On November 2, Michael Kimmage spoke at Claremont McKenna on the strategic considerations of the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the United States’ policy options moving forward. The event was hosted by the college’s chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society.
Kimmage served on the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S Department of State where he held the Russia/Ukraine portfolio. He is currently Chair of the History Department at the Catholic University of America.
Kimmage stated his belief that the war had no foreseeable end point, and that the U.S. and its allies must brace themselves for that reality. For Adarsh Srinivasan, a senior at Claremont McKenna College, a key message from Dr. Kimmage was that "messaging in the US on the Ukraine war must change from a Hollywood-style romanticized plot in which the will of the Ukrainian people is enough to defeat Russia."
A recurrent theme of Dr. Kimmage’s speech was the difficulty of determining how the conflict will pan out. "The main thing I took away from Dr. Kimmage’s speech was that the endgame of this conflict continues to be a mystery amongst politicians, government officials, and academics alike," said Chloe Kastl, a junior at CMC and Executive Board Member of the AHS’ CMC chapter. Fellow Board Member Arlo Jay commented that Kimmage’s remarks spoke to a change in the US approach towards a "strategy of containment."
The United States in the past year and a half has sent over $76 billion dollars in assisting the Ukrainians, with around 60% of that consisting of military aid-security assistance, weapons and equipment and grants and loans for military supplies. That figure towers over the amount sent by the United States to other aid recipients in 2021-Israel, the next highest recipient received just $3.3 billion in comparison-and represents a larger share of U.S. GDP than aid provided by the U.S. at other points in history.
When asked if Putin might consider ending the war, Kimmage discussed how the war is still very popular amongst the Russian people. Despite the restrictions of free speech which have made accurate polling in Russia difficult, independent pollsters have found that a year and a half on from the invasion, majority of respondents when asked still said they support the war.
AHS will be hosting their final event of the semester on Monday December 4th, a discussion with Professors Lisa Koch and Aseema Sinha regarding nuclear arms in Asia.