Mr. Kato, as The Journal
reports, The War appears stalemated.
BRUSSELS—When Ukraine launched its big counteroffensive this spring, Western military officials knew Kyiv didn’t have all the training or weapons—from shells to warplanes—that it needed to dislodge Russian forces. But they hoped Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would carry the day.
They haven’t. Deep and deadly minefields, extensive fortifications and Russian air power have combined to largely block significant advances by Ukrainian troops. Instead, the campaign risks descending into a stalemate with the potential to burn through lives and equipment without a major shift in momentum.
As the likelihood of any large-scale breakthrough by the Ukrainians this year dims, it raises the unsettling prospect for Washington and its allies of a longer war—one that would require a huge new infusion of sophisticated armaments and more training to give Kyiv a chance at victory.
The political calculus for the Biden administration is complicated. President Biden is up for re-election in the fall of 2024 and many in Washington believe concerns in the White House about the war’s impact on the campaign are prompting growing caution on the amount of support to offer Kyiv.
The next battle in this conflict will be at the table. The Ukrainians will certainly want Joe to win next year, as Trump has stated "I'll have it over in 24 hours", or otherwise withdrawal of any US support.
I would think that a negotiated settlement will require Ukraine to give up their culturally Russian territory in the East, which will include possibly all Black Sea maritime ports other than Odesa. While the blockade Russia has imposed on shipping will be lifted, there is simply not capacity at Odesa to meet the humanitarian requirement needed to "feed the Third World" (or whatever the newspeak term for that is nowadays). So much of these agricultural products will have to move through European maritime ports.
Now as Mr. Kato notes, the EU could well impose restrictions on how much of these products can be sold within their jurisdiction, to physically move these agricultural products will require railroad transportation. The thought of having to transload at the Polish or former Yugoslavian borders from the 5ft Russian gauge to Standard gauge any appreciable volume is simply unthinkable. There is simply no alternative other than adoption of Standard gauge within Ukraine to reach these frontiers.
While I don't mean to sound like The Times' humanitarian concerned columnist Nicholas Kristof, my case presented here is rested. Regarding economic reasons, absent any negotiated settlement provisions prohibiting Ukraine from joining the EU (as distinct from NATO), compatibly gauged railroads will only enhance the attractiveness of Ukrainian manufactured goods on the world markets.