(March 8) Even as Russia bumbles and stumbles in its attempt to subjugate Ukraine, numerous Nervous Nellies are suggesting the West should give dictator Vladimir Putin an “off ramp” that includes territorial concessions.

Forgive the bluntness, but this is idiocy.

Except as a last resort, the West absolutely should not reward an evil actor for his aggression. The imperative is to act resolutely, not to seek “resolution” of the conflict at the cost of strategic defeat.

The concession most commonly suggested is for Ukraine to forfeit not just its claim to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia conquered in 2014, but also the entirety of the two supposedly “breakaway” provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk. Some analysts also say Ukraine should commit to never joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and perhaps that NATO should withdraw some forces from its eastern-most members, the ones closest to Russia. And, of course, that all the recent sanctions against Russia be lifted.

All of this would be ill-advised. It would mean that Putin benefits from his murderous rampage. It would signal that war crimes will go unpunished, and that the West will not stand firm against nations waging war on innocents and against democracy. It would thus invite, not deter, more wars waged by more malevolent nations that are willing to endure short-term pain in hopes of Putin-like territorial and strategic gains.

The West has the upper hand, if it will only play it strongly. The combined conventional force troop strength of NATO’s European nations (1.495 million) — in other words, not even including the U.S. or Turkey — substantially outweighs Russia’s 1.154 million. As it is, Ukraine’s 190,000 troops alone have been enough for weeks to hold off Russia’ more numerous personnel and advanced weaponry allotted to this particular war effort…. [The rest of this column can be read right here.]


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