ACURA ViewPoint: James W. Carden: Neocon Think Tanks Are Driving Biden’s Ukraine Policy

In Joe Biden’s Washington, it is the self described national security “expert community” that is at the wheel and driving the administration’s Ukraine policy.

A little remarked upon open letter which appeared in the Washington tabloid The Hill on June 1 put a public face on what had been until that point a discreet, though highly successful effort on the part of Washington think tanks  – many of which, like the disgraced Brookings Institution, are funded by foreign governments –  to direct the White House policy on Ukraine.

The letter reads, in part, that.. 

The United States and Europe must avoid the urge to encourage Kyiv to negotiate a cease fire that falls short of Ukraines goals and could consign millions of Ukrainians to Russian control.

The signatories of the open letter are urging the Biden Administration to stay the course and to continue to arm Ukraine, so that when the time comes, it will be able to negotiate from a position of strength.

Among the more prominent signatories of the letter are neoconservative ideologues of long-standing, including John Hopkins SAIS professor Eliot A. Cohen; Eric S. Edelman, also of Johns Hopkins SAIS; Paula Dobriansky of the foreign-funded Atlantic Council; failed congressional candidate and executive director of The McCain Institute, Evelyn N. Farkas; John Herbst, also of the foreign-funded Atlantic Council; former aide to John McCain, David J. Kramer; and, of course, former US ambassador to Russia and MSNBC fixture Michael McFaul.

Russian gains and severe, perhaps insurmountable, Ukrainian losses have not been enough to shift the prevailing calculus in Washington, which remains: Fund Ukraine to the tune of over $40 billion and hope for the best.

Meantime, the administration and its proxies in the US-government controlled media and think tank world have been carrying out a relentless and well coordinated messaging campaign.

For proof, look no further than the latest David Ignatius column in The Washington Post. Ignatius, a longtime and indefatigably loyal messenger pigeon for Langley, informed readers on June 14 that “Russian military advances in eastern Ukraine this month have raised growing concern in the West that the balance of the war is tipping in Moscow’s favor. But Biden administration officials think these fears are overblown, and that Ukrainian defenses remain solid in this ugly war of attrition.”

Also on June 14, US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told the New York Times that, “We are not going to tell the Ukrainians how to negotiate, what to negotiate and when to negotiate… They are going to set the terms for themselves.”

Three days later, June 17, the Washington Post’s Missy Ryan, who did so much to prepare the ground for an endless American intervention in Syria, reported “The United States and its allies are making preparations for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine, officials said, as the Biden administration attempts to deny Russia victory by surging military aid to Kyiv while scrambling to ease the war’s destabilizing effects on world hunger and the global economy.”

The report noted that Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO who now heads the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said the US is faced with “a stark choice: either continue to help Ukraine sustain a potentially bloody status quo, with the devastating global consequences that entails; or halt support and permit Moscow to prevail.”

“That would mean feeding Ukraine to the wolves,” said Daalder, according to the Post report.

Surrendering American agency to Zelensky – which is what Kahl and Daalder and the rest  are essentially proposing in the matter of a war which threatens to engulf both NATO and the US is the height of irresponsibility. 

Yet the Biden Administration remains recklessly wedded to a failed policy of spurning negotiations in favor of arming Ukraine to the teeth.

The question American citizens of good conscience must now ask is: Why?

James W. Carden served as an advisor to the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission and to the Special Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs at the State Department. He is currently a columnist at Asia Times.