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How can the war in Ukraine come to an end?

How do wars end? The answer is never simple.
How do wars end? The answer is never simple.

The end of August will mark a year and a half since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. As casualties rise and the war marches on, the question looms: How and when will the violence come to an end? And how can the international community facilitate peace?

Uri Friedman wrote about possible endings to the war in The Atlantic:

 Prepare for the possibility of a long, shape-shifting conflict, perhaps lasting years, even a decade or more. Watch how the rest of the world regards the Kremlin’s imperial ambitions. Expect any negotiated settlement to be fragile and reliant on third-party intervention. And don’t anticipate a dramatic finish, such as a Russian nuclear detonation in Ukraine or the overthrow of Vladimir Putin in Russia. Notably, in a reversal of perceptions a year ago, some experts could envision a decisive Ukrainian victory against Russia, but none forecasts a decisive Russian win against Ukraine.

Much of the current conversation hinges on the usefulness of negotiations in bringing about peace. Professor Hein Goemans studies war termination. He also wrote in TheAtlantic:

politicians, have been calling for negotiations to end the bloodshed. Though well-intentioned, these appeals fail to take into account the fundamental nature of war, which requires the fighting to play out before a lasting peace can be a realistic possibility. At this moment in the conflict, any calls for talks are more likely to prolong the war and increase the suffering they seek to end.

For Foreign Affairs, political scientist Samuel Charap took a different viewpoint:

In international politics, one does not get to choose one’s interlocutors. And there is no plausible path to ending the war that does not entail engaging Moscow. So eventually, Washington, Kyiv, Berlin, and others will have to try.

Russian policy expert Angela Stent put her take succinctly thus, also in Foreign Affairs:

Putin will continue until Russia’s aggression is stopped on the battlefield, not the negotiating table.

We discuss possible end-games for the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Avery Jessa Chapnick
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