In the United States, politicians in power are often slow to contemplate any policies or any make any executive decisions that could turn sour and cause the public to rebel against their elected officials. Deliberations and intelligence gathering dictate the process, which is secures accountability under our democracy. For example, on Ukraine, the Biden Administration has been slow to accept the notion that only Ukraine winning would end Putin and his reign of terror.
The President and his National Security staff have made decisions on the premise of “How would Russia respond”, instead of “Let’s win the war quickly”. Five hundred days after the war started, there is still genuine fear about Russia responding recklessly to the idea the United States is helping Ukraine win the war; even if all indications that such is highly improbable.
Ukraine winning decisively and quickly is secondary to the priority of not pushing Putin too far. The world can witness such validation when the Biden Administration keeps refusing the kinds of weapons (i.e., F16’s) Ukraine is seeking to win quickly.
In fact, if anything, the disconnect between policy and winning on the ground plays right before our eyes as the counteroffensive is stalling the way policy is stalling the counteroffensive.
HOPE FOR THE SAKE OF HOPING
The Prigozhin episode lifted the spirits of all democracies across Europe and here in the States. What if the renegade mercenary chief topples Putin and his regime? For almost 24 hours, the world held its breath as the Wagner mercenaries advanced on Moscow determined to, as we know now, remove the top brass of the Russian armed forces.
Unfortunately, hoping for a quick end to Putin proved to be elusive. As far as we can tell, Prigozhin may be dead or in prison today, which the Kremlin indirectly announced when it pretended that Putin and Prigozhin have met recently at the Kremlin. No proof of life has been provided through any photos or videos of such a meeting.
It is hard to hope for the sake of hoping. The difficult task of defeating Russia in Ukraine lies in the idea that Ukraine winning would end Putin, and not some internal rebellion Putin is more than prepared to put down.
The west has no choice but to provide Ukraine with the military means to win on the ground. This drip-drip of our policy towards Ukraine based mostly on fear and hesitation cannot possibly turn this war into a decisive victory.
It’s about the responsibility of those in power to plan for a secure world, but it is also about their determination and foresight to deliver a world order that no other country can test ever again. Today, neither the policies nor the decisions are helping Ukraine with its well-planned counteroffensive plans to win the war quickly.
In fact, if anything, the disconnect between policy and winning on the ground is playing right before our eyes as Ukraine’s counteroffensive stalls because the policy stalled the counteroffensive.