Chris Nicholson is back on to talk about the war in Ukraine, this time with a specific focus on how the conflict might end. See here for the transcript and the video where Chris takes us through a map of Eastern Ukraine. We start by discussing the Ukrainian capture of Kherson, and Chris puts forth the theory that Russia pulled back from the city in order to focus on the capture of the entirety of Donetsk province.
We go through different scenarios of how the war might move towards its end, whether through a Ukrainian victory or something of a stalemate, which is the best Chris believes the Russians can hope for in the short- to medium-term. Over the course of the conversation, we realize that Chris and I have very different intuitions about the likelihood of the West pulling its support for Ukraine. I think that if the war ends anytime soon, it’ll be because Ukraine wants to move towards peace, while Chris thinks that the US and Europe might nudge it in that direction. In my view, Ukraine has a blank check as long as it’s willing to fight and die. As I told Chris, I defer to him on battlefield questions, but I trust my own judgment on American politics.
We recorded this conversation on Monday, November 14, so before the deaths of two people in Poland yesterday from what was first thought to have been a Russian missile, but may have been fired by Ukraine in self-defense instead. The latest news is a reminder of the ever-present danger of escalation, and why it’s important to think carefully about how we can get to a settlement of the conflict.
Links and Previous Discussions on Ukraine:
“A Strategic Strip Of Sand. Rumors Of Ukrainian Raids. As Russian Forces Retreat, Keep An Eye On The Kinburn Spit.”
“Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 13.”
“US privately asks Ukraine to show it’s open to negotiate with Russia.”
“The Impact of Winter, and Iranian Drones and Missiles” (Discussion with Chris, on October 24, 2022, audio and video)
HIMARS as Miracle Weapons (Discussion with Chris, October 3, 2022, audio)