Why do Poland and the Baltic countries want a victory for Ukraine?
The midterm elections in the United States have seen very thin races as control of the Senate and House are at stake. But that has not deterred President Biden from holding a press conference Wednesday to claim that the “giant red wave” did not happen.
Biden said, “Democrats had a great night. And we lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than in the first midterm election for a Democratic president in 40 years. And we’ve had the best midterms for governors since 1986.”
Biden, however, avoided triumphant rhetoric and pledged “to keep working across the aisle… (although) it’s not always easy.”
For world capitals, Biden’s remarks regarding Ukraine were the most anticipated segment. In short, Biden was far from adamant that the Republicans who now control the House would be cooperative.
He said, “I am ready to work with my fellow Republicans. The American people have made it clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be willing to work with me as well. In the area of foreign policy, I hope we will continue this bipartisan approach to dealing with Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
When asked if US military aid to Ukraine would continue uninterrupted, Biden simply replied, “That’s my expectation.” He claimed the United States did not give Ukraine “a black check” and only equipped kyiv to have “the rational ability to defend itself”.
Biden had an impressive record as a senator in building coalitions in Congress. But today, his candidacy for a second term as president stands in the way. If he chooses to run in 2024, that would leave Republicans no choice but to viscerally oppose him — personally and politically.
Biden made some interesting comments about the announcement in Moscow earlier Wednesday regarding the withdrawal of Russian troops from the city of Kherson. Biden said Russia’s move was in line with expectations and the interesting part is that Moscow waited until the midterms were over.
Biden avoided giving a straight answer when asked if the Russian evacuation would give kyiv the clout to begin peace talks with Moscow. But neither did he refute such a line of thought. Instead, Biden added that “at a minimum, this (the evacuation) will allow everyone time to recalibrate their positions during the winter period. And it remains to be seen whether or not there will be a judgment on whether or not Ukraine is ready to compromise with Russia. (Emphasis added.)
Biden said on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali (November 15-16) there could be consultations with world leaders, although Putin himself would not be there. Indeed, a kind of diplomatic message is underway. In fact, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov Tass said on Thursday that “it has been decided that Russia will be represented by (Foreign Minister) Sergei Lavrov at the G20 summit”.
Biden responded to a second question about the Kherson developments to further say that the Russian evacuation will not only help the parties ‘heal their wounds’, but ‘decide if – what they are going to do during the winter, and decide whether or not they’ concerning go to compromise.” (Emphasis added.)
Notably, Biden twice spoke of kyiv’s “compromise” (read territorial concessions), which is a major departure from the US position that Russian forces should exit Ukraine. Biden concluded, “That’s — that’s what’s going to happen, whether it is or not. I don’t know what they will do. And–but I know one thing: we’re not going to tell them what to do.
Taken together, Biden’s remarks are consistent with NBC News Wednesday’s “scoop,” citing knowledgeable sources, that during National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s unannounced visit to Kyiv last week, he investigated the preparing Ukraine for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
NBC reported that Sullivan was exploring options for ending the conflict and the possibility of entering into negotiations and raised the need for a diplomatic settlement in meetings with Ukrainian officials. He said some US and Western officials increasingly believe that neither Kyiv nor Moscow can achieve all of their goals, and that the winter slowdown in hostilities could provide a window of opportunity to begin negotiations.
Interesting way, Kremlin-funded RT quickly picked up NBC’s report and highlighted it. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also commented: “We are always open to negotiations, we have never refused them, we are ready to conduct them – taking into account, of course, the realities that are being established at this time”.
The Russian authorities continue to assert that the evacuation of their forces to Kherson is purely for security reasons. The responsibility was placed on the recommendation of Army General Sergey Surovikin, the commander of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. The general said in a televised speech that the evacuation of Kherson creates stronger defensive lines for the troops and will save the lives of soldiers and civilians.
Suffice to say, Lavrov’s presence in Bali will be of paramount importance. Presumably, he will have contacts with Western counterparts. Indeed, Biden’s remarks on the territorial compromise signal a sea change in the calculus.
In addition, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while opening a discussion with the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday about the possibility of peace between Ukraine and Russia, confirmed that there is indeed “a window of opportunity for trading”. ” to advance.
The general urged, “When there is an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it. Seize the moment.” True, he spoke with an eye on the Russian military command.
The backdrop is that Democrats’ loss of control of the House of Representatives prevents them from freely advancing the Biden administration’s foreign policy line, including aid to Ukraine. Now, Biden will have to negotiate decisions on Ukraine with Republicans. It’s a thing.
Second, the cascading economic crisis in Europe harbors explosive potential for political unrest, especially if there is another flow of refugees from Ukraine in the harsh winter conditions, which is a real possibility.
The backlash from sanctions on Russia has mortally wounded Europe, and bluster aside, there really is no replacement for cheap, reliable, and plentiful Russian energy supplies via pipelines.
All this becomes extremely important for Western unity. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s recent visit to China shows that dissent is simmering.
Above all, the massive Russian mobilization threatens to give a knockout blow to the Ukrainian army, but the Europeans have no appetite for a confrontation with Russia.
The United Kingdom, Washington’s staunch ally in Ukraine, is also under immense pressure to disengage and focus on the domestic crisis as the new government tackles a £50bn funding hole in the budget.
Going forward, the notions of regime change in Moscow that Biden once publicly espoused and the neocon project to “cancel” Russia have hit the wall and crumbled. That said, the United States can take comfort in the fact that the Russian withdrawal from west of the Dnieper implies that Moscow has no intention of doing anything about Nikolaev, let alone Odessa, at least short term.
On the other hand, if Ukrainian forces surge and occupy Kherson and threaten Crimea, that will pose a big challenge to the Biden administration. From Biden’s remarks, Le is confident he has enough clout in Kyiv to ensure there is no escalation.
For the moment, it is premature to estimate that Moscow took the bitter decision to abandon the city of Kherson, founded by a decree of Catherine the Great and deeply engraved in the Russian collective consciousness, only with a reasonable certainty that Washington will hold kyiv back from the “hard pursuit” of the retreating Russian army to the eastern banks of the Dnieper.