April 18, 2024
The Ukrainian Army has been able to show not only its resilience but also its extraordinary capacity to innovate and adapt fast to the circumstances of war. The war would certainly last longer and claim more innocent victims, but the Ukrainian military would still be able to defeat Russian forces through “death by a thousand cuts.”

Defeatists will be on the wrong side of history

Over two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the mood among Ukraine’s supporters is dropping.

There are several reasons for this, including Ukraine’s unsuccessful counteroffensive last year, the replacement of the popular Valerii Zaluzhnyi as commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, tension among Ukraine’s leadership, mobilization difficulties, delays in weapons and ammunition deliveries by Ukraine’s Western allies, and the stalled $60 billion aid package in Washington.

All of this is creating a mood of toxic defeatism.

Those who oppose aid to Ukraine think the Russian military’s numerical superiority makes Ukraine’s defeat inevitable, even with Western help. They argue that Ukraine should negotiate a peace agreement with Russia as fast as possible, i.e., surrender and accept defeat.

This has happened before. When Nazi Germany invaded France, Marshal Pétain, known for his successful defense in World War I’s Battle of Verdun, thought the inferiority of the French army made any resistance futile. He thus collaborated with the Nazi regime to “cut his losses” in the face of inevitable defeat. The same argument can now be used to justify why Ukraine should surrender before it’s too late.

Pétain’s decision was disastrously wrong. The Blitz, Dunkirk, the lost Norwegian campaign, imminent invasion, and other factors weighed heavily on the United Kingdom. Joe Kennedy, the then U.S. ambassador to the U.K., publicly suggested: “Democracy is finished in England,” amplifying the chorus of isolationist and lets-negotiate-with-Hitler Americans.

And yet, U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill vowed, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. We shall never surrender.” This determination helped to win World War II.

Just like Churchill, Ukraine’s leadership vowed to fight Russia to the end and Ukrainians overwhelmingly share this determination. Ukrainians also care much more about the war than Russians. They know that the war is a question of survival. This motivation, much more than Western military assistance, is behind Ukraine’s success so far in containing Russia’s invasion.

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See Also:

Kremlin welcomes former German leader’s Ukraine war offer

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