As Long as it Takes

by G. Murphy Donovan (August 2023)

Portrait of Vladimir Putin (for Time Magazine, 12/19/14), Pavel Sokov


This self-defeating behavior, so the argument goes, must be the result of warped domestic politics. —John Mearsheimer


Flooding the zone in American football usually means putting more pass receivers on one side of the line than the other team can reasonably cover. In literature, the cliché usually means too much of everything—or anything. If we had to give a name to NATO strategy in Ukraine today, we might call it “flooding the zone” with damn near everything—a reckless infusion of money and weapons into a barely functional client with more than a whiff of neo-Nazi politics and a tradition of corruption thought to be the worst in Europe.

America and the EU cannot possibly cover all of the unintended consequences of a prolonged feckless war in Europe.

Bipartisan unanimity in America, the European Union, and the British Commonwealth on the Ukraine war is more than offset by Russia’s cordial relations with the rest of the world. China, India, the Muslim world, and the Third World are either indifferent or hostile to America’s surrogate war in Ukraine.

Surely, economic sanctions are not working against Russia.

And just as clearly, a majority of the world’s population does not support NATO’s latest military boondoggle. Most observers know that NATO’s transparent objective in East Europe is to destabilize the Kremlin regime, not to save a corrupt Kiev.

The recent jubilation in the western press over the coup that wasn’t in Russia is probative. Yevgeny Prigozhin ran some of his Wagner mercenaries up the road towards Moscow—and then it was over. Prigozhin, an irregular, predictably doesn’t play well with the Russian General Staff. Putin handled the “crisis” by expelling Prigozhin peacefully to Belarus and repurposing Wagner mercenaries as a kind of “Afrika Korps” for duty outside of Ukraine for the moment.

Seems that Putin has taken a page out of the CIA playbook. Indeed, if Prigozhin steps out of line again, it will probably be his last misstep.

Beyond coup fantasies, the grinding war in Ukraine is not going well for Brussels and Washington. Summer is waning and Ukraine’s much ballyhooed “Spring” offensive seems to be stuck in the Dnieper River mud. The south is flooded, the grain embargo is back in force, and Moscow is ratcheting up her own economic sanctions by confiscating western assets in Russia, from beer makers to drilling equipment.

If the Ukraine/Russia grain embargo provokes a famine midst the under developed; given the legacy of colonialism, victims are likely to blame the EU, not Russia. And given the mayhem we see in Paris and other European cities, a restive immigrant jihad seems to be taking a bigger toll on European Union stability than NATO might be trying to provoke in the Russian Federation.

Muslim migrants are flooding the zone across a borderless Europe and few member states in the EU know what to do about national and European cultural erosion. As in America, the inclusiveness promised by unfettered migration seems to have come a cropper. The European assumption that male Muslim migrants would be assimilated has not materialized.

Indeed, the flip-flop jihad in Europe proceeds on the assumption that Europe will assimilate into the Ummah, not the other way around. The migrant blitz in Europe today is doing by stealth what could not be done by force. The cultural jihad in Europe is now about European submission, not Muslim assimilation.

Not to get too personal, but war—cultural, economic, or kinetic—is less about ideology and more about leadership … and winning. Leadership speaks to the latter. When asked about the American commitment to Ukraine, President Biden’s stock response is “as long as it takes.”

In a European street fight, what kind of warrior do you think might prevail; a seasoned, yet successful, thug from Moscow or an ego driven poseur from Bethany Beach? Joseph Robinette Biden’s only real accomplishment is actually Beltway tenure, little else.

Vladimir Putin, in contrast, literally remade the Russian federation since the turn of the 21st Century out of the ash heap that was the Soviet Union. And we should not forget that in the early going, Putin sought integration with the EU and NATO. America’s intemperate rebuff of the Kremlin and the expansion of NATO, are the bell weather fails that led to the current imbroglio in Europe.

A historic opportunity was ignored at the turn of the 21st Century.  Nevertheless, Russia still has more in common with Europe and America than it (or we) will ever have with the Muslim world or China.

So, where to from here?

Clearly, the Biden administration thinks jingoism is a winner and the Democrat Party will probably ride the Ukraine war horse up to the 2024 presidential

election in America. Bipartisan war hawks will continue to put lipstick on the Ukraine pig even though time is now Russia’s best ally. By not losing, Russia wins. And recall that no military brass plays defense better than the Russian General Staff.

Realistically, nothing changes, except maybe the body bag count, until after the American presidential election in 2024. If Biden wins the 2024 election, it’s business as usual. If America votes for change in Washington, the Ukraine war might be an instant casualty.

Ultimately, the wisdom of crowds and common sense are the only arrows left in the quiver— “as long as that takes.”


Table of Contents


G. Murphy Donovan writes about the domestic and international implications of national security policy.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


5 Responses

  1. “For as long as it takes” summarized Lyndon Johnson’s view of American involvement in Vietnam, and was duly repeated by several presidents regarding our commitment in Afghanistan. These two ventures failed miserably due to the absence of what made President Truman’s principled stand in Korea a worthy endeavor even though it failed to achieve the movement of the 38th parallel by one inch.

    Alongside of American, Canadian and other “allied” troops (including Turkish, Greek, Phlippino, Dutch, Thai, Ethiopian and even Belgian soldiers (of different, regions, cultures, races, and religions were courageous Korean troops from the South ready, willing and able to fight against what they knew was the irredeemable evil of the communist regime in the North. For many Russian conscripts they also feel that the war is to protect their “Mother Russia”.

  2. Believe you are correct, Norm. The Russians and many in the West argued that it would be too provocative to push NATO, a military alliance, right up to the Russian frontier. But here we are. They asked politely for a buffer. We said no. Now they have created a buffer by force. Ball is in our court – as are the body bags.

  3. C. Murphy Donovan identified why in a long political, cultural and military struggle, “the flip-flop jihad in Europe proceeds on the assumption that Europe will assimilate into the Ummah, and not the other way around. The migrant blitz in Europe today is doing by stealth what could not be done by force. The cultural jihad in Europe is now about European submission, not Muslim assimilation.”

    Is it any wonder that this is the plot in the recent best selling novel in France that unleashed instant recognition elsewhere in Europe, Michel Houellebecq’s Submission (the correct translation of the Arabic word ISLAM), a fictional tale of a French submissive intellectual class (largely agnostic) all too willing to trade a thousand years of the patriotic sentiments of the nation state and both religious traditions and values of western civilization in exchange for a partnership of an Islamist regime with the support of the socialist parties.

    Is it a mere coincidence that the book was published on same day as the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris (forgotten today much like 9/11/2001)? Readers of Submission are at once struck with the similarities with the Vichy regime in its willingness to support the “new social order” as a necessary price to pay for avoiding conflict with an Islam bent on achieving a reversal of the historic failure to subjugate France in the Middle Ages.

  4. Yeah, Norm. Islamism, the jihad, and terrorism has fallen off the front page and the front burner. Yet, any objective assessment of the Levant, Afghanistan, Africa, Pakistan, and even Europe says that Muslim monoculture is winning globally. NATO is happy to play the Russophobe in Ukraine whilst the mice from Mecca eat the EU from the inside out. Sad.

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