NY Times op-ed warns that ‘fantasies of regime change’ can lead to war with Russia

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On Wednesday, The New York Times published an op-ed warning that the United States risks war with Russia if it continues to pursue an expansive strategy in Ukraine.

“Nuclear weapons are discussed in easy tones, not least on Russian television. The risk of cities being reduced to corium remains low without NATO deployment in Ukraine, but accident and miscalculation cannot be discounted,” wrote Tom Stevenson.

The op-ed, titled “America and Its Allies Want to Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn’t,” cautions that while America’s initial actions to provide support to Ukraine, American leaders’ willingness to speak in increasingly bold terms about regime change in Russia and “draining” the country poses a risk to American security. 

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“By expanding support to Ukraine across the board and shelving any diplomatic effort to stop the fighting, the United States and its allies have greatly increased the danger of an even larger conflict,” Stevenson wrote.

“They are taking a risk far out of step with any realistic strategic gain,” he added.

“The early U.S. response to the invasion was simple: Supply the defenders and apply America’s unique financial weaponry to the Russian economy. The new strategy — call it bleed Russia — is quite different. The underlying idea is that the United States and its allies should seek to recover more from the rubble of Kharkiv and Kramatorsk than the survival of Ukraine as a polity or even a symbolic frustration of Russian aggression.”

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Stevenson notes that Russia discusses nuclear tensions “in easy tones” and warned that “accident and miscalculation cannot be discounted”. 

“It is unclear what more there is to gain by weakening Russia, beyond fantasies of regime change,” he said. 

“The war was dangerous and destructive enough in its initial form. The combination of expanded strategic aims and scotched negotiations has made it more dangerous still. At present, the only message to Russia is: There is no way out.”

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to send Ukraine another $40 billion in aid. Some conservatives have criticized the legislation as financially irresponsible. 

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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called the bill “a slap in the face to millions of taxpayers who are struggling to buy gas, groceries, and find baby formula.” 

Paul noted that while he “sympathizes with the people of Ukraine, and commend their fight against Putin, we cannot continue to spend money we don’t have.”

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