Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has been “a catastrophic strategic catastrophe,” Colin H. Kahl, the undersecretary of protection for coverage, advised the Protection Writers’ Group yesterday.
Kahl briefed the group concerning the National Defense Strategy and mentioned that the doc lists China because the pacing menace for the US, however that Russia poses an acute menace. “That time period acute, was chosen very deliberately as signifying each fast and sharp,” he mentioned.
China has the desire and assets to problem the US and the rule-based worldwide order that has saved the peace because the finish of World Struggle II. However Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine exhibits it’s a harmful and reckless state.
Talking on Election Day, Kahl was requested by reporters requested if U.S. assist of Ukraine had bipartisan assist. “I believe there is a widespread recognition that the stakes in Ukraine are simply greater than Ukraine,” he mentioned.
He mentioned elected officers from each events perceive that Ukraine isn’t solely preventing to defend its independence and democracy however can also be for a precept. “We do not wish to stay in a world the place massive nations imagine that they will swallow up their smaller neighbors,” Kahl mentioned. “That could be a recipe for international dysfunction and huge nations occurring the march. We have lived in a world like that earlier than: it was known as the Nineteen Thirties. And it resulted in probably the most catastrophic international battle in human historical past.”
The principles-based order is in place to preclude this bare seize for assets and energy. “We do not wish to stay in a world the place the principles of the worldwide system are torn up, as a result of the robust do what they are going to and the weak must undergo what they need to,” he mentioned.
Kahl charted the progress Ukraine has made. The Ukrainian navy defeated Russia’s preliminary marketing campaign to seize the capital of Kyiv and compelled the Russians to retreat to the east.
Extra not too long ago, the Ukrainian navy launched a counteroffensive in opposition to Russian troops within the northeastern a part of the nation outdoors Kharkiv. The Ukrainian navy has additionally stabilized the traces within the Donbass and the military continues to make methodical progress round Kherson.
“There’s some indications that the Russians intend to withdraw to the east financial institution of the Dnieper River,” he mentioned. “They’re repositioning their forces in in some ways in which may very well be interpreted as offering cowl for an orderly withdrawal in order that they do not have the form of disorderly withdrawal they’d up in Kharkiv.”
Nonetheless he’s cautious noting that there are nonetheless tens of hundreds of Russian troops in Ukraine. “We’ll must see how that performs out,” he mentioned.
Winter could or could not shut down the preventing within the nation. The “mud season” has already began in Ukraine, making operations harder.
“However I can say one factor with confidence, which is, Russia has already suffered an enormous strategic failure,” he mentioned. “That is not going to alter.”
Putin’s aim was to extinguish Ukraine as an impartial, sovereign democratic nation, the undersecretary mentioned. “He is failed, and that is not going to alter. A sovereign, impartial, democratic Ukraine goes to endure,” he mentioned.
Putin needed to show that Russia was nonetheless a world energy with an awfully overwhelming navy, Kahl mentioned. Victory over Ukraine would permit Russia to coerce and intimidate its neighbors. “Putin has failed,” he mentioned. “Russia will emerge from this struggle weaker than it went in.”
The Russian navy has misplaced tens of hundreds to Ukrainian weapons and bombs. “They’ve … most likely misplaced half of their important battle tanks,” he mentioned.
And the Russians have expended the vast majority of their precision-guided munitions with no probability of replenishing shares on account of sanctions and export controls levied on the nation for the invasion. “They don’t seem to be going to emerge from this struggle stronger; they’ll emerge from this struggle a lot weaker than they went in,” Kahl mentioned.
Putin additionally figured the struggle would divide the West. “It is produced the precise reverse,” he mentioned. “NATO is extra united than ever. We’re on the precipice of Sweden and Finland, most likely becoming a member of the alliance, which … make the alliance a lot stronger vis-a-vis Russia.”
“I do not know what successful appears like,” he continued. “However I do know that Russia won’t have achieved the aims that Vladimir Putin set out. And that is just about a assure.”
America and like-minded nations will proceed to supply the suitable stage of help to Ukraine. America may also work with like-minded nations to counter and deter Russia.
“No matter that acceptable stage of help is, we’re dedicated to creating certain it continues, if for no different purpose, than as a result of … Vladimir Putin has a principle of victory right here,” Kahl mentioned. “And his principle of victory is that he’ll simply wait us all out.”
Putin believes the West will tire from the struggle, the inflation the struggle causes and the excessive vitality costs. “I believe it is incumbent upon all of us to sign to him, it is not going to work,” Kahl mentioned.