The US accelerated the Russian-Ukrainian War, and their misunderstanding of the war’s logic creates a potential world conflagration, said Christopher Caldwell* in an op-ed in the New York Times on Tuesday.
The United States has helped turn this Russian Ukrainian War from a “tragic, local and ambiguous conflict into a potential world conflagration”, Caldwell said. “Henri Guaino** argues, the West, led by the Biden administration, is giving the conflict a momentum that may be impossible to stop by misunderstanding the war’s logic. He is right.”
Caldwell outlines that in 2014, the United States supported an uprising in Ukraine against the legitimately elected pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych. Russia, in turn, annexed Russian-speaking Crimea. On 10 November 2021, US and Ukraine signed a charter on strategic partnership that called for Ukraine to join NATO, condemned ongoing Russian aggression, and gave an unwavering commitment to the reintegration of Crimea into Ukraine.
“‘That charter convinced Russia that it must attack or be attacked’, Guaino wrote,” Caldwell added. “Whether [Putin] was right to worry about Russia’s security depends on one’s perspective. Western news reports tend to belittle him.”
The United States started arming and training Ukraine’s military, today the country is armed to the teeth, he said.
“In this light, mockery of Russia’s battlefield performance is misplaced. Russia is not being stymied by a plucky agricultural country a third its size,” he argued. It is “against NATO’s advanced economic, cyber and battlefield weapons.”
The United States is trying to maintain the perception that arming its allies is not the same as participating in combat, he stated. “It is easy to cross the line between being a weapons supplier and being a combatant.”
Caldwell argues, “Even if we don’t accept Mr. Putin’s claim that America’s arming of Ukraine is the reason the war happened in the first place, it is certainly the reason the war has taken the kinetic, explosive, deadly form it has.”
He warns, quoting Kissinger, that if the war does not end soon, its dangers will increase. “Negotiations need to begin in the next two months, the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger warned last week.”
But, he concludes, “The United States is making no concessions. That would be to lose face. There’s an election coming. So the administration is closing off avenues of negotiation and working to intensify the war.”
Caldwell’s piece was one among several published by the New York Times in recent weeks that have criticised the Democrat-led White House over its stance regarding NATO negotiations and War in Ukraine.
*Christopher Caldwell is a contributing Opinion writer and the author of “The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties” and “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West.”
** Henri Guaino, a top adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy when he was president of France, wrote in the Paris daily, Le Figaro, this month.