Two years of grueling war in Ukraine has seen the world go from staunch support and adoration for the invaded eastern European nation to war weariness and suspicions of corruption. Funding for Ukraine has become harder to secure for the White House, and general support for unlimited taxpayer dollars and military aid has steadily decreased.
Publicly and officially, the Biden administration continues to toe the company line that support is unwavering and there will be no negotiating. However, privately and subversively, indications are that the White House would prefer to shift the goal towards a ceasefire negotiation, even at the expense of territory lost to Russia.
Will President Joe Biden convince President Volodymyr Zelensky to concede lost territory, and will he be able to spin the waste of funds for yet another failed foreign war as a leadership win? He certainly is doing his best to secure that narrative.
It’s all in the wording
The Biden administration has the firm support of the mainstream media in crafting the new narrative that a peace settlement between Russia and Ukraine, in which Russia keeps all of its conquered lands, spells victory for President Zelensky and, in turn, President Biden.
The New York Times put out an article this past week that argued:
“Recovered territory is not the only measure of victory in this war.”
That is a very interesting and complete 180 from the existing narrative, wouldn’t you say?
President Zelensky has made no bones about his expectation that the only way a negotiated peace could occur is if Russia withdraws all its troops from every territory that was formerly Ukrainian, including Crimea.
The New York Times goes on to argue that President Zelensky merely lacks imagination, writing:
“…regaining territory is the wrong way to imagine the best outcome. True victory for Ukraine is to rise from the hell of war as a strong, independent, prosperous and secure state, firmly planted in the West.”
Infusing the poetic imagery of a battle-worn Ukraine rising from the ashes of war with the Goliath Russia like some flaming Phoenix, The New York Times alludes to the possibility that securing Ukraine’s membership in NATO is the ultimate victory regardless of land lost. This dream is hard to conceptualize, given that the threat of NATO on Russia’s front door instigated the invasion in the first place.
The hard truth that President Zelensky understands deep down and that President Biden is forced to grapple with is that, as it stands, the war in Ukraine doesn’t have the same zeal of support among American voters that it had at the beginning of the conflict.
According to a recent Newsweek poll, 41% of Americans believe the United States should:
“…press for peace in the war in Ukraine, even if it means that Ukraine does not achieve a total victory and does not regain all of its pre-war territory.”
Of the remaining Americans polled, only 29% disagreed with the above statement, and 30% didn’t know what the United States should do with the war moving forward. Furthermore, only 23% of Americans think Ukraine should try to retake all the territory they have lost to Russia, including back to the takeover of Crimea in 2014.
Team Biden-Harris is reading the political tea leaves and shifting the narrative to align with public opinion. An unnamed White House official told Politico that the war was always going to end in a negotiated settlement, stating:
“That’s been our theory of the case throughout: The only way this war ends ultimately is through negotiation.”
And another anonymous source, this time a congressional official, told Politico:
“Those discussion about peace talks are starting, but the administration can’t back down publicly because of the political risk to Biden.”
Those who make a living tracking and studying political communications can see the familiar spin machine strategy in motion. First comes the anonymous insiders to smooth the way for the inevitable pivot in policy with the hopes the American people are sold that this was always the plan and, finally, a declared win for the home team.
Republican Senator Ron Johnson declared the obvious, stating:
“Putin is not going to lose this war. This war has to end. We’re not gonna like the result, but every day that goes by, we’re gonna like the results less.”
President Vladimir Putin was never going to lose the war, mainly because the United States lacks a clear strategy on foreign policy and a track record to prove it. Russia is vastly more powerful than Ukraine in every respect.
This is why, as a senior unnamed international official who has met with top Russian officials told The New York Times:
“They say, ‘We are ready to have negotiations on a ceasefire.”
President Putin knows that as long as he can maintain the areas he has taken, he can sell this engagement as a victory to his people and the world because, for Mr. Putin, it is a victory. President Biden, on the other hand, is trying desperately to sew the thread that when this ceasefire occurs, it will be a victory for Ukraine:
“Ukraine has won an enormous victory already. Putin has failed.”
Mr. Putin is still in power, the Russian economy, despite the West’s efforts, is still chugging along, Russia is still strongly aligned with other nefarious and hostile actors around the world, and all signs indicate he has expanded the borders of his country. It’s hard to see the failure in all that.
Leaving the door open
President Biden’s public comments have evolved to signal the shift in mindset at the White House from stating support for Ukraine will last “as long as it takes” to now “as long as we can.” It is a masterful way to pin any perceived failures on Republicans in Congress who have made it increasingly difficult to write blank checks to President Zelensky.
However, this strategy also allows the Biden administration to “put a pin” in the conflict, perhaps reigniting later when it may be of a more politically positive posture.
As The New York Times explains:
“…to explore an armistice is not to walk away. On the contrary, the fight must go on, even when talks begin, to maintain the military and economic pressure on Russia.”
This statement expertly points out the only foreign policy the United States has in play. The United States has become adept at feeding the flames of foreign conflict while never actually resolving anything.
A foreign policy built on advancing the political and financial goals of the DC Swamp at the expense of the American taxpayer, countless lives lost, and nations whose purpose is merely to facilitate said advancements at the expense of their own governance. So, while a ceasefire is clearly in Ukraine’s future with Russia, one can bet even money that this area of Eastern Europe will continue to be on the brink of destruction; it just needs to be either politically advantageous in the United States or strategically postured for Russia.
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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts Saint and Artist husband. Writer, lifelong conservative, lover of all things American History, and not-so-secret Ancient Aliens fanatic. Homeschool maven, Masters in Political Management, constitutionalist, and chock full of opinions.
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