Government Watch / National Security / Politics

Should the West Seek an Off-Ramp in Ukraine?

Ukraine

How does the war in Ukraine end?

This is precisely the question no one is supposed to ask these days. The supposition by our thought leaders seems to be that if we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, he’ll fold and go home; his threats to use tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield are nothing more than saber-rattling. He will then retrench on the domestic front, resolidify his power and continue throwing his prospective enemies from third-story windows.

Perhaps that’s actually the best-case scenario. Because if President Joe Biden gets his wish — if Putin is indeed ousted from power in Russia — what would follow could easily be even worse than Putin: the Russian public remains highly supportive of aggressive foreign action to expand the “empire”; other than the military, there are no well-organized or powerful groups in Russia, and Putin does have an inner circle of possible successors who are, if anything, more anti-West even than he is. If none of those successors take the fore, the possibility of internecine warfare akin to Syria isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility either — and that, in a country armed with a massive and aging nuclear arsenal.

Then there’s the other possibility: that Putin is serious, and that if he sees his mission in Ukraine failing, he actually unleashes nuclear weapons. Most observers thought Putin was saber-rattling over his threats to invade Ukraine in the first place; underestimating Putin’s aggressive radicalism now could be foolish. And there are no real plans to deal with Putin unleashing a nuke: while former CIA director David Petraeus has suggested that America would respond by “leading a NATO, a collective effort, that would take out every Russian conventional force that we can see and identify on the battlefield in Ukraine and also in Crimea and every ship in the Black Sea,” that could also lead Putin to escalate even further, perhaps even trying to directly threaten a civilian center in NATO territory with nuclear weapons.

In November 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Finland, attempting to install a puppet communist government; the West united in opposition to Soviet intervention, shipping weaponry to the Finns, who bravely stood against the forces of Stalin. The USSR lost at least 126,000 soldiers over the course of the three-and-a-half-month war but responded in the late going with a massive infusion of troops and a heavy offensive that drove the Finns back on their heels. Faced with the prospect of open war with the Western powers, Stalin signed the Moscow Peace Treaty in March 1940, with the Finns ceding 9% of their territory to Stalin.

Was the mutual stand-down the best solution? Should the West have pressed Stalin to the brink in Finland? Perhaps. But the West was facing down Stalin and Hitler simultaneously. Today, the threat isn’t a second front from a powerful enemy, but the direct threat of nuclear weapons. Henry Kissinger has been publicly excoriated for suggesting that the off-ramp to this conflict will be territorial concessions by Ukraine to Russia — a repeat of the Moscow Peace Treaty. But he may be correct, particularly if the West is unwilling to bear the full economic and military cost of a larger war with Russia — as historian Niall Ferguson writes, “Thus far, the West have given Zelenskyy and his brave people enough military and economic support to avoid losing. We are not yet giving them enough to win — and the window for victory is not infinite.” In the end, it may be that the least-bad scenario is about simply preventing the worst-case scenario.

Ben Shapiro, 38, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and Editor-in-Chief of DailyWire.com. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.”

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Mario Capparuccini
3 months ago

Ben Shapiro has written a thoughtful and insightful article. Putin will use nuclear weapons if pushed too hard. The Donbas was given to Ukraine in the mid 1950’s by Nikita Kruschev. Ethnic Russians make up about 80% of the population. Ceding this territory to Russia would keep Ukraine intact and reunite an area that is overwhelmingly Russian with the Mother Country. This whole mess started when Obama orchestrated a coup that resulted in a pro-American, corrupt puppet government being placed in power that was dominated by neo-Nazis that persecuted the ethnic Russians in the Donbas. We created the mess and have brought the world to the brink because of our meddling.

Dan W.
3 months ago

The Donbas region was officially added to Ukraine in the early 1920s after the Russian Civil War. It was Crimea that was given to Ukraine in 1954 by Khrushchev.

Hal
3 months ago

I reckon China is keenly watching events related to the Soviet incursion of Ukraine. If the World Powers that-be do not vigorously support Ukraine, it will encourage China to move in on Formosa. This incident is a prime example of how an over-zealous Communist regime can overstep its bounds. Russia didn’t learn a lesson in Afghanistan … but Commies usually don’t because their GOD self-feeling attitude drives them beyond sanity. I expect to hear of PUTIS playing a violin while Russian and/or the Ukraine burns.

Hal
3 months ago

The Ruskies started the War … I have less than zero sympathy for the Ruskies. It was nn incredibly dumb move. The rumor that they Ruskies are contemplating nuking Ukraine to force surrender is insanity matching that of Hitler and the Nazis.

GTPATRIOT
3 months ago

As a statement against BIden who I think has done a good job helping Ukraine, our efforts and trillions spent in Afganistan could have been sustained if only we had kept ( in my humble opinion)
a peace force of 2500-3000 troops there. We have sustained our military presence in Germany
for 77 years. Any wars ? None. We could have provided the same peace in Afganistan. The Germans should be on their knees thanking us for keeping the peace for a nation of war-mongers.
I know Germans who wandered around starving for months at the end of WWII. The US has
prevented that from happening again.

GTPATRIOT
3 months ago

Thank you George for educating me. We are also learning that Roosevelt and the NY Times
lied to us about German genocide against the Jews.

GTPATRIOT
3 months ago

Thanks Ben. Great topic. Under NO circumstance should the west ( the US.There’s no one
else when there’s a crisis) take the foot off the gas against the Commies. I am a devout conservative but , for once, I think Biden has got this right. Do we spend billions or trillions ?
This, finally , proves that NATO is all about the US protecting Europe. The “support each other”
concept is BS. What do you think Europe would do if the US was attacked ? Just like 9/11.
The force was 90 % US ( not american. Venezuela is part of america) and 10% somebody else.
Our weakness led Putin to think that his 1950’s army would overcome Ukraine in 30 days. In the
future we need to show Putin only a stiff fist and a prompt go to hell. Their is no diplomacy with this
mental midget and no diplomacy with Chee-Chee Ping. Only a fist matters.

Walt
3 months ago
Reply to  GTPATRIOT

The truth of the matter is the military/industrial complex in this country is rubbing their hands together and are very gleeful……they can’t wait until the USA gets involved in another conflict…..so much money to be made…Wake up America……Joe Biden made many fort relations decisions and guess what….they were all wrong….he has the intelligence of a snail and I’d only a tool of the complex I speak of

George antilla
3 months ago

The first falsehood I want to address here is the claim that the west stepped in to help Finland in 1939 to fight the soviet invasion. Absolutely untrue. Roosevelt and Churchill were fully supporting the butcher Stalin with arms and supplies. Only Hitler’s Germany sent troops to help Finland. I am of Finnish descent and I know family members and friends that left the US to fight in Finland, since our government would not help.
Second, Putin has a legitimate strategic interest in clearing his neighbor country of US bio-weapons labs and the axon brigade from killing and torturing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine since 2014. NATO get out and let Russia and Ukraine handle their own differences.

HocasPocas
3 months ago
Reply to  George antilla

Remember the biden regime was involved with Ukraine before they took over this country. Hunter wasn’t on the board of the gas company over there for no reason. I wonder why we never hear about that anymore from anyone, not even contributors to AMAC.

Hal
3 months ago
Reply to  HocasPocas

Let me give you a clue …. The Bidens (Joe, etc.) are liars, crooks, thieves, dishonest crooks, and DemocRats. It is so well known it is frustrating and alarming to think of it.

David A Cano
3 months ago

If the idiots in our government and the MSM bothered to study the history of the region, especially since the turn of the century, they would realize that what is happening is due to the interference of the NATO and the US, and their ignorance of the oppression of ethnic Russians in the eastern parts of Ukraine. We need to stop this insanity before the idiots drag us into WW3.

HocasPocas
3 months ago
Reply to  David A Cano

I believe that we’re already drug into it

Dan W.
3 months ago
Reply to  David A Cano

Kind of like when Germany went into Czechoslovakia in 1938 to rescue the oppressed ethnic Germans ?

Yeah, we’ve seen this movie before. Latvia (and Estonia) must be a little nervous.

Casey C Matt
3 months ago

First, Putin is in no fear of being removed from power and indeed polls (western polling firms even), extremely well with the Russian people. Secondly, Russia is in no way “losing the war”, despite what the government mouthpiece, aka American corporate media, claims. At the inception of the “special military action” Russia laid out its intent as “de-Nazification and de-militarizing”Ukraine. Toward both goals it has made significant advances with incredible losses on the side of the Ukrainian military. I mean, a strong winning military doesn’t use press gang tactics pulling both men and women from cafes, bars, church gatherings……anywhere random people from age 16-70 can be found and be given a few hours of training and as little as 15 rounds of ammo then sent into old British Cavalry type charges against fortified Russian forces. For every east Ukraine (the non US bought and paid for Ukrainians), militia member or less commonly Russian soldier that is killed it has been estimated that as many as 20 -25 Ukrainian “military members” are killed and add to that an estimated 2-3X wounded.
But, if you have some strange need to believe what the fake western media tells you….go ahead and lets revisit this topic around say….mid November when Russia will use the 370,000 new soldiers to eliminate this hegemonic act by NATO, aka the US Military and its western European sheep.
I also want to ask everyone that does believe the current narrative of “Russia Bad” something. If Russia is so “bad”, then please tell me one single thing that country has done to other countries. Please, think about it and spew it out. I find it funny that because Russia didn’t go all “shock and awe” into Ukraine as the US and its NATO sock puppets did in……..well. for one, Iraq resulting in some 230,000 civilian deaths, we deem that as Russia being bogged down. The thought that Russia had no interest in killing innocent civilians to the extent at all possible is never even considered. But don’t let reality get in the way of what morons like “morning Joe”, tell you.

HocasPocas
3 months ago
Reply to  Casey C Matt

I wonder how much of the money that is being sent to Ukraine is being laundered right back into the biden regime’s pockets

William C Smith
3 months ago

“Off ramp?” Stop the vehicle. Allow Europe to catch up. The imminent peril seems closer to them.

PaulE
3 months ago

Considering that neither Biden nor Germany have been willing to send the type of armaments the Ukranians have been asking for since Russia first rolled across the border (long range artilllery versus the short to medium range artillery being sent, aircraft to counter the long range Russian artillery and missiles being used to strike civilian targets easily, etc.), the Ukranians have done remarkably well to date. They are actually fighting with the intention to win, as opposed to how the United States has fought every war since WWII. Which is to fight until we have the clear advantage and then we just stop and allow the other side to eventually regroup, rearm, etc., etc.. What a foreign concept actually trying to have a decisive win must be for our leaders in both Washington and Berlin. It definitely sends the wrong narrative to the masses, who have been conditioned to accept permanent stalemates as the outcome of all military actions.

So I’m sure those in Washington and Berlin are highly concerned right about now. That opinion writers are starting to write about the concerns coming from our so-called leaders validates that view. They never thought the Ukranians would fight for their freedom as hard as they have. No doubt D.C. and Berlin thought the Ukranians would have lost their will to fight by now and would have opted to allow Putin to take over most or all of Ukraine. Then the West could go back to sleep until Putin either decides to take over another former Soviet satellite state or China decides to scoop up Taiwan. We live in interesting times indeed.

Max
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Right on the mark — interesting times indeed.

PaulE
3 months ago
Reply to  Max

It is truly amazing how many so-called problems are only a probem because certain people in both Washington and the EU have chosen to ignore the obvious, correct actions that would resolve them in an expedient fashion. How humanity has generally allowed itself to be governed by such small-minded, dull and deeply flawed political ideologues, who stubbornly cling to deeply flawed policies that have proven to be completely ineffective and overly costly in terms of lives lost, is beyond me. There isn’t one major issue that we face today that couldn’t be greatly mitigated or completely resolved by implementing a few simple changes.

Max
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Absolutely correct.

Casey C Matt
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Like uh……….following the 2014 and 2015 Minsk Accords? Ukraine never followed that agreement but instead spent 8 years attacking the citizens in the eastern portion of their own country…..while banning opposition political parties, shutting down newspapers and federalizing televised news.
Baaaaahhh……….baaaahhhhhh

Casey C Matt
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

All too many Ukrainian conscripts “fight for their freedom” because it they refuse to feed the Russian grinder they are shot by their “patriotic” ASOV officer corp.
Ever wonder why Russian media has been censored in the west while in Russia they sell the New York Times,Washington Post,Wallstreet Jornal and other American and western publications? Ever even considered the fact that you are being lied to by your government……….again much like you were with the “Russian collusion hoax” or the “Iraq has WMD” B.S.? Seriously, have you ever even thought about it?

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