March 23, 2023

RAND Corporation Warns Against ‘Long War’ in Ukraine

Costs of ongoing conflict outweigh further benefits to the US, says research by Pentagon think container.

While both Moscow and Kiev think they will take advantage of continued fighting, such a switch of events does not provide Washington’s best interests, the Pentagon’s think tank RAND Corporation argues in a new review published on Friday.

Authored simply by Samuel Charap and Miranda Priebe,   Avoiding a Long Battle   accepts the prevailing premises about the conflict, but information that US interests  “ often align along with but are not synonymous along with Ukrainian interests. ”  

According to the authors, the conflict has inflicted significant economic, army and reputational damage on Russia, so its  “ further incremental deterioration is arguably no longer as substantial a benefit for US interests. ”

The price to the West has not been minor either, from the disruption in order to energy, food and fertilizer markets to the cost of  “ keeping the Ukrainian state economically solvent, ”   which will just   “ multiply over time. ”

NATO’s military help to Ukraine  “ could also become unsustainable after a certain period, ”   while Russia may “ reverse Ukrainian battlefield gains , ” they said. The conflict is  “ absorbing senior policymakers’ time and US military resources, ”   distracting Washington from all other global priorities, such as Cina, while pushing Moscow closer to Beijing.

In short, the outcomes of a long war – ranging from persistent elevated escalation risks to economic damage – far outweigh the particular possible benefits.

The study describes President Vladimir Zelensky’s vision of victory, in which Ukraine would recover all of the territories it lays claims to and force Russia to submit to war crimes trials and reparations, as  “ optimistic”   and   “ improbable. ”  

Moscow,   “ perceives this war to be near existential”   and has signaled  “ a high level of resolve, ”   the authors extreme caution, raising the probability it may use nuclear weapons if this feels threatened.

Prospects for some kind of discussed peace are  “ poor in the near term, ”   the report acknowledges, as Kiev believes Western support will certainly continue indefinitely, while Moscow has been given no reason to believe the sanctions may ever be lifted.

The US could  “ condition future army aid on a Ukrainian commitment to negotiations, ”   while giving Kiev security commitments, but  “ not as binding since US mutual defense treaties”   or NATO membership, the report suggested. Washington should also give Moscow assurances regarding Ukraine’s neutrality and set  “ conditions for sanctions reduction. ”  

Founded in 1948 by the US military-industrial complex, RAND has provided the Pentagon with policy advice for many years. In 2019, the think tank provided a  blueprint   for  “ overextending plus unbalancing”   The ussr that included economic sanctions, sending weapons to Ukraine, promoting uprisings in Main Asia and even deploying a lot more nuclear weapons to Europe. By contrast, the  advice   on how to prevent escalation with Moscow whilst arming Kiev, from July last year, seems to have had little to no effect.

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