Ucrania (Continuación)

Neither Russia nor Ukraine is likely to achieve a decisive military victory in their ongoing war: both sides have considerable room for deadly escalation. Ukraine and its Western allies have little chance of ousting Russia from Crimea and the Donbas region, while Russia has little chance of forcing Ukraine to surrender. As Joe Biden noted in October, the spiral of escalation marks the first direct threat of “nuclear Armageddon” since the Cuban missile crisis 60 years ago.

The rest of the world also suffers alongside, though not on the scale of the battlefield. Europe is probably in recession. Developing economies struggle with rising hunger and poverty.…  Seguir leyendo »

Years ago in Jerusalem, I sat across the negotiating table with a minister in the Israeli government. My task was to try to encourage him to accept an arrangement whereby Palestinians would feel that Jerusalem was also their capital. His opening words welcomed me to the undivided and sovereign capital of Israel for the past 3,000 years and for the next 3,000 years.

For a moment, I felt I was on a mission impossible. However, after a complex process that hardly anyone believed in until the end, the parties finally agreed to the Oslo accords of 1993 that laid out a roadmap for peace between Israel and Palestine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una imagen por satélite de edificios destruidos en Soledar, Ucrania, el 11 de enero de 2023. Efe

Miles y miles de bajas, cientos de prisioneros, las morgues saturadas, los camilleros hartos de transportar heridos. Podría ser la descripción de la Batalla del Somme en plena Gran Guerra. Pero es Ucrania. Es Soledar.

Soledar es una localidad minera del Donbás. Un pueblo grande de 10.000 habitantes y con las clásicas casas de una sola planta del mundo rural eslavo. La localidad creció a rebufo de sus inmensas minas de sal y yeso, que cuentan con túneles de veinte metros de altura y decenas de kilómetros de galerías.

El pueblo se divide en barrios dispersos en tres núcleos: este, oeste y norte.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Ukrainian soldier stands in a trench at a front line in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on Jan. 7. (Anna Kudriavtseva/Reuters)

Back in 2013, Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov succinctly stated the nightmare problem he now faces as the newly installed leader of Russia’s bungled war against Ukraine: “You cannot generate ideas on command”.

Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian military, this month was given the thankless task of directing Russian forces in Ukraine. Since Gerasimov helped plan the botched invasion last February, this might seem like doubling down on failure. But U.S. analysts believe that Gerasimov has promised his boss, President Vladimir Putin, that he will employ more aggressive tactics to regain the initiative.

The Gerasimov appointment comes as Ukraine, too, is moving to use new weapons and tactics to break out of what has become a bloody stalemate.…  Seguir leyendo »

A German Leopard 2 tank during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Munster near Hanover in 2011. (Michael Sohn/AP)

Eighty years ago, the hinge of history swung just north of Ukraine. There, the outcome of World War II in Europe was determined in the largest tank battle ever, a boiling cauldron in what was called the Kursk salient. Raging from July 5 to Aug. 23, 1943, the clash between German and Soviet forces involved what military historian John Keegan termed “tank armadas”, a total of about 6,000 tanks and 2 million troops. After this, Germany never again had the strategic initiative on the Eastern Front, where, 10 months before D-Day, attrition guaranteed Adolf Hitler’s defeat.

Today, the outcome of the first major European war since 1945 might turn on tanks, particularly German Leopard 2 s.…  Seguir leyendo »

A currency exchange office in Saint Petersburg, Russia, January 2022. Anton Vaganov / Reuters

There is a widespread belief that Western sanctions on Russia have fallen flat. Proponents of this theory point to macroeconomic indicators suggesting that the Russian economy has proved resilient. Critics also highlight how sanctions haven’t had their desired effect: after all, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not moved to end his disastrous war against Ukraine.

These arguments, however, are misguided. It is important to note that Russia had the opportunity to cushion its economy against Western sanctions before Putin declared war. For starters, Russia accumulated substantial financial reserves. Since 2014, Russia has increased trade to Asia, which has allowed it to weather a reduction of commerce with the West.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ucrania y la paz por agotamiento

Aunque invariablemente las guerras terminan, los desacuerdos subyacentes suelen perdurar. Se llega a una paz tenue, interrumpida por espasmos de violencia. La forma en que terminan las guerras —por una victoria rotunda, agotamiento o mutua disuasión— puede implicar una diferencia: es menos probable que el agotamiento evite estallidos futuros que, digamos, la derrota absoluta de una de las partes... pero no hay garantías. De todas formas, no significa que no valga la pena buscar ciertos tipos de paz.

No escasean los ejemplos de enemigos —vienen a la mente Corea del Norte y del Sur, Etiopía y Eritrea, y Serbia y Kosovo— que actualmente mantienen el equilibrio con una paz frágil.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Brown, with the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, checks pallets of 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine on April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. (Alex Brandon/AP)

The United States and its NATO allies are engaged in an intense debate over security assistance to Ukraine. The issue at hand is whether they should provide Kyiv with modern, Western-made heavy tanks — weapons that would greatly boost the Ukrainians’ battlefield power, especially for maneuver warfare of the type needed to retake much or most of the roughly 17 percent of Ukrainian territory that Russia still holds. (Britain has announced that it plans to send an unspecified number of its Challenger 2 main battle tanks.) But the larger debate remains unresolved.

If this kind of debate sounds familiar, that’s because it is.…  Seguir leyendo »

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan in Bucha, Ukraine, April 2022. Volodymyr Petrov / Reuters

As the conflict in Ukraine is about to enter its second year, Ukraine and the West are accelerating efforts to ensure that Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t get away with his illegal war. That has meant the West supplying weapons that were previously off the table, but it has also meant renewed attention to accountability. In November, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made clear that justice is a key condition for peace. “This”, he explained, “is what stokes the greatest emotions”. But while there are courts where Russians can be prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, a major piece is missing: there is nowhere to try Putin and other top Russian leaders for launching the war in the first place.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una imagen de satélite de la bombardeada ciudad de Soledar, en Ucrania. EFE

¿Traerá 2023 el final de la guerra o al menos la firma de un alto el fuego que rebaje la tensión en los frentes geopolítico, estratégico y económico, principales afectados por el inicio de las hostilidades hace ya casi un año?

Muchos sostienen que la postura de algunas naciones europeas, que piden "animar" al Gobierno de Ucrania a negociar con Moscú, es la más lógica para rebajar unas tensiones que amenazan con saltar al peligroso mundo nuclear.

Otros, sobre la base de un aparente estancamiento de los enfrentamientos causado por el desgaste de ambas fuerzas militares, creen que ambas partes estarían dispuestas a entablar negociaciones para rebajar tensiones y pactar un alto el fuego.…  Seguir leyendo »

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock delivers a speech during the congress of the Green Party in Bonn, Germany, on Oct. 15. (Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made headlines with a surprise visit to the heavily damaged city of Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine. Though she didn’t address the controversy raging at home over whether to supply Kyiv with powerful German tanks, she did promise more weapons — which, she said, would help Ukraine “free its citizens who are still suffering under the terror of Russian occupation”. That was far more forceful than anything Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said in recent weeks. The war in Ukraine, it turns out, is Baerbock’s fight too — for the chance to become the next German chancellor.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the headquarters of the Southern Military District, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, December 2022. Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik / Kremlin / Reuters

Winning a long war requires a mobilization of troops and supplies that can outlast the other side. Positive objectives and clearly defined goals are the path to victory. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt was able to mobilize American society around the imperative of Japan’s unconditional surrender. After a shocking attack on U.S. soil, Americans rallied around the objectives of defeating Japan, avenging the assault on Pearl Harbor, and eliminating the threat posed by imperial Japan. Those goals would have been sufficient to sustain the U.S. war effort, but Americans had an additional aim: to strike a blow for democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

After Russia’s invasion, the Ukrainian fashion company Framiore switched to producing sleeping bags and other supplies that are being sent to Ukrainian soldiers. Emile Ducke for The New York Times

With tourniquets, there is no way of doing things on the cheap. These lifesaving devices, used to stop blood loss from a wounded limb and prevent death from bleeding, need to be 100 percent reliable: a solid, wide Velcro band sufficiently long to be put around a thigh and a tough crank to pull it tight, with a sturdy locking mechanism. A good tourniquet costs $20 to $30 and the best ones are made in the United States. As with many other products, Chinese vendors sell a variety of fakes — something as simple as a rope on a rod is an invitation to counterfeit.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Ukrainian serviceman, Donetsk region, Ukraine, January 2023. Anna Kudriavtseva / Reuters

In October 2022, progressive Democrats in the U.S. Congress sparked an uproar by releasing a letter urging President Joe Biden to pursue negotiations with Russia to end the conflict in Ukraine. The signatories called for a “proactive diplomatic push . . . to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire”. The letter was quickly retracted and its release blamed on a staffing error. But the following month, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, repeated the call for Ukraine to “seize the moment” and negotiate, arguing that Kyiv was unlikely to make further military gains for the foreseeable future.…  Seguir leyendo »

Reconstructing Ukraine

It is not well understood how heavily the shadow of the violent breakup of Yugoslavia hangs over Ukraine. Vladimir Putin and his allies frequently cite the case of Kosovo, which was once Serbia’s southern province and declared independence in 2008, as a precedent for Russia’s recognition—and subsequent annexation—of Crimea in 2014 and parts of eastern Ukraine last year. Whether that parallel is valid or not is beside the point. For Putin, Russia’s failure to stop NATO’s seventy-eight-day bombardment of Serbia in 1999, as hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians fled Serbian forces during their war with the Kosovo Albanian guerrillas, marked the nadir of its post-Soviet collapse and humiliation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cómo evitar una nueva guerra mundial

La Primera Guerra Mundial fue una especie de suicidio cultural que destruyó la eminencia de Europa (Henry Kissinger)

La frase que introduce este artículo constituye el exordio del publicado recientemente por el propio Kissinger en cuyo título planteaba cómo evitar que se produzca una nueva guerra mundial (The Spectator, 17 de diciembre 2022). La primera conclusión es que en efecto existe el riesgo, quizás no tan remoto, de que el conflicto en Ucrania no solo se alargue, cosa al parecer inevitable, sino que se extienda a otros actores y acabe por involucrar directamente a las potencias occidentales ya formalmente aliadas de Kiev.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian forces near Kreminna, Ukraine, January 2023. Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters

Whenever the United States faces a foreign policy crisis, critics claim that the U.S. government is doing either too much or not enough. So it is with Ukraine. Many fault the Biden administration for failing to provide Ukrainian forces with the heavy weapons—mainly tanks, long-range missiles, and combat aircraft—that they say are needed to expel Russian troops from Ukrainian soil. Others, worried about Western staying power and the rising human and economic costs of the war, urge the administration to pressure Kyiv into negotiating a deal with Russia—even if that means giving up some of its territory.

Neither argument is convincing.…  Seguir leyendo »

The war in Ukraine entered 2023 with its deadliest attack yet on Russian troops – and an attempt by Moscow to shift the bulk of blame onto its own dead soldiers.

Shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day, a Ukrainian strike on the occupied city of Makiivka killed dozens of troops, with Russia’s Ministry of Defense claiming its soldiers’ cell phone use exposed their location.

Regardless of whether Russia lost 400 men as Ukraine claims, or 89 as Moscow says, the result of the attack is the same: Russia’s highest single-incident death toll since the war began more than 10 months ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

A destroyed bridge across the Siverskyi Donets River near the village of Bohorodychne, Ukraine, on Friday. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

When it comes to the war in Ukraine, about the only thing that’s certain right now is that the fighting and destruction will continue.

Vladimir Putin remains fully committed to bringing all of Ukraine back under Russian control or — failing that — destroying it as a viable country. He believes it is his historical destiny — his messianic mission — to reestablish the Russian Empire and, as Zbigniew Brzezinski observed years ago, there can be no Russian Empire without Ukraine.

Both of us have dealt with Putin on a number of occasions, and we are convinced he believes time is on his side: that he can wear down the Ukrainians and that U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Parábola de invierno

I’ve seen the future, brother. It’s murder (Leonard Cohen)

1. Sucedió hace mucho tiempo. En el pueblo de Boliqueime, al sur de Portugal, el único belén digno de ese nombre ocupaba el altar mayor de la iglesia y por eso los niños nos quedábamos embelesados ante aquellas figuras estáticas que hacían volar nuestra imaginación. Yo debía de tener unos seis años. Las imágenes, iluminadas por velas, me intrigaban. Dentro de su establo, el Niño Jesús parecía un niño-niña, pues el pelo ondulado, los labios pintados, y la mantilla que le cubría los genitales no ayudaban a identificar su género, pero lo que más me molestaba era que me hubieran dicho que aquel niño-niña, tan recogido entre su padre y su madre, era el mismo que aparecía flagelado, herido, caído, muerto y sepultado en los 14 cuadros que colgaban de las paredes de la iglesia.…  Seguir leyendo »