Policymaker Pitch: Strategy of Attrition Will Backfire on the United States – Biden Administration Must Be Bold for Ukraine Now

The United States’ piecemeal weapons micromanagement of Ukrainian defense (no ATACMS against Russian military and military logistics inside Russia) suggests to allies that the goal is to weaken Russia via attrition, not expedite victory for Ukraine. Russia’s leadership does not care about attrition so long as they ultimately rule the ruins, secure them with nuclear weapons threats, and use China to help rearm, rebuild, recover, and eventually, do it again.

Also, an attrition-weakened Russia and Ukraine will both become destabilized, increasing chances that surviving warlords will fight for the nuclear crown. Who in the West could then occupy and keep the peace in Ukraine and Russia after cynically subjecting both sides to dissolution via attrition? It is unrealistic to treat human beings with memory the way we would not want to be treated and expect them to share a bond with us tomorrow.

If American campaign promises that the U.S. will honor steadfastness in our treaty and non-treaty alliances is to be real and remembered fondly in a free future, an attritional approach to Ukraine’s defense will not actualize it.

Attrition is agreeing to fight on Moscow’s terms which believes in realism over reality. Realism is the autocrat’s way of gaining mental acquiescence in its opponent leadership circles with the idea that the most evil, ruthless, and uncompromising ruler and his actions are “the realism” all must give into via negotiated compromise. Reality is what sets in too late when the dictators break their negotiated promises and false compromises, attacking again.

Putin will attrit Russians shamelessly and use Chinese backing to keep long range missiles flying into Ukraine even as Ukraine cannot do the same against military targets due to American micromanagement. There is no way to keep Ukraine or the other countries that will fall if Ukraine loses the war out of Russian and Chinese hands if attrition is the strategy. Why?

If Ukraine is broken by all-range bombardment as Chechnya was, Russia will install the corrupt and brutal proxies they want to rule Ukraine’s ruins, financed by Moscow and Beijing, and secure Ukraine like Belarus: with forward nuclear weapons trained on Europe’s capitols and treasures.

The dictators will then send the brainwashed children of Ukrainians that they removed to Russia in the course of the war of attrition and infiltrate Ukraine’s traumatized remnants with future generations that entrench false histories about Russian aggression against Ukraine. These will include a sad and foolish kernel of truth: that the United States was willing to see Ukrainians and Russians attrited while freedom and dignity of freedom nationhood died in Ukraine.

Counterintuitively, standing by Ukraine and showing character, courage, and strength in free nation leadership is ultimately respected by dictators such that they would rather be beaten by same than be dominated by another backstabbing dictator. For the latter will be the eventual contest should the free world go under this century.

However, if Russia’s conventional warring capabilities are skillfully defeated without unnecessary delay, attrition stops, and the Russians see no Western free nation invasion, the argument for getting into a nuclear war falls flat at home. It fell flat for the Soviets after the Berlin Wall fell and once free republics sought freedom from the Soviet empire. If it had not, nuclear war would have happened then to preserve the USSR. Russians may be deceived for some time, but not forever, and especially not all of those wise enough to govern.

What about China? China does not want the nuclear genie to step out of its bottle in Eurasia because it ruins many of China’s Belt and Road plans economically necessary to keep China together under Beijing’s rule; and it increases chances that nuclear arms will be used in other conflicts, some of which are frozen in place yet thawing around the Middle Kingdom.

Finally, the United States fighting on two major fronts is not the superpower the world is looking for if history is any guide. The difference in the 20th Century American valuation of human life came by experience moving to the center away from the extremes of 19th Century frontier libertarian atavism and the fanatical utopian assault on the globe by imperial, totalitarian dictatorships with 20th Century war machines. The genocidal, self-destructive tendencies of such extremes made the United States take their Constitutional freedoms and liberties more seriously in application at home and abroad.

Since America’s 20th Century governing evolution, the big difference between the domestic governance of the U.S. constitutional freedom nation and dictatorships or warlord-run nations is that free nations have something to live and fight for beyond fighting for fighting’s sake, making life on Earth more valuable. Unfree peoples tend to march forward under their dictator’s parasitic, alpha stare to their deaths because their dear leader culture tells them there is nothing to live for beyond the ruler’s will in this world, and that God rewards slavish obedience to the ruler.

The late Yevgeny Prigozhin served his dear leader with that narrative, recruiting Russians to kill fellow slavs in Ukraine with the assurance that “life is overrated.” Surely Prigozhin’s dear leader thought Prigozhin’s life was overrated only after Prigozhin realized that his comrades’ lives were as important as those of Putin’s elites and Yevgeny began to “Question More.”

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