There’s clearly been a Ukraine war narrative shift among media and pundits in the West, as we’ve been covering, but for the first time this week President Zelensky himself has admitted that “fatigue” is setting in more broadly amid the war effort. This is leading Western advisers and military strategists to float ‘solutions’ toward winding down the conflict:
According to Teona Lavrelashvili, an analyst at the European Politics Centre, they could signal that several allies are ready for a “pragmatic solution” to the end of the war,.
But Kyiv will be “worried but not panicking” by the growing sense that some traditional allies have “fallen out of step”, said Sean Hanley, an associate professor in Comparative Central and East European Politics at University College London.
To recount, just over the last several days Ukraine aid was dropped from the stop-gap budget bill in US Congress, Poland declared it would cease arming Kiev amid the row over grain imports, a Moscow-friendly politician has been elected to lead Slovakia, and most recently Britain’s military has said it’s run out of vital arms to give Kiev.
All of this has led Zelensky to admit “There is fatigue” – but he pivoted quickly to citing a “slowly” progressing counteroffensive.
He told an Italian broadcaster in a fresh interview, “There is fatigue but we will do everything to win against our enemy, and our counter-offensive goes ahead, even if slowly we do everything to repel the enemy.” And on the billions in future US aid held up and potentially canceled:
He said Ukraine felt support from the United States in “these very difficult times” and was convinced this would be the case in the future despite the delay in the approval of US financial aid due to the political bickering in Washington, DC.
But there’s no evidence of any “progressing” Ukraine offensive. For example the The Economist documented that “Ukraine has liberated less than 0.25% of the territory that Russia occupied in June.” The establishment publication noted, “The 1,000km front line has barely shifted.”
And on whether the supply of Western advanced arms has made a difference, The New York Times recently observed that in first two weeks of the counteroffensive “as much as 20% of the weaponry Ukraine sent to the battlefield was damaged or destroyed, according to US and European officials.”
Sign of the times: neocon pivot to “it’s all about China”…
Lindsey Graham giving another impassioned defense of the top foreign policy priority of Biden, US liberals, Raytheon and CIA.
I love how – seeing support rapidly erode for Ukraine, especially among the right – they just started cynically claiming it’s necessary to fight China. https://t.co/AjEij2rRgH
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 2, 2023
Sending a “message to China”…
THE NEOLIBERAL MIND WILL DESTROY US ALL pic.twitter.com/0XwHeYPWvs
— The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) October 2, 2023
…or else pivot to “it’s all about American jobs”:
saw this on CNN the other day. pic.twitter.com/GJhkW78SbE
— a newsman (@a_newsman) October 1, 2023
“Time is not our friend,” Kirby has admitted, vowing to not let Putin outlast US will…
This is the statement of a Biden White House that knows it has lost this proxy war but is desperate to keep it going so as to avoid a public capitulation.
Russia will continue to go slow and grind down the NATO proxy. The slower this goes, the faster the collective west… pic.twitter.com/a4vs0EIezd
— Alex Christoforou (@AXChristoforou) October 3, 2023
Meanwhile, fresh analysis in UnHerd has explained why even if Biden can eventually push his new Ukraine funding through, the political winds are likely to continue blowing strongly against Kiev…
But even if that happens, the White House will still face an increasingly uphill struggle in mustering political support for its strategy of open-ended assistance to Ukraine. Not only is Trump, with his anti-war stance, continuing to rise in the polls, but even the more hawkish elements of the US and Western establishment are starting to rethink their stance on Ukraine.
Indeed, it seems to finally be dawning on them that, as one leading commentator wrote in Newsweek, “there is no realistic basis to believe that Ukraine has the capacity to attain its stated strategic objective to reclaim all its territory, including Crimea”. A correspondent at The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, recently noted that Ukraine’s goal of retaking all the territory it lost now “appears a distant prospect”.
Interestingly, the title of the piece spells out that if there is escalation, “Nato won’t win a long war in Ukraine” and that “An Afghanistan-style conflict could cripple Europe.”