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Kudos to Commander Salamander
The War in Ukraine (2014-2023)
Prognostication is, to quote the immortal words of Bonnie Tyler, a fool’s game. This is particularly true of all things related to war, which, as the most famous son of Frau von Clausewitz so wisely reminds us, remains, as it always was and always will be, the realm of uncertainty. Nonetheless, every once in a while, a prophecy comes true, and that, at least for the sayer of sooth, is a cause for celebration.
On 24 February 2023, Commander Salamander commemorated the first anniversary of the start of the “special military operation” with a piece about the seven predictions that he made about that conflict that proved prescient. Of these, my favorites are the ones that align with material published here in the Tactical Notebook over the course of the past three months.
The first of these instances of great minds thinking alike concerns the increasingly strained relationship between Germany and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is part of the larger phenomenon of the difference between the front-line states of “new- and almost- NATO” and the first European states to sign up for the Atlantic Alliance. So, whether you call it the Baltic Area Treaty Organization (BATO) or Intermarium 2.0, the club of states full of people who want to stick a stick in Mr. Putin’s eye has shifted to the east.
The second area of overlap between the wisdom of ol’ Sal and that of my sainted Irish mother’s best looking son concerns the type of fighting forces that Ukraine should cultivated in the years between the “little green men” crisis of 2014 and wild ride of the Battalion Tactical Groups. Sea dog that he is, the good commander did not go into detail about the organization and armament of such units. He didn’t have, because Franz Uhle-Wettler did the necessary stubby pencil work back in 1980.