Biden leaves Zelenskyy with few … if any … options
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has become the personification of the Ukrainian people’s determination to win Putin’s dirty little war of aggression. The goal is to drive the Russian army out of Ukraine – even re-uniting the Crimea and the Donbass region.
It is a very ambitious goal, and one that western democracies support – to a measure. Zelenskyy is committed to do whatever it takes to achieve total victory. President Biden, NATO, the European Union and a group of other nations will offer significant help – but not whatever it takes to actually defeat Putin.
They have admitted as much. Biden has been pessimistic from the onset. That is why he has been restrained to even fulfill his commitment to provide sanctions that would cripple and crush the Russian economy. Nothing Biden has done so far as stopped or even slowed down the Russian aggression. In some ways it is worse than what it was in the early days of the invasion as Putin resorts to war crimes to make up for his military’s failure to win the ground war..
The fierceness of the Ukrainian military and the bravery of the people are the only things that have thwarted Putin’s dream of a quick and decisive victory. The ability of the Ukrainian military was the factor that opened the flood gate of military weaponry being sent to Ukraine scores of nations. But it is still limited. Biden has refused to send fighter jets even though the American people and most members of Congress – on both sides of the aisle – have supported such a move. There are other weapon systems requested by the Zelenskyy government that seem to be on hold in the west.
While the Ukraine military and people have shocked the world with their ability to slow down the Russian invasion, Biden remains pessimistic for the long haul. His most optimistic statements suggest that Russia could not hold Ukraine in the long run. But there remains a belief that despite Ukraine’s prowess against the Russian military, they will eventually succumb to the invaders.
That is what puts Zelenskyy in a no-win position. The lack of western determination to defeat Putin decisively is what makes some sort of compromise necessary. Biden and the west leave Zelenskyy with two unhappy options.
IF Biden & Co. are correct, Zelenskyy can fight to the last man – and have his country completely taken over by Putin in the end. And the Ukrainian people would be subjected to the kind of brutal rule Putin is known for.
If victory is not possible in the long run, Zelenskyy may be forced into accepting a partial – but significant – victory for Putin. Zelenskyy may have to agree to cede the Crimea permanently to Russia – as well as those phony independent nations Putin created in eastern Ukraine.
That portion of Ukraine that remains quasi-independent, for now, would have to forever reject membership in NATO and the European Union. It would have to demilitarize. That only means a brief intermission before Putin would again move to take over the entire nation.
That prospect has been viewed as a “cave-in” by Zelenskyy. But considering his only other option, the Ukrainian leader may have no choice. That is the result of the too-little-too-late policy of Biden and the western democracies. It rests more on the shoulders of Biden because – by all claims – he is the leader of the western alliance. We see many examples where NATO nations are urging Biden to take stronger measures.
If the Ukrainians do not defeat – as in win the war – it will be due to the failure of Biden and the western alliances to have stepped up. Their strategy is the equivalent of dropping a 50-foot rope to a man 100 feet at the bottom of a well.
I believe that even at this junction it is not too late – but valuable time is being wasted and people are dying. If all the stops are pulled out, Putin can be defeated. But that seems to depend more on Biden and the western leaders than Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people.
Losing Ukraine as a strategic ally is ever worse than Afghanistan – and that was awful. Biden is no leader – and not even a good follower. He only moves when events make him – and not even then.
So, there ‘tis.