Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Remembering Ukraine

With all that is going on - war in Gaza, meetings with China, a presidential race heating up - we tend to lose sight of the very much continuing war in Ukraine. No so our current favorite foreign affairs writer George Friedman, who notes:

Wars in which all sides have reasonable fears are the most dangerous. No side can quit, and until one side achieves an overwhelming advantage and imposes a new reality, the war must go on even if the losses are difficult to endure. Absent an overwhelming advantage, compromise becomes necessary, but it can be equally hard.

This insight leads him to a prediction of sorts, which I share with you.

Ukraine is in as bad a position as Russia. They are losing options – both in their desired outcomes and in their ability to wage war. And though I don’t have any personal knowledge of the matter, I assume Kyiv will try to negotiate an end to the conflict. I suspect this would not be a problem for many Ukrainians.

The end of the war would have to give Russia some increased buffer zone without bringing it too close to the NATO countries on the border with Ukraine. Ukraine will not win, nor will Russia. Clearly there are talks underway at some level between Russia and the United States.

Whether my solution has merit is dubious. That we are near the end of the war (expressed in months) is not. Perhaps the world’s relative indifference to Ukraine and Russia will send a signal to both.

Within the next year or two, we will learn if Friedman is as prescient as he seems.