In his March 21 press briefing, State Department spokesman Ned Price told the gathered reporters that “President Zelenskyy has also made it very clear that he is open to a diplomatic solution that does not compromise the core principles at the heart of the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine.” A reporter asked Price, “What are you saying about your support for a negotiated settlement à la Zelenskyy, but on whose principles?” In what still may be the most remarkable statement of the war, Price responded, “this is a war that is in many ways bigger than Russia, it’s bigger than Ukraine.”
Price, who a month earlier had discouraged talks between Russia and Ukraine, rejected Kiev negotiating an end to the war with Ukraine’s interests addressed because US core interests had not been addressed. The war was not about Ukraine’s interests: it was bigger than Ukraine.
A month later, in April, when a settlement seemed to be within reach at the Istanbul talks, the US and UK again pressured Ukraine not to pursue their own goals and sign an agreement that could have ended the war. They again pressured Ukraine to continue to fight in pursuit of the larger goals of the US and its allies. Then British prime minister Boris Johnson scolded Zelensky that Putin “should be pressured, not negotiated with.” He added that, even if Ukraine was ready to sign some agreements with Russia, the West was not.”
Once again, the war was not about Ukraine’s interests: it was bigger than Ukraine.
At every opportunity, Biden and his highest ranking officials have insisted “that it’s up to Ukraine to decide how and when or if they negotiate with the Russians” and that the US won’t dictate terms: “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.” But that has never been true.
The US wouldn’t allow Ukraine to negotiate on their terms when they wanted to. The US stopped Ukraine from negotiating in March and April when they wanted to; they pushed them to negotiate in November when they did not want to.
The war in Ukraine has always been about larger US goals. It has always been about the American ambition to maintain a unipolar world in which they were the sole polar power at the center and top of the world.