08.06.2023 Author: Henry Kamens

Ukraine is a Lost Cause: Why Prolong the Death and Suffering on Life Support?

Ukraine is a Lost Cause: Why Prolong the Death and Suffering on Life Support?

There was once a time when Hungary was the country in Eastern Europe with an ax to grind with the then USSR; however, that was then, 1956; times have changed, and so have modern-day realities. At least one EU leader is thinking: Ukraine is a lost cause, and why then to prolong the death and suffering?

The headline sums it up accurately, “Orban Says Ukraine Can’t Win War as he justifies Veto on EU Assistance”. Speaking in a Bloomberg interview at the Qatar Economic Forum, Orban argued that “Ukraine’s military effort is doomed and sending further aid will only lead to more deaths.”

Viktor Orbán, who is often described by the Western media as being the closest EU ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, is blocking a €500m tranche of EU reimbursements to member states sending arms to Ukraine. Often such arms are but a way of “housecleaning” of obsolete stocks under the pretext and guise of showing solidarity and supporting Ukraine.

“Emotionally it’s tragic, all of our hearts are with the Ukrainians,” Orban said, adding that the main issue in the conflict is not who attacked whom, but what happens next, which means more deaths.

“There’s no chance to win this war,” he added, saying a ceasefire and peace talks are needed instead of an escalation of the war. He is not alone in refusing to close ranks with other EU members over continued EU funding and the expansion of NATO with new members. Sweden’s membership application has been held up by Turkey and Hungary.

What do they know that others don’t?

Orban has made it clear that if Ukraine needs more money, Kyiv should respect Hungary and not sanction Hungarian companies. Orban’s main message during the recent forum in Qatar is that “Peace can only be achieved through diplomacy”.

Hungary is already feeling the pressure, as confirmed by CIA leaks, and other baseless accusations over its relations with a Russian spy bank, and knows that such sanctions are just as much against Budapest for not toeing the US policy line, and have less to do with supporting Ukraine.

It is even conceivable that the US will now try to sanction Hungary directly, if it keeps true to its sanction-happy policy, and what has happened so far is just a taste of what is to come. There is little doubt that the US is busy at work, trying to spin the news about Hungary, interfering in its elections and internal policies, and may even try to “covertly” fund opposition candidates and student movements.

It is clear that US-Hungary relations are at a historical low and may get “all-the-more complicated.”

The USA decided to sanction the International Investment Bank (IIB). The American intelligence community, and its media attack dogs, want to describe the bank as being “a Russian spy bank” but fail to provide convincing evidence to support such a scatting claim.

At the Qatar Economic Forum, he told that Budapest “does not belong to the mainstream European approach”. “Hungary is in a unique position as Ukraine is not far away”… as [neighbors often know each other too well].

The drafting of ethnic Hungarian living in Western Ukraine is not going well, they are dying for something they don’t consider themselves to have a stake in. “They are conscripted, they are soldiers in the Ukrainian army and they die. So, we lose lives – Hungarian lives – as well,” Orban said, referring to ethnic Hungarians living within Ukraine.

The Americans and their European partners are closing ranks now in response to the blocking of EU aid to Ukraine. The Cohen Group Chairman and Former Secretary of Defense, William Cohen shares his remarks on why he believes Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, is wrong to block military assistance for Ukraine.

The former Secretary of Defense makes all effort to point out that Hungary is “not acting” like a true member of the NATO alliance.  Cohen also discusses whether or not Ukraine’s allies should be doing more as Ukraine prepares for its supposed counteroffensive. The topic of supplying F16 from European air forces is also among his talking points, as if this will be a game-changer.

Have we not heard such arguments before with various deliveries of high-tech systems that were supposed to make a difference? Unlike other experts, Cohen is fully confident that the Ukrainians can quickly master the technology, be it modern battle tanks or 4th generation F-16 jet fighters. Anyway, time will tell, and soon many will realize that Cohen’s remarks are out of desperation, and more akin to “wishful thinking”.

Such rhetoric and veiled threats may be splitting the EU and NATO members all the more, and pushing some NATO countries all the closer to aligning their positions with that of the Russian Federation, at least in terms of Ukraine and “what-not-to-do!”

Cohen goes on to say how more must be done and not to be afraid of Putin, “We have always been afraid Putin would escalate, and how he has been escalating, and how Orban is on the side of Putin by wanting to suspect all aid to Ukraine, and how it is naïve to think that more people will not die, and how Putin broke his promise that Ukraine would be a sovereign country and killed tens of thousands and displaced millions internally. And how Orban is not acting like a true member of NATO and a country with democratic values.”

Cohen is basically saying what we already know, as without direct NATO involvement, or perhaps of Poland as a deciding factor in any conflict. Without direct outside help, boots on the ground, Ukraine does not stand a chance. For all practical purposes, it has already been defeated, and it has already depleted its manpower and military support capacities, military industrial complex, and Ukraine can’t look to the West to make up the difference and for moral support.

It is now a bit late to admit to the mistake of not having been more aggressive in providing training for Ukrainian pilots on F16s, and how the West has hesitated in terms of prioritizing the supply of advanced tanks, etc. He is overestimating how Ukrainians can master the mechanics and the ability to maneuver and perform with sophisticated equipment – and how the West must be more aggressive in providing resources to Ukraine.

Time to listen and cut to the chase

Viktor Orbán needs to be listened to when he describes the reality on the ground, so whoever is right or whomever is not, he agrees with the interviewer that the situation was correctly described that Russia invaded Ukraine, but the question is not who invaded whom, but the question is: What will be the next morning or the next morning? The fact is that more and more people will die. And that there is no chance to have a victory on neither side … so this is a war that will deprive [take the lives] of many persons without having results.

In terms of the failure of diplomacy and the conduct of the war, and when reminded of the 1956 Hungary Revolution against Soviet occupation, how this is strange to oppose European Aid, Orban lays out his thoughts that should be something that the West reflects upon.

It is emotionally, it’s tragic, and how all of our hearts are with the Ukrainians, and how we understand how much they suffer. But I am speaking here as a politician, [and one] who should put saving lives as the most important for the international political communities is to save lives, especially when you are convinced, as I do [am] there is no chance to win this war. So therefore, what we should do, far more energy to invest into convincing everybody that the only solution is a ceasefire. And then after the ceasefire, peace talks to start.

Peace and Negotiation

He continues, “My position is to look and get the realities, look at the figures, look at the surroundings, look at the fact that NATO is not ready to send troops. It is obvious that there is no victory for you, for poor Ukrainians on the battlefield – that is my position.

That was always my suggestion to everybody –that instead of escalation, to manage to have a stronger involvement into the war, and how escalation should be stopped, and we should argue in favor of peace and negotiation.”


It appears that now NATO, the US and the EU has a new enemy within, Hungary, (for now), and the alliance is collectively unable to close ranks and keep the never-ending war going under the delusion of a final victory. And it should be remember that without Turkey buying in, as the second largest army in NATO, other than the US, even if NATO wanted to send troops, it would be impossible.

The reality is what it is, and in spite of claims otherwise, and wishful thinking, even as Kyiv is contesting the claim of a complete Russian takeover of Bakhmut and has stressed, likely wishful thinking, (now the mainstream media is using its Russian name. Bakhmut will now be known by its former Soviet name “Artemovsk”.

But Kiev still insists that its troops remain in strategic positions on the outskirts of the city and are poised to retake it.

The sooner the collective West understands that this victory was a game-changer, and some desperate but failed incursions into Russia by NATO trained and equipped armed terrorists targeting civilian populations, the Russian special operation is going to a new stage.

Hence, the words of Viktor Orbán need to be heeded, and the sooner the better, for the sake of innocents on all sides, and the bigger threat that this conflict should spin out of control and engulf the region and world.

And too, his words should be compared to those of Former Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, and his motivations, and financial backers should be considered, as to what the End Game is with Kyiv, a frozen conflict at best, and what needs to be done next for the sake of peace and security for all actual stakeholders.

In the meantime, however, we can sit back and watch and see just how much of a Union is the EU. Already the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó locked horns on May 22 during a foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels over the role a controversial Hungarian bank is supposedly playing in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Baerbock is VERY upset that “Hungary is blocking the next tranche of military aid to Ukraine”.  We can only suspect that some political careers and substantial economic interests are on the line, and not only in Europe but especially in the US.

The longer this conflict draws on the greater the profits for the few, and the political fallout—especially for the political class. The debacle in Ukraine may likely decide the next US national election. It will set the direction of US foreign policy for decades to come, and be the deciding factor if the Democratic Party can survive on a national level.

It is interesting to note in conclusion that NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg has admitted that one lesson of the Ukraine war was that in the future it would be necessary to support the Alliance’s partners, for example, GEORGIA, earlier and with more and more. Not a very good sign for those who know the history of NATO interventions.

What comes next has been predicated, and the US, EU, and NATO have gotten themselves into a financial, political, and military quagmire that can continue for a generation, a least, and will make Afghanistan look like a training exercise in making a muck of things. Events on the ground, political shakeups, and economic realities will serve as a bellwether as to the fate of the EU and the NATO alliance.

The only question that remains is how large will the rump basket case, what will remain of Ukraine proper, that the friends of Ukraine will inherit, and how much will it cost them to sustain it on life support—especially in light of the political price tag/fallout?

Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

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