Russia's will to win in Ukraine
There was never a U.S. or Western strategic interest in Ukraine for which it was rational for us to provoke this war. And once this war started, Russia's commitment to its successful conclusion — inevitably, unavoidably — was known to all who could fog a mirror as greater than that of the U.S. and the West.
Western policy elites who claim not to have seen this war coming — after the Biden administration treated Ukraine as a de facto member of NATO during all of 2021, and after Russia had been saying for nearly a decade that it would not tolerate Ukraine as a U.S. military bulwark on its border — are just plain fools. If they really were this blind, they were unqualified for their jobs.
Before the war started, as late as December of 2021, the Russians very probably would have settled the Ukraine problem by a declaration of permanent Ukrainian neutrality (i.e., no NATO membership, ever); some form of reasonable autonomy for the Russian-speaking, pro-Russian Donbas within Ukraine; and recognition of Crimea as Russian. This settlement in no way would have adversely affected legitimate U.S./Western interests. The only U.S. ox that would have been gored by this settlement would have been that of our odious neocon triumphalists, who want America to destroy Russia and become the world's unquestioned hegemon.
Now, after Russian lives, treasure, and U.S.-orchestrated sanctions and obloquy, who knows what Russia's demands will be?
Those who think Russia will be defeated in this war are whistling past the graveyard. They should listen to John Mearsheimer.
The Russians will not be defeated, period, for the simple reason that, by orders of magnitude, Ukraine means more to them than it does to us. They see a Ukraine within NATO, armed to the teeth with U.S. sophisticated weapons aimed at them, as an existential threat to mother Russia. They won't let it happen. They have said so for years. If the war looks as though it's moving toward a Russian defeat, they will do what it takes to avert that. We don't want that outcome. That way lies catastrophe.
The West's interest in Ukraine, on the other hand, is merely a neocon, U.S. hegemony adventure, seeking to assert U.S. top dog dominance in Eastern Europe, and thereafter the world. Failing to achieve this foolish and arrogant goal, the culmination of U.S.-sponsored eastern expansion of NATO to which Russia has objected vigorously since the time of Yeltsin would in no way threaten any real U.S. or Western interest.
Other things being roughly equal (as they are in this war), victory in war goes to the side with the greater commitment and willingness to suffer. Russia has the greater will in this war. And it knows how to suffer. Therefore, it wins.
Unless the Pentagon chooses nuclear Armageddon, in which case both sides will lose.
It was a fool's errand for the U.S. to provoke this war, and for that matter a fool's errand from the start (1999), for the U.S. to expand NATO eastward in the total absence of any Russian threat after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
It's very hard to see how this can end other than very badly.
Photo credit: YouTube screen grab (cropped).