“Russian Horses for Courses. Israel All Bets Are Off.”
Israel’s leaders would be well-advised not to misinterpret Russia’s military’s lacklustre performance in the Russia Ukraine conflict. Any comparison to a potential war between Russia and the Jewish State on Israel’s northern border would be a grave mistake.
One reason for Russia’s poor performance in Ukraine is the belief by many military personnel that they are fighting and killing their brothers and sisters while destroying much of the orthodox medieval state known as the Kievan Rus, seen by Russians as the common point of origin for the two peoples and the cradle of their nation.
This war tears at the heartstrings of both Russians and Ukrainians despite their grievances.
A conflict between Israel and Russia would be seen very differently by a belligerent mother, Russia. The Kremlins propagandists would draw on centuries of ingrained anti-Semitism while painting a picture of Zionist Fascist aggression towards the Arab people as victims of Jewish oppression. The Russian leadership would rely on their anti-Semitic population to trust their ingrained prejudice, not the facts.
We have seen in recent days Jews coming under siege as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov demonises Jews by suggesting Hitler had Jewish blood and Jews were the worst ant-Semites in society. This is a foretaste of the propaganda campaign Russia would launch against the State of Israel should it decide to mobilise its forces against the Jewish people.
From a purely military angle, one only has to read Russian martial history to know that Russia has a record of botched campaigns from the early Napoleonic era through the first Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940. The Soviets threw a million men against tiny Finland, who put up a skilful and effective defence during the winter, and the vastly superior Red Army failed to make headway. In February 1940, the Russians settled for massive artillery barrages to breach the Finns’ stretched defences. Eventually, through dint of numbers and material, they succeeded in forcing the Finns to negotiate.
The early days of the German offensive against Stalinist Russia in the Second World War were an even greater disaster for Soviet arms. The Red Army came close to total collapse before regrouping and eventually going on the offensive to Berlin in 1945.
These are only some of the military debacles Russia has experienced before steadying the ship and finding its fighting spirit, making it twice as deadly towards its enemy.
Today’s conflict in Ukraine may well prove to be another such occasion.
“It’s Russian Horses for Courses. Israel, all bets are off.”