By nearly all accounts, Russia's war in Ukraine is not going Vladimir Putin's way. But two former diplomatic heavyweights for the US warn that it probably won't last. In their Washington Post op-ed, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and former defense chief Robert Gates note that eight years passed between Russia's seizure of Crimea and this latest invasion. "Count on Putin to be patient" again in trying to achieve his "messianic" quest of re-conquering all of Ukraine, they warn. Yes, Ukraine has been "heroic" in its own defense, but the country is being wrecked in the meantime. Months of military stalemate loom, during which you can expect pressure on Ukraine to grow to negotiate a ceasefire—one that will likely give Putin a toehold for yet another invasion down the road.
"The only way to avoid such a scenario is for the United States and its allies to urgently provide Ukraine with a dramatic increase in military supplies and capability—sufficient to deter a renewed Russian offensive and to enable Ukraine to push back Russian forces in the east and south." Skeptics may say it's not our fight, but Rice and Gates disagree. "It is better to stop (Putin) now, before more is demanded of the United States and NATO as a whole," they write. "The way to avoid confrontation with Russia in the future is to help Ukraine push back the invader now. That is the lesson of history that should guide us, and it lends urgency to the actions that must be taken—before it is too late." Read the full op-ed. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)