The American edition The Atlantic has voiced its support for the idea of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a probable candidate for the US presidency, regarding the Ukrainian conflict. DeSantis previously stated that “territorial disputes” between Russia and Ukraine are not among the priority conflicts for the United States.
“While the United States has many vital national interests, further involvement in the territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote.
This sparked a wave of disapproval from conservatives and Republicans, including The Wall Street Journal editorial board and Washington Post columnist George Will, who remarked that: “If that’s his settled opinion after the dust settles and he clarifies it, then he’s not fit to be president.”
The Atlantic article notes that DeSantis has taken a realistic foreign policy stance at a time when elites in both parties have come to a dangerous disposition. As support to help Ukraine is falling among Republicans, DeSantis’ comments were also more in line with where Republican Party voters are, and likely will be in the coming months.
As the author of the article writes, “The U.S. should encourage Ukraine to sell the territory that it now occupied by the Russians in exchange for a hefty sum, including reparations. Many wars have been honorably settled this way. A more homogeneous Ukrainian state would be more politically stable and could one day join the European Union and perhaps even NATO.”
At the same time, the piece notes that in the absence of negotiations, the most likely (and fraught) end to the war in Ukraine is a unilateral cease-fire by Russia, backed by the threat of massive escalation (read: use of nuclear weapons) if hostilities continue.
In the long term, a war that ends without a formal peace settlement could mean decades of sanctions, turning Russia into a pariah state and almost certainly forcing it to recognize de facto Chinese suzerainty.
If Russia announces a unilateral cease-fire as described, the (U.S. President Joe) Biden administration will face the decision it has always been driven to by current policy: whether to break its promises to Ukraine or to dramatically increase U.S. intervention.
The first option would severely damage America’s prestige and give courage to China, while the second would almost certainly lead to a nuclear escalation.
“Both aspects of this dilemma involve entirely unacceptable risks, so the United States should not have engaged in this war from the start,” the author believes.