Voices calling for bringing Ukraine to the negotiating table due to fears over further escalation of the war have started to be heard in the US, International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) director Indrek Kannik says.
Speaking to ETV foreign affairs show "Välisilm" Monday, Kannik said: "My belief is that the strongest argument used in talk about negotiations is certainly concerns over escalation, and a fear of Russia using nuclear weapons in certain situations."
"This is something that has surely prompted some within the US administration to bring the topic of negotiations to the table, albeit very cautiously, but there nonetheless," he went on.
The media has underscored two strains within that administration: One, whereby the US State department and the US Department of Defense, ie. the Pentagon, do not recommend peace talks, and another, personified by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who recently visited Kyiv and who has stated he is in favor of negotiations, "Välisilm" found.
It has been common for the National Security Advisor to take a different line from the State Department and/or the Pentagon, in recent US administrations at least, Kannik said, though in this case Sullivan may have been personally influenced by President Joe Biden, he said.
Kannik said: The national security adviser is the closest person to the president. Even now, it seems that Sullivan's influence on President Joe Biden may be greater than that of the secretary of state and defenseX. I don't think it makes sense until the end to ortray Sullivan as a lone demon to the end, but in fact I think the designer of this policy is certainly Biden, who is a cautious person, himself."
"If you are President of the US, naturally I can understand why you might be cautions – in the case of Russia really using nuclear weapons, which we here consider highly unlikely, but should it happen, then he (ie. the US President) is the person who has do decide what to do in response," Kannik continued.
Kannik also said he believes the US could provide stronger help for Ukraine even as it has supplied plenty of weaponry, though not, for instance, longer-range missiles.
"I think one more step should be taken. Russia respects power, and if it understands that it is being treated from a position of strength, this will make Russia's behavior much more restrained. History has proven this many times over," Kannik added.
Not only the US, but also western countries in general, are prevented from helping Ukraine more forcefully, due to the same fear of escalation, Kannik added.
"It's still a very long-standing aspect to western military-political thinking - that they don't want to end up in a final confrontation with a nuclear power. This is considered too high of a risk. If we look at the current leadership in America, these are certainly people who had already acquired the bulk of their political thinking from the Cold War era, and this mentality will filter back, via Biden," Kannik said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael