Here is Chomsky's basic assessment of the war, which he's been restating for months. Does a successful military offensive by Ukraine, operationally facilitated by the US, bring the war closer to -- or further from -- the vastly preferable second option that Chomsky identifies?


@tiago USA didn't lose in Afghanistan by any of those two ways. It's a false dichotomy.
Wars, especially asymetric ones, often end by one of the sides losing the will to fight, because the cost is too high for them, but not for their enemy.
That can easily happen to Russia.

@orange_orangutan I fully agree that the Afghanistan scenario can repeat itself in Ukraine — a war of attrition that lasted 20 years, with hundreds of thousands killed. In fact, it's clear that this is exactly what the US wants.

But Chomsky is right about how the Afghanistan war ended. It was in fact with a negotiated settlement:

The reasons to settle a conflict can vary. What you listed are some possible options. Another is domestic pressure — such as in Vietnam.

@tiago the asymetry in power is much less pronounced in Ukraine, instead of 20 years, it could take much less.

Maybe I misunderstand, what do you actually propose?
Ukraine making a piece with Russia, letting them occupy parts of their territory?

Maybe it will come to that, but I don't think it has support of the public in Ukraine right now (although we can just speculate about that), and it might be a bad decision long term.

@orange_orangutan Who knows what kind of settlement is possible — although, an obvious starting point would be Minsk II.

As Chomsky emphasizes, we don't know what is possible because there hasn't been any talks whatsoever.

The absolute rejection of diplomacy we've had until know is morally unjustifiable.

@tiago Minsk II is outdated- it was before all out invasion. It demands withdrawal of foreign (read russian) soldiers from Ukraine, so for Putin that's like defeat. For Ukrainians it does not include any reparations or guaranties.

It's not true diplomacy wasn't attempted, there were talks during spring. But they were pointless, and now no side want's them. Ukrainians think they can win and Putin doesn't want to admit defeat in front of domestic audience.

@orange_orangutan I was very clear that Minsk II was a starting point, not the end goal. Of course it needs to be updated.

The talks in spring were pointless because they were not serious. Both the US, UK + EU were undermining them. NATO wants escalation, not negotiation. This is plain as day.

“Ukrainians think they can win” — can you read the minds of an entire population? And can they really win?

Anyway, we have already diverted substantially from your original arguments...

@tiago it's not plain to me as day. Why do you think NATO and EU want escalation?

You make it sound like Russia wanted to make a deal but west sabotaged it somehow, is that so?

I don't think that's how it went. Russia sabotaged multiple deals, here are two examples:

If Russia wanted to end the war, they could easily offer ceasefire to UA and work out an agreement afterwards. UA would probably take it. They didn't do that.

@orange_orangutan Obviously, Russia's objective is not to “end the war”, but to reduce NATO influence close to its borders.

Conversely, the US is *admittedly* waging a proxy war with Russia:

According to the US secretary of defense, the objective is to weaken Russia with a protracted war. Of course, at the cost of Ukrainian lives.

They have zero interest in a settlement that does not achieve this goal, and ends the conflict early.

@tiago I think the article doesn't say what you say it does, and misses a lot of context. I would interpret it much differently than you.

The narrative that Russia is just defending themselves against NATO at it's borders is mostly Russian propaganda.

I fully agree with this rebuttal of that view:

By treating this as proxy war, you are ignoring an important factor: Ukrainian agency

@orange_orangutan The title of the piece is “Russia Is Right: The U.S. Is Waging a Proxy War in Ukraine” and yet you insist on claiming that the article does not say that the US is waging a proxy war in Ukraine. I don't know what else to say.

If you believe the proxy war is justifiable, than you can try to argue this, but not that it is not happening.

@orange_orangutan I never said that “Russia is just defending itself”, but the role that NATO had to play here is undeniable. Claiming, as the linked article does, that it expanded all the way to the east due to “inertia” (?!) and bureaucracy is honestly just bad faith.

The agency argument is incredibly silly: of course Ukraine has agency — they can do and want whatever they like. But in the end it is NATO (not Ukraine!) who decides how they expand, and it is the US/EU who decide how to spent their money and influence.

(Remember that Russia tried to join NATO at some point, and were refused. What about “agency” then?)

@tiago I am not disputing that it's now a proxy war. I dispute that it's a proxy war that:
- west wants
- west caused
- west can stop (without it being a dick move).
Your article doesn't imply any of those, but you do.

The important thing about NATO expansion in my article is that post-soviet countries (I live in one) WANTED to join it, in big part because they were afraid of Russia due to historical experience. They were not manipulated into it as some plot against Russia.

@orange_orangutan Of course the US wants a proxy war, since it weakens a strategic enemy, and costs it very little. That's the whole point of a proxy war. And of course they could stop it.

I understand, and I agree, that many ex-eastern block countries wanted to join NATO. That changes nothing, since it's still NATO's prerogative to allow them to join, like they refused Russia. Note that Ukraine membership wasn't and isn't considered feasible, to this day, regardless of what they want.

Imagine Mexico voluntary joining a military alliance with Russia. *No-one* would be saying it was OK, because Mexico is free to do what it wants.

The US would (rightly) consider it to be a military provocation, and reason for escalation.

@tiago you just said NATO doesn't considere UA membership feasible, while accusing NATO from expanding to UA, I am confused.

USA might be ok with the war weakening Russia, but the EU would much prefer business as usual, and USA needs strong EU as allies against China. I am not sure the math is as clear here as you say.

@orange_orangutan That's why it is a *proxy* war: NATO/US uses Ukraine as a pawn, pretending it is considering it as a potential NATO member (although everyone knows they are not serious, since the country is too unstable for that), feeding it weapons and equipment when the conflict starts, etc.

Indeed EU, logically, should prefer business as usual. But it so much a vassal of the US, that they opt to sacrifice their own economy to satisfy Washington. It's mind boggling, but not surprising.

@tiago There are two agencies here. Agency to join NATO, and agency to resist or surrender to aggressor.

In the end, it's UA who decides whether they want to resist or not. It's not US's place to decide that, or anyone elses. They can only decide if they want to help, or stand by and watch.

You imply it would be better for UA if the west stood by and left them to Russia. Ukraine obviously doesn't think that. Why do you?

@orange_orangutan You keep putting words into my mouth, which is not an honest way to conduct a debate.

I don't think that the west should “stand by”. On the contrary, I think it should push strongly for a peaceful settlement, instead of investing in a protracted war that is already costing many lives.

Pay attention: I'm not saying what Ukraine should do, but what the European Union (of which I am a citizen) and the US (of which the EU is a vassal state) should do.

@tiago I am not trying to put anything in your mouth, if you feel that way, it's an honest misunderstanding.

I was also talking about what the west should do, and that is help Ukraine if they say they need help, which they did.

Maybe we should be specific, how do you envision the push for peace you talk about? What does it mean, exactly?

@orange_orangutan I don't know how a peace accord would look like. All I'm saying is that finding one should be a top priority. For that, pressure is needed, but none is exerted — on the contrary, the US (and UK) actively undermine it.

This goes back to the original tweet: the alternative to a settlement is endless bloodshed.

@tiago ok, this is probably the crucial thing here. You say pressure is needed.
On whom, and what kind of pressure?

@orange_orangutan Diplomatic pressure by the US/EU. Mediation efforts — like Macron tried to do, but by someone with more relevance, like Biden.

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