US Desire to 'Weaken' Russia Underscores Biden's New Strategy
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has devolved into a stalemate with no end in sight. The US and its allies have now laid out a new, longer-term goal of defeating Russia so thoroughly on the battlefield that to mount another attack would be impossible.
"Our goal is to undermine Russia to make it incapable of doing what it has done in invading Ukraine," Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters after a visit to Kyiv, Ukraine's capital.
According to a senior administration official, US officers touring with Austin noted that the message is one that he intends to repeat. Russia emerging out of the conflict weaker than before is a concept mentioned by several Biden administration officials. Previous to this, US officers stayed cautiously optimistic about a negotiated settlement rather than express explicitly their intention to counteract or neutralize Russia militarily.
In recent weeks, a shift has occurred in strategy, evidenced by a growing tolerance for increased threats posed by the more complex western weapons. Essentially, it's the assumption that Putin will not abandon his targets in Ukraine if he can seize a part of it, as they did not do after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
"Even if they come up with a solution where (Putin) gets a piece of the Donbas and everything goes quiet, logic dictates there's still a long way to go in this." "Therefore, what you can accomplish here is not just a quick victory but also a long-term strategy."
According to sources, officials in the Biden administration believe that goal can be accomplished. Congressional and administration sources claim that Russia's continued support for Ukraine could result in a sizable blow to its long-term navy capabilities, strategically favoring the US.
Rather than avoiding Ukraine, the US has begun shipping heavier and more stealthy equipment, such as 72 howitzers and tactical drones.
A congressional aide familiar with the ongoing naval assistance to Ukraine said, "it's an investment to weaken the Russian army and navy for the next decade."