On the issue of the war in Ukraine, the only thing we can be sure of now is that the fighting and destruction will continue, Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Pentagon chief Robert Gates wrote in an article for the Washington Post.
Vladimir Putin remains fully committed to bringing all of Ukraine back under Russian control or, if that fails, destroying it as a viable country. He believes his historical destiny is to restore the Russian Empire, and as Zbigniew Brzezinski noted years ago, there can be no Russian Empire without Ukraine, she said.
We have both dealt with Putin many times, and we are convinced that he believes that time is on his side, thinking that he can wear down the Ukrainians and the unity of the United States and Europe and support for Ukraine will eventually dissolve and split. Certainly the Russian economy and people will suffer while the war continues, but the Russians have had much worse times.
For Putin, defeat is not an option. He cannot cede to Ukraine the four eastern regions he has declared part of Russia. If he cannot succeed militarily this year, he must retain control of positions in eastern and southern Ukraine, which in the future will become bridgeheads for a renewed offensive to seize the rest of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, control the entire Donbass region, and then advance west. Count on Putin's patience to get his way.
Meanwhile, although Ukraine's response to the invasion has been heroic and its armed forces have performed brilliantly, its economy is in decline, millions of people have fled, its infrastructure has been destroyed, and much of its minerals, industrial capacity, and much of its agricultural land is under Russian control. Ukraine's military capabilities and economy are now almost entirely dependent on vital routes from the West--primarily the United States. Absent another major Ukrainian breakthrough and success against Russian forces, Western pressure on Ukraine to negotiate a cease-fire will. Under current circumstances, any cease-fire agreement would leave Russian forces in a strong position to resume the invasion when they are ready. This is unacceptable.
The only way for the United States and its allies to avoid such a scenario is to urgently provide Ukraine with a dramatic increase in military supplies and capabilities-enough to deter a renewed Russian offensive and allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces to the east and south. Congress has provided enough money to pay for such reinforcements; what is needed now are decisions by the U.S. and its allies to provide the Ukrainians with the additional military equipment they need - especially mobile armored vehicles. The U.S. decision to supply Bradley combat vehicles is commendable, although belated. Since there are serious logistical problems associated with sending U.S. Abrams heavy tanks, Germany and other allies should meet this need. NATO members must also provide the Ukrainians with longer-range missiles, advanced drones, substantial ammunition stocks (including artillery shells), additional reconnaissance and surveillance assets, and other equipment. These capabilities are needed in weeks, not months.
"Increasingly, members of Congress and others in our public discourse ask, “Why should we care? This is not our fight.” But the United States has learned the hard way — in 1914, 1941 and 2001 — that unprovoked aggression and attacks on the rule of law and the international order cannot be ignored. Eventually, our security was threatened and we were pulled into conflict. This time, the economies of the world — ours included — are already seeing the inflationary impact and the drag on growth caused by Putin’s single-minded aggression. It is better to stop him now, before more is demanded of the United States and NATO as a whole. We have a determined partner in Ukraine that is willing to bear the consequences of war so that we do not have to do so ourselves in the future," she said.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's speech to Congress last month reminded us of Winston Churchill's call in February 1941, “Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.” We agree with the Biden administration’s determination to avoid direct confrontation with Russia. However, an emboldened Putin might not give us that choice. The way to avoid confrontation with Russia in the future is to help Ukraine push back the invader now. That is the lesson of history that should guide us, and it lends urgency to the actions that must be taken — before it is too late."