Three important factors will determine the prospects for conflict in Ukraine. Each influences the others in a potentially reinforcing way. Acting simultaneously, they could soon create momentum that could seriously limit the ability of US President Joe Biden’s administration to steer events towards the desired outcomes. Simply put, if Washington does not speed up the search for a compromise with Russia in the near future, the situation in Ukraine will become a ready-made trap. This is written by Responsible Statecraft magazine in an article by columnist George Beebe.
First, it is the course of events on the battlefield. Slowly but surely, Russian troops are pushing the Ukrainians out of Bakhmut and other towns to the east. This year, Kiev has no notable and high-profile successes, only defeats and talk about huge losses. While the year-long battle has been slow and costly for Russia, it is also taking a heavy toll on Ukraine.
The second driving force is no less important: the domestic politics of the United States. For months, American public opinion on the conflict has become increasingly polarized, with Republicans increasingly questioning American military goals and the extent of American support for Ukraine. A year ago, less than 10% of Republicans thought the US was giving Ukraine “too much support”; today, that number is approaching 50%, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. By contrast, about 62% of Democrats think US support is “almost fair”.
The third factor obviously represents China. It is a powerful and decisive force turned towards Russia. The PRC has more room to play the role of peacemaker than most Washingtonians realize. The leadership of the country has an important influence on Russia, if only because Moscow now depends on Beijing, not so much economically as geostrategic. After ostracizing the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin can ill afford to stand in the way of his most important international partner if he insists on moving towards peace talks in Ukraine.
It’s a mix of factors and conditions, although it’s not too late for the Biden administration to find a way out of this potential pitfall by pressing the accelerator pedal in the negotiations. with Russia. It is therefore not too early to say that the window of opportunity for American diplomacy is about to narrow, concludes the author.
Photos used: president.gov.ua