Tuesday, October 11, 2022

WaPo: "Biden scrambles to avert cracks in pro-Ukraine coalition"  
Privately, U.S. officials say neither Russia nor Ukraine is capable of winning the war outright, but they have ruled out the idea of pushing or even nudging Ukraine to the negotiating table.

“That’s a decision for the Ukrainians to make,” a senior State Department official said. “Our job now is to help them be in absolutely the best position militarily on the battlefield … for that day when they do choose to go to the diplomatic table.” 

Reuters "Lavrov says Russia open to talks with West, U.S. dismisses comments as 'posturing'"
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Washington had "very little confidence" that Russia was making a legitimate offer to talk because Lavrov's comments came within hours of Russian missile strikes that killed civilians in Ukraine. read more

"We see this as posturing. We do not see this as a constructive, legitimate offer to engage in the dialogue and diplomacy that is absolutely necessary to see an end to this brutal war of aggression," Price said during a regular press briefing.

"to extend Russia" means to bait Russia into extending itself. 
The link to the PDF is on top right corner of the page, or you can buy the paperback for 40 bucks.  Download it and read the index, if nothing else. 
This report examines a range of possible means to extend Russia. As the 2018 National Defense Strategy recognized, the United States is currently locked in a great-power competition with Russia. This report seeks to define areas where the United States can compete to its own advantage. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from Western and Russian sources, this report examines Russia's economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties. It then analyzes potential policy options to exploit them — ideologically, economically, geopolitically, and militarily (including air and space, maritime, land, and multidomain options). After describing each measure, this report assesses the associated benefits, costs, and risks, as well as the likelihood that measure could be successfully implemented and actually extend Russia. Most of the steps covered in this report are in some sense escalatory, and most would likely prompt some Russian counter-escalation. Some of these policies, however, also might prompt adverse reactions from other U.S. adversaries — most notably, China — that could, in turn, stress the United States. Ultimately, this report concludes that the most attractive U.S. policy options to extend Russia — with the greatest benefits, highest likelihood of success, and least risk — are in the economic domain, featuring a combination of boosting U.S. energy production and sanctions, providing the latter are multilateral. In contrast, geopolitical measures to bait Russia into overextending itself and ideological measures to undermine the regime's stability carry significant risks. Finally, many military options — including force posture changes and development of new capabilities — could enhance U.S. deterrence and reassure U.S. allies, but only a few are likely to extend Russia, as Moscow is not seeking parity with the United States in most domains.

The number of people who think Putin wasn't nudged amazes me.

Geopolitical Measures
Measure 1: Provide Lethal Aid to Ukraine



Expanding U.S. assistance to Ukraine, including lethal military assistance, would likely increase the costs to Russia, in both blood and treasure, of holding the Donbass region. More Russian aid to the separatists and an additional Russian troop presence would likely be required, leading to larger expenditures, equipment losses, and Rus- sian casualties. The latter could become quite controversial at home, as it did when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

Two other somewhat more speculative benefits might flow from such an expanded U.S. commitment. Countries elsewhere that look to the United States for their security might be heartened. Some of those states might find new reasons to avoid developing their own nuclear weapons....


An increase in U.S. security assistance to Ukraine would likely lead to a commensurate increase in both Russian aid to the separatists and Russian military forces in Ukraine, thus sustaining the conflict at a somewhat higher level of intensity. Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the former commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, argued against giving Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine for precisely this reason.

Alternatively, Russia might counter-escalate, committing more troops and pushing them deeper into Ukraine. Russia might even preempt U.S. action, escalating before any additional U.S. aid arrives. Such escalation might extend Russia; Eastern Ukraine is already a drain. Taking more of Ukraine might only increase the burden, albeit at the expense of the Ukrainian people. However, such a move might also come at a significant cost to Ukraine and to U.S. prestige and credibility. This could produce disproportionately large Ukrainian casualties, territorial losses, and refugee flows. It might even lead Ukraine into a disadvantageous peace.

Some analysts maintain that Russia lacks the resources to escalate the conflict....

Dec. 11, 2021 RFERL: "U.S. Sent 30 Anti-Tank Missile Systems To Ukraine In October, Pentagon Says"

The United States sent 30 Javelin anti-tank guided missile systems to Ukraine in October as part of its annual military aid to help the country deter Russian aggression, the Pentagon confirmed on December 11.

The shipment also included 180 Javelin missiles, the Pentagon said in an e-mail to RFE/RL.

“The Javelins were delivered to Ukraine on Oct. 23. The United States has committed more than $450 million in security assistance to Ukraine in 2021, and this is part of our ongoing commitment to supporting Ukraine’s ability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Anton T. Semelroth said in the e-mail.

The United States in September said it was sending Javelins to Ukraine as part of an additional $60 million military aid package. However, it did not at the time disclose the number of systems and rockets.

Sept. 30 2022 

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