Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
November 28, 2023
We do not accept the blame that “America is failing Ukraine!” First, Ukrainians failed Ukraine because they elected an ineffective leader Zelenskyy as their President. He was the single person who led Ukraine to this Proxy war without any exit strategy.
Second, the Proxy war in Ukraine is under Biden’s watch. Please take a look at the persistent low public supporting level of President Biden, Biden’s policy is not fully supported by the US. So it is appropriate to state that “Biden is failing Ukraine.”
In fact, if the US and ally are determined to “The long-term degradation of Russia’s military and political power,” stalemate of this proxy war is perfect. There is no need to break the banks for supporting Ukraine.
In this sense, Zelenskyy’s demand of “the expulsion of Russian forces from Ukrainian land and the full restoration of its territorial integrity, including Crimea” is also perfect. Because “strategically they are out of reach, certainly for the near future and quite possibly beyond.”
The quagmire of the Proxy way in Ukraine can be resolved when Ukrainians take back their nation from Zelenskyy.
America is failing Ukraine
Tue, November 28, 2023 at 8:24 AM PST
If you haven’t heard much about Russia’s war in Ukraine lately, it’s not because no news is good news. In fact, the war in Ukraine may be tipping in exactly the direction Russian President Vladimir Putin wants.
Ukraine failed to make major breakthroughs in its much-touted 2023 offensive, intended to break Russian lines in eastern and southern Ukraine and push Russian forces back toward the Crimean peninsula. Billions of dollars’ worth of American and European military hardware arrived too late, giving Russian forces months to build stout defenses Ukraine proved unable to penetrate, except for small breakthroughs. Exhaustion and winter mud have now effectively ended that offensive.
Isolationist Republicans who now control the US House of Representatives have so far scotched $61 billion in additional aid President Biden wants for Ukraine, and some weaponry designated for Ukraine is now instead headed to Israel as it wages war with the Hamas terrorist group.
Despite devastating losses, Russia’s posture in Ukraine is getting stronger, with some analysts saying it is Ukraine that now needs to shift to defense. “Russia will be materially advantaged in 2024,” military analyst Michael Kofman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said on a recent podcast. “If the West just assumes it’s a stalemate and can reduce its commitment to Ukraine, Russian advantages will compound because Russia doesn’t accept the stalemate.”
A slim majority of Americans still support robust US aid for Ukraine, but opposition has grown during the last six months. Most Republicans now say the United States is doing too much for Ukraine, while only 44% of Independents and 14% of Democrats feel that way. A chief complaint among Ukraine objectors is that President Biden should be focusing more on homegrown problems such as inflation and the influx of undocumented migrants.
But that’s a false dichotomy, and the United States is getting something important for its spending on Ukraine: The long-term degradation of Russia’s military and political power. US military aid for Ukraine is only about 5% of the nation’s defense budget, which exists in part to counter and contain Russia.
Ukraine isn’t losing. Early in the war, it repelled invading Russia forces from northern Ukraine, and later in 2022, from key strongholds in the northeast and southeast. Ingenious naval drones have chased Russian warships away from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and allowed the export of grain and other products, an astonishing feat for a country that basically lacks a navy. Russia still controls 18% of the Ukraine, but has gained basically no ground all year.
Two Western assumptions about the war have collapsed, however. The first is that Western training, intelligence, and equipment would tilt the war in Ukraine’s favor. It hasn’t. The second is that Russia would continue the shambolic battlefield performance of the invasion’s early days, when poorly prepared units expecting a cakewalk instead met determined resistance that sent them reeling. But the Russians have learned to plug holes, adapt to Ukrainian innovations, and keep their war machine rumbling along.
Meanwhile, some Ukraine backers are beginning to say it’s time for Ukraine and its allies to change strategies.
“Kyiv’s war aims — the expulsion of Russian forces from Ukrainian land and the full restoration of its territorial integrity, including Crimea — remain legally and politically unassailable,” Richard Haass and Charles Kupchan wrote in Foreign Affairs recently. “But strategically they are out of reach, certainly for the near future and quite possibly beyond. [Ukraine’s] near-term priorities need to shift from attempting to liberate more territory to defending and repairing the more than 80 percent of the country that is still under its control.”
Haass and Kupchan argue that Ukraine should dig its own defensive fortifications, similar to Russia’s, and push for an enforceable cease-fire, while letting Russia worry about further territorial gains.
Since Russia invaded in February 2022, the Biden administration has armed Ukraine incrementally, first withholding and then providing key equipment such as armor, air defenses, and missiles that can reach far behind enemy lines. Biden has been careful not to push a nuclear-armed Russia over some perceived red line that would trigger a disproportionate Russian response. Europe has broadly followed the same pattern. But Russia never responded as more and more advanced Western weaponry arrived in Ukraine, prompting complaints that Washington has been too timid, and is not in it to win it.
“When I see this and ask the question whether the US administration wants Ukraine to win the war? The answer I see is ‘no,’” historian Phillips O’Brien of the University of St. Andrews wrote on Nov. 25.
So, the weapon tease continues. In October, the United States provided Ukraine with a small number of long-range ATACMS missiles capable of reaching Russian targets more than 100 miles away, threatening airfields, headquarters, and other crucial nodes. In the first strike using the new missiles, Ukraine reportedly destroyed more than a dozen Russian helicopters used to strafe Ukraine’s front-line troops. But there has been only one other known ATACMS firing since then. “This is a sign that the Biden Administration never wanted to give them in the first place, and is still strictly limiting what they will give Ukraine,” O’Brien wrote.
The next 12 months are likely to be momentous. Putin faces reelection in March, and while there’s no doubt he’ll win, Putin wants high turnout and a lopsided victory, so he may keep the war on simmer until then. Once the election’s over, Russia seems likely to mount a new mobilization effort to funnel more troops into Ukraine and press its manpower advantage. Sanctions are stifling the Russian economy, yet Russia is still selling plenty of oil, its main source of revenue, and finding most of the components it needs to boost defense production.
No outcome is preordained.
Ukraine’s allies might yet rally and overcome the war fatigue that seems to settle more easily on allies far from the fighting than on those in the midst of it. In Washington, the new House Speaker, Mike Johnson, says he’s “confident” that Congress will provide more aid for Ukraine, though it may be far less than the $61 billion Biden wants. In Europe, several nations are ramping up weapons production to fill gaps the United States might leave. At some point in 2024, Ukraine seems likely to get Western fighter jets and finally be able to provide consistent air cover for infantry, a condition so fundamental to American military doctrine that the Pentagon would never consider fighting as the Ukrainians have been doing.
The Carnegie Endowment’s Kofman argues that the biggest American shortcoming in Ukraine isn’t some miracle weapon system, but the lack of advisers in-country who can understand how the plucky Ukrainians fight and tailor American aid to that.
But something needs to change if American resolves means anything, and it may start with America determining if it has that resolve in the first place.
Europe needs massive rearmament to outlast Putin in Ukraine
Tue, November 28, 2023 at 7:30 AM PST
Czech president: Western military support for Ukraine insufficient for high-intensity operation
Tue, November 28, 2023 at 4:16 AM PST