There liberation of Kherson it is an opportunity to open negotiations with Vladimir Putin. Otherwise the winter, with the inevitable stalemate of the fighting, will give the Russians the opportunity to reorganize their military device. And at that point it would take a risk a World War I scenario: long war of position, fought in the trenches, with a high and increasingly useless number of victims, without a decisive outcome. To support these theses is none other than the most powerful American general: Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffthat is, the Chief of Staff and the highest office in the Pentagon under the Secretary of Defense.
It is not the first time in American history that generals have played the role of “doves”. On the contraryfrom George Marshall to Dwight Eisenhower to Colin Powell there is a long tradition of moderate military, who have more cautious positions on the use of force than politicians (there were exceptions in the opposite sense, such as Douglas MacArthur who wanted to use nuclear weapons against China during the Korean War …). As it happens, as soon as you have passed the turning point of mid-term elections, the internal debate within the Biden administration on Ukraine has emerged in the open. Obviously the debate was already there in the electoral campaign, but reasons of political tactics advised not to expose it.
Even if Ukraine had no weight in the dynamics of the vote, however, it was seen that any stance on the war was immediately exploited: as in the case of the Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, and his fairly obvious phrase against “blank checks” in Kiev. Now that the election has passed with little damage, and the bipartisan consensus on aid to Ukraine is all in all unscathed, General Mark Milley came out of the closet and decided to expose his position in public: first in a conference at the Economic Club here in New York, then in an interview with the Cnbc TV network. «The Ukrainian armed forces – said the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – have fought to the point of blocking the Russians and nailing them in a stalemate. We do not know what will happen in the future, but now there are possibilities for diplomatic solutions. We must seize the opportunity ». This is the position that the number one of the US military has been supporting for some time in the internal debates of the Biden administration, and today that internal debate is being reconstructed in a broad background of the New York Times, signed by Peter Baker. Now that he has decided to explain himself publicly, General Milley argues his position on the base of satellite footage, showing Russian troops digging trenches: according to him, they are preparing to defend some of the occupied territories for the winter months, with a view to stabilizing the balance of power between the two sides.
According to the US chief of staff, the retreat from Kherson is consistent with this goal: take hold of positions that can be defended in the long term. The months of the great winter chill could see little change on the ground, and this is what Miller says represents the “window of opportunity” to induce Putin to negotiate. The specter of World War I, which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff used in his lecture at the Economic Club of New York, is that of a paralyzed conflict on almost immobile territorial lines, but capable of causing millions of victims. This means that we must begin to exclude a military solution to the conflict, and aim for a political solution. The problem, of course, is the conditions of the negotiation and the constraints on this political solution. The other currents of thought within the Biden administration they are open to General Miller argumentsalthough they are a little more optimistic about the Ukrainian military’s ability to make further territorial gains.
Where Biden himself drew a red line, and also reiterated it in the press conference on the election result, is about this: America must not impose anything on Ukraine, much less must it give the impression that it is forcing Zelensky into territorial concessions. “Nothing will be decided on Ukraine without Ukraine,” Biden said at that press conference, to emphasize that he will never talk to Putin by-passing Zelensky. Meanwhile, however, his strategic adviser Jake Sullivan on his last trip to Kiev convinced Zelensky to abandon the prejudice with which he refused a negotiation on principle while Putin is in power. However, the midterm election turning point has put American foreign policy back in motion, as will also be seen with the bilateral Biden-Xi Jinping summit on the sidelines of the G20 in Bali on Monday.
11 November 2022, 19:49 – change 11 November 2022 | 19:49
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The head of the US military opens to negotiations with Putin
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