Ever read Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising? In it, the Soviets almost take Europe. How about Sir John Hackett’s The Third World War? Same scenario as Clancy except with limited nuke strikes. In Red Army by Ralph Peters the Russians take it all and end up on the Rhine.

That used to be the prevailing notion, that the Russians were this juggernaut that we could barely beat, if that. But, given their performance in Ukraine that is no longer the opinion. Their military reputation has been significantly downgraded due to their inept operational capabilities.

Yes, I know the Soviets and the Russians are two different entities. But many of the issues we thought, when I was in Army Intelligence in Europe in the 80s, would plague the Soviets are on full display in Ukraine. Shoddy maintenance, low morale, non existent initiative, poor battlefield coordination, aging equipment, conscript troops, and air force timidity are only several of the problems the Russians display in this war. There are more and people are noticing. The bear’s growl will henceforth not draw the fear it once did.

We’re noticing and acting accordingly. NATO is noticing and will likely change tactics to take advantage of Russian weaknesses. But you know who is really taking notes? The Chicoms.

The Chinese have taken the Russians for a ride in Ukraine. They egged them on and now when the Russians are bogged down the Chinese are hedging their bets. Lavrov’s plane didn’t turn around because he wanted some hometown borscht. The Chinese likely canceled the chin wag. Not a good sign for the Kremlin.

Beijing sees the Russian Navy just today losing ships to a small but on the ball Ukraine. They see the Russian Air Force as bumbling cowards who won’t fly over the Ukrainian SAM belt. And the Army? Where do you even start?

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Their armored columns have the speed, shock, and awe of molasses. The troops have no idea why they are there and make propaganda broadcasts on social media for the Ukrainians. Tanks are stalled on the side of the road for lack of gas. Atrocities committed tell of an undisciplined and badly led force. A campaign that was supposed to take four days max, to compete with Desert Storm, is a month old on Thursday with no end in sight.

The Chinese see this and take note how gullible the Russians are in walking over a tactical and strategic cliff at their encouragement. Now the Russians are weakened and by default the Chinese move up a peg or two in the global pecking order. And then there’s Siberia.

China, due to the one child policy, has a generation of single men who may not find mates. The one child policy favored the killing of female infants because males would be better agricultural workers. What are those guys going to do? Well, just to the north in Siberia is a lightly defended mineral rich frontier just begging to become a Chinese province. Bet there’s a girl or three up there as well.

And the limited forces defending Siberia? As we and the Chinese see in Ukraine, probably of non impressive caliber. Do the geopolitical math. A weakened Russia is weak all over. Not just in Ukraine, not just in Europe, but everywhere. Ergo…