I observed a very wide-spread opinion during the past years; most interested people assumed that counter-insurgencies, small wars would be the face of war in the future. few others meant that the experiences or Iraq and Afghanistan were so negative that politicians would avoid such conflicts for some time (till the political lessons learned are forgotten).
Well, the past days gave us photos of tank columns in a war, burnt-out and decapitated tank wreck photos and apparently some classic conventional warfare.
The Russians have reached a region of Georgia that's better suited for armoured warfare than mot of South Ossetia, the type of warfare and its perception will likely not change much before the war ends.
(Putin seems to intend a much more direct replacement of the Georgian government than I expected, asking for its resignation directly as condition for a cease-fire - a probably politically very costly choice in the long run).
The Georgia war has even seen air attacks, a naval blockade and sinking of a naval warship (missile boat) and the use of modern anti-air defenses.
The equipment in use was 20-40 years old and the combat experiences won't tell much about modern military technology, but the shape of war as a conventional war directly involving a superpower that's not being called "USA" impresses some people.
I've read several remarks that mocked about the "future of war = COIN" assumption in the past few days.
The West-East struggle finally got some attention as well, we will likely see some political efforts aimed at the Ukraine quite soon.
It's no new Cold War, but we're back at obvious Great power politics - this time about alliance definition and conventional war prevention/preparation, not about kicking around some non-industrialized countries.
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