Writer David Goldman, who writes as the brilliant “Spengler” at Asia Times, foresees an ending of sorts to the Ukraine conflict, based on the West’s inability to supply the resources to keep an extended war coming.
In his latest Asia Times piece, he noted the private thinking going on of people who make up the foreign policy community:
A gloomy assessment of Ukraine’s prospects for victory against Russia emerged from a recent private gathering of former top US soldiers, intelligence officials and scholars with resumes reaching from the Reagan to the Trump administrations.
Short of trained personnel and ammunition, one speaker argued, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky might consider a Chinese peace plan, especially after Beijing’s successful mediation of the Iran-Saudi dispute.
The several dozen attendees, many of whom had held cabinet or sub-cabinet positions, met under Chatham House rules, which forbid identification of individual participants but allow the content itself to be presented.
While most participants continued to favor the Biden administration’s gung-ho stance on keeping Ukraine supplied and paid until they could fight off the Russians, the numbers were not in its favor. Russia was just so much bigger than Ukraine in terms of manpower and resources and money and alliances with other big powers — such as China and India. The small still voices came through at the end of that conference, noting that most of the Ukrainian army was dead, its best soldiers, trained by the U.S., were now war casualties. Ukrainian valor was real but Russia could nevertheless win that war based on its overwhelming resourcing, for the same reason the North won over the South during the Civil War, despite the South having many effective and motivated soldiers.
Back in May on PJMedia, Goldman wrote that partition of Ukraine is inevitable:
I argued in 2008 and on many subsequent occasions, including the February 2014 note in PJ Media reposted below. The obvious course of action in Ukraine was to permit its people to vote for a divorce, as the Czechs and Slovaks did. Instead we elected to keep the NATO option open for Ukraine, knowing that this was a red line for Russia. Never mind that Putin is a wicked fellow; he is a predictably wicked fellow with a well-defined understanding of Russian national interest, and his response to Ukraine’s prospective NATO membership was entirely predictable.
After three months of nearly-unanimous media predictions of the collapse of Russia, it now appears that the Russian army is close to controlling the Donbas. Extricating it will be difficult if not impossible. The result, as Henry Kissinger suggested at Davos last week, will be (eventually) a peace in which Ukraine cedes territory to Russia. All the “don’t appease Putin-Hitler” rhetoric will simply make us feel shabbier when we make the deal. We should feel shabby. We screwed this up on the grand scale.
It was gloomy stuff, and the conclusion was even more disturbing — that the U.S. should cut its losses now, with yet another humiliating defeat, letting Russia win, and letting China play peacemaker, because the U.S. would need to regroup and rethink its strategy as it did in the aftermath of the Vietnam War for more critical potential conflicts. The world’s great superpower we are no longer, and that’s Joe Biden’s doing.
On the Hoover Institution’s site earlier this month, Goldman noted this:
The most likely outcome is a humiliating armistice. Paradoxically, that may redound to the long-term benefit of the United States. North Vietnam did the United States a favor by humiliating us before the Soviet Union did. It destroyed the limited-war illusion that possessed American military planners from the late 1950s onward. Our humiliating withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975 made possible a radical re-thinking of American military strategy, beginning under Defense Secretary Harold Brown in 1977 and continuing through the Reagan Administration. The United States undertook a revolution in defense technology that produced modern avionics and precision weapons, reversing the advantage that Russia enjoyed in conventional weapons in the early 1970s. The Russian military concluded after the 1982 Beqaa Valley air war and the initiation of the Strategic Defense Initiative that it could not keep pace technologically with America.
Utopian illusions about exporting democracy motivated America’s great blunders of the past generation, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya and Syria, and ultimately Ukraine. Perhaps we require another national humiliation on the scale of Vietnam to bring us back to the drive for technological superiority that ultimately won the Cold War.
These are all striking essays by Goldman, a tremendous prognosticator with a deep well of knowledge of geography, history, and human nature. That the deep state government officials he spoke with are now coming around to what he foresaw as happening attests to the power of Goldman’s capacity to read global writing on the wall.