by Chris Black
RAND coming out and saying that the US has already lost the war in the Ukraine and should just surrender is basically the biggest thing that has happened since the invasion.
The report also says that total Ukrainian victory, defined as an “end to the war that leaves Ukraine in full control over all of its internationally recognized territory,” is a “highly unlikely outcome.”
The report views the US objectives of weakening Russian power and pressuring European governments to reduce energy dependence on Russia as already achieved, meanwhile the report warns that the longer the war continues the greater the risk of further Russian territorial gains and unmanageable support costs to US-NATO.
Continued conflict also leaves open the possibility that Russia will reverse Ukrainian battlefield gains made in fall 2022. Moscow’s mobilization might stabilize the lines as of December 2022 and allow Russia to launch offensives in 2023.
The intensity of the military assistance effort could also become unsustainable after a certain period. Already, European and some U.S. stocks of weapons are reportedly running low. Russia’s campaign of destruction of Ukrainian critical infrastructure will create major long-term challenges for sustaining the war effort and for economic recovery and has also substantially increased Kyiv’s projections for the economic support it will need from the United States and its allies.
The report also warns that a protracted war will generate negative consequences for the US’s “other global priorities.”
Russia’s deepening military cooperation with Iran during this war—at a time when Iran is reneging on its commitments to restrain its nuclear program—suggests that Moscow could play the spoiler on such issues as nonproliferation. And although Russia will be more dependent on China regardless of when the war ends, Washington does have a long-term interest in ensuring that Moscow does not become completely subordinated to Beijing.
The report concludes that the war will end with some kind of “negotiated outcome” as neither side possesses the capabilities for absolute victory, and that avoiding a long war is “higher priority for the US than facilitating significantly more Ukrainian territorial control.”
It suggests that the US force Ukraine to the negotiating table by making its aid conditional upon it, however it warns that bringing Russia to the negotiating table won’t be so easy as the US doesn’t have much incentive to offer Russia other than Ukraine’s formal neutrality with respect to NATO.
Neutrality is what Russia demanded from the very beginning and would therefore be an extremely difficult sell politically, especially for Zelensky in Ukraine.
It’s a novel scenario that US negotiators would face trying to both guarantee Ukraine’s security and its neutrality – these guarantees appear contradictory on their face.
The Russians might have created enough leverage here to keep NATO out of Ukraine after all.
Fascinating new RAND report urges Washington to get the hell out of dodge in Ukraine, as "US interests would be best served by avoiding a protracted conflict," and "costs and risks of a long war…outweigh the possible benefits"!t.co/YGoFplfrPJ
— Kit Klarenberg (@KitKlarenberg) January 27, 2023
It’s so funny the way the top Pentagon thinkers just say this so matter-of-factly while the entire US media – which also represents the US government – is out there saying the precise opposite.
If the US surrender ends up being a surprise to the journalists, they’ll take it in stride like they did when they found out that the vax is neither safe nor effective.