Closing dinner – Neville Kennard address: The tragedy of Ukraine

After 18 months of war in Ukraine, all signs point to more misery with no end in sight. Kyiv says it’s steadfast in pushing Russia out of the country altogether. But Moscow warns that arms supplied by the West risks escalating the war to levels not seen so far. Meanwhile, as America barrels toward the 2024 presidential election, political and public support for the Ukrainians is waning. But if Washington withdraws its material support to Kyiv, Ukraine would collapse and Russia would win a big victory. It is hard to imagine any American president – even Donald Trump – allowing that fate. Many strategists would argue that Ukraine’s collapse would damage US credibility and send a sign of weakness to China.
At the same time, there are virtually no prospects for a peace deal. Russia won’t give back the territory that it’s conquered while Ukraine wants the return of Donbas and Crimea. Plus, Moscow wants Ukraine to be a neutral state while Kyiv wants a security guarantee from the West. The sad reality is that the Russians have a deep-seated interest in taking as much of Ukraine as they can and turning the remaining part of Ukraine into a dysfunction rump state so it can’t be part of NATO.

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Director and Founder of the Centre for Independent Studies

Professor of Public Policy and Director, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University


Sociologist, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney.
Author of The New Authoritarianism

Director, Free Market Foundation, (Hungary)

Health Director, Health and BioSecurity, CSIRO

Director and Founder, Academy of Ideas, London, (UK)

Founder and CEO, Cognoscenti Group

Executive Director, The New Zealand Initiative (NZ)

Australian writer and columnist for the News Limited Press

Research Director, CIS

Programme Co-ordinator of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Western Australia

Chinese Canadian human rights advocate

Senior Research Fellow, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

CEO and Founding Director, China Matters

Former Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives and Cabinet Minister

Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts and Academic Culture, and Professor of History, Australian Catholic University

Cancer researcher and clinical oncologist, with Genesis Care Newcastle

Founder and President, Middle East Forum, publisher Middle East Quarterly Journal, (US)

Professor of Economics, University of Melbourne

Senior Research Fellow and Director, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

Internationally acclaimed novelist and journalist, (US)

Head of Economic Research, Reserve Bank of Australia

Executive Director, CIS

Professor of Economics at Stanford University; Senior Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution and Chair of the Working Group on Economic Policy, (US)

UQ-CSIRO Chair in Personalised Nanodiagnostics, Professorial Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland

Diplomat, American Board of Pathology

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure

Liberal Party Member for Berowra

Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2007 to 2011, Chairman & CEO of Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd based in Beijing

Director of China and Free Societies program, CIS

Senior Research Scholar, Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University, (US)