After 18 months of brutal combat in Ukraine it is evident that the current status quo is not sustainable. The Ukrainians have fought valiantly but have sustained hundreds of thousands of casualties, are running out of manpower and rely completely on aid from cash-strapped Western nations whose people are growing skeptical about funding a foreign war over the needs of their people.
Conversely, the Russians have committed a relatively small number of troops, kept their casualties low — by Russian standards, have hundreds of thousands of troops in reserve and a sophisticated domestic military industrial manufacturing base, meaning they can resupply themselves unlike the Ukrainians. The Russians are prepared to go the distance. Economically Russia has formed a powerful alliance with China that has protected them from U.S. sanctions. This economic alliance is now shaping up to pose a major threat to U.S. economic power and the stability of the dollar’s reserve currency status. These tectonic economic shifts are already a major threat to America’s national security.
Although the fighting spirit of the Ukrainians has been impressive and heroic, they simply cannot sustain this war in terms of manpower and firepower without major Western intervention. Escalating the conflict with Western/NATO intervention is a recipe for World War 3 and a potential nuclear exchange with Russia. To cool tensions, stop the killing and focus our limited resources on more pressing needs at home like our border and our people affected by natural disasters, we must come up with a way forward in Ukraine that ends the conflict as soon as possible.
America still has a great deal of leverage. We are providing most of the funding and weaponry for the Ukrainians, so we can get the Ukrainians to the table by conditioning any aid on being at the negotiating table with Russia.
To get the Russians to the table we must understand that Russia will not tolerate a NATO-aligned Ukraine on its border. Russia has been invaded three times from the Ukrainian territory and will tolerate a NATO-client state on its border as much as we would tolerate a Russian-client state in Mexico or Canada. This was understood by the architects of the Cold War era-containment doctrine that kept us from World War 3 during the Cold War but ignored by defense hawks seeking to expand U.S. hegemony to every corner of the globe. We can get the Russians to the negotiating table by taking NATO membership for Ukraine off the table and any deployment of nuclear capable missiles to Ukraine off the table. From there, we let the Ukrainians and Russians hash out their own borders. We have no business drawing national boundaries in foreign lands.
U.S. policy must be realistic and have our vital national security interests in mind. The rhetoric coming from Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and President Joe Biden will only draw us closer to World War 3 or economic catastrophe and doesn’t make us or the Ukrainians safer. It only benefits their defense contractor donors.
Editor’s Note: Joe Kent is running for the U.S. representative for District 3 against incumbent Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in the 2024 election.