Early on, I expressed my opinion that Ukraine could not defeat Putin unless the west got more directly involved. That is truer today than ever.
Virtually every leader in NATO and the European Union has emphatically said that Putin cannot be allowed to win his unprovoked war on a sovereign nation – and a western ally. They have never said what defeat looks like – but there is only one definition.
Defeat means the Russian forces are to be totally removed from Ukrainian soil – including the Donbass Region and the Crimea. Russia must pay reparations for the damage and loss of life resulting from its dirty little war – and its innumerable war crimes. After such a defeat, Russia must be treated as an international pariah with most sanctions remaining in place until there is a record of improved behavior. The removal of Putin would be a plus, but not a requirement.
Increasingly, however, western leaders are talking of a ceasefire as the objective – leaving Russia with hegemony over the territories it currently controls or will control in the near future. That would mean the eventual acceptance of the phony declarations of independence from portions of Donbass. They would become Russian satellite nations.
That is NOT a negotiated peace. That is a victory for Putin. He will have gained territory for his empire – along with valuable natural resources and important farmland. He will look even stronger for having defeated the combined democracies of the world. The alliance of autocratic nations – and the forces of terrorism – will be emboldened. America’s reputation and reality of a world leader will be shattered – and our national security weakened.
Putin will have been correct in his calculations that the west may have the military power, but once again it lacked the will to use it. Diplomatically, the United States – and democracy – will lose its leverage. The free-market economy will be threatened – as well as the strength of the American dollar.
Those who believe that a Putin victory only means losing a small piece of geography – that it has no significant impact on the future strength and safety of America — are fools. Unfortunately, the number one fool is sitting in the Oval Office. One could not imagine a worse international blunder than the surrender in Afghanistan – but now we have the continuation of the White House appeasement policy in Ukraine.
Yes, we have sent a lot of money and equipment to Ukraine. But never enough to win the war. And now a plan to surrender to Putin. It has been the Madman of Moscow who has told Biden what America and the west can and cannot do in supporting Ukraine. And Biden has acquiesced at every turn.
The longer the war drags on, the more certain will be a Putin victory. If those who united to fight Hitler can be called “the greatest generation,” then we can only characterize today’s leaders as history’s “worst generation.”
It will take more effort to defeat Putin today than it would have several weeks ago – and even more difficult tomorrow. Talk is cheap when it is not supported by resolve. Biden has repeatedly assured Putin that America and NATO would not fight Russian troops in Ukraine. That means Putin wins.
So, there ‘tis.