DECK CHAIRS REPOSITIONED ON TITANIC: No one talks about Ukraine anymore.

Ukraine’s anguishing self-defense is not a novel. But we’re quietly losing interest in this conflict — I include myself — because it’s not satisfying our fictional appetites. Recall that about a year ago I worried here that our narrative expectations of this war may be taking us into the realm of fantasy. I observed glumly that the war’s probable resolution is an ugly moral compromise that sacrifices a goodly chunk of a sovereign nation to a monomaniacal bully — who will doubtless spin Ukrainian concessions as a dazzling military success, one that redeems for the Russian people his unprovoked aggression and the many deaths of their sons, brothers and fathers.

This endgame is more likely than ever. I’m not happy about that. In fact, it makes me sick. But the average age of the Ukrainian army is now forty-three, a statistic that makes me even sicker. They’re running out of young men, not because the young men won’t serve but because they’re dead. Ukrainian women are being sent to the front lines. Russia had nearly four times the population of Ukraine before the war; given the reduced population in Kyiv-controlled areas, the countries are now mismatched in manpower by a factor of five. With his legacy and political future on the line, Putin is clearly all-in for the long haul. The easily manipulated Russian public have not rebelled. Putin’s inner sanctum hasn’t staged a coup. Russian GDP has increased since last year. The rouble started rising against the dollar. Western sanctions have failed.

I don’t share the view of many Republicans that Ukraine should be thrown under a bus because the country is none of our business and America should spend taxpayers’ money on solutions to its own problems. But just because the conflict’s resolution has major geopolitical ramifications doesn’t mean we can write our own happy ending. No matter how much ordnance the US and NATO ship to Zelensky, we’re not providing the soldiers obliged to wield it. I say this with a heavy heart: if the writing is on the wall — if a negotiated settlement that cedes captured territory to Putin looks inevitable — maybe it’s time to urge the Zelensky government to enter talks to bring this depressing war to its depressing conclusion. Dragging out an entrenched stalemate merely racks up a higher body count and destroys more Ukrainian homes and infrastructure to no purpose. Sitting back and giving Ukrainians just enough weaponry to keep fighting to the last man and woman, only for the country to finally end up where we always knew it would, is not just immoral. It’s murder.

“No one talks about Ukraine anymore,” in part because the Washington Post has moved the topic to the backburner: WaPo: Ukraine War Is No Longer Newsworthy.

The Ukraine war has been one of the top drop-down items on the Washington Post’s web masthead for about two years. During that time, it was the cause celebre of all the best people, and it was widely assumed for most of that time that it would result in a triumph for the good guys.

But lately, things have turned sour in Ukraine. The hoped-for breakthroughs from the counteroffensive didn’t happen, and despite the West pouring more aid into Ukraine than Russia’s entire defense budget, the basic math of warfare never looked great for Ukraine.

Reality reasserted itself.

Russia has never been sophisticated at warfare, and they always do poorly at the beginning stages of a war (sort of the opposite of the United States). Russia’s superpower is the ruthlessness of its leadership; the Russians seem willing to use their citizens as cannon fodder, expending men the way the US expends bullets.

Ukraine’s success early in the war was miraculous, seemingly based on having far superior training and discipline than the Russians. I cheered them on as they pushed back Russia’s offensive and remain impressed by their limited progress in pushing Russian advances back.

But the current battle lines are similar to what they were at the outbreak of the war, and dislodging the Russian army from well-prepared defenses is almost certainly beyond Ukraine’s capabilities.

Understandably, the mood in the West about the war has turned sour. Lots of money is being spent, and lives lost, to seemingly no purpose. Zelenskyy seems to be the only leader left who believes that Ukraine can push Russia out of Ukrainian territory that it has held for nearly a decade.

One reason why the WaPo has begun to bury Ukraine headlines is the possibility that 2024 could be quite an ugly end to the battle: With hopes of victory fading, Ukraine’s war against Russia could get even harder in 2024.

Which America’s most profligate president will likely blame on Congressional Republicans: Joe Biden Wants to Kill Ukraine Funding And Blame the GOP For It.