The Spanish Civil War which was fought between 1936 and 1939 is commonly considered to be the dress rehearsal for the Second World War. Two nations in particular sent aid to the conflict’s combatants. The Soviet Union did so on the side of the Republicans while Germany did the same on the Nationalist side, (as did Italy but to a lesser extent).
While undoubtedly politics played a part in these nations rushing arms and troops to the Spanish front, the underlining motivation behind their respective aid was selfish – they used the war to test new weapons and strategy techniques, and the lessons learned were put to excellent use in the subsequent much wider conflict that broke out shortly afterwards.
The rest of the world sat and watched and did not reap the military benefits that Germany and the USSR did. Today we have a similar situation developing in Eastern Europe, the conflict in the Ukraine which is now appearing to be the dress rehearsal for World War Three.
Larry Johnson writes about China being on the cusp of sending military aid to Russia, even though the aid is in itself not really needed.
I think China wants a chance to field test some of its weaponry and drones against a foe that shoots back in order to see how they perform in a combat environment. Firing artillery or surface-to-air missiles on a closed range does not compare with lighting them up on a bona fide battlefield.
The Chinese know what is coming and they want to prepare for it. And in the Ukraine they get to test their weapon systems against the same weapons that they will have to go up against when they take back Taiwan.
Russia is doing the same, it is draining the Ukraine of men and materials while at the same time drawing out the conflict to both exhaust its foes and test its own weapons against those of their undeclared enemies. NATO continues to push more and more weapons into the conflict thus playing into Russia’s hands. The men of Ukraine and the NATO troops sent under the guise of being foreign mercenaries are the sacrificial recruits in the weapons testing game.
And the Ukraine conflict has the look of a generational war, a war which will turn conventional military doctrine on its head. This is because of the new paradigm of drones and unmanned ships and armor, and perhaps aircraft very soon. This was already dramatically tested in the previous conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a great victory to the latter nation which used drones extensively to decimate Armenia’s troops.
Does the United States realise this? One would think so, but then again they continue to feed their weapons into the meat grinder. In other words, their actions do not support the idea that they are cognizant of this greater drama. Perhaps they do understand but they are politically and economically bound to their current strategy, trapped to continue their losing ploy even though they grasp that they have been outplayed.
Of course, for us mortals the future is ominous. It all points to really being the dress rehearsal for the big one.