Speaking in Davos at the World Economic Forum, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger suggested that Ukraine should cede territory to Russia in an effort toward peace and ending the war. He stated that Ukraine should give over territory to Russia during the next 60 days and accept terms, regardless of whether that meets their current aims or not.
"Ideally," Kissinger said, "the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante. Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself."
Kissinger's view is that the US, and the west, should not hold themselves to the standard of a crushing defeat of Russia and their invading force.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had used his speech at Davos to call for further aggression against their invading neighbor. But Kissinger said it would be "fatal" for the west to engage in the "mood of the moment" without considering Russia's interests and power within the European context.
Kissinger noted that Russia has been an "essential part of Europe" for centuries, and that leaders in the region must "not lose sight of the longer-term relationship" or risk future alliances with Russia.
Russia, via foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, said that they are unsure that they need western ties at all. "If they (the West) want to offer something in terms of resuming relations, then we will seriously consider whether we will need it or not," Lavrov said via the foreign ministry's website.
"We must cease being dependent in any way on supplies of absolutely everything from the West for ensuring the development of critically important sectors for security, the economy or our homeland's social sphere," Lavrov continued.
"I hope the Ukrainians will match the heroism they have shown with wisdom," Kissinger cautioned.
Zelensky called instead for "brute force," claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin has no interest in talks or peace. This, The Daily Mail reports, is part of Ukraine's "charm offensive" to win over hearts and minds in support of Ukraine, along with funds and armaments.
The Biden administration has been so well charmed, in fact, that they are seeking admittance of new European nations to NATO, Finland and Sweden. This expansion of the NATO nations would benefit Ukraine, but there is no indication that it would be a boon for the US. Indeed, it is essentially "predicated on Sweden and Finland's threat perceptions," writes Sumantra Maitra. Ukraine also dabbled with the idea of joining NATO, despite the obvious threat that posed to Russia.
It was only last week that the US passed a bill authorizing $40 billion in aid and weapons to go to Ukraine to help them in their fight. The Pentagon then authorized an additional $100 million in defense resources to the nation, which declared independence from Russia in 1991, just over 30 years ago.
The New York Times called last week for America to find a way out of the Ukraine conflict, despite the $40 billion that was added to the war funds, saying that the war is "entering a new and complicated phase" during which "continued bipartisan support is not guaranteed." Only 11 senators, all Republicans, voted against the massive spending bill.
The Editorial Board cited director of national intelligence Avril Haines, who told the Senate that the war in Ukraine could take "a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory." Russia, she said, could move to using its vast nuclear capability, as well.
While the Editorial Board had previously touted freedom for Ukraine as the ultimate goal, they now write that "it is still not in America’s best interest to plunge into an all-out war with Russia, even if a negotiated peace may require Ukraine to make some hard decisions. And the U.S. aims and strategy in this war have become harder to discern, as the parameters of the mission appear to have changed."
The Times, once as war-hungry as congressional Democrats, now call for mitigation of that effort. The Board suggests that "Biden should also make clear to President Volodymyr Zelensky and his people that there is a limit to how far the United States and NATO will go to confront Russia, and limits to the arms, money and political support they can muster."
While the Times insists that this is "not appeasement," they state that "The challenge now is to shake off the euphoria, stop the taunting and focus on defining and completing the mission."
That mission, however, is unclear. A win for Ukraine is likely a different scenario than a win for the US. The Biden administration has linked US success to Ukraine's goals without, likely, having a firm grasp on what those goals are or the lengths to which Zelensky will go to achieve them.
The US would benefit further from peace in Ukraine, regardless of territorial expansion by Russia, than from continuing to fund a war that risks dragging the US into global conflict against a nuclear superpower.
Biden has insisted that the creation of jobs that result from the manufacture of weapons is a net win for the United States.
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