Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Opinion | We must play the long game in Ukraine

Opinion | We must play the long game in Ukraine

Regarding the Sept. 26 news article “Russia attacks Odessa port in its latest assault on Ukrainian grain”:

The war in Ukraine reminds me of Andy Marshall’s Cold War dictum about long-term competitive strategies. The key in such situations is to pit our strengths against our adversaries’ weaknesses in a manner that can be sustained indefinitely. Russian President Vladimir Putin understands such long-term thinking. He knows impatience can be a fatal flaw for democracies. We tend to prefer easier, short-term options, such as tax cuts. Investing in long-term efforts to address challenges such as collective security is much more difficult for democracies. Support in the United States for Ukraine already is showing cracks.

Vietnam and Afghanistan taught us that political will can be more decisive than the military balance. Ukraine has demonstrated the political will necessary to win, but only if we and our allies don’t pull the plug. Mr. Putin is playing the long game. We should, too.

C. Richard Nelson, Arlington

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