MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Is the Biden Administration Trying to Prolong the Ukraine War?

Posted by M. C. on April 12, 2022

The Biden administration’s strident moral posturing may needlessly prolong the Ukraine war at great cost in both treasure and blood to the Ukrainian people. Calls for regime change and putting Putin on trial for war crimes are dangerously irresponsible.

https://original.antiwar.com/

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a humanitarian tragedy for that country, and all reasonable people should want the increasingly bloody conflict to end as soon as possible. Policies that the Biden administration is pursuing, however, threaten to prolong the war and its suffering. The troubling question arises about whether Washington’s policies are merely inept, or whether they reflect a deliberate strategy to bleed Russian forces and inflict a geo-strategic defeat on a great power adversary – regardless of the cost to Ukraine. Indications are mounting that it’s the latter scenario.

Even the decision by the United States and other NATO members to pour weapons into Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank weapons, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, and Switchblade drones, has had the inherent effect of prolonging the armed conflict. Without those arms shipments, it is likely that the Russian invasion would have proceeded faster, perhaps much faster, and more decisively. Western leaders, though, had understandable motives for wanting to deny the invader an easy victory. From their viewpoint, not assisting Ukraine would mean seeing a case of military aggression against a sovereign state rewarded. Because the aggression occurred in Europe, the United States and its NATO allies had an even greater incentive to inflict pain on Russia for creating the biggest disruption of the continent’s peace in nearly eight decades.

Some other Western, especially U.S., actions are less understandable. Administration officials have been noticeably unenthusiastic about statements by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, expressing a willingness to renounce his country’s ambitions to join NATO and instead accept a neutral status with multilateral guarantees. A firm, written commitment that Ukraine will never become a NATO member was a long-standing Russian demand even before the war began. Zelensky’s newfound receptivity has increased the prospects for a peace accord. So, too, has Moscow’s decision to scale-back military operations near Kyiv and other areas in northern Ukraine.

US leaders should be expressing explicit support for such diplomacy and the compromises it has begun to reflect. Furthermore, Washington should state explicitly that it will respect the terms of any peace settlement the two belligerents might be able to reach. Thus far, however, the Biden administration’s reaction to the bilateral peace talks has been tepid at best, and it even remains uncertain whether the United States would refrain from discouraging or undermining an accord.

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