Peace How? / George Beebe

Feb 29, 2024

As Ukraine’s war enters its third year, it’s past time to dampen the rhetoric and tune up the reality. The war has shifted from failed Russian blitzkrieg, to valiant Ukrainian defense and then recovery, to unsuccessful Ukrainian counteroffensive, and now to war of attrition. But small countries—Ukraine’s effective population is only 1/5th of Russia’s and its economy only 1/10th the size of Russia’s—rarely win wars of attrition.

The conventional wisdom is that Western support can make up the difference. Wouldn’t a more realistic assessment be that such support—assuming it continues in ever greater magnitudes—can only prevent Ukraine from losing? Shouldn’t the expectation be that Russia, having overcome the bumbling and ineptitude of the first year of the war, is likely to push hard this spring at least to complete the seizure of Ukraine’s eastern oblasts? And then what?

Our guest on this week’s New Thinking for a New World podcast has some clear ideas about the balance of forces, the risk of a Russian victory, and the contours of a potential negotiation that might lay the groundwork for renewed peace in Europe. George Beebe, director of the Grand Strategy Program at the Quincy Institute in Washington and a Russian expert, insists that such a negotiation requires continued US support for Ukraine. But he also insists that it’s time for diplomacy. 

Beebe and co-author Anatol Lieven recently published a must-read analysis entitled The Diplomatic Path to a Secure Ukraine and discussed his conclusions with host Alan Stoga.

What do you think? Should the United States push Ukraine towards negotiations?



Find the New Thinking for a New World podcast on a platform of your choice (Apple podcastSpotify, Google podcastYoutube, etc

*Photo: Residential building damaged by Russian missile attack on Lviv. July 7, 2023. Roman Baluk / the Collection of


George Beebe is the director of the Grand Strategy Program at the Quincy Institute in Washington. George spent more than two decades in government as an intelligence analyst, diplomat, and policy advisor, including as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis, director of the CIA’s Open Source Center, and as a staff advisor on Russia matters to Vice President Cheney. His book, The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe (St. Martin’s Press, 2019), warned how the United States and Russia could stumble into a dangerous military confrontation. Prior to joining QI, George was Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for the National Interest and before that he served as president of a technology company that measured the impact of events, issues, and advertising campaigns on audience views. He speaks Russian and German.

1 Comment

  1. Vygaudas Usackas

    great episode and honest professional account many decisionmakers must listen


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent podcasts

Arctic Heat / Tero Mustonen

Arctic Heat / Tero Mustonen

That the Arctic is warming is not exactly breaking news on a planet where almost everywhere is warming. But it is critical news that the Arctic is warming almost four times faster than the rest of the globe since the polar regions are essentially the planet’s air...

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap