They Broke and Ran

As a number of observers here correctly surmised from the very high number of casualties, the Armed Forces of Ukraine didn’t actually conduct a fighting withdrawal from its fortress in Avdeevka. It wasn’t even a retreat, it was a rout, and the order for the retreat to conceal what had already happened wasn’t given until a day after the Ukrainian forces there had already broken and run.

Ukraine’s top general, Aleksandr Syrsky, did not give the order for troops to leave Avdeevka until one day after the beginning of their uncontrolled, chaotic rout from the Donbass stronghold, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

Syrsky, Ukraine’s recently appointed commander-in-chief, announced the retreat early Saturday, justifying the decision with the need to “stabilize the situation and maintain positions.” Reports that Ukrainian forces were pulling back began circulating earlier this week, while others indicated that Russian forces severed the biggest supply lines into the city.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced the capture of the fortress city later on Saturday, stating that only scattered formations of Ukrainian militants managed to escape the city, fleeing in disarray under Russian fire and leaving their armaments behind.

“The order of the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Syrsky, to abandon the city was only issued after a day of uncontrolled flight of the Ukrainian troops from Avdeevka,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a press statement. The Ukrainian army reportedly lost more than 1,500 troops in Avdeevka in the past 24 hours alone.

Ukrainian army fled Avdeevka in disarray – Russian MOD, RUSSIA TODAY, 18 February 2024

The Ukrainian soldiers merit a great deal of respect for their ability to withstand a tremendous amount of pressure before breaking. They’re obviously courageous and their morale is formidable; it’s truly a pity that such brave warriors are being sacrificed to such an evil cause by their satanic regime. But as the Wehrmacht learned from 1941 to 1945, there is no amount of courage or morale that suffices to withstand the relentless military pressure and ruthless operational excellence that the Russian military has been able to bring to bear since Peter the Great defeated King Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava in 1709.

It should not be a surprise if this collapse on the operational level is swiftly succeeded by a similar collapse on the strategic level. Even in an attrition war, collapse on one front tends to snowball into multiple collapses on multiple fronts. If Ukraine can’t hold the positions to which its forces have routed, or if other fronts begin to collapse, it will be clear that the end of the Kiev regime is rapidly approaching.

Remember, Russia is defeating NATO and the entire collective economic might of the West without even needing to call upon its allies in China, North Korea, and Iran. It’s not just the Kiev regime, but Clown World itself, that is already in the position of Hitler in his bunker, and a few of the more intelligent elite clowns almost certainly suspect this, even if they can’t admit it yet, not even to themselves.

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Avdeevka Finally Falls

As Simplicius has been predicting, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been driven from Avdeevka after a prolonged siege. The abandonment of the fortifications there should enable the Russian forces to quickly push back the front line far enough to finally end the shelling of Donetsk, the region’s capital city.

Ukrainian troops have been ordered to leave the city of Avdeevka, Kiev’s newly-appointed commander-in-chief has said, claiming the decision was intended to preserve the “lives and health” of soldiers following months of desperate attempts to hold on to the frontline town near Russia’s Donetsk.

General Aleksandr Syrsky announced the pull-out in a statement shared on social media in the early hours of Saturday morning, arguing that the withdrawal was part of “measures to stabilize the situation and maintain our positions.”

“Based on the operational situation around Avdiivka, in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of servicemen, I decided to withdraw our units from the city and move to defense on more favorable lines,” he said.

The order follows reports that Ukrainian troops in the area were almost fully surrounded and faced near-constant attacks in recent days, with one local commander saying fighting in the area was “several times more hellish than the hottest battles of this phase of the war.” He was referring to the earlier struggle over the city of Artyomovsk (also known as Bakhmut in Ukraine), which fell to Russian troops last year following a lengthy siege.

It’s informative to observe that only days after a battalion from the Azov Brigade went in as reinforcements, and General Zaluzhny – who had long advocated a retreat from Advdeevka – was replaced, that the order for the withdrawal was given. It appears that the Ukrainians have finally begun to consider the idea that preserving one’s soldiers for future battles rather than sacrificing them en masse for the glory of Ukraine is a militarily sound one.

However, it also appears that Zelensky has successfully stage-managed the difficult transition from “inevitable heroic victory” to “retreat to maintain our positions” without being ejected, couped, or otherwise removed from office. Which presumably explains the attempts of the media clowns to try to generate some enthusiasm for fighting Russia in the memory of some Russian whose name no one knows and about whom no one cares.

UPDATE: Doesn’t sound like it was an orderly retreat or a fighting withdrawal.

Russian forces have “completely captured” the city of Avdeevka, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Saturday. Some 1,500 Ukrainian troops were killed as they retreated, leaving their weapons and equipment behind, the ministry said. The seizure moves the front line further away from the city of Donetsk, thereby shielding its civilian population from bombardment by Ukrainian forces. Situated around 20km away, Avdeevka had been fortified and used as a staging ground for such attacks since 2014.

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British Asset Dies in Russia

It’s a bit much for the people who are holding Julian Assange and the J6 political prisoners in prison for doing absolutely nothing that can be reasonably regarded as criminal to shed crocodile tears over the death of a British intelligence asset who tried to overthrow the Russian government in a Russian prison.

Now that you’ve heard the fake outrage from the West, let’s look at the information they withheld from you. Navalny is a terrorist. He was caught planning a color revolution to overtake Russian with MI6. He’s not “political opposition”. He’s a foreign intelligence asset. A spy.

Below, you can see Navalny discussing planning “mass protests, civil initiatives, propaganda, establishing contacts with elites” with British MI6 agent, James William Thomas Ford, via the funding from unnamed rich billionaires.

Navalny was the West’s frontman to takeover Russia from within. The same exact playbook they used to take over Ukraine. Navalny was a Deep State asset, and he was treated as such. As a hostile foreign actor looking to overthrow a sovereign nation, on behalf of the West. Treason and sedition. So spare me with the West’s fake outrage and pearl-clutching, as if Putin is unfairly jailing and murdering political opponents, while the Trump witch hunt is going into its 8th year… and while Julian Assange is still being tortured in prison…

Biden and the MSM are already trying to leverage this situation to coerce Americans to send more money to Ukraine. The entire thing is a hoax, just like everything else they do.

Navalny was literally caught on video plotting a color revolution in Russia. He was a traitor to his nation and a corrupt actor in service to Clown World. He was a very evil man. Pay attention to anyone pretending that he was some sort of political martyr, because that is a reliable confirmation of loyalty to Clown World.

UPDATE: The British are desperately trying to turn this into a thing. It isn’t working. At all.

World mourns Alexei Navalny. World leaders lash out with Biden blaming Russian despot’s brutal regime for Kremlin critic’s death inside Arctic penal colony – as protests erupt across the world

Yes, clearly the Chinese and the Zambians are outraged, simply outraged. Sadly, the Palestinians are too busy being Gazacausted to take to the streets, while the Europeans are already occupied with protesting their own governments’ attempts to commit economic suicide.

Besides, as we all know, Russian prisons are safe and effective. And indeed, it has been reported that Mr. Navalny died of “suddenly”, which we have been repeatedly assured is entirely normal these days.

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Bad Choices Abound

Big Serge invokes a chess analogy to explain the very difficult choices being faced by Israel vis-a-vis the Arabs in Palestine and by the USA in the Middle East and in Ukraine.

The basic geostrategic problem facing the United States (and its ectopic paramour, Israel) is that the ability to conduct asymmetrically inexpensive countermeasures has become exhausted. The US can no longer prop up Ukraine with surplus shells and MRAPs, nor can it deter the Iranian axis with reprimands and air strikes. Israel can no longer maintain the image of its impenetrable preclusive defenses, upon which its peculiar identity depends.

That leaves the difficult choice between strategic retreat and strategic commitment. Half measures no longer suffice, but is there will for a full measure? For Israel, which has no strategic depth and a unique world-historic self conception, it was inevitable that commitment would be chosen over strategic withdrawal (which in their case is much more metaphysical than purely strategic, and amounts to the deconstruction of the Israeli self conception). Thus, the immensely violent Israeli operation in Gaza – an operation that could never have gone any other way, given the density of the population and its eschatological meaning.

America, however, has a great degree of strategic depth – the same strategic depth which allowed it to withdraw from Vietnam or Afghanistan with few meaningful ill effects on the American homeland. The possibility most certainly remains for a prosperous and secure America long after withdrawing from Syria and Ukraine. Indeed, the famously chaotic scenes of frantic evacuation from Saigon and Kabul represent remarkably clearsighted moments in American foreign policy, where realism prevailed and losing chess pieces were left to their fates. This is cynical, of course, but that is the way of the world.

This is a standard motif of world history. The most critical moments in geopolitics are generally those where a country faces the choice between strategic retreat or full commitment. In 1940, Britain faced the choice between accepting Germany hegemony on the continent or committing to a long war which would cost them their empire and lead to their final eclipse by the United States. Neither is a good choice, but they chose the latter. In 1914, Russia had to choose between abandoning its Serbian ally or fighting a war with the Germanic powers. Neither seemed good, and they chose the latter. Strategic retreat is hard, but strategic defeat is worse. Sometimes, there are no good choices.

The Age of Zugzwang, Big Serge Thought, 14 February 2024

It’s an excellent historical analysis and the whole piece merits careful reading. However, the one element that is being left out of the equation is The Empire That Never Ended. Which is to say, in modern parlance, Clown World. It’s simply not possible to analyze the decisions of the US government to employ military force in the American national interest when the individuals making those decisions clearly do not prioritize the interests of Americans or even the US citizenry.

The obvious and growing divergence between the Kiev regime and the surviving Ukrainian people being the relevant case in point here.

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Angels vs Demons

There shouldn’t be any question which side is on the side of the angels and which is most definitely not in what purports to be a war between Russia and Ukraine. One side is openly Christian and is fighting on their own land. The other side is led by an avowedly anti-Christian regime that is funded by Clown World and is literally persecuting priests and closing down churches.

It’s a cold, rainy, damp morning in the deep Donbass countryside, at a secret location close to the Urozhaynoye direction; a nondescript country house, crucially under the fog, which prevents the work of enemy drones.

Father Igor, a military priest, is blessing a group of local contract-signed volunteers to the Archangel Gabriel battalion, ready to go to the front lines of the US vs. Russia proxy war. The man in charge of the battalion is one of the top-ranking officers of Orthodox Christian units in the DPR. A small shrine is set up in the corner of a small, cramped room, decorated with icons. Candles are lit, and three soldiers hold the red flag with the icon of Jesus in the center. After prayers and a small homily, Father Igor blesses each soldier.

This is yet another stop in a sort of itinerant icon road show, started in Kherson, then Zaporozhye and all the way to the myriad DPR front lines, led by my gracious host Andrey Afanasiev, military correspondent for the Spas channel, and later joined in Donetsk by a decorated fighter for the Archangel Michael battalion, an extremely bright and engaging young man codename Pilot.

There are between 28 and 30 Orthodox Christian battalions fighting in Donbass. That’s the power of Orthodox Christianity. To see them at work is to understand the essentials: how the Russian soul is capable of any sacrifice to protect the core values of its civilization.

A fact that has been assiduously avoided by the pro-NATO media is that a significant number of the “Russian” forces, and a disproportionate number of the Russian casualties, are not soldiers of the Russian Army. They are members of the local militias who are residents of the Donbass, the two republics that voted for their independence in 2014 and were formally annexed by Russia in 2022, and many of those soldiers have been fighting the Ukrainian military forces for a decade.

It’s as if Texas declared independence, was invaded and occupied by the US military, which was later driven out by the Texans with the assistance of Mexico. The analogy is imperfect, because Russia has taken, and will continue to take, Ukrainian land outside of the Donbas, but the special military operation is, and has always been, more a war of liberation than a foreign military invasion.

Russia has relied upon the local militias, as well as the Chechens and private military companies, in order to preserve most of its regular troops to fight the US Army. And, of course, the morale of the local militias is incredibly high because they are literally fighting for their land and their own homes.

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Zelensky Pulls the Trigger

The Kiev regime has replaced Valerii Zaluzhny as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with Oleksandr Syrsky, an ethnic Russian general who barely speaks Ukrainian and has a track record of uniform and very bloody failure. Simplicius explains the reason behind this already-unpopular decision:

Why would Zelensky appoint a commander that the entire armed forces allegedly hates?

In fact, this is a ‘design feature’ not a bug.

Recall that the reason Zaluzhny was given the boot was he had become too powerful: he was too loved by the troops, and by the people. Why? One of the reasons is likely because he fought for the troops multiple times. In early 2023, documents were leaked showing that he nearly begged Zelensky to pull troops back from Bakhmut, but the narco-Fuhrer refused, wanting it as a symbolic city defense—perhaps taken with romantic delusions of Stalingrad.

During the grand summer ‘counteroffensive’, Zaluzhny pulled the brigades of the 10th Army Corps back and began to use them sparingly—much to the chagrin and disapproval of US sponsors—after the initial first few wipes devastated columns of Leopards and Bradleys along the infamous road of death near Rabotino and Mala Tokmachka.

Recently it was claimed Zaluzhny likewise attempted to get Avdeevka totally withdrawn. It does not seem that he likes to waste men for what he knows to be fruitless efforts. Syrsky on the other hand appears glad to grind them down.

So, has it become obvious yet? Zelensky needs a commander-in-chief he can control, someone not universally loved by the troops; someone who cannot use those troops at a time of opportunity to ‘march on Kiev’ and oust Zelensky from his citadel. Syrsky appears to fit the perfect prototypical role: undefiant, unpopular, uncharismatic, and most importantly, untempted by political ambitions—the ideal subserviant factotum to Zelensky’s regime.

We do appear to be rapidly approaching the final stage of the Ukraine chapter of WWIII. Which should not be confused with the final stage of WWIII. We’re still in the beginning phase, albeit possibly getting closer to the end of the beginning.

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Tucker’s Putin Interview

I’m not at all interested in why Tucker Carlson is interviewing Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader is, after all, one of the most influential men on the planet and one of the few people whose opinion actually matters. I’m more interested in learning why Tucker is interviewing Putin NOW.

My guess is that after decades of demonization, and two years of relentless pro-Zelensky propaganda, Clown World has deemed it necessary to put a human face on the Russian leader in order to permit public acceptance of a negotiated surrender that the Ukrainian and NATO leaders are now desperately seeking prior to the next big Russian offensive that will reconfigure the situation on the ground.

Russia has claimed that its terms remain the same as they were at the start of the Special Military Operation, so it will be interesting to see how Putin portrays Russian aims in the interview.

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NATO’s Sicilian Expedition

Russian generals and military analysts increasingly betray open disdain for the incompetence of their Western counterparts. Even the ever-wary Putin, despite his habitual caution and openness to negotiation, radiates a distinct contempt for the enemies of Russia, perhaps in part due to his anticipation of them reliably choosing suboptimal courses.

And lest one think that the Russians are simply striking poses in order to put themselves in a better negotiating position, consider the insane new British plan to do just that as reported yesterday by RIA Novosti. Autotranslated from the Russian:

MOSCOW, Feb 2 — RIA Novosti. Great Britain invited NATO allies to consider sending an alliance expeditionary force to Ukraine, an informed source told RIA Novosti.

“In connection with the unfavorable development of events for Kiev at the Ukrainian theater of operations (TVD), Britain invited NATO allies to consider sending an alliance expeditionary force to Ukraine, as well as establishing a no-fly zone over the territory controlled by the Kiev authorities and increasing the supply of weapons and equipment VSU”, — said the agency interlocutor.

Nevertheless, the British side expects that with a significant weakening of the Armed Forces and the successful advancement of the Russian army deep into the territory of the former Soviet republic, the Allies will approve the initiative, the source noted. He specified that the kingdom offers to secretly transfer to Ukraine large highly maneuverable NATO forces from the border regions of Romania and Poland for the occupation of defensive lines on the right bank of the Dnieper.

In addition, the British plan involves the deployment in Norway and Finland of a contingent of the alliance and armies of individual members of the organization to “spray” the forces and means of the Russian troops, he said. “At the same time, attacks can be made on strategic infrastructure facilities in the northern regions of Russia,” — the source emphasized.

Then, according to him, the NATO military will create a buffer zone within the occupied positions, including the border with Belarus and the territory around Kiev, and the released reserves of the Armed Forces will be sent to the special operation zone. Thus, according to London, NATO will supposedly be able to undermine Russia’s offensive capabilities and Russia will have to negotiate, he said.

Britain intends to complete the preparation of such a scenario by May of this year, the source of the agency summarized.

London proposed to send NATO expeditionary force to Ukraine, RIA NOVOSTI, 2 February 2024

The last time Britain organized an expeditionary force against Russia, it did not go well. Very few in the West now recall the North Russian Intervention, which involved 32,000 British, French, and US troops being sent to Archangel for a year-and-a-half. But the Russians assuredly have not forgotten it. From Infogalactic:

The North Russia intervention, also known as the Northern Russian expedition, the Archangel campaign, and the Murman deployment, was part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War after the October Revolution. The intervention brought about the involvement of foreign troops in the Russian Civil War on the side of the White movement. The movement was ultimately defeated, while the British-led Allied forces withdrew from Northern Russia after fighting a number of defensive actions against the Bolsheviks, such as the Battle of Bolshie Ozerki. The campaign lasted from March 1918, during the final months of World War I, to October 1919.

Presumably, the USA is behind this latest British brainstorm, just as it was behind the decision of the Kiev regime to fight a proxy war for NATO instead of surrendering in April 2022 at the behest of then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But perhaps the neoclowns should focus on winning their latest war in Yemen and defeating that formidable military power before setting up to lose on yet another front in Ukraine.

Although it would be historically fitting if NATO were to end with its own Sicilian Expedition.

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The Russian Art of War

A new book by a French colonel explains the difference between Western and Russian military thought, and how the superiority of the latter is why the former loses its wars:

Throughout the Cold War period, the Soviet Union saw itself as the spearhead of a historical struggle that would lead to a confrontation between the “capitalist” system and “progressive forces.” This perception of a permanent and inescapable war led the Soviets to study war in a quasi-scientific way, and to structure this thinking into an architecture of military thought that has no equal in the Western world.

The problem with the vast majority of our so-called military experts is their inability to understand the Russian approach to war. It is the result of an approach we have already seen in waves of terrorist attacks—the adversary is so stupidly demonized that we refrain from understanding his way of thinking. As a result, we are unable to develop strategies, articulate our forces, or even equip them for the realities of war. The corollary of this approach is that our frustrations are translated by unscrupulous media into a narrative that feeds hatred and increases our vulnerability. We are thus unable to find rational, effective solutions to the problem.

The way Russians understand conflict is holistic. In other words, they see the processes that develop and lead to the situation at any given moment. This explains why Vladimir Putin’s speeches invariably include a return to history. In the West, we tend to focus on X moment and try to see how it might evolve. We want an immediate response to the situation we see today. The idea that “from the understanding of how the crisis arose comes the way to resolve it” is totally foreign to the West. In September 2023, an English-speaking journalist even pulled out the “duck test” for me: “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” In other words, all the West needs to assess a situation is an image that fits their prejudices. Reality is much more subtle than the duck model….

The reason the Russians are better than the West in Ukraine is that they see the conflict as a process; whereas we see it as a series of separate actions. The Russians see events as a film. We see them as photographs. They see the forest, while we focus on the trees. That is why we place the start of the conflict on February 24, 2022, or the start of the Palestinian conflict on October 7, 2023. We ignore the contexts that bother us and wage conflicts we do not understand. That is why we lose our wars…


In Russia, unsurprisingly, the principles of the military art of the Soviet forces inspired those currently in use:

  • readiness to carry out assigned missions;
  • concentration of efforts on solving a specific mission;
  • surprise (unconventionality) of military action vis-à-vis the enemy;
  • finality determines a set of tasks and the level of resolution of each one;
  • totality of available means determines the way to resolve the mission and achieve the objective (correlation of forces);
  • coherence of leadership (unity of command);
  • economy of forces, resources, time and space;
  • support and restoration of combat capability;
  • freedom of maneuver.
  • It should be noted that these principles apply not only to the implementation of military action as such. They are also applicable as a system of thought to other non-operational activities.

An honest analysis of the conflict in Ukraine would have identified these various principles and drawn useful conclusions for Ukraine. But none of the self-proclaimed experts on TV were intellectually able to do so.

Thus, Westerners are systematically surprised by the Russians in the fields of technology (e.g., hypersonic weapons), doctrine (e.g., operative art) and economics (e.g., resilience to sanctions). In a way, the Russians are taking advantage of our prejudices to exploit the principle of surprise. We can see this in the Ukrainian conflict, where the Western narrative led Ukraine to totally underestimate Russian capabilities, which was a major factor in its defeat. That is why Russia did not really try to counter this narrative and let it play out—the belief that we are superior makes us vulnerable….

This is very, very similar to what Martyanov describes in the current Castalia Library book, Losing Military Supremacy. Which should come as no surprise, as both men are familiar with Russian military thought and how different it is than what Victor Davis Hanson once described as the Western way of war. The short term thinking of the Western military strategists can most easily be seen in their historical obsession with “the decisive battle” and strange focus on the idea that losing a battle or two, or even denying him a sufficiently impressive victory, will somehow weaken the enemy leader and magically cause him to be replaced by a more amenable successor.

Which is why the Russians are patiently winning a brutal attrition war in Ukraine while the US bleeds itself out everywhere from Afghanistan to Yemen.

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Immiliteracy and its Consequences

The US military is already losing serious face around the world without even losing a ship, much less an aircraft carrier, in the Middle East:

Lost amid all the other news breaking in the last 24 hours is one particularly disturbing story: the United States Navy lost a battle at sea yesterday. CENTCOM put out an anodyne press release yesterday stating that afternoon, “Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists fired three anti-ship ballistic missiles from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the U.S.-flagged, owned, and operated container ship M/V Maersk Detroit, transiting the Gulf of Aden.

One missile impacted in the sea. The two other missiles were successfully engaged and shot down by the USS Gravely (DDG 107). There were no reported injuries or damage to the ship.” All well and good… but as it turned out there was a lot more to the story.

This engagement occurred while two American merchantmen – the Maersk Detroit and the Maersk Chesapeake – were attempting to run the Bab al-Mandeb from south to north while being covered by the USS Gravely. An AEGIS destroyer’s defensive umbrella should have turned this transit into a milk run – except it didn’t. CENTCOM admits that one of the Houthis’ tactical ballistic missiles – undemanding targets as far as such things go – got through the Gravely’s interceptors.

What they neglected to mention was that it struck about a hundred meters from the Maersk Detroit, and that after the attack the convoy aborted the transit and retreated back into the Arabian Sea rather than press on into enemy fire. Was retreat the correct decision at the moment? Probably, the Gravely was shepherding two lumbering merchantmen and facing unsuppressed shore batteries of unknown strength and capability in broad daylight, quite possibly without adequate air cover given the ambiguities of the Eisenhower’s exact station in the Red Sea and the limited combat radius of its air wing.

Was this operational plan inadequate? Almost certainly – reading between the lines, it reeks of a complacent assumption that Houthi missile batteries had actually been suppressed by a few rounds of air raids and that a single AEGIS destroyer could handle anything the Houthis could throw at them with no need for additional contingency planning.

In the event neither of these assumptions were correct – and because of it a convoy covered by one of the US Navy’s premier warships retreated from a battle that was going badly.

The United States Navy Essentially Lost A Battle At Sea This Week, ZEROHEDGE, 27 January 2024

Now, this decision to turn around and leave the danger zone was obviously an eminently intelligent decision by the captain commanding the convoy. At this point, the escorts aren’t there to actually protect the cargo ships, they were intended to dissuade the Yemenis from launching any attacks in the first place. Obviously, the attempt at intimidation failed, so the captain did the right thing and saved both his destroyer as well as the merchant ships that were attacked by abandoning the planned transit of the Gulf of Aden.

The problem is that the media has been relentlessly attacking the Russian generals who did precisely the same sort of thing at the beginning of the disastrous Ukrainian counteroffensive. In fact, one of the reasons the AFU counteroffensive was so disastrous was because the Russians wisely withdrew their troops from untenable positions and fell back to ground that could be better defended at a reduced cost. Which, it has

Being completely immiliterate – Is that even a word? If it isn’t, it should be – the media invariably describes every strategic retreat, tactical fall-back, or exit from an indefensible position as a defeat. So, there is no way to avoid the rhetorical consequences of the fact that a small group of desert fighters managed to drive off a US destroyer that might have even been protected by the air cover of a US carrier.

Bravely the US Navy sailed into the Red Sea
They were not afraid to sink, so brave the Navy!
They were not at all afraid to be sunk beneath the waves.
Brave, brave, brave, the Navy!

More, inevitably, to come.

And the public demonstration of weakness, too, has consequences.

It was reported, that the U.S. offered through the Swiss embassy to Iran, to strike one of their sites but Iran should not retaliate. This would allow the US to save face. Looks like it was REJECTED.

UPDATE: No wonder the captain of the Gravely decided to retreat. It was clearly the right decision.

CNN reports per 4 Defense Officials that yesterday’s interception of a Houthi ASCM by USS Gravely (DDG-107) was at a range of around 1 mile or 0.86 nautical miles and was shot down by the ships CIWS. This is the first specifically reported instance of a Houthi missile/drone interception by CIWS. This is the closest interception to date the others being within 5-10 miles away.

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