Airman 1st Class Olabode Igandan, of the 436th Aerial Port Squadron passenger services, prepares ammunition, weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on January 21, 2022. Photo: Wikimedia Commons / US Air Force / Mauricio Campino

In Joe Biden’s Washington, it is the self-described national-security “expert community” that is at the wheel and driving the administration’s Ukraine policy. 

A little-remarked-upon open letter that appeared in the Washington tabloid The Hill on June 1 put a public face on what had been until that point a discreet, though highly successful, effort on the part of Washington think-tanks  – many of which, like the disgraced Brookings Institution, are funded by foreign governments – to direct the White House policy on Ukraine.

The letter says, in part: 

“The United States and Europe must avoid the urge to encourage Kiev to negotiate a ceasefire that falls short of Ukraine’s goals and could consign millions of Ukrainians to Russian control.”

The signatories of the open letter are urging the Biden administration to stay the course and to continue to arm Ukraine, so that when the time comes, it will be able to negotiate from a position of strength.

Among the more prominent signatories of the letter are neoconservative ideologues of long standing, including John Hopkins SAIS professor Eliot A Cohen; Eric S Edelman, also of Johns Hopkins SAIS; Paula Dobriansky of the foreign-funded Atlantic Council; failed congressional candidate and executive director of the McCain Institute Evelyn N Farkas; John Herbst, also of the foreign-funded Atlantic Council; former aide to John McCain David J Kramer; and, of course, former ambassador and MSNBC fixture Michael McFaul.

Russian gains and severe, perhaps insurmountable, Ukrainian losses have not seemed to have been enough to shift the prevailing calculus in Washington, which remains: Fund Ukraine to the tune of more than $40 billion and hope for the best.

Meantime, the administration and its proxies in the US government-controlled media and think-tank world have been carrying out a relentless and well-coordinated messaging campaign.

For proof, look no further than the latest David Ignatius column in The Washington Post.

Ignatius, a longtime and indefatigably loyal messenger pigeon for Langley, informed readers on June 14 that “Russian military advances in eastern Ukraine this month have raised growing concern in the West that the balance of the war is tipping in Moscow’s favor. But Biden administration officials think these fears are overblown, and that Ukrainian defenses remain solid in this ugly war of attrition.”

Also on June 14, US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told The New York Times, “We are not going to tell the Ukrainians how to negotiate, what to negotiate and when to negotiate.… They are going to set the terms for themselves.”

Three days later, June 17, The Washington Post’s Missy Ryan, who did so much to prepare the ground for an endless American intervention in Syria, reported: “The United States and its allies are making preparations for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine, officials said, as the Biden administration attempts to deny Russia victory by surging military aid to Kiev while scrambling to ease the war’s destabilizing effects on world hunger and the global economy.”

The report noted that Ivo Daalder, a former US ambassador to NATO who now heads the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said the US is faced with “a stark choice: either continue to help Ukraine sustain a potentially bloody status quo, with the devastating global consequences that entails; or halt support and permit Moscow to prevail.”

“That would mean feeding Ukraine to the wolves,” said Daalder, according to the Post report.

Surrendering American agency to Volodymyr Zelensky – which is what Kahl and Daalder and the rest are in essence proposing in the matter of a war that threatens to engulf both NATO and the US – is the height of irresponsibility. 

Yet the Biden administration remains recklessly wedded to a failed policy of spurning negotiations in favor of arming Ukraine to the teeth.

The question American citizens of good conscience must now ask is: Why?

This article was published previously by the American Committee for US-Russia Accord and is used with permission of the author. Read the original here.

James Carden

James W Carden is a former adviser to the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission at the US Department of State. His articles and essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications including The Nation, The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, The Spectator, UnHerd, The National Interest, Quartz, the Los Angeles Times and American Affairs.