Project SyndicateProject Syndicate

Why the war will continue

By Richard Haass

23 Feb 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Putin is now playing for time, and conditions for both sides are “far from ripe for diplomacy,” argues Richard Haass in PS; that means a fight reminiscent of World War I, with no decisive outcome.

Munich - In the year since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the war has evolved in ways few predicted. The conventional wisdom was that Russian forces would quickly overwhelm the overmatched Ukrainians and take possession of much more of the country than they gained in 2014. Others went further, predicting that Russia would topple the government in Kyiv and replace it with a puppet regime that would ratify Russian control and no longer embody a Western-looking alternative to the bleakness that has become Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Given such dire forecasts, many in the West and in Ukraine would have readily accepted a version of what exists today, namely, a sovereign Ukraine exercising authority over some 80% of its territory. That this is the reality is a tribute to the effectiveness of Ukraine’s military, the collective courage of the Ukrainian people and their leaders, and the steadfastness of US and European support in the form of arms, money, training, intelligence, and the acceptance of millions of refugees. It is also a stunning indictment of Russia’s military.

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