Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum


[email protected]

December 1, 2023

The Proxy war in Ukraine was Biden’s foreign policy targeting Russia and/or Putin. Biden rallied European allies and Zelenskyy happily joined to take on Putin. Specifically, Zelenskyy was pumped up as global strongman matches with Putin. Zelenskyy, without any government experience, zero military credential, but a very good actor, holds an impractical condition for cease fire, plundered his nation into a disaster without any exist strategy.

Biden, facing a “mission impossible” reelection bid less than one year away, is claiming credits that the aids for Ukraine benefitted those states with military industries. So, Biden’s solemn pledge to Zelenskyy that “U.S. would support Ukraine in its war effort for “as long as it takes.” It is an over statement, because Biden does not speak for the US, the President of the US does not control the federal budget. With low approval rating and trailing Trump for reelection, it is tough for Biden to keep any promises.

Further, if the US and allies would tell Zelenskyy the self-evident truth that Ukraine will never beat Russia with this proxy war, and that it is time to stop the bleeding, then it is Zelenskyy’s call or let the people in Ukraine decide their fate without Zelenskyy.

No Exit Strategy: Ukraine Edition

MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY is a senior writer at National Review Online.

The great blob of foreign-policy opinion that supports the Biden policy in Ukraine is wriggling itself into a new position.

Over the last year, President Joe Biden has repeatedly promised that the U.S. would support Ukraine in its war effort for “as long as it takes.” He has vowed that Ukraine is in charge of its own war effort and is determining its own goals. At times, the administration has suggested that the war would end with the downfall of Vladimir Putin — regime change in Russia. The president even suggested as much in an improvised line during a speech in Poland.

It turns out that “as long as it takes” may mean little more than 21 months. In fact, for months, the United States has been critical of Ukraine’s strategy and tactics. The German magazine Bild reported last week that Biden was going back on his word, that the U.S. and Germany would both begin to softly pressure Ukraine to go to the negotiating table with Russia. Bild‘s report was hotly denied by the administration, but the truth is that the great blob of respectable foreign-policy opinion that supports the Biden policy in Ukraine is wriggling itself into a new position. Look no further than the recent editorials in the Wall Street Journal: “It’s Time to End Magical Thinking About Russia’s Defeat” or “How to Avoid Defeat in Ukraine.”

Suddenly, not so confident. The fact is that negotiations may not be available. An earlier deal may have been thrown away under the advice of then–prime minister Boris Johnson. And the last propitious time for negotiations was years ago when Ukraine had just successfully made a counteroffensive push and Western support and morale were at their highest. As I wrote much earlier, this contest is not like a mom-and-pop bingo game where you can cash out at any time; Putin has a say in when it ends.

There is no immediate prospect of American or Western arms industries being able to furnish Ukraine with as much firepower for 2024 as was provided in 2023. Stocks are depleted, and now other allies such as Israel and Taiwan are scrambling to compete with Ukraine for what’s left, or what will be on the factory line next. There is no possibility the U.S. can go back to allies like South Korea and achieve the same level of donations, loans, and military gifts to Ukraine. Meanwhile, because Russia mobilized its society in its war effort, the Russian people feel invested in the outcome in a way Westerners do not. Old Soviet factories are outdoing the entire West in the production of shells.

These problems were the foreseeable consequence of Western leaders pursuing policy beyond public opinion. Russia is playing in its own backyard, for stakes that the Russian people accept and have been willing to sacrifice to meet. Most wars turn into wars of production and attrition. Americans have good will for all nations, but it is difficult to explain to Americans how their security and prosperity depend upon the massive nationalist project of fully detaching Ukraine, politically, economically, and culturally, from Russia. Once it was obvious that Western publics had no appetite for joining the fight themselves, Russia’s path to some level of victory meant merely waiting us out.

In the long run, everyone understood that the stakes were about Russia’s access to the Black Sea. A Ukraine that kept its territorial claims to Crimea and wanted to join NATO would have to end Moscow’s lease for a naval base in Sevastopol and eject the Russians from it. In the past, Russia could merely expect that its political and economic clout would make this a fait accompli. Since Maidan in 2014, Russia has made a different calculation. Russia will also suffer in the long run from this war of choice — it will suffer for its extra dependence on China, and in a long rebuild of its military capacity. But in the medium term, it has given itself an opportunity to humiliate the West.

Now, the Biden administration is faced with spending enormous political and financial capital re-arming Ukraine for another more successful offensive in less propitious circumstances, or it must accept some level of humiliation. Biden and whatever government survives in Kyiv must sell the continued existence of a Ukrainian state as enough of a victory. It falls far short of the previous aspirations of retaking the Donbas and Crimea, let alone toppling Putin. But wisdom in foreign policy is found in making credible commitments. In Ukraine, sadly, promises are hard to keep.

Zelenskiy Faces Manpower Dilemma in Ukraine’s Stalled Offensive

Volodymyr Verbianyi and Daryna Krasnolutska

Wed, November 29, 2023 at 9:00 PM PST

(Bloomberg) — A plan to draft more Ukrainian men into the army has been sitting on President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s desk since June. The wartime leader so far has defied pressure from the military to sign it.

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