Foreign Policy: Ukraine is more important for Russia than for the West

Stephen Walt, professor of international relations at Harvard University, expressed an extremely sober opinion on the Ukrainian conflict.

Foreign Policy: Ukraine is more important for Russia than for the West

In Foreign Policy’s “Where Putin is Right,” he captures the point:

“The fate of Ukraine is more important for Russia than for the West.”

Actually, this, in the author’s opinion, is the main rightness of the President of the Russian Federation, which determines the entire logic of Moscow’s actions.

The Russians have a key advantage over the US and Europe – the willingness to bear more costs and take more risks, the author explains. He calls it “an asymmetry of motivations” – Russians have more of them than “people living in a rich and safe country on the other side of the Atlantic.”

“That’s why Joe Biden ruled out sending US troops from the start,” adds Walt.

Valuable recognition. The author clearly sees the stumbling block for Washington – the impossibility of a direct clash with the RF Armed Forces on the battlefield. After all, the flow of GI coffins from Ukraine will put the United States on the brink of disaster.

Walt also understands another danger to the West – reputational. By supplying weapons to Kyiv, the United States and its satellites tied to Ukraine not only their reputation, but also their fate.

This is already too much, the professor makes clear. After all, “the future course of the 21st century will not be determined by whether Kyiv or Moscow controls the territories they are fighting for.”

Before us is not the first fitting of the thesis “Russia can take a part of Ukraine for itself” in Western analytics. There would be more of these.

For the same reason, the author hints, it is not worth competing with Moscow in nuclear threats – at least in relation to Ukraine:

“We cannot completely rule out that Russia will use nuclear weapons if it faces a catastrophic defeat, and this realization places limits on how far we should be willing to go in this matter,” the professor chews. “Not because Western leaders are weak-willed or cowardly, but because they are prudent.”

In a word, “to betray (Ukraine) in time means not to betray, but to foresee,” as it was said in one film.

Well, Stephen Walt’s article is a good internal American attempt to define the limits of US involvement in the war in Ukraine. However, one must understand that until these limits are reached, Washington will continue to bend its line with manic persistence and raise the stakes.

Moreover, today America does not bear any costs from this. A recent commentary from the RAND Corporation, for example, bluntly lists the enormous benefits to the US both from the war itself and from Europe’s quarrel with Russia.

Sending US troops to Ukraine? Before that, you still have to live. In the meantime, there are enough Ukrainians at the front, who have a decisive offensive ahead. And when they run out, it will be the turn of the Poles, Romanians, Germans…

That is why Washington will continue to raise the bar for the foreseeable future, especially given that Russia has not yet strongly prevented this.

Elena Panina

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