May 2, 2022


“A long-awaited evacuation of civilians from a besieged steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol was under way Sunday, as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed that she visited Ukraine’s president to show unflinching American support for the country’s defense against Russia’s invasion.” AP News

Many on both sides call for a long-term strategy against ongoing Russian aggression:

“Russia’s aim is to push westward from its redoubts in Crimea and Donbas, eventually breaking through and encircling Ukrainian forces. Stopping this is the reason Ukraine needed an immediate infusion of heavy weaponry; actually enabling Ukraine to go on the counteroffensive later this spring and summer is the reason it will need still more in the coming weeks. Thus, President Biden’s request for $33 billion in new aid for Ukraine, of which $20 billion will be military, was not only appropriate but urgent, and Congress should respond accordingly. Coupled with the recent approval of a revived ‘lend-lease’ system, Mr. Biden’s proposal puts the United States in position to bolster Ukraine over the long haul…

“When past U.S. policy has failed in Ukraine, it was often because, fearing to provoke Mr. Putin, it did not do enough to deter him. Obviously, the Biden administration must not err in the opposite direction now. But the record of the war so far, including Europe’s admirable determination to seek new energy sources, vindicates a policy of maximum firmness. Mr. Putin’s war aim is not merely to conquer Ukraine but to overthrow the international order itself. It’s worth accepting costs and taking risks to make sure that Russia fails — and emerges from the conflict unable to wage such aggression again.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post

“Two days after long convoys of Russian tanks rolled across the border, on February 24th, the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, still claimed that America’s goal—backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid—was simply to stand behind the Ukrainian people…

“[Now] The goal—backed by tens of billions of dollars in aid—is to ‘weaken’ Russia and insure a sovereign Ukraine outlasts Putin… The U.S. role has evolved—from a reactive response to Russia’s unjustified war to a proactive assertion of American leadership and leverage… ​​The war could now play out in many disparate ways. Each carries its own dangers—for the U.S. as well as Ukraine.”

Robin Wright, New Yorker

“The worse the situation gets, the less Vladimir Putin has to lose… Whatever happens next, the Russia we knew, or thought we knew, throughout much of the post–Cold War period is now long gone. What remains is something closer to a territorially giant North Korea with a much larger nuclear arsenal — paranoid, irrational, illogical, unpredictable, with serious questions of whether the leadership is getting accurately briefed on any issue. Not only is a ‘stable and predictable’ relationship with Putin’s Russia now impossible, it is unlikely that U.S.–Russia relations will thaw for at least a decade.”

Jim Geraghty, National Review

“[We should] invest in one of the most important force-multipliers we can find: credible, confidence-inspiring missile defense. When Ronald Reagan proposed to develop a proficient missile-defense system in the 1980s, Democrats mocked it as ‘Star Wars,’ a sci-fi fantasy. We have made considerable advances on that front since, as have a few other nations. But the most important limiting factor in our current confrontation with Vladimir Putin’s junta is Russian nuclear weapons, both the tactical and short-range weapons that are a threat to Ukraine and its NATO neighbors and the long-range missiles that are an existential threat to the United States…

“Without those Russian nuclear weapons, the U.S. scope of military action in Europe would be effectively unlimited. That is why the United States should be working against those nuclear weapons on two fronts: by developing our missile defenses and by making the nuclear disarmament of Russia a strategic priority. Of course, Moscow is not going to agree to such disarmament unless it has no other choice. And putting Moscow in that no-choice position, through economic and diplomatic means — and through military means if Putin makes the mistake of attacking one of our NATO allies — should be a guiding principle in our current relations with Russia.”

Kevin D. Williamson, National Review

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

“One unexpected event [last] week did provide some reason to feel a bit less pessimistic… On Wednesday, the United States and Russia carried out an elaborately planned prisoner exchange. Trevor Reed, a U.S. Marine veteran, was released from a Moscow prison where he’d been serving three years of a long sentence for assaulting an officer. Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot, was released from a federal prison where he’d been serving a 20-year sentence for drug smuggling…

“There are no signs that fruitful diplomacy on this one relatively small matter might translate to similar successes on the scale of war and peace. In fact, Biden, while trumpeting the prisoner swap, discouraged anyone mulling such implications. Still, the Reed-Yaroshenko trade indicates that diplomatic relations—civil contact between U.S. and Russian officials—do still exist on some level. It is not inconceivable that Putin, seeing the war as a titanic struggle with the United States, might feel emboldened to dangle a peace feeler to Washington, if he ever feels like stopping the war at all.”

Fred Kaplan, Slate

From the Right

“Notwithstanding U.S. statements about helping Ukraine win the war outright, it’s difficult to imagine Ukraine's total defeat of the Russians. A negotiated resolution is the more likely option. But we are a long way from reaching the point of serious talks. With the Russian offensive in the Donbas ramping up and Ukrainian formations digging in for what is sure to be an intense barrage of air, missile, and artillery strikes, Kyiv or Moscow aren’t in the right frame of mind to talk about peace terms. The talks themselves depend on the state of the battlefield. With the battlefield in flux, trying to conjure up terms for a peace settlement is fruitless…

“Unfortunately, Ukraine, Russia, and the West thus now find themselves in a Catch-22. Peace talks will only occur after more fighting in the area. But the more fighting there is, the higher the risk of escalation. Indeed, just this week, Russia severed natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, multiple depots inside Russia were damaged in explosions, and Transnistria, the breakaway pro-Russia territory in Moldova, saw destabilizing events.”

Daniel DePetris, Washington Examiner

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