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Nightmares: If Ukraine Loses

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Nightmares: If Ukraine Loses​

By Edward Lucas
October 8, 2023

Letting Russia win spells doom for others too.
Photo: A Ukrainian serviceman looks on, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine January 27, 2023. Credit: REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov

It is February 2025. Within hours of taking office, President Donald Trump says that American aid to Ukraine will cease. Three weeks later, Russian drones and missiles are defeating Ukraine’s depleted air defenses. Heating and power systems are collapsing. In sub-zero temperatures, millions flee from uninhabitable cities. On the frontline, a Russian counteroffensive is breaking through. Out of ammunition, luck, time, and options, the Ukrainian leadership grasps at a Chinese-brokered truce.

The guns fall silent, but everything else gets worse. Ukraine is in turmoil. The country is traumatized by war and humiliated by the ceasefire. Was the sacrifice of the past thousand days in vain? NATO membership is postponed indefinitely under the armistice. Insecurity makes the ruined economy uninvestable. Membership in the European Union looks vanishingly unlikely. In Russia, Vladimir Putin is triumphant. His war of aggression, once mocked for its recklessness, is now vindicated. Sanctions remain on paper, but with the West’s political will broken, they are easily evaded. While Ukrainians are plunged into poverty, Russia’s economy booms.

The wind from Washington now blows in a new direction. For the incoming Trump administration, China is what matters. Europe has failed and is not to be taken seriously. NATO remains on paper, but as the new president said in his inauguration speech, “I give you notice: the United States is not going to war to protect some fields in southern Lithuania, nor protect countries that have for decades failed to pay their premiums.” Those 31 words destroy the credibility of the 49 words in Article 5, the collective security clause of the North Atlantic Charter, NATO’s founding document. The alliance’s deterrence for decades rested on the idea that an armed attack on any ally would bring military retribution from the world’s most powerful country. Not anymore.

Far from constraining Russia, the new Trump administration seeks to woo it as an ally against China: an idea outlined by veteran Republican Kremlin-watcher Tom Graham in “Getting Russia Right,” a prescient book published in November 2023. Europe is left on the sidelines, reaping the harvest of its thirty-year strategic time-out. Without American leadership, the countries closest to Russia are in a frenzy of anxiety. They know how quickly the Kremlin’s war machine will be ready for action again. But richer and bigger countries farther to the West see things differently. We must be realistic, they say. The era of geopolitical adventurism is over. Now is the time for a reset with Russia.

Fast forward another few months. By the end of 2025, the Trump administration is floundering. The loss of US credibility in Europe has spread to Asia. “Nobody wants to be the next Ukraine,” a senior Japanese politician tells journalists at an ASEAN summit. “A country that cannot deliver weapons reliably to help win a small conflict in Europe is not likely to go to war for Taiwan, South Korea, or indeed any ally in this region,” he continues.

In vain, the new administration tries to gather European support for a global coalition to counterbalance China’s clout in supply chains, infrastructure projects, and international rule-setting. But few countries are interested. “We have learned that ‘America First’ means ‘Allies Last,’ says a European diplomat, sardonically, “Why take the risk?”

Citing (mythical) Ukrainian provocations, Russia rips up the armistice and seizes more territory. Next, it issues an ultimatum demanding an extra-territorial “security corridor” between its Kaliningrad exclave and Belarus, with a demilitarized zone of 100 km on either side. As the clock ticks, China launches a naval blockade of Taiwan. “Have you called the White House?” asks a desperate ally. “Washington is silent,” comes the bleak reply.

 

Nightmares: If Ukraine Loses​

By Edward Lucas
October 8, 2023

Letting Russia win spells doom for others too.
Photo: A Ukrainian serviceman looks on, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine January 27, 2023. Credit: REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov's attack on Ukraine, in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine January 27, 2023. Credit: REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov

It is February 2025. Within hours of taking office, President Donald Trump says that American aid to Ukraine will cease. Three weeks later, Russian drones and missiles are defeating Ukraine’s depleted air defenses. Heating and power systems are collapsing. In sub-zero temperatures, millions flee from uninhabitable cities. On the frontline, a Russian counteroffensive is breaking through. Out of ammunition, luck, time, and options, the Ukrainian leadership grasps at a Chinese-brokered truce.

The guns fall silent, but everything else gets worse. Ukraine is in turmoil. The country is traumatized by war and humiliated by the ceasefire. Was the sacrifice of the past thousand days in vain? NATO membership is postponed indefinitely under the armistice. Insecurity makes the ruined economy uninvestable. Membership in the European Union looks vanishingly unlikely. In Russia, Vladimir Putin is triumphant. His war of aggression, once mocked for its recklessness, is now vindicated. Sanctions remain on paper, but with the West’s political will broken, they are easily evaded. While Ukrainians are plunged into poverty, Russia’s economy booms.

The wind from Washington now blows in a new direction. For the incoming Trump administration, China is what matters. Europe has failed and is not to be taken seriously. NATO remains on paper, but as the new president said in his inauguration speech, “I give you notice: the United States is not going to war to protect some fields in southern Lithuania, nor protect countries that have for decades failed to pay their premiums.” Those 31 words destroy the credibility of the 49 words in Article 5, the collective security clause of the North Atlantic Charter, NATO’s founding document. The alliance’s deterrence for decades rested on the idea that an armed attack on any ally would bring military retribution from the world’s most powerful country. Not anymore.

Far from constraining Russia, the new Trump administration seeks to woo it as an ally against China: an idea outlined by veteran Republican Kremlin-watcher Tom Graham in “Getting Russia Right,” a prescient book published in November 2023. Europe is left on the sidelines, reaping the harvest of its thirty-year strategic time-out. Without American leadership, the countries closest to Russia are in a frenzy of anxiety. They know how quickly the Kremlin’s war machine will be ready for action again. But richer and bigger countries farther to the West see things differently. We must be realistic, they say. The era of geopolitical adventurism is over. Now is the time for a reset with Russia.

Fast forward another few months. By the end of 2025, the Trump administration is floundering. The loss of US credibility in Europe has spread to Asia. “Nobody wants to be the next Ukraine,” a senior Japanese politician tells journalists at an ASEAN summit. “A country that cannot deliver weapons reliably to help win a small conflict in Europe is not likely to go to war for Taiwan, South Korea, or indeed any ally in this region,” he continues.

In vain, the new administration tries to gather European support for a global coalition to counterbalance China’s clout in supply chains, infrastructure projects, and international rule-setting. But few countries are interested. “We have learned that ‘America First’ means ‘Allies Last,’ says a European diplomat, sardonically, “Why take the risk?”

Citing (mythical) Ukrainian provocations, Russia rips up the armistice and seizes more territory. Next, it issues an ultimatum demanding an extra-territorial “security corridor” between its Kaliningrad exclave and Belarus, with a demilitarized zone of 100 km on either side. As the clock ticks, China launches a naval blockade of Taiwan. “Have you called the White House?” asks a desperate ally. “Washington is silent,” comes the bleak reply.

While the story is interesting, "ally against China" doesn't make any sense. If it ever comes to this, I will advise my Chinese friends thusly: Pick your tallest and best four towers and sign a deal with Trump that for $20 million a year, will you please permit us to name them as TRUMP Towers, with 20-foot letters, all GOLD plated. Trump will then lease the Lincoln bedroom in White House for free to President Xi for the duration of his presidency. For the price of a rusty old ship, you have taken care of Trump headache for four years.
 
Continuing the war is also a nightmare.

But peace is always better.


Fast forward another few months. By the end of 2025, the Trump administration is floundering. The loss of US credibility in Europe has spread to Asia. “Nobody wants to be the next Ukraine,” a senior Japanese politician tells journalists at an ASEAN summit. “A country that cannot deliver weapons reliably to help win a small conflict in Europe is not likely to go to war for Taiwan, South Korea, or indeed any ally in this region,” he continues.

So, USA wants to build a bigger weapon?

So, its allies are willing to go into a war and let their countries into a war zone?

Insane!!!
 
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It’s a video analysis of the same article by a former U.S. soldier
 
It’s a video analysis of the same article by a former U.S. soldier
That’s totally unrealistic. Even if Trump stops weapons delivery after becomes president the EU would continue the delivery. Economic wise Europe has the weapons and money. And even if Europe stops delivery Ukraine military complex would sustain the war very long.
In addition Russia would have to declare war and total mobilization to have men and resources to renew offensive against Kiew, Kherson, Kharkiv and Odessa.
 
That’s totally unrealistic. Even if Trump stops weapons delivery after becomes president the EU would continue the delivery. Economic wise Europe has the weapons and money. And even if Europe stops delivery Ukraine military complex would sustain the war very long.
In addition Russia would have to declare war and total mobilization to have men and resources to renew offensive against Kiew, Kherson, Kharkiv and Odessa.
It’s not just weapons delivery, the US may put pressure on Ukraine to negotiate a settlement with the Russians if Trump is in charge.
 
It’s not just weapons delivery, the US may put pressure on Ukraine to negotiate a settlement with the Russians if Trump is in charge.
a risky bet

Trump says he will put pressure on Ukraine and Russia to end the war in 24h. The only realistic scenario: with Ukraine approval he sends US troops with thousands of tanks and planes into Ukraine and threatens Putin with nuclear annihilation if the russians don’t withdraw from Ukraine in 24h.
 
a risky bet
Trump says he will put pressure on Ukraine and Russia to end the war in 24h. The only realistic scenario: he sends US troops into Ukraine and threatens Putin with nuclear annihilation if the russians don’t withdraw from Ukraine in 24h.
But if trump is in charge, he will call up Putin, come to an agreement (probably donbas and Crimea to Russia by treaty) and then force the Ukrainians to accept it like the Afghans had to accept the trump deal with the Talibs.
 
But if trump is in charge, he will call up Putin, come to an agreement (probably donbas and Crimea to Russia by treaty) and then force the Ukrainians to accept it like the Afghans had to accept the trump deal with the Talibs.
Trump will never surrender Ukraine territory to the russians. That will never happen. It’s as if you ask the US to commit political and military suicide. Germany, Japan, Korea would terminate the US defense pact immediately.
 
Trump will never surrender Ukraine territory to the russians. That will never happen. It’s as if you ask the US to commit political and military suicide. Germany, Japan, Korea would terminate the US defense pact immediately.
What would be their alternative? For better or worse, America is the only show in town. America makes the rules.
 
What would be their alternative? For better or worse, America is the only show in town. America makes the rules.
The alternative? The russians piss off. That’s the only way out. There is no alternative.
 
The alternative? The russians piss off. That’s the only way out. There is no alternative.
The Russians don’t do that, they keep sending waves of men into the meat grinder until they get their way. Only economic and political breakdown will stop them for force them into withdrawing. And neither if Trump wins, I doubt he would really try to do that. He seems very friendly with Putin.
 
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