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.
Nothing short of the total removal of Russian troops from Ukraine. Otherwise, aggression is rewarded.
Not at any cost, in my opinion.
About the Korean War, Bruce Cummings writes in “Korea’s Place in the Sun” (Norton, New York, 1997): When the war finally ended on July 27, 1953, the North had been devastated by three years of bombing attacks that hardly left a modern building standing. Both Koreas had watched as a virtual holocaust ravaged their country and turned the vibrant expectations of 1945 into a nightmare. The point to remember is that this was a civil war, and, as a British diplomat once said, “every country has a right to have its War of the Roses.” The true tragedy was not the war itself, for a civil conflict purely among Koreans might have resolved the extraordinary tensions generated by colonialism, national division and foreign intervention. The tragedy was that the war solved nothing: only the status quo ante was restored, only an armistice held the peace. Today the tensions and the problems remain.