Three lessons for the West from Russia's war in Ukraine

Publication: The Looking Glass

The first edition of the Looking Glass for 2023 features a slightly unusual piece: an attempt to understand what lessons Australia should draw from Russia's war against Ukraine as it enters its second year. The lessons the authors identify are by no means exhaustive (in fact they were going to add a fourth: 'So maybe tanks aren't obsolete', but decided discretion would be the better part of valor). Nonetheless, they feel this is a useful collection of broad observations, which may help inform more specific discussions about the implications for Australian defence planning. Lesson one: successful deterrence relies on credibility. Lesson two: a positive correlation of forces isn't a good predictor of actual performance. Lesson three: the West needs to think much more strategically about Russia and Ukraine.