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OPINION

What If Everyone Is Wrong About The Russian Military?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

As a kid, the only thing close to as tough as the United States military was those communist bastards they were protecting us from. We were tougher, of course, but since we were the good guys, we didn’t even consider invading them. Should they invade us, which we knew they wanted to do, we’d be ready to kick some commie ass! At least, that’s what we told ourselves, mostly to avoid thinking about the complete, total and worldwide nuclear annihilation. Times have changed, and so has the Russian military…or has it?

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We always assumed they were as strong militarily as we were, but mostly because of parades and their size. Everyone has seen the footage of battalions marching through Red Square, huge intercontinental ballistic missiles rolling along with them in a sea of soldiers and tanks. They sure projected strength and readiness. But maybe they weren’t ready?

All we really had to go on was the Soviet Union’s word, their propaganda videos, and the fact that they could push around so small countries. But maybe they were a super-power based solely on their huge nuclear arsenal? 

We never really saw the Soviets take on another organized military, their power was largely acquired through propping up dictators and intimidation – they were very good at disappearing the disloyal and beating up the weak. 

We were told they were strong, minus the nukes, mostly because they were big, and that assumption continues to this day. But their actions in Ukraine are not that of a world-class military, not by a long-shot. It’s more like a drunken douchebag indiscriminately launching rockets, quite possibly because they lack anything with precision. We can drop a missile down a chimney with the accuracy of Santa Claus, but what if the Russians couldn’t even hit a brick in a brick factory? 

Remember what we were told about the Republican Guard in Iraq? They were the “best of the best.” Pick your Gulf War, when they started, the story was about how we’d have no real issues with the regular Iraqi troops, but when we encountered the Republican Guard, things would get hairy. They never did. The Republican Guard was as insignificant as the regular army. Both times the people in charge were completely wrong about what we were up against, the RG folded like a cheap tent. Could history be repeating itself with Russia?

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They have a lot of nuclear weapons, so we have to respect that (though maybe the geniuses who’ve been wrong about everything else were also wrong about that?), but as far as their army goes, they seem pretty terrible. It’s tough to say if they’re targeting civilians or simply launching wildly because they can’t target anything – Putin being a monster doesn’t help with this. But logistically, they are absolutely a joke.

A competent military doesn’t get a 40-mile long convoy, on which most of their alleged strategy depends, stuck in the mud and out of gas for three weeks.

What I think might be at play is pretty simple: the military leadership in Russia is just as corrupt as the political leadership, because why wouldn’t it be? When the people giving you orders are dipping their hands into the pie, why wouldn’t you when whatever is left gets to you? That leads to corners being cut, to laziness. 

That’s all well and good, and you can get away with that for a very long time. But every once in a while, a propaganda video is needed or a parade must occur. Well, it’s pretty easy to get people to march in a line, especially when you get to pick the people best at it and can hide the rest. While those bad-ass, ripped soldiers in those Russian military videos clearly exist, there doesn’t seem to be that many of them. Take a look at any of the pictures of captured Russian soldiers in Ukraine. Do they look ripped or do they look pregnant and ready to retire? 

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What if our government has been wrong about the Russian military all along like they were about the Iraqis? And if they were wrong about that, could they also be wrong about China?

Having a billion and a half people and a willingness to sacrifice as many as needed to achieve your objective is as much of a military strength at it is evil, but what if that’s all the Chinese military has going for it too? 

It’s hard to tell, and I don’t want to find out the only way we can every really know, but it’s something worth pondering. Maybe we’re the only military in the world that projects its actual strength? Our politicians don’t allow its use – we failed in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan because the politicians put such stupid restrictions and rules of engagement on our troops that might as well have blindfolded them – but we have the capabilities, we don’t just parade and edit videos well. 

Mao famously called the United States a “paper tiger” – appearing strong but nothing really to be afraid of. What if that applies to our enemies? I’m not sure how that changes how we act as a nation, but I can’t imagine it not having some impact. 

Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter

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