benami194_ANATOLII STEPANOVAFP via Getty Images_diplomacy ukraine ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images

Can Diplomacy End the Ukraine War?

US President Joe Biden, who early in the war expressed concern that Putin had no exit strategy, appears to have no plan for managing any scenario that does not include Russia’s unconditional defeat. But such a defeat may not be possible – or even desirable.

TEL AVIV – Some argue that the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis (which unfolded 60 years ago this week) holds lessons for those attempting to prevent the war in Ukraine from escalating into a nuclear catastrophe. But that Cold War superpower standoff is not the best place to look. Better insights may be gained from another nuclear-age precedent: the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

While Ukrainians are the ones fighting the Russian invaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that he launched the war to redress an unacceptable strategic imbalance with NATO, although his real motivation was probably his long-held belief that Ukraine is not an independent country. Likewise, the Yom Kippur War was waged by a coalition of Arab states, led by Egypt and Syria, in order to redress a power imbalance with Israel, a country which they also thought illegitimate. (Egypt and Syria both sought to recover territory that Israel had seized in the Six-Day War of 1967.)

The similarities do not end there. Like the Ukraine war, the Yom Kippur War triggered a global oil shock, with Arab oil producers declaring an export embargo that caused prices to quadruple. It also spurred a surge in inflation, followed by a wave of monetary tightening. Meanwhile, the United States and the Soviet Union delivered supplies to their respective allies.

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