Feb 15Liked by Michael McFaul

The biggest fear I have is that a notion by some western leaders particularly the U.S. leadership that “ let Ukraine fights for itself and we have our own issues to worry about”…. If such case prevails Putin will win and Mr Xi will win and the world will go down in pieces.

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In recent days I have come across two sets of arguments. One sets out to suggest that any sober analysis of the challenges faced by Ukraine is ‘defeatist’ whilst the other says Russia is massing forces, including aircraft, that Ukraine will struggle to defeat.

I thoroughly believe Ukraine can still win this war. However, to do this we need to acknowledge it faces several real challenges. First, it needs a steady supply of artillery ammunition. To achieve this the West will need to dramatically increase production fast.

Second, Ukraine desperately needs a long range precision strike capability i.e. ATACMS or GLSDB, to target Russian logistics.

Third, Ukraine would benefit from the supply of Western fighter jets. The Swedish SAAB Gripen is the ideal candidate as it was designed for dispersed military operations (the situation currently faced by the Ukrainian military). These jets would complement existing air defence capabilities whilst supplementing existing long range precision strike opportunities.

If the Biden administration wants to ‘finish the job’ this is what it needs to do.

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The "NATO expansion" claim is a chimera. As General Petraeus has pointed out, what NATO achieved in Europe was a security blanket that permitted European post-war economies and democracies to thrive. A defensive alliance, it has never presented a threat of invasion to Russia.

What the Ukraine war shows is that Russia's fear is seeing its big Slavic neighbor choose to align itself with the democratic values and market economies of the West as opposed to staying under the domination of Russia. Given a free choice, that is not a tough decision to make, given the corruption and dictatorial institutions that now characterize Russia.

There is no way we can accept the principle that a major power may invade its neighbor simply to prevent it from making a free choice of how it wishes to be governed and organize its economy. If Russia succeeds in establishing that principle in Ukraine, it will go on to spread that principle as it sees fit in Europe and challenge the US and other free countries that wish to remain free to make their own choices. We must not let that happen.

Given the high stakes at issue in Ukraine, we should be pouring into Ukraine all of the weapons and training they need to gain a significant edge on the battlefield and push out the Russian invaders. Let's get on with it!

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Please help me out here folks. What I'm looking for are those who are taking a wider view than this current conflict. Everybody is so focused on Ukraine that I fear this war is not being put in to a necessary larger context. For example...

The Ukraine war will end someday. Other conflicts will follow. And sooner or later one of these conflicts will spin out of control. If not in Ukraine, then somewhere, somehow, someday. In the nuclear era, we are playing a game of Russian roulette with each of these conflicts, and it's just not credible that the chamber will forever come up empty.

If the above is true, then a near exclusive focus on particular conflicts one by one by one as they happen may be a serious logic failure. Real victory is not just winning in Ukraine, it's saving this civilization from self destruction.

Yes, we need to win in Ukraine, and I support the approach McFaul advises and Biden is pursuing. I'm on board with all that. But that's just not enough. We need to meet the larger challenge too, which could perhaps be defined this way...

The marriage between violent men and an accelerating knowledge explosion is unsustainable.

We face a choice between the knowledge explosion and violent men.

We can have either, but not both.

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Elegant analysis. Yes, path-dependent. Notwithstanding his prodigious, successful efforts de novo to mobilize the West, Biden's continuing feckless provision of only *just enough* advanced weaponry for Ukraine to maintain an endless, grinding, stalemate vs. Russian barbarism while their people bleed and die for *our* freedom, is hauntingly reminiscent of his pathetic (mis)management of the Afghanistan extraction. Can he raise his timid spirit from the futile equipoise on it is currently (and characteristically) sitting? That is your implicit, and my explicit question?!

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