Op-ed: The US Must Close the Gap Between Ends and Means in Ukraine


By James M. Dubik (US Army, Retired)

Success in war is measured not by level of effort but by the degree to which a country achieves the policy goals set by its senior political leaders. Regarding Russia’s war in Ukraine, the United States has four policy goals — two grand strategic and two theater strategic. Achieving these goals is not guaranteed. And without changes, the U.S. could yet achieve little.

Using public statements and speeches of senior U.S. leaders, America’s primary grand strategic policy goals appear to reinforce the rules-based international order’s sanction against aggression.  By making sure that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal, unjustified aggression does not pay, the U.S. seeks to deter others from using force in similar ways. Its second grand strategic goal is to return America to a trusted position of global leadership. Coupled with these are two theater strategic policy goals: strengthen NATO and assist Ukraine in defending its right to self-determination.

All four of these policy goals are important and achievable, but without succeeding in both theater strategic goals, the U.S. is unlikely to achieve its grand strategic aims. 

Click here to read the full op-ed on The Hill website.