A retired Pentagon general has issued a rare call for Ukraine to immediately enter negotiations with Russia toward finding a peaceful solution to the now six-month long war. This comes after weeks of reports of a ‘stalemated’ battlefield along eastern and southern lines, and amid Western leaders increasingly acknowledging “uncomfortably low” and depleted weapons stockpiles.
Army brigadier general Mark T. Kimmitt, who had served as Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs under the George W. Bush administration, warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed days ago that the current policy of ramping up weapons systems to Kyiv is only likely to lead to more casualties.
He wrote in the Thursday article that “older and less advanced” systems which are increasingly making up the bulk of what’s now being supplied “may indicate that battlefield consumption rates have outpaced production to a point where excess inventories provided to Ukraine are nearly exhausted.”
Kimmitt argued that the “dwindling stocks of leading-edge weapon systems” in NATO countries will inevitably lead to a prolonged conflict, and a longer war will in turn result in “more pressure from supporting nations, sustained inflation, less heating gas, and falling popular support.” He concluded:
“This likely will mean muddling through a long war, with more casualties.”
Outlining the “logistic peril” of getting NATO weapons to the Ukrainians, the retired general explored three options which involve varying means of keeping the weapons flowing and thus digging deeper into NATO stockpiles, but which will also ensure escalation – even including supplying Kyiv with longer range missiles.
But Kimmitt then offers a final available option, which he admits no one including the Zelensky government itself seems willing to take seriously (given also the Ukrainian president has recently been vowing the “liberation” of Crimea). This last option – the path of serious negotiations – would involve Ukraine pushing for “an interim diplomatic resolution without (or with) territorial concessions.”
“There is little incentive to negotiate” at the moment, Kimmitt acknowledges, but Zelensky “must recognize that diminishing resupplies would have a disastrous effect on his army, not merely for battlefield operations but for the message of declining outside support it would send to the people of Ukraine.”
“Beginning the diplomatic resolution would be distasteful, and perhaps seen as defeatist, but as there is little chance of climbing out of the current morass, it may be better to negotiate now than later.”
Such realism appearing in a mainstream outlet when it comes to the Ukraine debate is a rarity, but as Russia and the West continue their game of chicken over Ukraine, now clearly a full-blown proxy war, likely more such urgings for negotiated settlement will appear in public discourse.
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Meanwhile, Russia too is putting Europe on notice regarding energy sanctions, as indeed both sides continue digging their heels in deeper…
“Winter will be big – only dusk and snow”
A propos of absolutely nothing, Gazprom releases an eerie two-minute video showing how a cold winter will freeze Europe to death pic.twitter.com/3KSmbhWe59
— Max Fras (@maxfras) September 5, 2022