While Biden has continued to pledge to continue supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia “as long as it takes” with $113 billion in aid thus far, behind the scenes, the Biden administration has been telling the Ukrainian government that it will not be able to continue supplying massive levels of advanced weapons and munitions part early summer and that it will have to negotiate a diplomatic peace agreement with Russia to end the war later this year. In what appears to be the biggest Ukraine war policy pivot for the White House over the past eleven months, Newsweek magazine reported last month that the Biden administration offered Russia twenty percent of Ukraine in mid-January, in exchange for peace, but regrettably both Ukraine and Russia rejected his peace offer. The article implies that the White House was willing to at least provide some kind of de facto recognition of Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian oblasts last September in exchange for peace. A CIA official has since confirmed that CIA Director William Burns did, in fact, transmit a peace offer to Moscow last month on behalf of the White House but would not confirm the details of the offer. The original report of this peace offer came from Swiss-German newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) which cited German leaders who told them that Biden had offered the Ukrainian territory as part of a peace plan in an effort to avert a protracted war in Ukraine which, as Biden himself has warned, has increased the threat of nuclear war to its highest level since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
According to the Newsweek article, the offer was sent to Russia despite heated debates within the administration over what the next step should be in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The article reports, “U.S. officials were split on how to handle the Ukraine war, which started nearly a year ago. Burns and Biden's National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, "wanted to end the war quickly so they could focus on China," while Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin "didn't want to let Russia get away with destroying the rule-based peace order and called for massive military support for Ukraine."
Thus, Blinken and Austin appear to be the main advocates for a policy of escalating Biden’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine in the senior ranks of the Biden administration. Meanwhile, the realist wing of the administration is led by Burns and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan who are more interested in implementing the Biden national security strategy which focuses on deterring Chinese aggression against Taiwan, rightly viewing the war in Ukraine as a major and unwelcome distraction from that endeavor. It appears that in this instance, at least, the realist faction of the Biden administration won out. Assuming the details of this reported peace offer are substantially correct in advocating what is essentially a status quo peace to avert what could potentially be a much worse outcome for Ukraine and the West, this important peace move constitutes a welcome change. I have been advocating such a move for many months with my comprehensive fifteen point peace plan to end the war back in June which attracted a great deal of international attention and my cease fire proposal which was published four months ago. This attempted national security policy pivot from Europe to the Indo-Pacific comes as General Mike Minihan, who currently serve as the commanding general of Air Mobility Command (AMC), is reported to have warned the airmen under his command that war with Communist China is likely to materialize within the next couple of years.
CIA Director William Burns has long served as the foremost foreign policy realist in the Biden administration, having served as US ambassador to Russia. In 2008, Burns sent a secret cable to the White House in which he stated, “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all red lines for the Russian elite (not just Putin). In my more than two-and-a-half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in Nato as anything other than a direct challenge to Russia’s interests … Today’s Russia will respond.” Unfortunately for Ukraine, U.S. and NATO leaders ignored Burns’ prescient warnings and proceeded to make Ukraine a de facto NATO member with the U.S.-Ukrainian Strategic Partnership Agreement which was signed on November 10, 2021. This in turn provoked Russia to invade Ukraine to restore its pre-February 2014 US-backed Maidan coup status as a neutral buffer state between Russia and NATO while also securing the rights of ethnic Russians who reside in its long-disputed Donbass region.
Burns reportedly met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a secret trip he took to Kyiv in mid-January to warn him of U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia was planning a massive winter offensive which could threaten to overrun much of eastern Ukraine as well as to encourage him to accept the Biden administration’s proposed peace offer, but Zelensky reportedly declined on the ground that it would serve to divide his country. Surprisingly, the Russian government reportedly refused it as well even though Russia has been offering a cease fire along the current line of control for the past four months, declaring that most of the objectives of Russia’s special military operation had been achieved and the rest could be achieved by diplomatic means.
Russia’s refusal of such a generous offer suggests Russia’s political and military leaders have a high degree of confidence that their imminent spring offensive will help ensure their ultimate victory over Ukraine later this year. The question is why did the Kremlin reject it? The Newsweek article seems to imply that the transfer of the western forty percent of Donetsk oblast that Russia does not currently control may not have been part of Biden’s proposed peace offer whereas Putin has previously stated that the return of western Donetsk to Moscow is the only thing necessary for Russia to complete the objectives of its special military operation in Ukraine. The other reasons I believe Russian leaders would have refused to accept such a generous peace offer would be if neutrality for Ukraine outside of NATO was not part of the proposed agreement. However, another source reports that neutrality was on the table and that the Biden peace offer to Russia may have been much more comprehensive, appearing to give Putin essentially everything has wanted in exchange for the cancellation of Russia’s planned spring offensive, which has Kyiv and Washington on edge. However, if in fact the Biden peace offer had been so far reaching, Russia would have had no reason to reject it, seeming to confirm it fell short of Russia’s demands that the West and Ukraine recognize continued Russian control of all annexed Ukrainian territories. Alternatively, Moscow may have rejected it simply because Ukrainian agreement to the proposal was a pre-condition to Russian acceptance
Following Russia’s refusal of Biden’s peace offer, Biden decided to escalate the war by announcing he was sending M-1A2 Abrams tanks to Russia though, given that those tanks are not likely to be sent until sometime next year, the announcement appears to be more signaling than substance, designed to break Germany’s logjam which was holding up the shipment of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. In my estimation, the 31 Abrams tanks and 114 other promised Western Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) are woefully insufficiently numerous to engage in offensive operations against Russia. Accordingly, I believe the transfer of these tanks to Ukraine are likely intended for purely defensive purposes to provide a mobile reserve force to help the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) respond to one or more expected Russian military breakthroughs through Ukraine’s front lines.
The fact that Biden decided to offer Russia such major Ukrainian territorial concessions without first consulting with Zelensky strongly suggests that the Biden administration is increasingly coming to terms with the realization that Ukraine is losing the war and may well be on the verge of losing a lot more territory with the Russian spring offensive which is designed to force Ukraine to accept peace on Russian terms. Biden seemed to allude to that realization when he recently stated “We are staying with Ukraine as long as Ukraine is there.” Biden’s statement suggests he realizes the possible outcomes of the war include either Russian annexation of most or all of Ukraine or a Russian nuclear or Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) escalation against Ukraine transforming it into a failed state either one of which could result in the loss of its national independence. Biden previously expressed concern about that possibility when Russia first invaded Ukraine last February and even offered to send a US Air Force transport plane to pick up Zelensky in Kyiv so he could form a government-in-exile. At that time, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley had briefed congressional leaders regarding his assessment that Kyiv could fall within three days of the invasion.
The revelation that the Biden administration has offered Russia such a large amount of Ukrainian territory in exchange for peace may come as a shock to most Americans who have been told by Biden administration officials, neoconservative Republicans, and retired generals on mainstream media cable news networks that Ukraine could defeat Russia if the US and the EU sent it more weapons and that they have been winning the war since April. With news of the White House’s peace offer to cede twenty percent of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory to Russia, the administration’s Ukraine war propaganda narrative bubble is finally beginning to burst. It is high time for U.S. leaders to level with the American people and admit that the U.S. proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is failing and that it is serving to create an unacceptably high risk of the outbreak of a Third World War, which along with Russian nuclear escalation, could cost the lives of a couple hundred million Americans over a border dispute half a world away in which the U.S. has no discernible national interest.
Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that: “Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Moscow would take great measures to overshadow anti-Russia events allegedly being planned by the West to mark the war’s anniversary on Feb. 24.” “Our diplomacy will do everything to ensure that the anti-Russian sabbaths planned for the end of February — as if timed to coincide with the anniversary of the special military operation, both in New York and at other sites that the West is now actively working on together with the Kyiv regime — so that this will not turn out to be the only events that will gain the world’s attention,” the country’s top envoy said in a wide-ranging interview to state TV Russia 24 and RIA Novosti. Lavrov revealed that Russia is working on “reports” detailing the events of the past year surrounding the invasion of Ukraine, including allegations of “direct participation” of the US in the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline linking Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.”
Lavrov’s statements suggest that Russia is likely planning to launch its much anticipated massive spring offensive that I have long been predicting later this month using half a million troops that it has been massing on Ukraine’s borders over the past few weeks. Putin may be planning to use Russia’s winter offensive to invade northern Ukraine from Belarus along an axis west of Kyiv and once again threaten to surround the Ukrainian capital and cut off western military assistance to central and eastern Ukraine while diverting Ukrainian troops northward to counter this line of attack. That would enable the Russian Army’s main thrust, which I am expecting to be focused to the west of Kharkiv driving southward, to be more successful. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine is “imminent.” Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been giving a number of speeches promising total victory over Ukraine on the anniversaries of Russian victories over Nazi Germany during World War Two which Russian leaders refer to as “The Great Patriotic War.” This may suggest that Putin is planning on attempting to defeat Ukraine in time for Russia’s May 9th victory day parade so he can celebrate its victory in what Russia may soon refer to as its “Second Great Patriotic War” over the collective West.
David T. Pyne, Esq. is a former U.S. Army combat arms and Headquarters staff officer, who was in charge of armaments cooperation with the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas from 2000-2003, with an M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He currently serves as Deputy Director of National Operations for the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and is a contributor to Dr. Peter Pry’s book “Blackout Warfare” and his upcoming book “Catastrophe Now--What US Leaders Must do to Ensure America's Survival." He also serves as the Editor of “The Real War” newsletter. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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