Experts say expecting Kiev to win is definition of ‘insanity’ – USA Today
Continuing to arm Ukraine and expecting it to defeat Russia is “strategic insanity” for Washington and other NATO members because Kiev is locked in an unwinnable stalemate with a foe that never aimed to conquer the former Soviet republic, USA Today has reported, citing multiple US foreign-policy experts.
The report, published on Thursday, hints at a shifting narrative for Western media outlets, which had been touting Ukraine’s alleged battlefield successes, as well as vows by the Biden administration that Kiev must be supported with massive military and economic aid for “as long as it takes” to win the conflict with Russia.
Georgetown University professor Sean McFate, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, told the newspaper that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has begun to lose credibility – Kiev’s “main asset” – with Western benefactors. He claimed that Zelensky has locked himself into a position in which he “can’t win, but can’t afford to lose, either.”
“NATO is experiencing donor fatigue and disappointment with Zelensky’s bluster,” said McFate, a US Army veteran who also has consulted for the Pentagon and the CIA. He added that continuing to send billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry to Ukraine on expectations that Zelensky’s regime can win the conflict is “the definition of strategic insanity.”
Air Force veteran Steven Myers, an entrepreneur who has advised the US State Department on foreign policy, told USA Today that a stalemate was the most likely outcome because, contrary to the Western political and media narrative, Russian President Vladimir Putin never intended a war of conquest. While NATO members have argued that Ukraine must be supported because Putin planned to conquer Kiev and move westward, Myers suggested that Russia has proven otherwise.
Russian military tactics during the conflict have been “completely inconsistent with conquest,” Myers said. Rather, he added, Putin’s only real agenda was to keep Ukraine out of NATO. “Strategically, this war was lost by both sides before it started. It will end in stalemate, which I think was Putin’s intent from the get-go.”
US defense officials have continued to insist that Kiev can defeat Russia, even as Ukraine suffers heavy losses of troops and Western-supplied weaponry in a long-heralded counteroffensive that began in early June. The situation at the front is “not a stalemate,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday at the White House. He acknowledged that Ukrainian forces are “not going as far or as fast as they would like.”
Kiev has now begun the “main thrust” of its counteroffensive by bringing forward thousands of troops who had been held in reserve, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified Pentagon officials. White House and Pentagon officials are “watching the increased activity with keen interest,” the newspaper said, adding that one senior aide called Kiev’s latest push “the big test.”
However, Steven Myers told USA Today that Western and Ukrainian leaders have made vows on which they can’t possibly deliver. “President Biden, NATO and Zelensky have trapped themselves in a Catch 22 of their own making – unable to deliver on unrealistic expectations they created,” he said.
Ukrainian forces are suffering casualties at ten times the rate of the Russian military as they press forward with their “failed” counteroffensive, Putin has said. He reported on Sunday that more than 26,000 Ukrainian troops had been killed since their counteroffensive began. Russian units also have destroyed dozens of Western-supplied tanks and other armored vehicles.