For Washington, kyiv represents a kind of “unsinkable aircraft carrier” with infinite possibilities
By Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, chairman of the Presidium of the Foreign and Defense Policy Council and research director of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
The glitz, the theatrics designed to tug at heartstrings, and the rhetorical chatter aside, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s visit to Washington could indeed be a milestone for the “European security” framework. A recent article by veteran German-American diplomat Henry Kissinger offered a new perspective in that he claimed a neutral status for Ukraine that could no longer serve as a subject of negotiation, as the subject is no longer topical.
Ukraine is forming a powerful and capable armed force, actively assisted by the West, mainly the United States, so its official status – whether it is a member of NATO or not – no longer matters. . It is America’s de facto, if not de jure, military ally, in addition to having unique practical experience in a large-scale direct confrontation with Russia. One might add: he is motivated to pursue it.
Going deeper into this thought, it is reasonable to assume that for the United States it is even more comfortable for Ukraine to remain outside the formal alliance, because it widens the space for political-military action. There are no legal commitments, the level and extent of support may vary depending on the situation at any given time, and kyiv’s degree of loyalty to Washington as the primary guarantor of resources is likely to exceed even that of Warsaw or the Baltic States. As well as the degree of dependence vis-à-vis external aid. Ukraine, like Poland and the Baltics, is likely to grow increasingly suspicious of mainland Western Europe as kyiv interprets its inevitable internal contradictions as an implicit desire to make peace with Russia. .
For the United States, this kind of “land-based unsinkable aircraft carrier” will be useful. Such a formed and loyal satellite, on one side next to Russia and on the other pointing to Western Europe – and kyiv’s tale that thanks to its efforts, the rest of Europe can live in peace and not under Russian bombs – opens up a lot of opportunities. Ukraine’s territorial configuration in this context is irrelevant to Washington. Moreover, keeping some of the internationally recognized Ukrainian territory under Russian control cements the conflict and gives the rump a reason to keep fighting.
For this he must be equipped and trained, but not all his wishes must be granted. As for the preparation of its forces, it is crucial for Washington to strengthen Ukraine’s own capabilities so that the subsequent phases of the confrontation can continue without the direct involvement of American and NATO units. This is a very important point.
The scheme is, in principle, quite rational. There is no guarantee that this will work, as Russia has the power to prevent it (although so far it has not been very visible), but there is little risk for states -United. And the famous European security system – the reform of which was Russia’s main demand a year ago – if it ever comes back on the agenda, it will be under very different circumstances. The old approaches and requirements will no longer apply.
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