Hello, everyone. Peter Zeihan here coming to you from an exciting hotel room in my home state of Iowa. This does not happen often. Anywho. I thought since I’m here in Iowa, it would be a good time to talk about assassination as a strategic strategy.
On May 1st, a really interesting thing happened in the Ukraine war. The Ukrainians got a chunk of intelligence about where the commanding general, one Gerasimov, was near the city of Izium and actually managed to sneak some explosives into the party via, you know, artillery, and missed him, but got a couple dozen of his senior aides as well as another general. So, so far the Ukrainians have been really good at popping off Russian generals. And this was the most successful attack yet. Now what’s interesting about this is there is no way that the Russians are gonna let Gerasimov’s information just be out there on the web or anything.
And he certainly wasn’t going to use an unencrypted phone like a lot of other Russian commanders have done. So the only way that I can see that the Ukrainians were able to note where he was and what he was doing with enough detail that they could try to hit him was because the Americans were providing the info. And we’ve had an endless cavalcade of American officials from the State Department, from the Defense Department, from the NSA, even from the CIA, admit that they are sharing targeting information with the Ukrainians on a real-time-to-target basis. And the understanding is some sort of similar cooperation is what allowed the Ukrainians to know how and when to target the Moskva. That was the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet last month, which has been the biggest ship to be drowned in war time since World War II.
Now we’re gonna be seeing a lot more of this moving forward. The United States has the world’s best satellite system, so it can easily identify command post and troop concentration. And the United States clearly has the world’s best signals intelligence system.
So we know, for example, that the Americans have been reading Putin’s email and tapping his phone since the beginning of the war with enough reliability that they’ve been, the Americans have been able to share Russia’s plans with the world before Russia can even act on them.
Now, that is important enough as it is the idea that the United States is sharing, targeting information with the Ukrainians, big deal. But the Ukrainians to this point have been limited to the weapons that they have themselves plus stingers and javelins and things like that.
What has changed and what’s about to change in the month of May is that heavy equipment is starting to reach Ukrainian lines, specifically how it serves long range artillery pieces. Now, the Americans are being very hush hush on the type of ammo, and I can understand why, but the standard, howitzer ammo has a range of 13 to 14 miles and a 50% accuracy hit rate of about 150 feet. So you use that for area saturation. You use that to attack large troop concentrations. And the whole idea is you have a whole bunch of these firing at more or less the same time to get a lot of explosions in a relatively tight circle.
But, there’s another type of ammo called Excalibur that has a range of 24 miles. So nearly twice as far, and that 50% hit circle is only 16 feet. Now this is obviously more useful for targeting very specific targets or people. And if you marry the Excalibur weapon system and the howitzer that the fires it to American intel about where the commanders happen to be, the Ukrainians are about to have the capacity to execute a complete decapitation strategy for the entire Russian assault.
If Russia is not, I’m sorry, if Ukraine is not gonna lose this war, this is how it would happen. Working with the Americans, they simply destroy the Russian’s ability to have any command in control. Now, as important as that is, and it is, and it’s critical for the war, how this unfolds now over the course of the next several weeks, it’s also applicable in a different way.
The United States is done being involved in regular wars. Americans got tired of the forever war. We’re out of the Middle East now, and we think that’s broadly a good thing, and it would really take some interesting and bold changes in what’s going on in the world for the Americans to want to deploy a hundred thousand ground troops to another theater. This is a template. What’s going on with the Excalibur and the howitzers and the Ukrainians. This is a template for how the United States is going to fight wars long into the future for at least the next 15 years, probably a little bit longer, where we choose, we actively choose sides. And then we ship an appropriate weapon system and back it up with the appropriate intelligence support so that it can be an order of magnitude, more effective on the battlefield, or even on the political side of things as we’re going to see with the Ukrainian war this month.
And I can see the United States doing this for or against any number of countries out there. Now we’re entering a deglobalized world where the United States footprint is smaller, where American interests in the rest of the world are lower, and where America’s tolerance for the vol for the violence level in other parts of the world is very, very high. But can you imagine what would happen in places like, let’s just pick one, China and Taiwan, where the Americans are providing time-on-target information at the Taiwanese who already have longer range weapons systems? You can talk about the Chinese losing the capacity to operate their ports with less than 72 hours of effort from Taiwan in that sort of environment. And you can apply this sort of idea to any conflict out there. All the United States does needs is a sufficiently professional motivated military cadre in the ally who can then take the fight to whoever the foe happens to be. And now it can do it with a range of more than 20 miles. Okay. That’s everything for me until next time.