[…] While it is folly to discount the potential that Putin fully intends to use force to achieve his strategic goals, it is also unwise to dismiss a potential path to resolution, a compromise that may let all parties save face. The return of theater-support missiles, brought on by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty’s demise, challenges Russia’s security and undoubtedly influences the country’s decision-making. Since the treaty’s end, Russia’s actions have sent a clear message that it would not let intermediate-range missiles reemerge in Europe. However, the response from the West not only failed to address Russia’s concerns but treated the reintegration of these missiles as a foregone conclusion, focusing almost exclusively on the relative advantage that their deployment could provide to the United States and NATO. While NATO expansion may very well be the primary driver of Russia’s actions toward Ukraine, the return of these strategic missiles is also a factor that the United States should consider.
Consequently, while reversing NATO expansion is a non-starter for many in the West, a potential arms agreement concerning the formerly banned missiles is not only a realistic goal, but it is something that all parties have expressed a willingness to work towards. In this context, if successful negotiations occur, missiles will be the likely focal point. Consequently, the United States may have to concede the tactical and operational benefits that theater-support missiles could provide in Europe for the potential strategic victory of defusing the tensions on the Ukraine border. Läs artikel