We might solve a small problem by making it bigger. — attributed to Donald Rumsfeld
He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. — Sun Tzu
More Union soldiers than Confederate soldiers died in the “War between the States;” nevertheless, the Union prevailed.
NATO is committed to the defense of Ukraine. President Biden has promised not to send soldiers, but Americans are involved, reportedly training, helping, and presumably more. Russia is the larger country, thus is likely to prevail in a long war. What should we do if Ukraine’s resistance ends?
Till now the response to Russian advances has been escalation. This isn’t sustainable; there is a limit to what is feasible. Already, even without American soldiers dying, some Americans object to the cost.
The prospect of turning our backs should Russia prevail is distasteful. Alternatives might involve the carrot or the stick. The stick (sanctions, threats or escalation) is unlikely to end the war, so we must look for a carrot. The longer the war continues and the more that Russia occupies, the harder a diplomatic solution becomes.
One possible plan is a ceasefire without resolution of any issues, like that ending the Korean War. Another is a ceasefire followed by a negotiated settlement. A third is to leave it up to Russia to stop when they are either satisfied or exhausted. What is our exit strategy? Whatever the answer might be, I hope the Biden Administration is thinking about it.