Richard Haass

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Commemorating fallen Ukrainian soldiers, Kyiv, October 2023. Thomas Peter / Reuters

Ukraine’s counteroffensive appears to have stalled, just as wet and cold weather brings to a close the second fighting season in Kyiv’s effort to reverse Russian aggression. At the same time, the political willingness to continue providing military and economic support to Ukraine has begun to erode in both the United States and Europe. These circumstances necessitate a comprehensive reappraisal of the current strategy that Ukraine and its partners are pursuing.

Such a reassessment reveals an uncomfortable truth: namely, that Ukraine and the West are on an unsustainable trajectory, one characterized by a glaring mismatch between ends and the available means.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israeli soldiers near the Gaza Strip, Israel, October 2023. Violeta Santos Moura / Reuters

Israel’s desire to destroy Hamas once and for all is entirely understandable. The terrorist group’s October 7 attacks resulted in the deaths of more than 1,300 Israelis, injuries to thousands more, and the seizure of some 150 hostages; most of those killed, injured, or abducted were civilians. The attacks also raised the question of how Hamas can be deterred from carrying out similar attacks in the future.

But just because an objective is understandable does not mean that pursuing it is the optimal or even advisable path, and Israel’s apparent strategy is flawed in both ends and means. Hamas is as much a network, a movement, and an ideology as it is an organization.…  Seguir leyendo »

An armored military vehicle in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine, April 2023. Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

After just over a year, the war in Ukraine has turned out far better for Ukraine than most predicted. Russia’s effort to subjugate its neighbor has failed. Ukraine remains an independent, sovereign, functioning democracy, holding on to roughly 85 percent of the territory it controlled before Russia’s 2014 invasion. At the same time, it is difficult to feel sanguine about where the war is headed. The human and economic costs, already enormous, are poised to climb as both Moscow and Kyiv ready their next moves on the battlefield. The Russian military’s numerical superiority likely gives it the ability to counter Ukraine’s greater operational skill and morale, as well as its access to Western support.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pocos echarán de menos 2022, un año definido por una pandemia que aún no ha terminado, el avance del cambio climático, inflación en alza, crecimiento económico en desaceleración y, sobre todo, el estallido de una costosa guerra en Europa y el temor a que un conflicto violento pueda estallar pronto en Asia. Algunas de estas cosas eran previsibles, pero muchas otras no; y todas proponen enseñanzas que bien haríamos en aprender.

En primer lugar, más de un académico pensaba que la guerra entre países era algo obsoleto, pero es todo lo contrario. Lo que vemos en Europa es una guerra imperial a la vieja usanza, en la que el presidente ruso Vladímir Putin busca extinguir a Ucrania en cuanto entidad soberana e independiente.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Ukrainian soldier near the Donbas region, June 2022. Gleb Garanich / Reuters

With Russia’s war against Ukraine having passed the 100-day mark, calls for the conflict to be brought to an end are multiplying in the United States and Europe. Italy has put forward a detailed peace plan, French President Emmanuel Macron has emphasized the importance of giving Russia an off-ramp, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has suggested that Ukraine ought to consider ceding territory to Russia in exchange for peace.

But wars end in only one of two ways: when one side imposes its will on the other, first on the battlefield, then at the negotiating table, or when both sides embrace a compromise they deem preferable to fighting.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vladimir Putin launched his war against Ukraine with expansive aims that, if achieved, would have essentially ended that country’s existence as a sovereign state. Faced with costly military setbacks, the Russian president has since defined success down, refocusing the Russian military operation on consolidating its hold in Ukraine’s east and south.

Curiously, Western aims in Ukraine have been far less clear. Almost all the debate over what to do has focused on means: on the quantity and quality of military aid to provide the country, on the wisdom of establishing a no-fly zone over Ukrainian airspace, on the extent of economic sanctions on Russia.…  Seguir leyendo »