What’s the best way to end a war?

W.J. Astore

Sending more weapons to Ukraine isn’t the answer

U.S. foreign policy is a place where logic goes to die.

Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, said yesterday that the quickest way to end the Russia-Ukraine War is “to give Ukraine a strong hand on the battlefield,” by which he meant more and more weaponry, including Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Patriot missile systems together with Challenger II tanks from Great Britain. Not surprisingly, then, the White House also hinted at yet another aid package for Ukraine, which may be announced “as soon as the end of this week.”

A “strong hand” for Ukraine?

Logic suggests the quickest way to end a war is to stop fighting. Announce a cease fire, negotiate, and find acceptable terms for an armistice or peace treaty. Stop the killing—stop the war.

Of course, the U.S. State Department is really a tiny branch of the Pentagon. It’s been that way for decades. The Pentagon budget, $858 billion for this year, is 14 times greater than the State Department’s at $60 billion. It often seems that a primary mission of the State Department is to market and sell U.S. weaponry overseas. Small wonder that Blinken sees more deadly weaponry in Ukraine as the answer to ending a catastrophic war.

In a way, Blinken’s blinkered thinking is typically American. What’s the quickest way to end a war on crime? A drug war? Or almost any other problem in America? Obviously, more guns, more security cameras, more metal detectors, more body armor, and so on. Think about our “solutions” to gun violence in schools, which include armored backpacks for eight-year-olds and semi-automatic pistols for teachers. Too many Americans look to guns as a “solution” to life’s problems; count Blinken among the gun-lovers, at least when it’s in the form of U.S. arms exports.

While it’s true U.S. arms exports and aid may keep Ukraine from losing quickly, it’s highly unlikely these same weapons will help Ukraine to win quickly and decisively. Russia can and likely will match any escalation to this war, and at a cheaper price than the U.S. taxpayer is currently paying (now over $100 billion and rising).

Blinken’s bloodless language about war is also revealing. It’s all about giving Ukraine “a strong hand on the battlefield,” as if Ukraine and Russia are playing a polite game of poker. More weapons to Ukraine means more bloody death and destruction; attrition or even escalation is far more likely than a quick end in Ukraine’s favor.

Blinken probably knows this, but a large part of his intellectual training was spent at Harvard and Columbia Law, just as Jake Sullivan, his younger counterpart at the National Security Council, trained at Yale and Yale Law. These men aren’t stupid, they’re just narrowly trained and partisan functionaries willing to spout whatever the empire needs them to say in the cause of imperial hegemony.

And so U.S. lawyers continue to send guns and money to Ukraine, especially guns, while saying this is the best and quickest way for Ukraine to beat Putin and end the war with Russia. Logic, however, suggests more fighting and dying and a lack of decision for either side.

Best not confuse a “strong hand” with a dead man’s one.

20 thoughts on “What’s the best way to end a war?

  1. I agree with you Bill (I’m a Quaker), but the problem is, what can the US, and if not the US then the UN and all of the rest of us do to persuade Putin to negotiate in some meaningful sense. Negotiating with the Russian army in its present deployment and with Putin pouring in more missiles, maybe recruits and endless destruction doesn’t seem a very good way forward either. Putin needs to be persuaded to withdraw somewhat and cease fire and negotiate with no pre-conditions.
    What is the best way to persude him (or the Russians) to do that.


    1. Start by ruling out Ukraine in NATO. That’s my suggestion. NATO was intended as a defensive alliance against a Soviet land invasion of Germany, France, etc. It was never intended to expand so far eastward and to include former Soviet republics like Ukraine or Georgia.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Ah, there’s the rub. The U.S. appears to favor fighting to the last Ukrainian in a proxy war with Russia, and of course Ukraine doesn’t want to be seen as surrendering to Putin.

          This is a problem with wars, even the most foolish ones. They create new “facts,” a new dynamic. For example, how can Ukraine “surrender” now after so many brave Ukrainians have died for the cause? Of course, it doesn’t make sense for more Ukrainians to die if the cause is unattainable, but wars forge their own logic.

          Some true leaders need to stand up and declare war is stupid and murderous and that we can find a better way for Russia and Ukraine to resolve their differences. But true leaders are scarce indeed …

          Liked by 2 people

          1. My guess is that Russia and Ukraine will not resolve their differences until the United States settles its differences with Russia as far as who rules the Global Order. And that won’t happen until the US settles its differences with China on the same subject.


          2. There are a number of “true leaders” who will be at the February 19 RAGE AGAINST THE WAR MACHINE ANTI-WAR RALLY in DC [and Elsewhere]. See https://rageagainstwar.com/#Home for details.

            The problem is that the American people do not care about what is happening in Ukraine or anyplace else right now. How can they? They have enough problems right here at home that, as winter grinds on, promise only to get worse.


            1. Good luck with the rally. An impressive list of demands with which I agree. It would be worthwhile even if they could achieve only number 10.


          3. Bill the differences are between the US/NATO and Russia.

            The Pope has a unique platform as a World Leader and speaks the Truth, but who listens to him?

            The Pope in Bahrain November 4, “First of all, one can be struck by an observation: after two tremendous World Wars, after the Cold War, “that for decades kept the world in suspense, catastrophic conflicts taking place in every part of the globe, and in the midst of accusations, threats and condemnations, we continue to find ourselves on the brink of a delicate PRECIPICE and we do not want to fall…” Poised on the brink… A graphic image of the absolute precariousness in which the whole of humanity finds itself living today in the face of the risk of a nuclear conflict with incalculable consequences.

            The Pope in Bahrain November 5, “He noted that, although this sounds like a contradiction, as “we often notice that the more power is sought, the more peace is threatened”, the prophet announces the extraordinary news that “the Messiah to come will indeed be powerful, not in the manner of a commander who wages war and rules over others, but as the ‘PRINCE OF PEACE’ who reconciles people with God and with one another.”

            He went on to underscore how these times of war, necessitate even greater efforts to promote peace.
            In our world rocked by war, the Pope said religious and civil leaders, and all people of goodwill, are challenged to look beyond narrow interests and to pursue unity and peace.

            “How much we need this!” he said, noting, “I have in mind the insanity of war of which battered Ukraine is a victim, and of many other conflicts, that will never be resolved through the infantile logic of artillery, but only with the gentle power of dialogue.”
            Remembering various wars across the globe, including Ukraine, Myanmar, Syria, and Yemen, the Pope decried, “War destroys humanity. It destroys everything.”

            ‘War will never be resolved through the childish logic of weapons’

            Citing Pope Pius XII’s words on the eve of the outbreak of the Second World War, Pope Francis once again warns that “in war, everyone loses”, even “those who did not take part in it and who, in cowardly indifference, stood by and watched this horror without intervening to bring peace”.
            Indeed, he says, “all of us, in whatever role, have the duty to be beacons of peace” and “no one is entitled to look the other way”

            We must not become accustomed to this piecemeal 3rd World War
            He concludes the preface by reiterating his prayers for peace in Ukraine, and by once again urging everyone “not to get accustomed” to this piecemeal 3rd World War, which, he says “is becoming a full-fledged 3rd World War under our eyes”.

            The Pope sees no short-term end to the war on the horizon: “This is a World War. Let us not forget that. There are already several hands involved in the WAR. It is Global.
            I think a war is fought when an empire starts to weaken, and when there are weapons to use, to sell and to test. It seems to me that there are many interests involved.” (I think he’s describing the US, the BIGGEST ARMS MERCHANT in the History of Nations)

            New Year Message to Vatican Diplomats on War & Peace:

            Below, there are links to brief interviews with the British & American Ambassadors to the Vatican after what the Pope said. Listening to them, they didn’t get what the Pope said. It went right over their heads!


            US Ambassador interview

            British Ambassador interview


              1. Trevor, in too many reports on THE WAR, The Washington Post still deletes my sharply worded comments pointing out all the US/NATO SINS of Historical OMISSION covering the WAR as a Propagandist for more WAR and ESCALATION to WHAT END?
                At least they don’t suspend me from commenting at all in their Newspaper, as they did too many times in the beginning of their WAR inciting coverage of THE WAR.

                Getting back to the Pope, this article was in Yesterday’s Washington Post, ‘Opposition to Pope Francis spills into view in wake of Benedict’s death’ and I made several comments none of which were challenged, this being one of them,

                The Pope is Head of the oldest, continuous government on Earth.
                The Vatican Curia is the model and pattern for all European governments and Cabinet structures, extended to CanaDa and the US.
                With the Global European Christian Colonialism of the rest of this World, the Vatican Curia is the model for many other governments beyond Europe.

                It was Sign from God for the World, none of the Religious Hierarchy recognized it’s Significance during the illegal US invasion of Iraq, when in 2014 ISIS blew up the Islamic Mosque in Nineveh, Iraq, containing the tomb of Jonah in the whale fame from the Jewish-Christian tradition.

                For those not familiar with the Biblical record, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn the People they are on the Path to Destruction if they don’t change their ways.
                I was disappointed Pope Francis didn’t go to Nineveh during his visit to Iraq in 2021 to highlight the Signal History is repeating itself, making that Old Testament Nineveh account CURRENT.

                That Signal is magnified to the rest of the World by the fact it was also in 2014, the US/CIA Coup/regime change of the Elected, Russian friendly Ukraine government, installing an UN-elected anti-Russian government, ensuring the Destructive US WAR with Russia over Ukraine in NATO became the Destructive Reality it is TODAY with the ONLY Direction becoming worse with MORE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.



                1. Another comment Yesterday;
                  A lot of lines in this perspective reached out for comment and the 2000 character limit limits that.

                  This stands out to me; As if that weren’t enough drama, the Spectator, a conservative London-based magazine, posthumously published one more article written by Pell — this one signed — in which he skewered an ongoing multiyear church project, central to Francis’s vision for the church, that involves listening to grass-roots Catholics and accounting for the “richness” of different church perspectives.

                  “A toxic nightmare,” Pell called this process, which will culminate with a major assembly in October.
                  Pope Francis calling for the Powers to listen to the People? What a radical idea.

                  AS I LIVE, God gave a powerful signal to the World in 1978 even Church Hierarchy like Cardinal Pell didn’t recognize it for what it is.

                  Pope Paul VI died in August 1978, the Year of 3 Popes. For 1000 years, Popes were Crowned and Enthroned and the Pope’s Crown was above all the kings in Europe.
                  Paul VI was the last Pope in that Catholic Tradition and Ritual to have a Coronation.

                  Pope John-Paul I was elected and his 1st Papal proclamation was to say ‘the Pope is only a simple Priest. No Crown and Throne for the Pope.’
                  People like Pell would have been shocked with such a sudden, unexpected Declaration.

                  The point is that single Act was the Signal the shaking of the Earthly Powers is come, and a sign of Christ coming closer to the COMMON PEOPLE.
                  Unfortunately that young, smiling, vibrant Pope was DEAD in a month starting to clean House upsetting the Old Guard like Pell.

                  It’s not only people in the Church opposing Pope Francis who would like to see him gone.
                  US/NATO was shocked and outraged on May 3 last Year, doubling down on that June 14, when Pope Francis said, “NATO may have PROVOKED Russia to invade Ukraine.






            1. Ray, You wrote: “The Pope has a unique platform as a World Leader and speaks the Truth, but who listens to him?”

              The answer to Your question is self-evident from the fact that the Pope’s “unique platform as a World Leader” applies only to Catholics [about 18% of the world’s population], and not to Anglican, Protestant, or Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, or anybody else.

              And given the Catholic Church’s involvement in everything from The Holy Crusades, to the Religious Wars of Europe, to the Colonization of the entire Western Hemisphere, East, South, and Central Asia, and the Extinction/Enslavement of Africa, why SHOULD anybody listen to him, especially when it comes to things like War and Peace, or Tyranny and Freedom?

              Especially the REAL World Leaders. Does the Vatican even have a representative at Davos?


              1. I suspect the Vatican may have a representative at Davos – but why should they?
                18% of the world population is about 1.5 billion people (by far the worlds largest single denominational group) so perhaps some could listen. (I’ve avoided will or should).


                1. First of all, Trevor, there are more Sunni Muslims [1.8 billion] than there are Catholics.

                  And why should The Vatican be at Davos?

                  Because that is where decisions by the people who own and operate, command and control the “World’s Leaders” are being made that will determine what happens on this Planet for the rest of this year as a lead up the 2024 Election in America.

                  According to The Vatican: “In the past, the Vatican has sent representatives of the Church to the World Economic Forum every year. In recent years, Cardinal Peter Turkson or Cardinal Michael Czerny, and once even Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, were present for the WEF in Davos.


                  “That, I think, is something of a statement that Rome is making to the World Economic Forum,” Fr. Susak [a local Catholic Priest in Davos] says. He speculated that it could be related to the fact that Pope Francis, in one of his most recent messages to the WEF, said: “Everything has been said, now act; that’s what it’s all about.”

                  https://www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2023-01/pastor-in-davos-says-people-are-waiting-for-solutions.html [EMPHASIS added.]


                2. i suppose that’s possible. More likely, tho, is that the Vatican has realized how irrelevant it is to what the folks in Davos have done, are doing, and are planning on doing.


    2. Trevor, Putin proposed a 36 hour Ceasefire for the Orthodox Christmas. Ukraine and Biden immediately mocked it as meaningless, while Zelensky boldly went where he wouldn’t dare without US MONEY AND WEAPONS giving the Actor Bravado, saying there will be NO CEASEFIRE until Russia immediately surrenders and turns over the Russian Speaking majorities in Crimea and in the East bordering Russia and just leave, BEFORE any Ceasefire and Peace Negotiations can begin.
      Such an absurd unrealistic Public position to take with such MAXIMAL No Negotiating Demands!!!

      It was the US/NATO installed trained and armed anti-Russian government in 2014, that has been shelling those Russian speaking UKRAINIAN CIVILIANS for the last 9 years. Now they care for them?

      WAR is HELL for those who have to survive in it happening all around them.

      Establish a CEASEFIRE in Place, and start talking instead of killing and destroying.

      If the US/NATO continue in the delusion they are all GOOD and Russia is all EVIL, logically with that illogic we are already the Walking Dead on that Path to Ultimate Destruction!

      This is the form it will take, never possible in Human History before OUR GENERATIONS these Days.


  2. I have referred people here to Jonathan Cook many Times, and his latest writing lays it all out clearly and succinctly in the Time Line.

    ‘Russia-Ukraine war: How the US paved the way to Moscow’s invasion’
    Nearly a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the western narrative of an ‘unprovoked’ attack has become impossible to sustain

    Hindsight is a particularly powerful tool for analysing the Ukraine war, nearly a year after Russia’s invasion.

    Last February, it sounded at least superficially plausible to characterise Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops and tanks into his neighbour as nothing less than an “unprovoked act of aggression”.

    Putin was either a madman or a megalomaniac, trying to revive the imperial, expansionist agenda of the Soviet Union. Were his invasion to go unchallenged, he would pose a threat to the rest of Europe.

    Putin is Hitler, the time is 1938, and anyone seeking to turn down the heat is no different from Britain’s appeasing prime minister, Neville Chamberlain. Or so we have been told

    Plucky, democratic Ukraine needed the West’s unreserved support – and a near-limitless supply of weapons – to hold the line against a rogue dictator.

    But that narrative looks increasingly threadbare, at least if one reads beyond the establishment media – a media that has never sounded quite so monotone, so determined to beat the drum of war, so amnesiac and so irresponsible.

    Anyone demurring from the past 11 months of relentless efforts to escalate the conflict – resulting in untold deaths and suffering, causing energy prices to skyrocket, leading to global food shortages, and ultimately risking a nuclear exchange – is viewed as betraying Ukraine, and dismissed as an apologist for Putin.

    No dissent is tolerated.

    At the weekend, in the Washington Post, Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates, two former US secretaries of state, called on Biden to “urgently provide Ukraine with a dramatic increase in military supplies and capability… It is better to stop [Putin] now, before more is demanded of the United States and NATO.”

    Last month, the head of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, warned that a direct war between the western military alliance and Russia was a “real possibility”…………………………………………………..



  3. In times like these
    when nuclear warheads are being moved into position,
    when weapons manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand,
    when the pundits are making everyone stupid and crazy,
    when it’s hard to remember Assange’s face but you can’t turn on a screen without seeing Zelensky,
    when our culture is manufactured on conveyor belts in New York, Hollywood, Arlington and Langley,
    when everything’s fake but the bombs and blockades,
    when it feels like we’re rocketing toward armageddon next to Jeff Bezos in a space suit,
    when it feels like the angels have become smack addicts but have to settle for shitty Fentanyl fixes,
    when it feels like God got kicked out of the group home and has to sell his plasma and sperm for cash,
    when it feels like Heaven must be powered by smoggy nineteenth century London coal,
    when it feels like the angel and the demon on humanity’s shoulders are double fucking our ear canals,
    when the bastards have sleeves full of bottomless aces while we’re still trying to learn the rules,
    when annihilation feels like a certainty and transcendence like a fairy tale,
    it helps to have somewhere solid to take your stand.

    In times like these
    when everyone’s so alienated they have to consume chemical intoxicants together just to share affection with each other,
    when everyone’s so lonely they trap animals in their homes with them so at least they have something that can’t leave,
    when everyone’s so afraid of their own vulnerabilities they preemptively attack anyone who lowers their guard,
    when everyone’s pouring their lives into generating profits for miserable employers who will never have enough,
    when everyone’s being driven mad by the pointlessness of a civilization built around wealth extraction,
    when everyone’s allowing themselves to be sedated into a coma so they can’t experience their own despondency,
    when the radiant authenticity of nature is paved over to build cinemas to watch CGI creatures in CGI worlds,
    when the sacred song of the heart is getting drowned out by desperation for dopamine hits from strangers on apps,
    when the causeless joy of being keeps getting lost to fear and insecurity,
    it helps to have some grounding in the changeless.

    In times like these
    truth can sneak in
    like a thief,
    like a ray of light through the smallest crack,
    like a children’s cereal mascot finally nicking a bowl of that delicious sugary starch
    (oh my god it’s got marshmallows and turns the milk neon colors oh fuck oh god I’m cumming),
    like a ninja,
    like Batman,
    truth can sneak in and bonk you on the head
    leaving you unable to see anything but the primal oneness,
    unable to remember how you ever got things so mixed up,
    like Gilligan when he got hit with the coconut
    (except good).


    Liked by 1 person

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