   

Currently, the top US generals in European Command – EUCOM – instill actually believe Ukraine is winning because they falsely imagine it has fatally weakened Russia. They are the victims of their own deceptive feedback loops of over-optimistic, wildly inaccurate data – just like the US Army in Vietnam or the doomed British armies under Douglas Haig in World War I.

The Polish general staff thought exactly the same way in August 1939 when they really imagined their thousands of magnificent looking, horse-mounted cavalry men would gallop all the way to Berlin. Their uhlans really believed the Nazi panzers were made of cardboard. They were not.

The Poles and their allies will face a similar rude – and very sudden – awakening. It will be the end of NATO, and unless drastic action is taken, it may be the end of Western Civilization as well.

Colonel Macgregor tallied up the butcher’s bill that these destructive, ludicrous, appalling fantasies have already cost. Ukraine has lost up to 300,000 dead. Macgregor estimates up to 350,000 dead already.

The endlessly promoted and anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive, a military obscenity that only Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and the inevitable Nuland could possibly believe in, has now cost 30,000 dead out of 60,000 engaged with more than 450 Tanks destroyed plus 1200 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), artillery and trucks already lost.

Colonel Macgregor sums up the result: “Ukraine is destroyed. The proxy war is lost. The numbers of Ukrainian dead lie between 300,000 and 350,000. The hospitals in Ukraine are filled to capacity. Remaining population under Zalenskyy’s control is between 14 and 18 million. Child trafficking, prostitution and graft in Ukraine are conducted on an astronomical scale.” 

The cost to the West too is already catastrophic: NATO in the space of a year and a half threw away a quarter century of accumulated weapon systems and the ammunition for them. They were then wasted by untrained, helpless boys and by witless ruthless Western tactical “advice.” 

Worse yet, the Russians have adapted as efficient militaries always do. They have learned that most of the Western systems are indeed obsolete or otherwise useless, that they underperform and how to bypass, neutralize and annihilate them. As a result, NATO’s non-nuclear ground warfare defensive deterrent capability has been lost. There is none left. Russia has not been drained dry by the war, as it was supposed to be. It is now far stronger.

That stark reality throws an even more ominous light, as Winston Churchill would have put it, on the darkening scene. For why should the Russian army stop when it comes to the Polish border? Knowing that the government of Poland has relentlessly fanned the flames of this crisis for the past nine years, will it spare them too? Or will it keep rolling? And if it does, who will stop them, short of initiating a thermonuclear tactical exchange? Who can?

We cannot now know the answers to these questions: No one yet can. But our own survival, and that of most of humanity, will depend on the eventual answers.