He has no way out.
Elliot: 'There appears to be a large area of Ukraine (west) unaffected by military operations. Looking at the difficulties the Russians have had with supply lines, couldn't a 'tactical withdrawal' of armed forces, stringing out these lines further, and a caretaker govt in Lviv, help Ukraine?'
When I was young I was a dead ringer for Henry Thomas in ET. I was teased mercilessly with "ET phone home" and "Eliot" jokes. Did mr Cohen suffer the same fate and would he share the name of his therapist
Pentagon numbers just out : Only 5% of Russian arms and vehicles in Ukraine have been destroyed.
Take that in for a second. All of those videos you see of Russian tanks, APCs, and helicopters getting blown up merely constituted less than 5% of the Russian war machine inside of Ukraine.
War, like many other things, is all about assessing rates of change. Do not let anecdotes paint a pretty picture for you that the big numbers easily dispel. Get ready for cities to fall, and get ready for open insurgency, more war-criming, and more human catastrophe in the weeks/months ahead.
At one time the US had means of getting an alternate, uncensored narrative past the Iron Curtain via the "Voice of America" and "Radio Free Europe". These programs were gutted or filled with Bannon loyalists during the Trump administration. It was curious to see senior people in the Executive branch get involved, now it seems a bit sinister.
r.e. Questions for Elliot Cohen:
Having most Russia's military in Ukraine would seem to put Russia in a very precarious position with regard to being able to fend off other threats. Could a military threat on a distant Russia to region force a partial withdrawal from Ukraine? How does this situation change Russia's willingness to use tactical or strategic nuclear weapons. How is the embarrassing performance of Russia's military in Ukraine likely to change Russia's defence spending going forward?
Thank you for hosting Eliot Cohen. What a treat for us Bulwark+ members to get to hear from him directly. Here is my question. If Putin feels like he is losing and will be humiliated on the world stage, it seems as though the incentive to try something desperate increases. As I understand it, he has a large arsenal of tactical nukes (in addition to of course a large arsenal of larger nuclear weapons). What is the disincentive for him to use a tactical nuke especially since it sends a message to the West that ALL options are on the table and we should stay out of this fight—either directly or through arming an insurgency. If he were to use such a weapon, how should we respond?
I love and respect JVL, but the promotion of Eliot Cohen has knocked my legs out from under me. Eliot Cohen was disastrously wrong on Iraq and that harmed the United States more than any event since the Civil War. He's not someone that any thinking person should spend two minutes listening to. Hugely disappointed.
We are helping Ukraine in the ways that we can without starting a nuclear 3rd WW…with that said, how will the Ukrainians feel about us once this is all over?
Vickers is terrific. Biden should hire him and we'll get the show on the road. I'm sure this will irritate some of your intellectual readers. I am not cautious about this situation. I am of Russian descent born in Boston Mass and I say Putin needs to go away by any means possible. He has hurt my people and is destroying humans in Ukraine, our brother.
We seem to be severely constrained by the reality of Putin's nuclear arsenal.
Mr. Cohen, my question is whether that is the reality. We have seen the vaunted Russian army flummoxed by failed leadership, faulty tactical models, outdated, cheap equipment and useless technological innovations. Are we sure or can we be better informed as to the technical capability of their nuclear threat?
I keep thinking back to the nuclear sub that imploded and how they not only didn't want help, they weren't able to save the sailors on board. Their culture since 1915 has been founded on fakery and illusion, telling the boss what he wanted to hear.
Not suggesting we test it but imagine the strategy if we knew they were 'disarmed.'
Is it possible that Putin might compromise by allowing what is left of Ukraine to join the EU as long as it doesn't join NATO? The two have different effects on Russian interests one which Russia can tolerate and the other not.
Some time back, I read an article discussing life after Vladimir Putin, and how the leadership / governments of Lenin, Stalin, Kruschev, Brezhnev and Putin all differed in significant ways. The implication of the article was that the shape of the Russian state would evolve based on who emerged as the next head of government.
So my question for Eliot Cohen would be, what do the next several years looks like assuming Putin stays in power and Russia remains a pariah state. As Putin ages and (presumably) becomes more vulnerable, how does the next leader arise? Should we expect another long-term leader to emerge, or a period of jockeying a la Malenkov, Beria and Kruschev?
What's his message to the Russian people? Does he triple down on Z-like toxic nationalism, or does he promise a better life re-engaging with the West?
The ceasefire terms outlined here would constitute a complete negation of Ukrainian sovereignty. And they would till have Russia cued up to roll over them the next time that whim strikes.
I have only one question for Eliot, and every other observer. Does the West finally, finally understand that Putin must be vaporized, that this is the moment to galvanize and make that happen in by any and all means necessary?
I think so far, Molly McKew has best met the moment in describing what is at stake and the opportunity - the mandate - before us:
“But imagine the world if we save Ukraine. Imagine the century we might have then.
Ukraine is the crucial battle that will shape the century. The clash of ideas that we must win. Here it is, on a Ukrainian battlefield. It is this. From this moment, from victory in Ukraine, comes the stronger, better century that we hope for. If we miss it, it will not come again.”
Given what Putin has done to Ukraine there is no turning back. The NATO can not allow this to pass. If we do, we will be back in this position in another 5 years. The West must stop the invasion and then build back and arm Ukraine and allow it to become a NATO member. Failure to do so will lead Putin to further aggression.
Question for Eliot Cohen: given the alarming probability of the isolationist Trump or his heirs reclaiming power, is it prudent for America's allies (Europe, Canada, Japan, etc) to begin building independent militaries and alliances that don't rely on American military might?