October 5, 2022

Should the West Seek an Off-Ramp in Ukraine?

In the end, it may be that the least-bad scenario is about simply preventing the worst-case scenario.

How does the war in Ukraine end?

This is precisely the question no one is supposed to ask these days. The supposition by our thought leaders seems to be that if we keep up the pressure on Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, he’ll fold and go home; his threats to use tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield are nothing more than saber-rattling. He will then retrench on the domestic front, resolidify his power and continue throwing his prospective enemies from third-story windows.

Perhaps that’s actually the best-case scenario. Because if President Joe Biden gets his wish — if Putin is indeed ousted from power in Russia — what would follow could easily be even worse than Putin: the Russian public remains highly supportive of aggressive foreign action to expand the “empire”; other than the military, there are no well-organized or powerful groups in Russia, and Putin does have an inner circle of possible successors who are, if anything, more anti-West even than he is. If none of those successors take the fore, the possibility of internecine warfare akin to Syria isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility either — and that, in a country armed with a massive and aging nuclear arsenal.

Then there’s the other possibility: that Putin is serious, and that if he sees his mission in Ukraine failing, he actually unleashes nuclear weapons. Most observers thought Putin was saber-rattling over his threats to invade Ukraine in the first place; underestimating Putin’s aggressive radicalism now could be foolish. And there are no real plans to deal with Putin unleashing a nuke: while former CIA director David Petraeus has suggested that America would respond by “leading a NATO, a collective effort, that would take out every Russian conventional force that we can see and identify on the battlefield in Ukraine and also in Crimea and every ship in the Black Sea,” that could also lead Putin to escalate even further, perhaps even trying to directly threaten a civilian center in NATO territory with nuclear weapons.

In November 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Finland, attempting to install a puppet communist government; the West united in opposition to Soviet intervention, shipping weaponry to the Finns, who bravely stood against the forces of Stalin. The USSR lost at least 126,000 soldiers over the course of the three-and-a-half-month war but responded in the late going with a massive infusion of troops and a heavy offensive that drove the Finns back on their heels. Faced with the prospect of open war with the Western powers, Stalin signed the Moscow Peace Treaty in March 1940, with the Finns ceding 9% of their territory to Stalin.

Was the mutual stand-down the best solution? Should the West have pressed Stalin to the brink in Finland? Perhaps. But the West was facing down Stalin and Hitler simultaneously. Today, the threat isn’t a second front from a powerful enemy, but the direct threat of nuclear weapons. Henry Kissinger has been publicly excoriated for suggesting that the off-ramp to this conflict will be territorial concessions by Ukraine to Russia — a repeat of the Moscow Peace Treaty. But he may be correct, particularly if the West is unwilling to bear the full economic and military cost of a larger war with Russia — as historian Niall Ferguson writes, “Thus far, the West have given Zelensky and his brave people enough military and economic support to avoid losing. We are not yet giving them enough to win — and the window for victory is not infinite.” In the end, it may be that the least-bad scenario is about simply preventing the worst-case scenario.


Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service, are proud sponsors of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Folds of Honor, Honoring the Sacrifice, Warrior Freedom Service Dogs, Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, the Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Join us in prayer for our nation, that good and righteous national leaders would rise and prevail, and that division would be healed so we would be united as Americans. We pray also for the protection of our military Patriots, first responders and their families, and comfort for veterans who are suffering.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.