Can Europe put an end to the war in Ukraine?

Last week, an analysis published by the think tank Rand Corporation studied the risks associated with the long-term extension of the Ukrainian conflict, as well as the solutions that could be put forward by Washington to contain them. Like most of the studies published by the Rand, this one was at the same time very relevant, documented and objective, in the diagnosis as in the recommended solutions. However, this one started from a basic postulate which requires a certain prudence as for the applicability of the results presented: indeed, this study studied the conflict in Ukraine only from the point of view of the action of Washington and its consequences for the United States. And when the same methodology is applied from the European point of view, the findings, but also the risks and the solutions that can be recommended to control them, are significantly different.

First, it is necessary to separate what is common to both points of view. Thus, the risk of a stalemate in the conflict described in the American analysis remains very high regardless of the point of view. It is in fact largely related to change of posture of Moscow in the conduct of this war, by having gone in the middle of the summer from tactical management of a military special operation to strategic management of a critical conflict mobilizing all of the country's resources, and the absence of contestation in public opinion Russian. Similarly, the two strategic risks described in Rand's analysis, namely the risk of crossing the nuclear threshold, and that of the conflict spreading beyond the Ukrainian borders, with the possible involvement of NATO, are the same, whether observed from Washington or Paris, Rome or Warsaw.

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China and the development of its military tool is today the Pentagon's main concern, much more than Russia and Ukraine.

However, a third major risk directly concerns Europeans, and much less Americans, to the point that it does not appear in the Rand's analysis. Indeed, one of the critical threats to Ukraine's future, and to the greatly increased Russian threat to European countries that a Ukrainian defeat would entail, is none other than the possibility of withdrawal or a significant reduction in US military aid to Kyiv. This risk may be the consequence of a democratic alternation in Washington, for example if Donald Trump were to win the 2024 presidential election, or result from the appearance of new conflicts or risks of conflicts that directly threaten American interests much more than the Ukrainian crisis, as for example in the event of a conflagration in the Middle East around an Israeli-Iranian conflict, or in the Pacific if Pyongyang were to start hostilities with South Korea, or if Beijing were to initiate an invasion of Taiwan. While US military aid represents 70 to 80% of all Western military aid to Kyiv, Ukrainian resistance to the Russian armies would obviously be very threatened if this American aid were to dry up.

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