The editorial board of The New York Times, the flagship organ of the Democratic Party, calls on Biden to bring closure to the Ukraine crisis.
It is perhaps the most authoritative intervention to this effect to appear in the American media, hence its importance. “The War in Ukraine is Getting Complicated and America is Not Ready” is the headline of the Big Apple newspaper’s editorial, which, while praising America’s support for Kiev, makes clear that now the war has entered a new phase and the Biden administration’s goals are becoming less and less clear. Indeed, its exponents have on several occasions profited from improvised statements that make nebulous the goals of such aid, which cannot be identified with the defeat of Russia, because that is unrealistic and risks triggering escalation, including nuclear escalation. Such goals must also be reviewed in the narrower context of the Ukrainian conflict. Thus the Nyt: “A decisive military victory for Ukraine over Russia, which would see Ukraine regain all the territory Russia has captured since 2014, is not a realistic goal. Although Russia’s planning and military capabilities have been surprisingly modest, Russia remains too strong and Putin has invested too much personal prestige in the invasion to back down.” “The United States and NATO are already deeply involved, militarily and economically [in the war]. But unrealistic expectations could drag us deeper and deeper into a long and costly conflict. Russia, however wounded and incapacitated, is still capable of inflicting untold destruction on Ukraine and is still a nuclear superpower.” “[…] Recent bellicose statements from Washington: President Biden’s assertion that Putin ‘cannot remain in power,’ Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s comment that Russia must be ‘weakened,’ and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s promise that the U.S. will support Ukraine ‘until victory’ may echo as sweeping proclamations, but they do not bring negotiations any closer,” which now appear to be a distant mirage, dialogue between the parties having plummeted to its lowest point since the war began. Instead, negotiations are urgently needed, for the above reasons and because the global consequences of the crisis will become increasingly disastrous, both economically and socially, as the conflict (and the anti-Russian sanctions, but this the Nyt cannot write about) is impoverishing the world. And the American people, who will soon feel the bite of such consequences, will not continue indefinitely to support Kiev while Ukrainians continue to die and the conflict poses growing risks to “long-term peace and security on the European continent.” Of course, the decision to compromise with Moscow must be made by the Ukrainian leadership, the Nyt continues. Indeed, it will be up to them “to make the painful decisions about the territories that compromise will require.” But even such leadership must come to terms with reality. The Nyt does not write this, but one can safely add that Zelensky appears as drugged by the political, economic and military support he is receiving (as also denoted by certain drifts veined with delusions of omnipotence). These, finally, are the Nyt’s conclusions: “As the war continues, Biden should make clear to President Volodymyr Zelensky and his people that there is a limit to the degree of intensity with which the United States and NATO will engage in confrontation with Russia and limits to the weapons, money and political support they can receive. It is imperative that the Ukrainian government’s decisions be based on a realistic assessment of its means and how much destruction it can sustain in Ukraine.” “Confronting this reality can be painful, but it is not about appeasement [with the enemy]. This is what governments are required to do, not chase an illusory ‘victory.’ Russia will suffer the wounds of isolation and economic sanctions for years to come, and Putin will go down in history as a butcher. The challenge now is to shake off the euphoria, stop the shenanigans and focus on mission definition and completion. America’s support for Ukraine is a testament to its place in the world in the 21st century, and Mr. Biden has an opportunity and an obligation to help define what that future will be.” One can see that the Nyt’s is a victory cry, certainly not a caving in to Putin. It is about finding an agreement that can also allow Putin to claim his victory, albeit not as large as expected.