The video embedded above is a recent talk given by John Mearsheimer. It’s lengthy.
In it he makes several points:
- No meaningful negotiations are possible since both the Russians and Ukrainians see the war as existential.
- The Ukrainians can’t win.
- The Russians aren’t interested in conquering all of Ukraine and incorporating it into Russia.
- The Russians will seize more formerly Ukrainian territory, leaving a dysfunctional rump state in eastern Ukraine.
I don’t believe that’s either what he or I want to happen but in all likelihood it’s what will happen.
In the 2010 (?) runoff election, Timoshenko won every oblast west of the Dniepr by majorities of at least 60%, and Yanukovych won Crimea and every oblast east of the river again by majorities of at least 60%. The Dniepr is a natural physical, political, and cultural boundary, and it should the Russian Ukrainian border.
The US not only started this war with its 2014 attack on the democratically elected Ukrainian government, it has consistently blocked any negotiation, including last year’s March ceasefire that would have left the Donbas in Ukraine.
The problem is not Moscow or even Kiev. It is Washington. Regime change in the US is needed, which must include a very heavy purge of State, Defense, and the intelligence services. RFK, Jr., is the only candidate that might do that. All the others, including Trump, are part of the problem.
Given the anemic Russian winter offensive, along with all the current and future problems with the Russian military, Russian political reality, Russian strategy, etc., I do not see Russia seizing any significant territory anytime soon.
At this point, I think the most likely course is for the Ukrainians to make modest gains from their offensive, and once that culminates, neither side will have the capacity for significant offensive operations, probably until next year.
The spring counter-offensive now looks like the summer counter-offensive.
But its really quite a short window in the summer, once it gets to September, the fall raining season will tilt against offense.
Just recall, wars of attrition can be deceptive. You get years of relative stasis until one side reaches exhaustion, a catastrophic front collapse occurs in weeks and the war ends in defeat.
Two examples were the Virginia theatre in the US Civil War, and the Western Front in WW1.
It doesn’t usually happen but it has happened.