Ukraine War, November 21, 2022: U.S. and NATO should stop talk of negotiations; Putin or “Pynja” loses support, respect among backers, who increasingly view him as a “loser”

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.

Dispatches

1) Mikhail Zygar, “Putins schönster Spitzname; Früher nannten sie ihn Chef und hielten ihn für unbesiegbar. Nach dem Rückzug aus Cherson verlieren aber selbst die Kriegsbefürworter in Russland den Glauben an ihren Herrscher. Und machen sich über ihn lustig,” Der Spiegel, den 20. November 2022 (08.03 Uhr);

2) Mikhail Zygar, “Putin’s most beautiful nickname; They used to call him boss and thought he was invincible. After the withdrawal from Kherson, however, even the war advocates in Russia lose faith in their ruler. And make fun of him,” Der Spiegel, November 20, 2022 (8:03 am);

3) Eliot A. Cohen, “Cut the Baloney Realism; Russia’s war on Ukraine need not end in negotiation,” The Atlantic, November 21, 2022 (11:08 a.m. ET);

Analysis

Eliot A. Cohen, in his “must-read” article today effectively refutes the argument the U.S. seems to be making to Ukraine, pressuring it to signal its openness to enter into negotiations with Vladimir Putin.

Cohen writes,

The calls for negotiations, like the strategically inane revelations of our fears of escalation—inane because they practically invite the Russians to get inside our head and rattle us—are dangerous.

He argues, as we have, that the U.S. and NATO should instead provide the long-range ATACMS artillery rockets for use with the HIMARS artillery units that Ukraine now has, that U.S. F-16 fighter jets should be transferred to Ukraine, and that modern battle tanks, specifically the German Leopard tanks that are mothballed and available, should be transferred to Ukraine. Also, the U.S should urge allies to do more to help Ukraine militarily, particularly Israel which should do more to help with Ukrainian air defense.

Of cardinal importance, Cohen argues, is the establishment of clear goals, which should include expelling Russian forces from its internationally recognuzed borders–i.e., the borders of 1991 including the Crimea and the Donbas.

Cohen continues,

The means to that end are clear: extensive and unstinting arming of Ukraine with all weaponry short of nuclear bombs, and a crushing and comprehensive system of economic sanctions on an isolated Russia.

Finally, he concludes,

The calls for negotiations, like the strategically inane revelations of our fears of escalation—inane because they practically invite the Russians to get inside our head and rattle us—are dangerous. It is the nature of a small, embattled ally to look over its shoulder at those who support it today but may lack the grit required to do so over a long period of time. These calls telegraph a lack of strategic patience and staying power that only encourages Russia. Moreover, an official, understated discussion of talks can take a particularly disingenuous form: The decision to negotiate is yours, but we won’t give you the weapons to get any further than you have gone.

Zygar describes how even among his supporters, Putin is becoming an object of ridicule. A new nickname for Putin is catching on: “Punja” or loser.

The Trenchant Observer

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