On May 5, Laura Resnick Samotin published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal examining why Russian conscripts have underperformed in the war in Ukraine. 

“We have already seen one recent war between conscript armies. While conscription does not appear to have played a major role in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020, the current war in Ukraine already has lasted longer than it did and will certainly replace that conflict as the primary lesson planners use. China, with a large conscript army of its own, is likely drawing lessons from Russia’s performance as it considers potential military adventurism in the Pacific. Given the success of the Ukrainian military against Russia’s conscript army, some are calling for Taiwan to form a standing all-volunteer force modeled after Ukraine’s. Doing so could signal resolve, as well as indicate to China that any attempt to take the island would result in a prolonged war of attrition that a conscript army may be ill-equipped to fight.

“Other countries should take notice of Russia’s challenges in Ukraine and rethink plans to turn away from the all-volunteer force model that has proven successful in the modern era.”

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