Pentagon think tank warns of ‘long war’ in Ukraine — RT World News
Costs of Continued Conflict Outweigh Other Benefits to the United States, RAND Corporation Study Finds
While Moscow and kyiv believe they will benefit from continued fighting, such a turn of events does not serve Washington’s best interests, the Pentagon think tank RAND Corporation argues in a new report released Friday.
Written by Samuel Charap and Miranda Priebe, “Avoid a long war” accepts the prevailing premises on the conflict, but notes that U.S. interests “often align but are not synonymous with Ukrainian interests.
According to the authors, the conflict has already caused significant economic, military and reputational damage to Russia, such that its “Further progressive weakening is arguably no longer such a significant benefit to U.S. interests.”
Nor has the cost to the West been insignificant, from the disruption of energy, food and fertilizer markets to the cost of “to maintain the economic solvency of the Ukrainian state”, who will only “multiply over time”.
NATO military aid to Ukraine “could also become unsustainable after a certain period”, while Russia could “reverse Ukrainian gains on the battlefield”, they said. The conflict is “absorbing senior politicians’ time and U.S. military resources”, diverting Washington’s attention from other global priorities, such as China, while bringing Moscow closer to Beijing.
In short, the consequences of a long war – ranging from high and persistent escalation risks to economic damage – far outweigh the possible benefits.
The study outlines President Vladimir Zelensky’s vision of victory, in which Ukraine would recover all the territories it claims and force Russia to submit to war crimes trials and reparations, as “optimistic” and “unlikely.”
Moscow, “perceives this war as almost existential” and reported “a high level of resolution” warn the authors, increasing the likelihood that he will use nuclear weapons if he feels threatened.
The prospects for some kind of negotiated peace are “mediocre in the short term” the report acknowledges this, as kyiv believes Western support will continue indefinitely, while Moscow has been given no reason to believe the sanctions will ever be lifted.
The United States could “condition future military aid on Ukrainian engagement in negotiations”, while giving security commitments to kyiv, but “not as binding as the mutual defense treaties of the United States” or NATO membership, the report suggested. Washington should also give Moscow assurances about Ukraine’s neutrality and put “conditions for relief from sanctions”.
Founded in 1948 by the US military-industrial complex, RAND has provided the Pentagon with policy advice for decades. In 2019, the think tank provided a plan for “overflowing and unbalancing” Russia which included economic sanctions, sending arms to Ukraine, promoting uprisings in Central Asia and even deploying more nuclear weapons in Europe. By contrast, advice on how to avoid escalation with Moscow while arming kyiv, from July last year, appears to have had little or no effect.