Selected articles (January 29, 2023)

Selected articles (January 29, 2023)



Avoiding a Long War

U.S. Policy and the Trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

By Samuel Charap, Miranda Priebe

RAND Corporation

January 2023

Discussion of the Russia-Ukraine war in Washington is increasingly dominated by the question of how it might end. To inform this discussion, this Perspective identifies ways in which the war could evolve and how alternative trajectories would affect U.S. interests. The authors argue that, in addition to minimizing the risks of major escalation, U.S. interests would be best served by avoiding a protracted conflict. The costs and risks of a long war in Ukraine are significant and outweigh the possible benefits of such a trajectory for the United States. Although Washington cannot by itself determine the war’s duration, it can take steps that make an eventual negotiated end to the conflict more likely. Drawing on the literature on war termination, the authors identify key impediments to Russia-Ukraine talks, such as mutual optimism about the future of the war and mutual pessimism about the implications of peace. The Perspective highlights four policy instruments the United States could use to mitigate these impediments: clarifying plans for future support to Ukraine, making commitments to Ukraine’s security, issuing assurances regarding the country’s neutrality, and setting conditions for sanctions relief for Russia.

[…] Conclusion

The debate in Washington and other Western capitals over the future of the Russia-Ukraine war privileges the issue of territorial control. Hawkish voices argue for using increased military assistance to facilitate the Ukrainian military’s reconquest of the entirety of the country’s territory.71 Their opponents urge the United States to adopt the pre-February 2022 line of control as the objective, citing the escalation risks of pushing further.72 Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that the goal of U.S. policy is to enable Ukraine “to take back territory that’s been seized from it since February 24.”73

Our analysis suggests that this debate is too narrowly focused on one dimension of the war’s trajectory. Territorial control, although immensely important to Ukraine, is not the most important dimension of the war’s future for the United States. We conclude that, in addition to averting possible escalation to a Russia-NATO war or Russian nuclear use, avoiding a long war is also a higher priority for the United States than facilitating significantly more Ukrainian territorial control. Furthermore, the U.S. ability to micromanage where the line is ultimately drawn is highly constrained since the U.S. military is not directly involved in the fighting. Enabling Ukraine’s territorial control is also far from the only instrument available to the United States to affect the trajectory of the war. We have highlighted several other tools—potentially more potent ones—that Washington can use to steer the war toward a trajectory that better promotes U.S. interests. Whereas the United States cannot determine the territorial outcome of the war directly, it will have direct control over these policies.

President Biden has said that this war will end at the negotiating table.74 But the administration has not yet made any moves to push the parties toward talks. Although it is far from certain that a change in U.S. policy can spark negotiations, adopting one or more of the policies described in this Perspective could make talks more likely. We identify reasons why Russia and Ukraine may have mutual optimism about war and pessimism about peace. The literature on war termination suggests that such perceptions can lead to protracted conflict. Therefore, we highlight four options the United States has for shifting these dynamics: clarifying its plans for future support to Ukraine, making commitments to Ukraine’s security, issuing assurances regarding the country’s neutrality, and setting conditions for sanctions relief for Russia.

A dramatic, overnight shift in U.S. policy is politically impossible—both domestically and with allies—and would be unwise in any case. But developing these instruments now and socializing them with Ukraine and with U.S. allies might help catalyze the eventual start of a process that could bring this war to a negotiated end in a time frame that would serve U.S. interests. The alternative is a long war that poses major challenges for the United States, Ukraine, and the rest of the world.



Ukraine – RAND Study Sees Risks In Prolonged War

Moon of Alabama

January 27, 2023

[…] It is likely not by chance that the previous call for an immediate start of negotiations to end the war came from the U.S. Chief of Staff Mark Milley. That he did so publicly was a sign that he had lost the internal White House debate on that issue. He probably asked for the RAND study to bolster his argument.

But the neocons, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, State Secretary Anthony Blinken and his deputy Victoria Nuland, who together wage their war against Russia, have Joe Biden’s ears and can control the information he gets. Milley and other realist will have a difficult stand.

Steady Russian progress in its campaign will be the best argument for them to win the internal war in Washington DC.



Incentivizing Russia To Hit NATO

The message to Moscow at this point — with de-escalation and detente entirely missing from public discourse — is that they’re going to get squeezed harder and harder until they attack NATO itself.

By Caitlin Johnstone

January 27, 2023

The omnicidal war fiends won the debate over sending tanks to Ukraine, so now it’s time to start arguing for sending F-16s.

In an article “Ukraine sets sights on fighter jets after securing tank supplies,” Reuters reports the following: “Ukraine will now push for Western fourth generation fighter jets such as the U.S. F-16 after securing supplies of main battle tanks, an adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister said on Wednesday.

Ukraine won a huge boost for its troops as Germany announced plans to provide heavy tanks for Kyiv on Wednesday, ending weeks of diplomatic deadlock on the issue. The United States is poised to make a similar announcement.”

Just in time for the good news, Lockheed Martin has announced that the arms manufacturing giant happens to be all set to ramp up production of F-16s should they be needed for shipment to Ukraine. […]



War Is a Racket… Tanks a Lot, Now Give Us F-16s!


Strategic Culture Foundation

January 27, 2023

[…] Despite Western media propaganda about “defending Ukraine” and “fighting for democracy”, the reality is the United States and its NATO minions are all in for greasing the war-machine capitalist economies and for their own personal gain. The tragedy is that the weapons pipelines will not help Ukraine. Russian forces are decimating the NATO-sponsored NeoNazi regime. Not even tanks or warplanes will salvage the military disaster.

The West is filling a bloodbath in Ukraine for their merchants of death. The obscenity of callously shoving people into a slaughter for no moral or just cause, but all for the profit-making of corporations, themselves and the corrupt cabal in Kiev is despicable beyond words.

The real danger is that the vampiric orgy of weapons going to Ukraine could provoke a terrifying world war and global catastrophe. That is the measure of the evil at the heart of the Western powers and their puppet masters. The First and Second World Wars were manifestations of the same evil imperialist system. If it has its way, that is without Russia’s restraining power, then the world is facing another calamity brought about by the same criminal system.



The West Bank: to end the violence, Israel must end the occupation

By Steven Sahiounie

January 27, 2023

[…] According to the UN, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2006. The IDF killed 171 Palestinians, including over 30 children. In Gaza, the death toll was 224 in 2022.

In March 2022, UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk issued a report which labeled Israel as an apartheid state.

“There is today in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967 a deeply discriminatory dual legal and political system, that privileges the 700,000 Israeli Jewish settlers living in the 300 illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank,” said Lynk.

Lynk acknowledged that “more than three million Palestinians are living under an oppressive rule of institutional discrimination and without a path to a genuine Palestinian state that the world has long promised, is their right”.

Israel, he said, conforms to the definition as a “political regime which so intentionally and prioritizes fundamental political, legal and social rights to one group over another, within the same geographic unit based on one’s racial-national-ethnic identity”.

Lynk said the international community is responsible and said, “If the international community had truly acted on its resolutions 40 or 30 years ago, we would not be talking about apartheid today.”

Israel has violated 28 resolutions of the United Nations Security Council which are legally binding on member nations. […]



Drone attack on military complex in Isfahan foiled: Iranian MoD

The Iranian Defense Ministry says its defense systems downed three Micro Aerial Vehicles attacking a defense equipment manufacturing complex in Isfahan.

By Al Mayadeen English

January 29, 2023



More news and analysis about Iran