In war, the stronger party prevails.
Asymmetric warfare only works when the weaker party has political protection. Perhaps like the Taliban, the weaker party is fighting soldiers required to operate as heavily armed nursemaids. Perhaps like Mao after the long march or the communists in Greece, the weaker party is launching raids from across a border that the stronger party is reluctant to cross.
The usual scenario where asymmetric warfare works is that the State Department fears the Pentagon more than it fears America’s enemies, and requires US troops to operate by police rules, while those the Pentagon is fighting operate by the laws of war.
When Russia intervened in Syria to rescue their ally and preserve their Mediterranean base, the usual suspects, in particular President Obama announced Russia was getting into a quagmire. Instead Russia has, as I predicted, been decisively and thoroughly winning, largely through shelling, bombing, blockade, and siege – slow but thorough tactics that deny the weaker party any opportunity to do even a small amount of damage to the stronger. Less sweat that way than taking strong places by storm.
The Turkish controlled parts of Aleppo and west of Aleppo have now been cut off from Turkey, and are now already conserving food and ammunition. Short of an open land and air intervention by Turkey, short of open non proxy war between Russia and Turkey, will wither on the vine and fall in a few months.
Russia is also bombing the hell out of Islamic State’s Turkish supply lines, but has as yet made no attempt to cut them off on the ground. Once Aleppo falls to siege, will probably turn its attention to laying siege to Islamic State.
The current peace talks illustrates asymmetric warfare in a nutshell: The weaker losing side rather than the stronger winning side is laying down preconditions and making demands, the primary demand being that Russia stop advancing. In other words, they are asking the State Department to stop the Russians from winning in the same way the State Department has so regularly stopped the Pentagon from winning. The State Department indignantly blames Russia for the failure of the peace talks, which supposedly failed because the weaker side is getting hammered so hard and is suffering so badly.