John Mearsheimer: What Is America Doing in Ukraine?

From The Spectator:

Freddy Gray speaks to Professor John Mearsheimer, American political scientist and international relations scholar about America’s foreign policy on the war in Ukraine.

42 thoughts on “John Mearsheimer: What Is America Doing in Ukraine?”

  1. If the Russians did not have enough troops to conquer Ukraine, then they sure as hell did not have enough troops to conquer the old Soviet countries and Europe as we have been told was Putin’s desire. Say what you will about Putin, but he is not stupid.

    1. He just lost a huge chunk of his army and so far nothing to show for it. Stupid starts to come to mind.

        1. The western mainstream media generally predicted that the war would be over in two weeks … with Russia as the clear winner and Ukraine chastised.

          A year later, the western mainstream media seems to be content with watching Putin keep his teat in the wringer for as long as he wants to.

          1. The MSM prediction was that Russia would collapse quickly under the economic sanctions. I recall that Biden even talked about the sanctions in the future tense, as in, ‘We have devastating sanctions prepared, to be put in place as soon as Russian forces enter Ukraine’. I don’t have the source at my fingertips, but it is documented in his pre-war remarks.

          2. “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers that Kyiv could fall within 72 hours if a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine takes place, multiple congressional sources tell Fox News.” (Fox News, 02/05/22)

            “Ukraine’s organized military forces won’t be able to fight for long. Its armed forces are smaller and less well-equipped than the Russian invasion force, they are being attacked simultaneously from the north, east and south, and above all they lack air cover.” (Toronto Star, 02/25/22)

          3. Just more reason why NO ONE should ever believe, much less trust, the utterances of US military “experts”. Wrong about, well, every damn thing since the end of WW2 – from “China won’t intervene in Korea” (Douglas MacArthur), to “the Viet Cong are on their last legs”, (Westmoreland), to “the Gate is Shut” (Schwartzkopf) to “we are winning the fight in Afghanistan (or Iraq or Libya or Somalia or…)” (any of over a dozen US 3 and 4 star field officers.)
            Simple math should have told anyone that the initial assault would fail IF Ukraine was willing to fight, as the Russian assault only used some 200,000 troops AT MOST (and their effectiveness decreases proportionally with every mile they get from their borders) and Ukraine’s full time army was over 250,000 (more if you count paramilitary and security forces). The Russians gambled Ukraine would fold; and some parts did (Russia only took Kherson City because local forces allowed them to cross the series of bridges and dikes without blowing them).
            So Yes, Russia misjudged, which doesn’t in any way mean our “experts” were right then or are right now.

          4. The war lasted a lot longer than two weeks since there is no such thing as a time fast forwarding machine.
            George W Bush said “Mission Accomplished” during the Iraq War and never ended it.

          5. Iraq’s war to conquer Kuwait lasted 48 hours. Within that time, the Iraqi forces took complete control of the country.

            Saddam called off the invasion of Saudi Arabia when he encountered American troops in his path.

            It was another five months of no combat before the US and its allies launched a war to restore the Kuwaiti dictatorship.

      1. Well, let’s see how Russia is doing:
        Secured Donbas against Ukrainian aggression? Check.
        Secured land bridge to Crimea? Check.
        Secured Zaporhizhia province? In progress.
        Secured Kherson province? In progress.
        Secured home economy against US sanctions? Check.
        Destroyed Ukrainian military hardware? Check.
        Destroyed Ukrainian military personnel? In progress.
        Drained NATO and US of ammunition? Check.
        Picked up sauerkraut, sausage & beer on the way home? Thanks for the reminder!

        1. Well that is great, lets see how history views it. Russia will be a poorer weaker place in 10 years than it is now. So long as they think they can win they will feed mobniks into the meat grinder.

          1. Both the Russian and US empires, and their satrapies, will likely be poorer, weaker places in 10 years than they were a year ago. This war is two declining empires raging against the dying of their light.

          2. Sure, sure, Mr. Moderator know-it-all. Unfortunately, being “super senior,” you won’t be around to find how wrong you are/were. And there is also this senior cognitive decline. You know, the kind of which Dementia Joe is such a great example.

          3. I’m not sure that’s true. This war has been a wake up call for BRICS; they should be realizing that, between themselves, there is nothing they really need the USA (or EU, for that matter) for. Russia can find markets for all it’s resources in India and China, and China can supply all of Russia’s import needs. The real loser will be the USA, as “the world” realizes that we are simply a massive debtor nation that can be ignored. Our central role in the world financial order rests on universal acccptance of dollars; disentangling from that will be messy, but WE are the ones accelerating the process, by pretending we can “exclude” major nations from participating. They will simply develop their own workarounds that exclude us.

          1. Maybe you should do that, Mr. Moderator. Donbass is now about 70 percent Russian and the percentage is increasing daily. You should stop watching CNN or any other western media whores. Instead, try RT, for instance, or any of the independent American and other bloggers. I suggest Larry Johnson and Brian Berletic.

          2. I hardly ever watch CNN. I check RT daily.

            Taking 100% of the Donbas region was a two-week job. Hell, Kuwait is only half again as big as Donetsk, and Saddam took it in 48 hours.

            And yet as of three days ago, according to RT, quoting “Yan Gagin, an adviser to the DPR’s acting head Denis Pushilin,” the Ukrainians are “clinging onto Artyomovsk,” aka Bakhmut.

            Do you happen to recall what area Artyomovsk is in, perchance?

            When I comment, I’m a commenter, not a moderator. And I’m not especially “senior” (56).

          3. Frankly, I cannot believe you can be so uninformed, you–the moderator of such an esteemed blog as (I have always been an admirer of Justin Raimondo.)

            Let me inform you, then.

            The current defensive line across Donbass running through, among others, Bakhmut was formidably built up by NATO in preparation for the Ukrainian offensive to retake the two small Donbass Republics, which waged a heroic war against a neo-Nazi, illegal Kiev government hellbent upon killing its own citizens.

            To do this, NATO and Kiev needed time. They got it, as many as 8 long years, by signing the Minsk agreements, which the Ukrainian/NATO liars never intended to follow. The Russians, admittedly, made a naïve assumption that at least their German “partners” were honest enough to help implement those agreements. But, as you know, that never happened. It was a classic betrayal.

            Now the Russians not only have to overcome those formidable defenses but also have to fight against Ukrainian and an assortment of deluded mercenaries (like Poles) armed to the teeth with American and NATO weapons.

            Had Russia attacked after the Debaltseve battle in 2015, she would have killed about 10000 Ukrainian troops trapped there and then annihilated the whole Ukrainian army in a week or so. As Putin said, the Russian army could have reached Kiev in a few days at the time.

            But now, Mr. Moderator, Russia is fighting not only against Ukraine. $100+ billion dollars given by the West to Ukraine to fight the Russians can go a long way to prolong a hopeless situation.

            I owe it to Raimondo to still be motivated to write such expositions.

          4. The question was whether or not the Russian forces have “secured Donbas.”

            As your own wall of text above notes, there is a “current [Ukrainian] defensive line across Donbass running through, among others, Bakhmut.”

            Or, in other words, no, the Russian forces haven’t secured the Donbas.

            You seem very intent on arguing the “ought,” which is fine. I was just pointing out the “is.”

            You also seem to not understand what a “moderator” is/does. I’m not the moderator of, I’m the moderator of comments. And that job is entirely about keeping an eye on comments to make sure they’re not take over by spammers, pornographers, Stormfront types, etc. Being the comments moderator here implies nothing about my personal opinions on this or that subject.

          5. You said you watch RT, wasn’t it banned from the USA after the War in Ukraine started? I watched it before that time.

      2. And these losses are according to what data?

        It is Ukraine that is losing its military. Zelenski lives for optics, and cares not about tge costs of grinding wars. Look at Bakhmut. Why do you think it is dragging on forever? Because Ukrsine built its esstdrn defences there — concrete bunkers, trenches. And believes that forcas lingvas they can stay in there, the more Western money and arms would be forthcoming.

        As per Asia Times article this is likely to be the stupidest decision ever. Russia is wncircling them by cutting off supplies. At present over 20,000 men are stuck there, and withdrawal in deep mud will be next to impossible. No further defences are errected,

        What does Rusdia have to show for it? Four regions inhabited by predominantly Russian speaking populatiin are now part of Russia. Donetsk, Lughansk, Zaporozhie and Kherson. Battles are for the full control of them. But so far, these regions constitute majority of Ukraine industrial capacity, agricultural capacity, water source for Crimea, and European largest nuclear power plant. Russia controls Azov Sea, and has a land connection to Crimea.

        Since Ukraine and its Western advisors were not happy with Minsk Agreement that would have left all these inside Ukraine — alternative solution is taking them outside Ukraine.

        If Ukraine is not happy with the cutrrnt loss of territoty, it can onlyndtsnd to lose more, There are still four more regions that have a majority of Russian , Russian-speaking and other minorities that would in any frre vote opt fot joining Rusdia. Thesec are Odessa, Dnyepro-Petrovsk, Kgarkiv and Mykolaev.

        Now, Ukraine can accrpt Minsk rules for these four — and keep them as federated unuts withun Ukraine. However what this eould mean is giving back tge political rights to all constituents, right to political parties. cultural and economic rights. And we all know what it means: there wouldn’t be no approval of Ukraine NATO membership. A neutral state with a federal structuure to allow not only the disenfanchised to get their rights back but to also give stability and the protection for Western Ukraine. Ther grievances were always used and abused by great powers. Time to put the end to this cycle.

    1. Death and destruction! Yeah! Hooo raaa! Blow people to pieces and stomp on their blackened torsos! Woooohoooo!

    2. “Bled white” is one of those hyperboles that really means nothing. Russia has a population of over 140,000,000; even if one accepts the western media’a assessment that they have suffered “over 100,000” (or “140,000”, or even more ludicrous estimates) KIA, many of them are actually Ukrainians of the DPR/LPR, or mercenaries from the Wagner Group, or various Volunteer Groups from paramilitary organizations. In terms of total resources available, Russia’s losses are quite small. Not making light of the dead; all deaths are tragedies, but Russia is hardly running out of manpower.
      We just had 1,000,000 die from COVID; and another 100,000 per year die from guns and auto accidents, and another 150,000 per year from ODs; are we “bled white”? I think not, even those deaths far exceed any estimate of Russian battlefield deaths.
      And, “no money”? We’ve already devoted well over $100,000,000,000 down the rathole; if we believe Russia has suffered 100.000 KIA, that comes out to $1 million for each death inflicted. Hardly “cost effective”.

      1. Well I don’t expect a babuska brigade, so there is this concept of “military age males” this is a much smaller percentage of the population. I would point out if you are bleeding someone to death, it is best that they don’t know this is happening, keep up the good work.

        1. You need to take a look at real numbers. For instance, the USA loses more than 100,000 “military age males” per year to homicides, accidents, over doses, suicides, and other mishaps; and has many times more than that in prison, yet still has millions more who can’t (or won’t) find work. And no one suggests we have a manpower shortage.
          We are more than double the size of Russia, so those numbers need to be factored down a bit, but the loss of “100,000” men (which may, or not, be accurate), while tragic is hardly “bleeding them white”.
          Ukaine is in a far worse position; as they have less than 1/4 Russia’s population, have lost near 1/4 of what they started with to Russian occupation, and another huge chunk to emigration . From 51 million at the time of Independence, Ukraine’s population has shrunk dramatically (mostly through emigration) to some 35 million at the start of hostilities, and now only has some 25-28 million under Kyiv’s control. And, the odds are they have lost approximately as many KIA as Russia.
          If we are really in a race to the bottom, Ukraine is going to get there much faster than Russia is.

  2. I think Mearsheimer is spot-on on Ukraine but I don´t agree on his stance towards China. The US will finally have to learn it cannot be the sole hegemon and to coexist with other powers

    1. Yeah Mearsheimer is pro “spheres of influence”, which means he thinks russians can do whatever they want to countries in their “sphere of influence”, and so can america.

    2. His view is that in a multi-polar world, we have more opportunities for wars between great powers. He’s not wrong considering our current worse-case scenario where we’re actually fighting all the other great powers (China, Russia). If it’s the case that USA will continue the historic trend of putting down potential regional hegemons (Soviet Union, Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan), then we’re faced with two less-than-ideal paths — addressing the China problem now or addressing the China problem when it’s potentially economically larger with 4x the population. He’s not someone who likes war, but if nation-states can’t behave themselves in an anarchic system, you have to take the lesser of terrible deeds. The China problem, like the Cold War can also be addressed via containment or rollback. Containing China now may turn out to be the lesser of two evils, and maybe we can even avoid a war.

      Stephen Walt, by contrast, is a defensive realist, and these people believe in the same principles as offensive realists, but they hold on to the possibility that maybe we can thread the needle on peace via conventional/nuclear deterrence and a good dose of diplomacy. Historically, this isn’t the case, but we can always hope.

      Maybe AI, drones, nukes and other technologies become so advanced that it’ll keep our warring tendencies in check, but without the power of hindsight, I say we have to take the path that prioritizes our survival. That means containment is probably the best choice in a world where we only have bad solutions. This is the “tragedy of great power politics”.

  3. DECEMBER 27, 2022 The High Cost of Blowing Up the World: Ukraine and the 2023 NDAA

    The aid was part of an overall omnibus spending bill passed by both houses of Congress was a gargantuan $1.7 trillion and included $858 billion in defense spending which far exceeds any sum ever spent by a U.S. government in history.,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/

    1. The Democrats and Republicans always work together for the wrong reasons. Many Democrats worked with W to authorize the war in Iraq but condemned Trump for having peace talks with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Now many Republicans are supporting Biden’s proxy war in Ukraine.
      Lindsay Graham says Putin should be assassinated. That should make the people of South Carolina demand his resignation but will elect him until he is too ill to work anymore or is dead.

      1. You get it like I do friend!

        Mar 2, 2014 Jeremy Scahill: The One Party State, The War Party

        Is the United States of America an Oligarchy? During the 2014 ISFLC, Jeremy Scahill speaks on the fact that in today’s world behemoth corporations are able to buy off politicians and pull the strings to impact legislature.

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