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David Rothkopf says the US, Ukraine, NATO have a secret weapon against Russia: Patience.

How many nights have you curled up under a blanket on the floor of a subway station, holding your baby in your arms as rockets and bombs turned the city over your head to rubble?

How long is a day without water, no food, no electricity and no way out.

Time means something different in a war zone. It is more precious, more tortuous, more valuable, and more dangerous.

When I spoke with a senior State Department official recently about the war in Ukraine, timing was at the heart of every point he made. It is the Ukrainians’ secret weapon and the biggest challenge they and their allies face. Over time, sanctions against the Russians will cause growing pain. Over time, the growing losses in Ukraine will create ever greater opposition to Putin in his own country.

This official, a thoughtful, seasoned national security officer emphasized to me, we must find a way to have patience. And he admits that the Russians know that and that is why they are determined to escalate their attacks, destroy cities, inflict more pain on civilians. Because they know that only if they do, they can force Ukraine to the negotiating table on favorable terms. They also know that the longer this war drags on and it becomes increasingly clear that Russia cannot achieve its goals, the weaker Moscow’s negotiating leverage will become.

In a way, the role of time in this conflict has been turned on. Initially, it was predicted that a lightning attack on Ukraine by a large, well-equipped Russian army would produce an immediate victory. The big cities will be taken. The government will be beheaded and replaced. Russia’s power will force the Ukrainians and their neighbors to surrender in the future to the whims of the dictator in the Kremlin.

But here we are approaching the four-week mark in this conflict and clearly that has not happened. Russia does not occupy any major Ukrainian cities. Its Blitzkrieg got stuck in the mud and was annihilated by the dedicated, resourceful, increasingly well-equipped Ukrainian army. The tsar on his throne near the banks of the Moskva River was taken by the people’s president in Kyiv, a politician who happened to win the hearts and support of the Ukrainian people and the world became smaller than ever in as Putin’s stature grew smaller and smaller and his popularity dwindled. more reprehensible.

By conservative estimates, Russia has lost more troops in the first three weeks of this war than the United States has lost over the past two decades in the “forever wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq. While casualty estimates are unreliable, it appears to be just days or a week or two before Russia’s killings surpass that country’s total losses in the 10-year war. In Afghanistan, a war was so unpopular that it helped trigger changes that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union Western intelligence reports suggest that Russia has made “a little bit of progress” in achievement of pre-war goals in Ukraine.

Economic sanctions have hit Russia hard. Each ruble is worth less than a cent. More than 400 companies have announced either withdrawing from Russia or reducing the scope of their operations there. It is estimated that the sanctions will wipe out 30 years of Russia’s economic growth, almost all that has happened since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is likely that more than 10,000 people were arrested in Russia for protesting the war. Public outcry to it from artists and the media and even Russian cosmonauts in the international space station has been growing.

Huge flows of military and financial aid to Ukraine have poured in from the West. Last week, President Biden authorized the transfer of more important weapons. Congress authorized nearly $14 billion in war-related spending, including more money to deploy troops and military supplies to Europe and nearly $7 billion in foreign aid. Managing the flow of Western military aid to Ukraine is a big undertaking and, by far, a remarkable achievement. In fact, it was so important to Ukraine’s success over Russia that the Kremlin began threatening to attack such flows.

To date, Russia’s threats of escalation have been one of its few successful initiatives in this conflict. Putin’s warnings about the threat of nuclear war had the desired effect on Western planners, helping to quell discussions of direct Western military involvement in support. Ukraine.

In the coming days, US officials expect such threats to increase along with suggestions that the use of chemical weapons may be imminent.

US officials speculate that the threats of escalation are a strategy by Putin to force a settlement while he still has some leverage and can get out of the conflict with something he has. can tell his people a “victory” and worth the sacrifice. At this point, a protracted war, at least in the view of the senior State Department official I spoke with, is not in Putin’s favor. That is why he stressed the importance of allowing time for the strategy of supporting Ukraine’s fierce resistance while waging a fierce economic war against Russia. use.

But he understands the risks. There will be atrocities. In fact, because Putin realized that he could neither achieve his goal of victory quickly nor afford protracted urban wars to capture important cities or hold them against the army. uprising, only atrocities he can hope to break the will of the Ukrainian people and pressure them to resolve some truce terms that are acceptable to the Russians. The problem for the West is that such atrocities will inevitably put increasing pressure on Ukraine to do more, and in doing so, they greatly increase the risk of military confrontation between Ukraine and Ukraine. Russia and NATO and even great loss of life and property can occur.

Western strategy takes time. Russians feel that time is something they cannot buy. Consequently, in the very near future, this already terrifying war is likely to become even more intense and its numbers likely to soar. The amount per day is likely to go higher, perhaps much higher.

That means for many in Ukraine, little time is left. And for others, the coming minutes and hours will be extremely difficult. That is why, in the end, whatever strategy or plan is being developed in the capitals of the West, it is entirely up to the Ukrainians to decide whether they should endure the war sacrifices. how long to fight.

Putin will try to break their spirit. So far, not only has he failed to do so, his brutality has left incalculable consequences. It seems to have given the Ukrainian people a greater will to fight. Consequence? With each passing day, it seems that the strategy of Ukraine and its allies is working. With each passing week, it increases the chance that the people of that despised but immensely courageous country will be able to claim this moment in history as their own.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/david-rothkopf-says-us-ukraine-nato-have-a-secret-weapon-against-russia-patience?source=articles&via=rss David Rothkopf says the US, Ukraine, NATO have a secret weapon against Russia: Patience.

Russell Falcon

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