Either Russia will win the war in Ukraine, or else America and its allies will, because there is no longer even the possibility for an ending to that war by any sort of mutual agreement between the two sides: it won’t be a negotiated settlement. For one side it will be victory; for the other it will be defeat.
The latest sign of this is from the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, saying in an interview on May 10th, “I know how to end the war immediately: I stop providing military aid to Ukraine and Ukraine has to surrender in a few days. That’s it, the war is over. But how did the war end? With a defeated, occupied country. … The one who started the aggression says that until he achieves his military objectives, and he has not achieved them, he will continue.” Furthermore, Borrell asserted there: “Those who say: ‘I want peace and the best thing to achieve it is for the Europeans to cease helping Ukraine’, … frankly, I don’t know what world they live in.” So, clearly, he would be accepting the EU’s failure in its war against Russia if Putin “achieves his military objectives”; Russia’s demands, Borrell insists, are nothing less than the defeat of the EU. Defeat of Ukraine would be defeat of the EU. Consequently: ONLY the defeat of Russia is acceptable to the EU, no negotiation, no concessions at all that would allow Russia NOT to be defeated there. And, “for the Europeans to cease helping Ukraine” would mean that “Ukraine has to surrender in a few days.” He is saying, in other words: Ukraine is fighting there for the EU (who are propping it up), not for Ukrainians (although he thinks they’ll benefit from it, too). There will be no negotiated ending to this war, but only victory for one side, and defeat for the other, because the EU will keep propping it up until Ukraine defeats Russia there. And, for him, the two sides in this war are the EU versus Russia; it’s a war between the EU and Russia, that is being waged in the battlefields of Ukraine. NATO and America refused to negotiate on ANY of the Russian national-security demands that Russia presented to them on 17 December 2021; and Borrell is now saying that the EU won’t negotiate on them, either.
NATO made clear on May 9th that it will accept nothing less than the complete defeat of Russia in Ukraine, and reiterated, yet again, its scornful rejection of all of the national-security demands that Russia had presented to them in writing on 17 December 2021. And the U.S. Congress is now considering a Resolution to commit the Government to invading Russia if Russia ever does appear about to defeat Ukraine’s government in Ukraine.
Clearly, then, there is no possibility remaining for a negotiated ending to this war.
Once one side or the other wins it by the usages of solely conventional weapons, will the opposite side then accept having been defeated there; or will it instead launch a nuclear invasion against the opposite side in order to avoid the humiliation of having been defeated by conventional weapons, in this war where each of the two sides has told its entire population that the opposed side personifies evil?
Other than that — which rules out any other termination of this war than a 100% military one and the losing side’s surrender to the winning side — what are the REAL stakes here?:
For Russia, it is the nation’s continued existence as a sovereign independent nation within its own land. It’s existential. For America, it is the nation’s continuation as being the world’s leading superpower — sovereign over the entire planet. It’s status. That’s the basic fact here: it’s the basic difference between the two sides.