The war in Ukraine is becoming a "personal Vietnam" for Putin, says US Admiral James Stavridis in a column for Time. He points out that the end of the war is not in sight, and there are opinions heard that it may be better to agree to Putinʼs terms, and the deeper into the war, the less determined NATO will be due to economic problems. Stavridis responds that he is old enough to remember the US military campaign in Vietnam, and what is happening in Ukraine now reminds him more and more of this unsuccessful adventure for America. What was planned to be a lightning victory turned into a viscous, difficult and ugly war with defeat at the end. But Russia is now in an even worse situation than the United States. The local population in Vietnam often welcomed Americans, and most of Ukrainians hate Russia. Dozens of countries now supply weapons to Ukraine, and the communist Viet Cong was largely aided by only the Soviet Union. And the USSR was not very rich, while Ukraineʼs partners are the richest countries in the world, so supporting Kyiv is not a big financial burden for them. All of this is a precondition for Putinʼs campaign to end in disgrace ― and sooner than it was for the United States in Vietnam.
The Atlantic published a piece by Anna Nemtsova, who traveled around Ukraine talking to young people affected by the Russian invasion. The correspondent tells stories of young men and women from Mariupol, Lviv, Chernihiv, and Kyiv. Nemtsova writes that for all young people she talked to, February 24th became a pivot point, diving into their lives into “before” and “after”, and forcing them to grow up. Ira, 19, from Mariupol, for example, was describing her life in the past tense “We lived in building number 7”, or “I went to the Mariupol university” as there is no building and no university anymore. Ira had to undergo filtration and pass 22 Russian checkpoints before she got to Zaporizhzhya. She says “Putin ʼliberated’ us from our home, from our studies, our work, our future.” Nazar, 18, from Chernihiv, decided to stay and help his father at the local morgue in the city as his mother as he just couldn’t have imagined his father alone at this job. These young people’s lives have changed forever, but there is another perspective worth considering, writes Nemtsova. The perspective towards how many young people decided to come to aid their country and become volunteers or join the territorial defense units. They speak not only about their lives in the past tense, but also about the future they can build in Ukraine. A future that would be built on deeper integration with Europe and the West rather then on fondness for Soviet era.
In an opinion piece written for The Guardian, British columnist Simon Jenkins says that the West’s calls for a total victory in Ukraine can lead only to ruinous escalation. He states that while the British government has offered Kyiv unwavering support, particularly in its ambition to drive Russian troops from all of the Ukrainian soil, such a scenario would require a massive uplift in western aid over a long period of time. Russia already complains that it is leading a proxy war with the West. If western powers deliver more lethal “defensive” weapons to Ukraine, Putin will continue to rattle his nuclear arsenal. Jenkins recalls several past conflicts, like the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, that could lead to disaster, but were averted by frantic back channels, secret compromises or split-second decisions. He believes that war in Ukraine has now reached a similar critical point. Thatʼs why any settlement reached in eastern Ukraine should be a compromise. Johnson and Britain have done their duty to common humanity in helping a foreign state, not an ally, resist outrageous Russian aggression. Putin has barely advanced on his 2014 incursion. And now, there must be a compromise. So if Johnson feels unable to plead for peace, he should at least stop yelling for war.