War in Ukraine thoughts

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War in Ukraine thoughts

Post by sharoma »

The war Russia is fighting in Ukraine is not just about Ukraine, especially taking into consideration the western position with its imperial thinking. It is of course an absolute tragedy for Ukraine and its people. The war is about Russia and the west accepting and reinforcing the dangerous east-west divide and seeking to establish the borders and buffer states between each other. Ukraine is a subset in its own war, like a colonial war of old or a so-called low intensity conflict since the end of World War 2. When Japan surrendered in 1945, World War 2 ended. The globe was now dominated, more or less without question, by three superpowers: The USA, the only nuclear power, which now had the largest navy in the world and effectively had the capacity to control all major oceans and sea routes; the Soviet Union, which had defeated the German military on land (facing the western Allies in 1945 were approximately 26 German divisions while over 200 divisions were deployed in the east); finally the British Empire, which had started the war with the world's largest navy but ended it as a vassal of the USA. Very quickly the British Empire merged into the United States under the guise of NATO; western civilization shifted even farther west from London to Washington. NATO's outer membership has fluctuated but its core remains the same as it was in 1945. It is there as the balancing counter to the Soviet Union and since then, any threat which can be labelled as ‘eastern’ or terrorist. The UK's merger with the US had taken place during the war, when technological, military, and monetary co-ordination meant that they were the effectively the same state.

The opinion of Churchill on eastern Europe falling under the Soviet sphere is well known, as is USA's hesitance to even liberate Berlin, let alone guarantee Poland or Ukraine's freedom of determination. During World War 2 Russia lost 12.7% of its population (as of 1940). The total for the Soviet Union is 13.7%. The United States lost 0.32%, Canada 0.38%, and the UK lost 0.94% (1939 populations). The Soviet Union by force, and as reward for defeating Nazism, was able to bring their border into western Europe by cutting Germany in two. The plan to keep Germany down industrially failed by the late 1940s when it was clear that holding Germany back was holding back the recovery of Europe and the UK. Since then, the Soviet Union fell and lost all its WW2 conquests. During the 1990s and 2000s the USA was the sole remaining superpower with a large informal empire. Russia inherited the great power status of the old empire because there was nothing else to merge it into, but with reduced borders, as with the decolonization the European powers went through. With Russia recovering, the European Union sought to expand using its soft power status, independent of NATO nominally if not in practice.

Despite the move to global hegemony and a one world resource-based economic system, low intensity conflict has flared up around the world since 1945, but never enough to shake the west or the NATO system. Russia waged a war in Chechnya and NATO was not concerned. The system of nation-states which ruled the 17-20th century thinking so strongly will take a long time to die. Even peaceful economic unions like the European Free Trade zone do not accept states which are not "sovereign", such as Scotland. The nation state is still the important system of power, although in Europe this trend is retreating. Austria's denazification process involved writing a constitution which forbids union with another country (Germany) for imperialistic reasons yet within the EU this has effectively happened. Germany's current government wishes for the EU to expand with greater integration. Russia, however, is still a nation-state of old. It does not have a system of alliances as it had in both world wars. It is alone while all of mainland Europe unites under one flag. The UK and France are not its allies and nor is the USA. In Europe it is more isolated than it has been since the Crimean War.

Russia is attempting an autarky, which is total self-sufficiency. Russia still holds its status symbols from WW2: its seat at the UN, permission to hold nuclear weapons, fear of its military prowess. Underestimating Russian capability is still a major error. Russia should be within the European system of alliances but allowed its status as a great power. Even Putin acknowledged early in the last decade that the ideal system for all of Eurasia was one economic and customs union, for ease of trade. Establishing my world view in the 1990s and 2000s I observed a trend that the west was now moving towards friendship and integration with Russia. I respect Russia and their immense cultural heritage. I respect them for what they did in WW2. They gained McDonald's and all was well; perhaps this east-west divide may end? Maybe we wouldn't descend into an Orwellian system of three superpowers anxiously watching each other. This dream has died. Russia has now been cut off from the western system.

NATO commitments are why western democracies still have large military budgets in monetary terms, if not as a percentage of GDP. Russia is now spending 30% of its output to fund the war. Despite land warfare in eastern Europe the NATO powers have not mobilized and will not commit conventional forces to defend Ukraine. Germany has increased its military spending but not because it wants to fight the Russians in Ukraine – they tried and failed already. Ukraine is not worth the threat of nuclear war, even the detonation of one tactical nuke in Europe. The western governments know their people may find conscription, rationing, and a commitment to fight a land war against Russia difficult if not impossible. It would be insanity. The release of one nuclear weapon could provoke such panic that the western democracies may struggle with mass chaos which would inhibit their ability to maintain the east-west divide and their economic systems. People would demand peace at any price.

In the past, buffer states existed to prevent destructive war between the great powers breaking out. It was not an intelligent policy but it is what happened. Churchill feared the Soviet Union would prove eternal and that Poland, Ukraine, and the other Soviet republics, would be forever locked out of the 'western system'. What is the western system exactly? In short it is the image of peace and prosperity which has been advertised to us by our political class since 1945. This peace and prosperity was at its peak in the late 1990s after the end of the Soviet Union and before 9/11. An isolation from the anxiety of war; a feeling of commercial and artistic freedom; a naivete, partying. There has been no rationing, an end to conscription, and a gradual reduction in military spending in favour of peaceful 'soft' unions with other like-minded democracies.

A 'United States of Europe' was an idea Churchill agreed with as the only way to maintain peace in Europe; it would include the United Kingdom. The UK would now try to integrate with Europe for the first time since the Pax Britannica began. The USA inherited the role of global policeman, controlling the currencies and trade routes and slowly dominating the world. Former colonies of UK, France, and the rest, would gain political freedom but not economic freedom. The USA therefore gained an informal empire, as the British Empire had. The mantle of western civilization moved from the old world to the new. British imperial history ended, and modern American history began.

With Brexit, the UK has stepped back from the trend toward global hegemony and now stands as a great power and sovereign state, but in this new climate it appears ridiculous. It is a retrogressive step. The European Union is now a German and French economic union. To Russia any united Europe led by German industrial output must appear a soft power grab of all eastern Europe. We then see, as we could not imagine in the 1990s, the Orwellian system of three superpowers emerge: Eurasia, which is Putin's Russia: an independent nation-state of vast size and large population, economically, militarily independent; East Asia, which is China; Oceania, which is the USA, Canada, and includes the USA's dominance over South America, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, the vassal states in Asia and, by virtue of the NATO flag, the United Kingdom. Therefore, the UK has removed its soft power obligations to Europe by leaving the EU but remains committed and significant to NATO and its hard power projection. The key difference is Orwell's Eurasia included all of Europe, not just half of it (as in 1945) or hardly any of it (since 1991). Whether Europe is to be included in Oceania or Eurasia is now the question, more specifically, where will that border lie? Russia thinks it should lie west of Ukraine. The EU is part of Oceania and thinks the border should lie east of Ukraine. The USA and the UK, which is NATO, are unsure. That is why there is no war between Oceania and Eurasia but also no peace. We are in a dangerous, unstable, and ill-defined middle zone.

Russia has therefore realized it has to contend with the European Union and its aspirations for an economic empire stretching from Portugal to the Soviet Union's conquests in WW2, which it won with blood, a far greater amount of war dead than any other nation, by far. The USA and UK do not consider the EU's eastern commitments to be their problem, even Finland, which the British, Americans, and French did not help against Stalin (though the Germans did). Russia has allowed Poland to be entirely absorbed into the western system, that is, the system on the western side of the false divide. The feeling of hatred for Nazism in 1945 motivated the Soviets to greater punitive responses against Nazi leaders than the United Nations. Although German unification seems ideal and inevitable today, in 1945 a revival of German economic power and associated population pressure would have horrified even the United Nations let alone the Soviet Union. They established Soviet friendly governments in Poland and Ukraine to protect themselves from another German attack. They fear the west as we in the west are taught to fear the east.

We all live as we do today because of Russian dead. They liberated western Europe from the Nazis. To do this they had to become a martial superpower, committing to a war mentality that the British and Americans did not. Total war as a comrade of the Soviet Union was a more brutal experience than existing as a worker in the west. Russia industrialized and reached a western technological level extremely fast, gaining nuclear weapons quicker than the Americans expected them to. Russia, as a member of the nuclear club, was respected by the west. It had to be brutal to win the war and hopefully, the west thought, that martial spirit would simmer down, and they'd join the ‘western system’. This appeared to be happening until 2010, even under Putin.

Russia allowed independent Ukraine as it spent two decades recovering its great power status and building the foundations for an autarkic system. A balance of power since WW2 has been maintained by NATO policing of the trade routes and the expansion of the US Dollar system. To bring Ukraine into the European Union is valid in the west because we agree with Ukrainians right to self-determination, that is, they should be free to choose their own ‘identity’, even if it leads to war. Effectively this means they adopt the NATO system: democracy, western banking (they would adopt the Euro), social freedoms. Russia's modern culture has diverted from the western system. They have different social freedoms (according to their government) and their own economic system. NATO countries share everything, starting with military specifications and organization which allows NATO to operate a military force made up of units from different nation-states. Russia has an independent arms industry which exports to other nation-states not yet with the western system. China is asserting its borders in the South China Sea, again confronting NATO.

Therefore we have three superpowers again: the USA, still the most powerful military and as yet has never led the world into a global war (the UK, the rest of the Anglosphere, and other NATO countries fall within the USA as this alliance is unbreakable since WW2); China, the largest military power and second largest global economy; Russia, still the feared and powerful nuclear state it was under Stalin. These were the leaders of the global fight against Nazism. They were all allied and the goal as WW2 was drawing to a close was world peace with this system. This goal very quickly died as the two western superpowers became one and a west-east divide was created with the Soviet Union and China advertised as the evil side.

What of the Axis powers of WW2? Germany and Japan, based on currency fluctuations, now tie for 3rd largest economy in the world. Japan is within the sphere of the USA and the USA inherited the Japanese Empire by virtue of conquest. The status quo established in the Pacific after WW2 (and the end of the Korean War) still holds today and Japan is within the western system. Japan also led the UK's accession to the CPTPP because it wishes to exert more economic soft power in the region, backed up by a nuclear power. What of Germany? It is increasing its military spending, but is it part of Oceania? Seemingly it is. It's in NATO and so is the European Union. Well, why doesn't it help Ukraine more against Russia? This would affect the stability of the world which would be a scenario ending in an exchange of nuclear weapons.

What is needed? In the west, a safe and inevitable solution is to declare all NATO, the Anglosphere, and EU nations to be one nation-state, one superpower and increase the integration already present. This leaves Russia isolated, threatened, and embittered, because they liberated eastern Europe and now British, American, and German banks will get rich from it. Therefore, they felt they had to attack Ukraine to seize it by conquest, as in the days of WW2. This seemed, frankly, completely barmy in 2022. To fight a ground war with combined arms, in Europe, in this age: it was hoped this was the stuff of films only. NATO did not respond and has therefore indicated that they consider it a buffer state. They are no doubt gleeful that the east-west divide can be tapped for political gain for another decade or two. Russia sees itself on one side, and we see ourselves on the other. Surely in a fight against Nazism we want the Russians on our side, as in WW2? But who are the Nazis now? We don’t want to fight German industrial supremacy anymore, yet the Russians still see it as a threat. We should empathize with Russia on this. Declaring it to be nonsense does not help.

Since NATO will not fight for Ukraine, and the European Union is a supranational entity with soft power projection only, Ukraine may ultimately fall to Russia. Perhaps in the future the failure of the European Union, the United Kingdom, and even the USA, to even declare war for Ukraine will be judged more harshly than Britain and France's failure to relieve Poland in 1939. The border which mobilizes the NATO system into war in 2024 is Poland, because without independent Poland, Germany is threatened. Would NATO fight for the Baltic nations or Finland too? Maybe.

This war is about the shifting of superpowers and the defining of the three blocs as we move into mid-century. Will the EU become its own bloc, and fight for a border where NATO refuses? Or will the war move from low-intensity conflict with a clash of NATO and Russian forces? If China is serious about taking Taiwan, then co-ordination with Russia is key. A major war in western Europe or even an escalation of NATO commitments will require American money and manpower. If America has to fund its Pacific commitments, it may wish to let go of its European commitments. The Americans didn't even liberate all of Germany. The drew the line at France and split Germany with Russia. Americans were not willing to suffer more military dead either to take Berlin or invade Japan conventionally. Their economic empire's borders are South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, all the Pacific, Israel, UK and Europe up to and including Germany. The Americans see themselves as the home of western civilization; the UK is a forward operating base in Europe, as Israel is in the Middle East and Japan, South Korea are in the Pacific. We already know that all eastern Europe and half of Germany was once the wicked, deplorable ‘east’ in American minds. It is no surprise then that the US military did nothing to fight for Ukraine. Ukraine is in the eastern zone, whether they identify that way or not. If the EU becomes its own bloc, the UK will continue to exist as a vassal state of the USA and this will be as it is in 1984: Airstrip One the forward operating base of Oceania; all of mainland Europe outside Oceania, potentially prey to Eurasia.

In the past, it came down to how many military and civilian dead the superpower was willing to absorb to establish its borders and the influence of its economic bloc. The Soviet Union was willing to fight Germany to the last man to prevent any more of Russian population and culture being destroyed by Germany or the west. In the modern world this seems a strange outlook, but that is because we grew up within the western system, far from any borders where friction exists.

In war, you either give your full effort or fail. Half-hearted approaches, such as appeasement or sanctions, work until they don't work, and then you have to fight a Total war anyway. If NATO really wished to avoid war over Ukraine, they would do nothing at all to stop Russia. Even supplying weapons, intelligence, and expertise is an escalation. If NATO really believed in Ukrainian self-determination, it would have assisted Ukraine properly, with conventional forces. This would have involved air attacks inside Russia to establish a no-fly zone. NATO failed to call Russia's nuclear bluff and won't do this. Russia now knows NATO will not fight for Ukraine. The EU confuses the issue. It doesn’t have the same sensitivity to fighting for Ukraine. It believes it should be allowed to expand right up to Russia’s border and that its constituent states, with NATO militaries, should support that. The west is in a confused state, trapped between the all or nothing approach, seeking to project soft power but not committing to actual war.

Shortly after the invasion began, various parliaments including the UK gave standing ovations to Zelensky's appeal for actual help. This was condescending and patronizing in the extreme. By standing up and clapping his exhortations for his nation's people, existence, and culture, they gave him credit for his speech. They did not help though. No NATO troops or air forces were committed. Why were they clapping then? They were saying “Oh man, you’re doomed. But well done for trying! We wish we could help but Russia is needed so we can divide the world into east and west and besides, they have nuclear weapons. We do not want to threaten our own existence over you, Ukraine, so no, there will be no conventional help. We will sell you weapons and reap those extra profits, but that’s where we draw the line.”

Escalating war fulfils the Orwellian prophecy that the Middle East would be an area of contention (like Africa) between the three superpowers, with each fighting border wars for influence or resources; the rest of the world would be divided between the three superpowers, as it is already. The European Union’s desire for expansion has threatened to bring about war as it tries to take nations in eastern Europe out of the ‘eastern’ sphere and into the ‘western’ one. If no such east-west divide existed, then all nations could identify as they wished and would not be drawn into regional divides.

The solution is clear: stop defining the west by the regions which fall outside it. Accept that other nations have different philosophies and identities. If they are blatantly evil, attack and stop them. If they are not, then trade with them and accept their identity. Accept that Russia has a right to be annoyed by the west (specifically Germany) trying to absorb Ukraine, which they already fought to liberate from the Nazis. Find peace with Russia by any means because escalation into nuclear war renders everything else, including the regional divides and quests for asserting identity, moot; we will all be dead or thrown back thousands of years. Once there is peace with Russia, end the east-west divide. Bring them back into the European and North American friendship, but as an equal partner, effectively ending the system of political and economic spheres. This requires western nations to stop pushing the east-west divide, which usually involves them asserting their moral superiority over everyone else, especially Russia, China, and the Muslim nations. “Peace with Russia? Are you mad?” Well, if you don’t want peace, then you have to fight them with total commitment.

Then again, if Russia had embraced the western system, the east-west divide would have been pushed even more eastwards with China being identified as the evil empire. The west’s failure to keep supporting the Chinese nationalists after WW2 is another issue. The west would have liked a divided China rather than the united superpower it has become. If we weren’t fighting Russia, we’d fight China. If we weren’t fighting China, we’d fight the Muslim nations. The political classes have many divides to choose from. In a way, having three enemies is ideal for them to hold onto their power.
Robin Sharrock
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Re: The war in Ukraine isn't really about Ukraine

Post by sharoma »

Historical population and military strengths:

Population of Soviet Union in 1941: 196,716,000
Frontline strength when Germany invaded: 2.6-2.9 million (1.32%-1.47% of population)
Population of Germany in 1941 (modern borders): 70.8 million
Frontline strength when Germany invaded: 3.8 million (5.36% of population)

Current population and military strengths:

Population of Russia: 147.2 million.
As of September 2023, over 800,000 active personnel (0.54% of population).
Population of Ukraine: 33.2 million.
As of February 2023, over 300,000 active personnel (0.9% of population).

Rate of attrition since the war started will be impossible to ascertain until after the war ends.

For comparison:

Population of Germany (2023): 84,607,016
As of 2023, 181,596 active personnel (0.21% of population)
Population of United Kingdom (2022): 66,971,395
Active personnel: 184,860 (0.27% of population)
Population of USA (2023): 334,914,895
Active personnel: 1,328,000 (0.39% of population)

Last week, a brief search of headlines relating to how long Ukraine can hold out revealed the following scenarios:

1. Ukraine runs out of money.
Without money Ukraine cannot buy foreign materiel (military materials and equipment). They will also find it hard to fund domestic supplies. If their economy collapses it will be difficult to maintain cohesion in the army. If food, replacement weapons, or ammunition stop arriving at the front, it will collapse. I don’t think this is likely. Ukraine can probably prevent hyperinflation and maintain monetary discipline, such as the price controls necessary when fighting a war for existence. It is the easier for the West to give only financial assistance, even if it starts to become politically unpopular.

2. Ukraine runs out of replacements.
Replacements differ from reinforcements. The latter are an addition to a force. The former are there to replenish combat losses. Paper formations may appear useful in rear headquarters. At the frontline, understrength formations rarely last long unless they have high morale and are well-supplied. Long term survival will require manpower Ukraine may not be able to utilize. The above figures suggest Ukraine is closer to running out of available military personnel than Russia is because it has already mobilized a greater percentage of its population. It is also easier for Ukrainians to evacuate and resettle to the west. Six million have already left. If 0.5% of those could make ideal soldiers (trained, well equipped), that represents 30,000 personnel. Two divisions, or 10% of what Ukraine currently has deployed in total.

3. Ukraine runs out of weapons & ammo.
If the USA, UK, and EU continue to fund Ukraine, it might still run out of materiel if its domestic arms industry is compromised through continued Russian bombardment. Or it can’t import foreign equipment quick enough due to supply route problems as well as insufficient production. Ukraine currently cannot produce enough ammunition of all kinds (bullets and shells) to fight a protracted war. Russia’s arms industry can be expected to outproduce Ukraine’s. Here are three scenarios for ammunition, assuming Ukraine has no personnel shortages:

A) Ukraine has plentiful ammo and can shell Russian positions indiscriminately. A constant bombardment wears down the enemy’s morale very effectively and prevents assembly. Ukraine can also launch its own attacks because it has enough ammo to perform preliminary bombardments of Russian positions.

B) Ukraine must conserve ammo but has sufficient for defensive purposes. In this scenario, Ukraine cannot harass the enemy. It cannot go on the offensive because preliminary bombardment requires a lot of shells. It must use intelligence effectively to identify the most useful priority targets. If Russia launches multiple attacks at once, some may not be bombarded.

C) Ukraine is chronically short of ammo. In this scenario they cannot counter enemy artillery at all. Ukrainian soldiers will suffer low morale. Russian attacks will always have the initiative and eventually there will be a breakthrough.

As of January 2024, we appear to be in Scenario B regarding ammunition. There don’t yet appear to be any barriers to importing foreign weapons and ammunition into Ukraine. The problem is paying for them. Since I started writing this, the UK has agreed to commit substantially more financial resources to helping Ukraine. This is expected, since holding Ukraine in Scenario B is the best outcome NATO can hope for until more financial aid is available from the EU or USA. Regarding the outcome of Scenario C, if we assume NATO will still not commit ground troops to the Ukrainian front and nor will they enforce a no-fly zone over friendly Ukrainian territory, here is what is most likely to happen:

After building up substantial force, Russian military intelligence will identify where the Ukrainian positions are the weakest and will attack there, with diversionary attacks on other sectors. Once they achieve a breakthrough, they will attempt to adopt their strategy of World War 2 and advance on a broad front, with combined arms creating the corridors: infantry, armour, aircraft, mobile artillery, drones. Their main weakness will be attacks to any exposed flanks or troops which have outran their supply lines. They will also identify and target Ukraine’s weapons factories and assembly areas since they will control the air. Once Ukraine’s defensive lines are breached and Russian forces can roam freely, the country will be theirs to occupy. Will the West airlift a Ukrainian government out and maintain it in exile? They may do this to ease their guilty conscience or to give a political motivation for a resistance movement. Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania may have to close their land borders because it is unknown how many Ukrainians would try to escape. A guerilla war would be nasty and just lead to further devastation of Ukraine’s infrastructure. However, if the West gives up on the idea of a pro-EU Ukraine, then the country will effectively be conceded to Russia. If the West does evacuate and maintain a Free Ukrainian government-in-exile, it is easy to assume that government would demand restoration of at least half of Ukraine. This would require a NATO coalition invasion force, something which we now know would not happen. Failure to evacuate the current Ukrainian government would prove an embarrassment to the West greater than the fall of Afghanistan.

Can this be avoided? It is unlikely that unlimited ‘cash’ can keep a front line stable but in modern times with drones, it is unknown. Ukraine has a much smaller population and economy than Russia. Even with cash infusions from the west, it could conceivably run out of troops or supplies if it suffers any more significant shocks. The West’s hope was to keep this war prolonged and hopefully Russia would collapse. It is unwise to assume an internal revolution may occur in Russia. The West assumed the superior technology and training their own arms industries can provide to Ukraine would prove a deciding bulwark to Ukrainian defence. The best-case outcome was Russia would be injured enough to retreat beyond the territory it has already taken. A stalemate, even if it can be prolonged for two more years, historically favours Russia. Ukraine’s hope is that NATO will join the fight before they lose their territory. Russia’s hope is it can occupy all of Ukraine without having to fight NATO. NATO’s hope is not to fight Russia, and to save face over any loss of Ukraine.

If we assume that from 2026 onwards, Ukraine is once again part of a resurgent Russian Empire (see this article on Russian irredentism), what happens then? Russia may need a few years to recover. Maybe Russia has no more territorial aspirations after Ukraine? Putin states that he wants only to unite what he sees as Russian people inside a potentially unlimited Russian border. Moldova and Belarus would be expected to join Russia. After that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania appear more likely targets than Poland. Even if Ukraine falls, would Russia dare to attack European Union member states? It would be dangerous to assume they would not. If so, NATO would need to prepare for a full confrontation and ‘Total war’ commitment in all NATO countries. That means conscription, rationing, and the conversion of significant production towards the war effort, effectively an end to consumer goods production and imports. This is bad for the market system.

Another scenario is an attack on Romania, since with the fall of Ukraine Russia would regain control of the Black Sea. Is Russia’s goal to conquer its World War 2 prizes? If it is unlikely Russia would attack the Baltic states, Poland, or Romania, perhaps it would turn to Kazakhstan. This country is so far from the Western nations that they could probably wage war there and people under the NATO umbrella would be eager to maintain peacetime activity.

It is looking increasingly unlikely that NATO can resist Russia via Ukraine without committing its own troops. It was never a noble strategy to begin with. If NATO must fight Russia over Poland, then people will ask why NATO didn’t just ‘join the fight’ with Ukraine all those years ago. Why didn’t it? It is because in the West the markets are determined to keep selling peace and prosperity. There is no prosperity at home; the rich have taken all the land, houses, and capital. There is no peace; there is modern trench warfare in Europe. The war in Ukraine is not a low-intensity conflict. This appears to be a war that is out of control. Neither side knows how to achieve peace. Ukraine wants to regain the territory it has lost and won’t accept a peace which requires immediate cessation of hostilities, and therefore acceptance of Russian sovereignty over land it is currently occupying. Russia won’t give up any more land either, especially the disputed areas contiguous to their border. NATO won’t instruct Ukraine to make peace, but nor will it help in an effective way. NATO continues to prepare and deploy forces to protect against Russia but won’t attack now while Russia is already fighting. If NATO was involved in a war with Russia, it is unknown what settlement regarding Ukraine the West would fight for or whether it would eventually concede it to Russia in a peace settlement anyway. The alternative to peace is to allow the situation to continue in the unpredictable way wars do. It is possible Western governments have started preparing for the loss of a Ukraine friendly towards the European Union and NATO.
Robin Sharrock
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