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Time Magazine Admits the Obvious, Acknowledges Ukraine Can’t Win

© AP Photo / Evan VucciUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2024
While the Biden administration puts on a brave face, another major US media outlet has recognized the reality of Kiev’s quixotic endeavor.
“The situation in Ukraine still favors [Kiev],” began a lengthy article in Time magazine last August. “Ukrainian progress will very likely alternate periods of notable tactical advances with periods, possibly long periods, of pause and some setbacks… But the Ukrainian counteroffensive can succeed in any of several ways.”
“Ukraine is still very much in the game… if only the West holds firm in its support,” the summer article said.
Eight months and several billion dollars in US aid later, the magazine’s prediction has proved to be incorrect – a fact that was acknowledged on Saturday in an editorial by the Quincy Institute’s Anatol Lieven.

“The long-awaited counteroffensive last year failed,” Lieven observed bluntly. “Russia has recaptured Avdeyevka, its biggest war gain in nine months. President Volodymyr Zelensky has been forced to quietly acknowledge the new military reality.”

Lieven notes that Washington’s rhetoric has shifted accordingly. “The Biden Administration’s strategy is now to sustain Ukrainian defense until after the U.S. presidential elections, in the hope of wearing down Russian forces in a long war of attrition.”
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But, as is often the case in matters of US foreign policy, the author argues Biden has merely substituted one fiction for another. While prognostications of Ukrainian victory in the near-term have been abandoned, they’ve been replaced by hopes the Kiev regime will achieve their long-awaited breakthrough in 2025, or perhaps the year after that.
Such predictions ignore the blood and lives Moscow has sacrificed to liberate the Donbass from years of violence at the hands of Ukrainian nationalists. “Russia will never agree at the negotiating table to surrender land that it has managed to hold on the battlefield,” Lieven argues. The Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics are here to stay.
But beyond prospects of a frozen conflict or fantasies of Kiev’s triumph, there is a third possible outcome in Ukraine. Moscow does not have to continue to patiently endure terrorist attacks against civilian targets. Russian President Vladimir Putin is not required to indefinitely tolerate Kiev’s provocations and the Western hostility that fuels them.
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Russia could push still further west and evict Ukraine’s puppet leader from the Mariinskyi Palace just as extremist mobs removed Yanukovych some ten years ago. To do so would be trivial. The Russian Armed Forces are better trained, better equipped, and better disciplined than fascist thugs who report to Victoria Nuland.
Increasingly such action may prove tempting not only to Putin, but to others as well. Republicans in Washington already plan to campaign against President Biden amidst scenes of chaos at the US southern border. What would underscore the narrative of a hapless and helpless leader better than chaos at home and the spectacular collapse of an ally abroad?
Some would deem it poetic justice given Ukraine’s destruction was first set in motion by Biden’s Democratic Party predecessor just a decade ago.
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The final chapter of the Donbass conflict remains to be written. But when even Lindsey Graham sees the writing on the wall, one may safely assume the outcome is all but ensured.
“The lost Ukrainian territories are lost,” observes Lieven before offering one last piece of advice to those who truly cry for Ukraine.
“However painful a peace agreement would be today, it will be infinitely more so if the war continues and Ukraine is defeated.”
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