Monday, July 25, 2022

How not to win a war

 "The West is so far providing Ukraine with enough weapons not to lose but not enough to take back its territory from Russia," says the Wall Street Journal today. "The fastest way to a settlement is to convince Russia that the costs of war will keep growing and that it can’t outlast the West. That means Russian military defeats on the ground."

It's increasingly obvious that "the West" has no such ambition. The whining began in Paris and Berlin: we mustn't "humiliate" Putin, as French president Macron likes to say. Why not, for crying out loud? As for the Germans, they've done almost nothing to keep the Russian bear from moving west, just as in 1939 the French and British did nothing to keep the Germans from moving east. Hitler then, Putin today: dictators always depend on inaction from the democracies. As for Washington, yes, certainly, we'd love to send more sophisticated and longer-range missile systems, and maybe even warplanes, but unfortunately "it's complicated." And London, which has been punching above its weight all along, is about to see Boris Johnson step down, and his successor is unlikely to match his brio. Few leaders could.

What fun Putin is having! One day he solemnly signs an agreement with Ukraine and Turkey and the United Nations to open the Black Sea for the export of grain to a food-short world, and the very next day he sends missiles crashing onto the Ukrainian ports from which those cargoes would have to depart.

On the ground, meanwhile, five more foreign volunteers have given their lives for Ukraine: Tomasz Walentek from Poland, Luke Lucyszyn and Bryan Young from the United States, Emile-Antoine Roy-Sirois from Canada, and Edvard Selander from Sweden.


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