Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The Embassy

The Endless War in Ukraine

Russian T-90 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

President Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress have committed the American People to a moral crusade designed to justify an open-ended proxy war in Ukraine against Russia. Proxy war—a conflict in which the U.S. is aligned with a belligerent (Ukraine) but is not directly involved—appeals to Washington because Ukrainians, not Americans, fight or die in the conflict.

Of course, blurring the line between war and peace with Moscow is dangerous; only more so in Ukraine, because Russian Military Operations cannot be stopped unless the American People are prepared to go to war. This recognition has not prevented an expanding U.S. military commitment to Ukraine in the form of military advice and materiel assistance, but U.S. assistance cannot change the reality that more weapons and better intelligence support from Washington and its NATO allies will not secure victory for Ukrainian Forces.

Consider history. America’s war against Japan in the Pacific was decided more by the sheer weight of U.S. Naval Power than by any specific weapon system or platform. The war in Ukraine is no different. New weapon systems in the hands of Ukrainian forces compelled Russian formations to adjust their tactics, but Russian strategy toward Ukraine is unchanged.

There is little doubt that the massive influx of weapon systems from the U.S. and its NATO allies has extended the war in Ukraine well beyond its normal end point, but forces that are immobilized in defensive positions do not win wars. In war, the exaggerated faith in human courage and will power is always a poor answer to overwhelming, accurate, and devastating firepower.

Before sending more weapons to Ukraine, President Biden and his bipartisan supporters in the Senate might want to reconsider fighting the war to the last Ukrainian. Washington must explain to the American People what the U.S. gains strategically by sacrificing Ukraine in a war Ukrainians cannot win. Otherwise, Washington’s ruling class will end up like President Lyndon Johnson and his Cabinet in George Ball’s words, “Like a flock of buzzards sitting on a fence, sending the young men off to be killed.”

Washington’s timing for the proxy war in Ukraine is also problematic for reasons that have nothing to do with Ukraine. President Biden’s approval ratings are falling through the basement. Thanks to open borders, Illegal drug, and human trafficking is occurring on an industrial scale to the point where fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 through 45.

America’s economy is decelerating and sliding into recession, or worse. Supply chain disruptions that predate the war in Ukraine are worsening with the result that global prices, especially for oil, natural gas, food, and fertilizer are soaring. It’s no surprise that beyond the confines of the Washington Beltway, many Americans think public order and the rule of law, the hallmarks of American Civilization, are breaking down.

There is no doubt that the Western information campaign that demonizes Russia and ignores the last 30 years of U.S. policy decisions that made the conflict in Ukraine inevitable has had an impact. Few, if any, Western News Media point out that in Ukraine, media are treated as an instrument for state interests. The tendency is to blacken Russia’s image and results in an acute lack of Western interest in discovering crimes that Ukrainian forces perpetrate.

Thanks to politicized American media that largely exclude political views that challenge the Biden Administration’s prevailing narrative on Ukraine, there are plenty of senior officers in the Pentagon and in U.S. European Command embraces the idea of war with Russia. In addition to believing that Washington is morally obligated to lead another dubious Wilsonian crusade for human rights and liberal democracy in Eastern Europe, many senior officers also harbor concerns that Russian success in Ukraine will further weaken America’s national credibility; a motive for the 1965 decision to intervene in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Americans outside of the Washington bubble are beginning to see the Biden Administration and its supporting cast in congress as an old warship at sea that is “not under command;” a battleship without a captain that behaves like a runaway train. There is a sense that in the absence of strong presidential leadership, moral posturing in U.S. foreign policy eventually translates into pressure for U.S. military action against Russia that, given the choice, most Americans do not want.

Washington’s ruling political class thinks it stands so high as to be out of the reach of fate and accountability. It’s not the case. The last 20 years of failed military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have taught Americans that moral pretensions do not make America stronger. In truth, conflicts fought in the name of lofty moral principles intensify violence and make realistic postwar settlements difficult, if not possible. Nowhere is this difficulty more pronounced than in Ukraine.

Douglas Macgregor, Col. (ret.) is a senior fellow with The American Conservative, the former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, a decorated combat veteran, and the author of five books. His latest is Margin of Victory, (Naval Institute Press, 2016).

Written By

Douglas Macgregor, Col. (ret.) is a senior fellow with The American Conservative, the former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, a decorated combat veteran, and the author of five books. His latest is Margin of Victory, (Naval Institute Press, 2016).



  1. CK

    April 21, 2022 at 9:07 am

    Funny, you deride the “endless” war, but then also rail against the very measures that would bring this war to an “end” quickly, namely, supporting Ukraine and giving them the weapons they need.

    It is a self fulfiling prophecy really. If you don’t give them weapons, they are only able to defend themselves (and only for so long) and then you complain the war is pointless. But giving them weapons so they can not only defend themselves, but also go on the advance and reclaim territory, is also off the table for you?

    Tell me, what is this insane viewpoint shared by most Republicans and Trumpers these days, that the war CAN and SHOULD be ended, but only on Russia’s terms? Only with overwhelming Russian victory?

    How does that make America safer? Or NATO? How does a strong, resurgent, imperially vindicated Russia, that will be emboldened by their success and the utter impotency of the United States make the world a safer place, exactly?

    Yes, for 30 years it was “NATO” that goaded Russia, that old lie. Not Russia attacking Georgia, or annexing the Crimea, and parts of Donbas and Luhansk. No, it was NATO that poisoned Skripal with a radioactive element in a NATO hospital, it was NATO that killed dissidents in plain sight in Berlin’s Tierpark, it was NATO that did the Novichok salisbury poisonings, NATO too that interfered in Brexit referendums, US elections, and then of course, also NATO that tried to murder Navalny. NATO too bullies Finland and Sweden to join them, every day, threatening them with nukes.

    This is exactly the kind of incongruent thinking that has allowed Russia to walk roughshod over the west for the past 20 years, and gotten us to where we are now. To hell with you, and the rest of you, that want to appease Russia. Finally, there is a nation willing to fight it, and thank the heavens your Trumpian leader is not in charge to suck on Putin’s teat (if not worse).

    I remind the author what happened to the world the last time the United States tried isolationism. Like it or not, you are a superpower.

    Act like one, and stand for your values and your integrity unlike cowards.

  2. Steve kirby

    April 21, 2022 at 8:32 pm

    Your entire hypothesis rests on your (stated) assumption that “Ukraine cannot win this war”. I fail to see how this is a given. Moreover, I would have thought it obvious that the reverse is in fact the case. Russia is an economic weakling compared to NATO and the only way they could ever win this war was in the first 72 hours. That ship has long sailed. Further, I would be interested in why, exactly, it is morally “ok” for the western democracies to deny the Ukrainian people, by our inaction, the same rights and sovereignty we take for granted.

  3. Alex

    April 21, 2022 at 11:02 pm

    Endless War comes to an end:
    According to statistics on April 21, since the beginning of the operation, Russia has destroyed Ukrainian equipment: 99% of tanks and other armored vehicles of Ukraine (2410 out of 2416 vehicles that were in Ukrainian troops on February 24), 92% of military aircraft (140 out of 152), 71% of the fleet helicopters (106 out of 149), 48% of MLRS installations (262 out of 535) and so on. This does not take into account the equipment that may have entered the Ukrainian troops after the start of the special operation, but in any case, the Air Force and Air Defense of Ukraine were practically destroyed, and the Navy ceased to exist.

  4. Ck

    April 22, 2022 at 5:29 am

    The only thing that came to an end long long ago was your grasp on reality my friend.

    Meanwhile, Putin declares ultimate victory over the world, marries Elon Musk, pigs fly, and Alex returns home with loaded pockets, a loving wife and a fulfilling life.

    Ah, the power of imagination…

  5. Gary Jacobs

    April 22, 2022 at 10:25 am

    This author presents half truths at best. Ukrainians largely want to fight against Russia. Russia has several hundred years of history invading its neighbors and annexing territory. From Katherine “the great”, the Pale of Settlement forcing millions of Jews into Ghettos, to the Von Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany itself where they carved up Ukraine and Poland for themselves… it’s no wonder it was so easy for NATO to expand. Russia has only itself to blame for the fear of its neighbors. And just about every time Russia invades, they send the smartest people running into our arms. Chaim Weizman fled to the UK, and discovered a acetone for use in arms propellants helped the allies win WWI.
    As well, a Holocaust survivor in Hungary who would later take the name Andy Grove lived there for 10 years under communism until 1956 when the Soviets sent tanks to put down protests. Grove would use the chaos to escape to the US and become employee #3 at a little company called Intel. Gove would be its CEO for 20 years. In an interview with Charlie Rose shortly after 9/11, grove alludes to his mother being raped by a russian soldier, and his father being sent to a gulag.
    Ukraine has a lot of tech talent, and I expect that the refugees of today will go on to some kind of great achievement that will make Russia look equally as foolish as did Chiam Weizman and Andy Grove.

  6. CK

    April 22, 2022 at 12:54 pm

    The same thing is also happening to Russia itself with brain drain.

    The most pertinent example(s) I can think of are Jewish scientists in the 1930’s (Einstein among them) who emigrated to the US and eventually helped with the Manhattan project, for example.

    What is that saying about failing to learn from history and being doomed to repeat it…

  7. SYaba

    April 22, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    A major issue within many of the comments here is that their authors have been duped by the propaganda machine into believing this war is somehow close, or even sillier, that Russia is actually losing. This creates a situation where there will never be “enough” support being provided to Ukraine. The time will soon come where even the propaganda cannot hide that Ukraine cannot win, but those who were duped will simply say, “Ukraine wasn’t provided with enough, and now we must correct that.” And they will say this regardless of how much has already been provided. People wish to believe this conflict is a Disney Avengers movie, where the U.S. can swoop in, “defeat evil, and save the day.” If Biden gets duped into that, it’ll be our country’s soldiers in another unnecessary war, all in the name of a good vs evil sham.

  8. CK

    April 22, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    I’m still struggling to see the evidence that Russia is winning though? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s not a possible scenario, but 57 days in, the war has been fairly catastrophic and humiliating for Russia. Have we forgotten about Kyiv?

    So far, the evidence doesn’t seem to support the notion Russia is winning though.

  9. Antiwar7

    April 23, 2022 at 1:44 am

    If you want proof that Ukraine is not winning the physical war, just look at some of the articles on ex-CIA analyst Larry C Johnson’s site, “A Son of the New American Revolution”.

    • CK

      April 23, 2022 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks, will check it out tonight.

  10. Alex

    April 23, 2022 at 9:45 am

    The first phase of the special military operation in Ukraine has been completed and two days ago the second phase of three began. Consequently, Russia is acting according to its plan, ignoring the squeals of the West and the screams of the dying Bandera Nazis.

  11. CK

    April 23, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    Ah yes, the three phases of Russian needless violence.

    First Phase: Inglorious Retreat.
    Second Phase: See Phase 1.
    Third Phase: Face-saving exercise.

  12. Alex

    April 24, 2022 at 4:44 am

    So who is losing? Obviously not Russia.

    American Colonel Martin spoke about Biden’s failure in Ukraine.

    US President Joe Biden has failed in his policy towards Ukraine. This opinion was expressed in a column on The Washington Post website by retired American Colonel Wes Martin.

    The head of the White House, as noted in the material, tried to prevent the Ukrainian conflict by diplomatic measures – and could not. The author referred to the statement of the former acting. CIA Director Michael Morell, who expressed the opinion that Biden’s attacks on Russian leader Vladimir Putin only “rallied the beleaguered Russian elite.” “Not a single citizen of Russia will put up with the fact that the main enemy of his state inspires him what kind of power in his country can be and what is not,” Martin quoted Morell as saying.

    “Proving once again that he is nowhere near Reagan, Biden publicly called Putin a ‘butcher’ and a ‘war criminal.’ through Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin,” the author of the material noted.
    Ukraine and Afghanistan are far from the only reasons why Biden’s ratings have slipped to an all-time low of 42 percent. People, Martin notes, are unimpressed by his foreign policy experience. Do not add popularity and record inflation of 8.5 percent and a sharp rise in energy prices – the harbingers of a recession.

    At the end of March, NBC News published the results of a poll, according to which 53 percent of Americans believe that the country will begin a long-term recession, which will lead to the loss of American leadership in the world. When answering the question about Biden’s ability to correctly respond to the situation around Ukraine, only 12 percent of respondents expressed complete confidence in the actions of the head of administration.

    CNN, in turn, reported that the confidence rating of US President Joe Biden has reached a record low. According to a generalized analysis of polls published by four organizations last week, the level of confidence in the US president is about 41%, and according to one of them – only 33%. This is a record low compared to all of Biden’s predecessors in the same period of the presidential term.

  13. CK

    April 24, 2022 at 5:52 am

    @Alex – deny, deflect, obfuscate. Seriously, that’s you in a book.

    Don’t look at Putin! Look at Biden! Don’t look at what we’re doing in Ukraine, look at your country! Recession, CNN, political division, look elsewhere, but please, don’t look at what is happening in Russia! Internet Research Agency script in a nutshell.

    Also, poor you man, they are making you work on Orthodox Easter? The night money Sveta brings not enough to keep you guys afloat anymore? Let me know if you need any donations. I’m sure I have a few cents lying around that will be worth a fortune in roubles!

  14. SYaba

    April 24, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    How much a rouble is worth will be relevant where it will be accepted, and so within that industry it must be acknowledged, and within their pool of resources, as a whole, it’s a considerable amount.

  15. Alex

    April 25, 2022 at 10:45 am

    Yes, Russia has big “problems”:
    There is the Donetsk People’s Republic. There is the Luhansk People’s Republic. Kherson applied to Russia for a referendum to establish the Kherson People’s Republic. God bless the Ukrainians of Donbass!

  16. CK

    April 25, 2022 at 10:46 am

    Yes Alex, and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania also re-applied to join the Russian Federation. In this reality, Putin has conquered his hemorrhoids, and you and Sveta live happily ever after.

    It’s nice to sit back and daydream, isn’t it? ?

  17. Alex

    April 26, 2022 at 2:16 am

    Why is Russia with the people’s militia of Donbass taking new territories of Ukraine every day? Let’s figure it out:

    The West failed to turn much of the world against Russia after the military operation in Ukraine began, columnist Howard French wrote in an article for Foreign Policy magazine.
    According to him, many states did not support sanctions against Moscow, including such large countries as India and China.

    “In fact, when counting the population of these countries, it becomes clear that the states representing the majority of humanity have not taken a position in this conflict, seeing in it the familiar echoes of the former rivalry between East and West,” said French.
    According to the observer, the international political system that took shape at the beginning of the twentieth century from the very beginning gave the countries of the “third world” the status of second-class states. As an example, he cited the colonization of Africa by European countries.

    “It was the work of the enslaved millions of people who grew sugar and cotton in huge quantities, cleared the land and did all other unpaid work that made the American colonies profitable for Europe, and the so-called “Old World” new and rich,” the author emphasized.

    French urged not to ignore the heightened sense of justice among the former colonized peoples.

    “The whole world” with Ukraine 🙂

  18. CK

    April 26, 2022 at 7:15 am

    Well Alex, if that is the case, we wish you the best of luck with your new Chinese masters. I hear they are very kind to minorities.

  19. Alex

    April 29, 2022 at 9:30 am

    If someone wants to know the truth about the civil war in the Donbass, about all the atrocities of the Bandera clean-ups and why Russia was forced to intervene, then it is better to watch films by independent journalists. There are already many such journalists who fight for truth and freedom. For example, a documentary by the German journalist Wilhelm Domcke-Schulz.

    A documentary film about the war crimes of the Bandera Nazis during the period of Russia’s special military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine is in production. It will be a real information bomb, where the war crimes of Bandera Nazis will be shown and proved.

    The documentary “Remember Odessa” tells how the Bandera Nazis burned Ukrainians alive and other heinous war crimes.

    The documentary “To Live and Die in Donbass” tries to fill this gaping information gap in the West. He looks into the tormented soul of the inhabitants of Donbass, who really want only one thing – to live self-determining according to their own rules and values. Not submitting to foreign forces and ideologies.

    In the east of Ukraine, in the Donbass, a war has been raging since the beginning of 2014. A civil war that claimed more than 15,000 lives over the years, including several hundred children. They had to die, because the national-fascist coup government in Kyiv, funded by the West, trained and militarily heavily armed, would not tolerate any resistance to their illegitimate rule, no matter the cost.

    Therefore, in April 2014, the putschists deployed the Ukrainian army, supported by dozens of right-wing extremist volunteer battalions, and have since bombed city centers, residential areas, schools, hospitals and infrastructure, killing civilians.

    This perennial crime has gone completely unnoticed by the Western public. Politicians and the media avoid this topic and reports about how the devil pours holy water. Because a public discussion about the crimes of the Ukrainian regime would reveal only one thing – with what mass murderers and terrorists the so-called “west of values” in Ukraine has a common language, if only to defend their goals and interests.

    Lend-lease is a commodity loan, and not cheap: for all the ammunition, equipment and food supplied by the United States, many future generations of Ukrainian citizens will pay. Zelensky is driving the country into a debt hole.

  20. CK

    April 29, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    Ah, I see your tactic. You add a little shitty first paragraph so it doesn’t detect your duplicate post. Is this what it has come to now, you just posting the same exact post 2, 3, 4, 5 times per article?

    Wow, did they run out of paper in Russia, Alex? You guys can’t print new material? Literally using the same lines, over and over again, and now in duplicate in every post!

    Are you so defeated you can’t even come up with anything new? How sad. Now the idiot is talking about lend-lease at the end of his post, because he literally just copy + pasted it from another thread, with zero relevance to this one.

    Here’s a reminder:

    If someone wanted to know the truth about anything in Ukraine Alex, the last person they would go to is you.

    Paragraphs and paragraphs of bollocks, dubious claims about “independent journalists”, random documentarians, conspiracy theorists, deluded claims that of course, have no backup, lie after lie after lie.

    Classical Kremlin troll approach. Just flood the internet, the comments, the media, with tosh, doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you write some old nonsense. Make sure to say the claim is supported by some dude in Germany, France, the states. If it’s a “documentary” (usually from youtube) then the better.

    Anything that victimises Russia, always the victim, always the bullied, never the problem. It’s always the Nazis. It’s always some pseudo-historical point.

    Anyone that has had the misfortune to study your “tactics” sees the forest for the trees, the pattern of lies, disinformation, blanketing of random claims, deflection, obfuscation, and other words beyond your vocabulary.

    It’s hopeless Alex. Your lies are as short as your intellect. What a pathetic job, to sit in your government shed, spreading your pathetic, government lies.

    A pathetic job for a truly pathetic man. A better match could not be made in heaven.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *