Stipulating that we have no idea how this will turn out, it is worth tallying some of the surprises thus far.
Apparent lack of punch in Russian initial attack, to include on Ukrainian air forces; ineffective airborne assaults and spetsnaz raids; ferocity of Ukrainian resistance in depth.
Unanimity of western response, to include arms supplies (e.g. Sweden of all places), and Germans not only participating in sanctions, but deciding to lay out double their annual defense budget. This on top of demonstrations, etc.
Extent of sanctions, to include suspending SWIFT, and much more; closing of air space to Russian aircraft, and the general move to make Russia a pariah state. This includes denunciations from, e.g. Kenya and other non-European states.
Western and Ukrainian superiority in the information warfare realm -- to include heartening videos and stories, pictures of Russian soldiers looting or being pushed around by Ukrainian civilians, etc. all on top of effective release of US and allied intel before the crisis.
What appears to be considerable Ukrainian tactical successes against Russian armored columns, and serious problems with the battalion tactical groups which we have heard so much about.
A variety of forms of opposition to the war being expressed in Russia, which takes considerable courage on the part of those doing it. Including more muted criticisms from within the elite.
The leadership qualities of President Zelensky, grossly underestimated by a lot of Western analysts.
And I could go on. The point is that analysts who were (a) mesmerized by Russian hardware; (b) impressed by Russian doctrine; (c) inclined to pessimism about Western democracy in general and the willingness to push back of our leaders missed a great deal.
Instead, some old truths, all found in Clausewitz and Tolstoy, viz., the moral element matters in war, as do the decisions of many individuals; that the fog of war exists; that war is the domain of surprise; and that it is about interaction, not mechanical planning.
Finally: we do not know how this will unfold, but one does sense that history is moving remarkably quickly here. And - at great cost in human suffering - the outcome may be the end of the road for a brutal dictator, and renewed confidence in free institutions. One hopes. [https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1498026780204191747.html]