Kyiv Post has discovered that Samuel Charap, one of the most prominent Ukraine skeptics among American foreign policy analysts, has been a regular visitor to the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) during the past three years of the Biden Administration. Charap has been a stalwart advocate of Kyiv negotiating with Moscow since the early days of Russia’s invasion in 2014 and a frequent voice in media and international political circles questioning the logic of arming Ukraine.

The NSC, which operates from the West Wing of the White House, is headed by Jake Sullivan, who is Biden’s point man on Ukraine, under whom Charap earlier worked at the US State Department’s Policy Planning Staff before becoming a political scientist at the largely US government-financed Rand Corporation.

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In the publicly available White House visitor log, one of Charap’s most recent visits, on July 17, 2023, was listed as an appointment with Jonathan Finer, Deputy National Security Advisor under Sullivan.

White House visitor log indicates that Charap has been a frequent visitor to the Biden Administration.

Here are some examples of his most recent writings, especially since Feb. 24, 2022. They clearly demonstrate an ongoing opposition to arming Ukraine and call instead for negotiations with Russia:

  • As hundreds of thousands of Russian troops amassed along the Ukrainian border in January 2022, Samuel Charap published an article for Foreign Policy titled, “The West’s Weapons Won’t Make Any Difference to Ukraine,” arguing that “US military equipment wouldn’t realistically help Ukrainians – or intimidate Putin,” which closely echoed previous statements from Charap.
  • Back in 2014, half-a-year after Russia began its illegal invasion and occupation of Crimea and the Donbas in Eastern Ukraine, Charap wrote a piece for Foreign Policy called “Why Ukraine Must Bargain for Peace With Russia: “The ‘let’s make a deal’ moment has arrived for Kiev [sic] and Moscow. But by pushing a hard-line agenda against Putin, the United States and Europe are only making things worse for Ukraine,” he said, contending that “Ukraine needs to make a deal with Russia if it wants to survive this crisis.”
  • In 2016, after the initial invasion had sunk in, Charap and Jeremy Shapiro authored “How to Avoid a New Cold War” for the Brookings Institute, in which they seemingly blame the West for Putin’s illegal actions: “The response thus far has seemed more focused on punishing Russia and its leaders for their moral transgressions than on addressing the problems in Western-Russian relations that led to this impasse.”
  • In the summer of 2023, as President Zelensky was thanking Denmark for committing to send F-16s to Ukraine, Charap published another opinion piece, “An Unwinnable War: Washington Needs an Endgame in Ukraine” criticizing the West for being more focused on providing military aid and economic assistance than a diplomatic resolution.
  • In “Should Ukraine Negotiate with Russia,” published by Foreign Affairs in July 2023, Charap argued, “But in international politics, one does not get to choose one’s interlocutors. And there is no plausible path to ending the war that does not entail engaging Moscow. So eventually, Washington, Kyiv, Berlin, and others will have to try. This would not be the first time the United States talked to a nefarious regime with a history of deceit in order to stop a war.”
  • The New Yorker magazine’s The Case for Negotiating with Russia in August 2023 quotes Charap as saying “It’s not necessarily that I think Ukraine needs to make concessions,” but “I don’t see the alternative to that eventually happening.” Meanwhile, in the fall of 2023, as US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Gen. Mark Milley was touting that Ukraine had successfully liberated over 54 percent of Russian-occupied Ukraine and they continue to retain the strategic initiative.
  • Finally, Charap has been a vocal supporter of a Korean War-type armistice, where there is no declared end or victory. It should be noted, however, that an ongoing conflict would preclude Ukraine from qualification to become a NATO member, a central objective of President Zelensky’s government.

Given the controversial nature of Charap’s commentary over the years, there is plenty of reason for concern, as it becomes known that the White House visitor log shows him as visiting staff a total of three times in 2021, and nine in 2022. In 2023, he visited the White House at least eight times, however, not all 2023 records have yet been published by the Federal Government.

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Most meetings were small. However, one meeting in August 2022 had 86 attendees recorded on the government roster, including President Biden.

What changes in US foreign policy Charap influenced is not fully known. However, as murmurs abound that the US has abandoned the “for as long as it takes” promise, potentially in an attempt to coerce Kyiv into a negotiating posture, the role that staunchly pro-negotiation Charap has played will come further under the microscope.

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When Kyiv Post contacted Samuel Charap’s office with a set of questions, he largely brushed us off with the exception of a few responses like these:

Kyiv Post: Given past successes and failures for Putin with international agreements, why do you think an agreement with Ukraine now would be effective? And what would you see as an effective mechanism for punishing breach of contract?

Charap: It is not possible to assess the effectiveness of a hypothetical agreement before negotiations have even begun. There are a range of mechanisms that have been used to address non-compliance with international agreements. The snapback clauses in the JCPOA are one example.

Kyiv Post: For the US today, do you prioritize encouraging and supporting negotiations over supplying arms to Ukraine? How have your thoughts on this question changed since Feb 2022? Since 2014?

Charap: Please see [reference to a piece in Foreign Affairs], which says, in part:

“Starting talks does not require stopping the fight. Conducting negotiations is not the opposite of applying coercive pressure. In fact, negotiations are the means by which states can turn that pressure into leverage to accomplish their goals. As Thomas Schelling wrote in his classic ‘Arms and Influence’: ‘The power to hurt is bargaining power. To exploit it is diplomacy – vicious diplomacy, but diplomacy.’ Talks are an instrument for a warring state to further the same objectives it seeks on the battlefield. Historically, they have often taken place during periods of intense fighting. Nowhere in my article do I suggest that Ukraine would have to stop fighting – or that the West would have to cease supporting that fight – in order to start talks.”

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Kyiv Post asked Tomasz Nadrowski, host of the “Tyranny Today” podcast to comment on Charap’s responses.

“The problem with both of Charap’s responses here is that they make too many general assumptions about geopolitical negotiations in general, and certainly too many assumptions when it comes to the triangle of relationships between the US, Ukraine and Russia,” he said.

The Polish-born US foreign affairs specialist elaborated:“First of all, Charap assumes that Putin is willing to negotiate in good faith. Second, he assumes that Ukrainians want to negotiate. He also makes assumptions about Russia’s willingness to commit to a set of achievable goals for negotiations; this is a problem given that Russia’s publicly stated goals for the conflict have changed over and over again from the removal of neo-nazism to fighting Western domination to expansionist plans to roll farther into Eastern Europe. Ukraine, on the other hand, had been steadfast in stating its goals with President Zelensky’s well-documented 10-point peace plan.”

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Nadrowski, concludes: “Finally, I will say that it’s naive, given all I said above, to think that Ukraine and Russia should or even could participate in serious formal negotiations today. But there are certainly back-channel means for the two nations to hold discussions that could set the stage for future negotiations. In fact, I would be stunned if those back-channel conversations aren’t going on as I write this. On the other hand, if those back-channel conversations are happening, these views expressed by Mr. Charap on Ukraine/Russia negotiations, particularly when also stated in prestigious publications like Foreign Affairs and the New Yorker, might actually do a lot more harm than good.”

The White House could not be reached for comment.

Additional reporting by Gregg Stebben.

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Comments (16)

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Leif AH, Norway
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Thank you for shedding light on this suspicious character. I noticed he figurates as author for https://globalaffairs.ru, a magazine or organization whose task it is to strengthen Russia's position in global politics. https://globalaffairs.ru/authors/samuel-charap/

"Председатель Редакционного совета" for that magazine is Сергей Александрович КАРАГАНОВ, a guy who regularly visits crazy propagandists on Russian TV channels, talking about Russa and preemptive nuclear strikes, and how Russia has not only a right, but duty, to protect ethnic Russians living in the "near abroad".

More about Karaganov here: https://cepa.org/article/putins-brain-trust-praise-the-lord-and-pass-the-nukes/
Notice also the links between Karaganov and Dmitri Simes, a lifelong agent of influence in the US, writing for the "National Interest". (Whose interest, I might ask...)

Please - more articles about Charap, agents of influence, and their interactions with previous and current US administrations!

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Roger Boyd
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Ukraine is a US proxy war, and as per usual when the proxy starts losing the US leaves it to the consequences. Ukraine is losing 30,000+ men a month, Western supplies are now a trickle, and Russia just devastated the Ukrainian weapons industry. In contrast, Russia and its military is going from strength to strength.

A good peace could have been made in March 2022, but the US scotched that. As the war goes on, Russia will keep escalating its demands. The best terms will always be the current ones. Ukraine will never be allowed to be part of NATO, Russia has learnt that lesson.

Stop being the stupid proxy and make the best deal with Russia while you can. 2024 will be a year of disaster and death otherwise for Ukraine.

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John
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@Jack Griffin, Can't you at least spare a 'nano second' if I bring up again that it's the MAGA cult leaders n congress stalling more USA aid to Ukraine presently? 

I thought your job description required a rebuttal at least to that? You can insert your favourite word bribe if it gets you bonus points. Putin may not pay you another ruble if you are not doing your job trolling us vile westerners.

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John
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Thank you for your concern troll "jack". I am confident that with your helping to keep my moral compass clear, that no therapy will ever be needed for myself. 



I do hope the russian troll farm has pre-funded a retraining program to help trolls find a more productive jobs once putin's regime falls.

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Boris J
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Bob Boomhauer is a fucking coward, piece of shit cock sucker. Show some balls motherfucker. Name a time and place so I can kick your queer ass to hell.

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Mickey Cashen
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"as murmurs abound that the US has abandoned the “for as long as it takes” promise, potentially in an attempt to coerce Kyiv into a negotiating posture"
This is NOT anything close to the USA position because negotiating to lose land for Ukraine would make the USA look weak to its allies and enemies and encourage more problems for the USA.

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American Chris
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To be expected from an Obama former official. Recall Obama refused to supply any weapons or ammo to Ukraine.

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WK
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How much money have Washington and Wall St made on war?

They love rolling into the Middle East, chasing the Boogey Men which they've actually helped finance. Then they bring in the Beltway contractors who become supremely wealthy servicing the leftovers of these invasions.

They've completely financed Communist China right through the front door of Apple, Walmart and the whole Wall St retail oligarchy, and now a very powerful Beijing is trying to take over the world.. Oh LOOK!! Another highly profitable Cold War 2.0 for the Beltway! And Wall St!

Ukraine is causing major problems for these well-manicured criminals in DC because Ukrainians have decided to do Patton's unfinished business for him. Ukraine is taking out a key player in Washington's 2.0 Cold War, Beijing's little buddy Putin.

Ukrainians just refuse to go under Washington's "diplomacy bus" again for the apology tour, kissing up to Russia AGAIN.

These entities like Rand Corp. are no less devious than the Kremlin. Cold War is their preferred Cash Cow.

Ukrainians are not interested in USSR 2.0!! Let's put this schmuck Charap in a flak jacket and ship him to Avdiivka.

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Gerald Greer
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An exceptionally well written investigative report.
President Zelensky's 10 point plan is where the war should stop. At that point it will be necessary for a negotiated normalization with Ukraine's largest neighbor. At that point Ukraine will probably be part of or about to become part of the EU and NATO.
Canada has a population of just over 40 million similar to a post war Ukraine. The Canadian GDP is about 2 trillion USD, about 10% greater than Russia's GDP. Apost war Ukraine as a member of NATO and the EU will move rapidly toward that 2 trillion GDP. At that point it's success will be a major threat to Russia.
Charap's concept of diplomacy may be necessary a d useful at that point. A full return of Ukraine's nuclear capabilities should be restored. Charap could possibly make himself useful and help negotiate this viscous diplomacy.

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Edlund
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Charap is a political scientist who speaks Russian. He thinks in terms of models and abstraction. So the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a game theory problem for him. All antiseptic and free of emotion or even thinking. All things are possible in this mindset. Except incorporating and understanding all the information about the war in Ukraine. So the failed Minsk accords are just another aspect of the game to be considered. Ukrainians are supposed to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of having Russians occupy 17% of their territory and choose the optimum solution. He doesn't hear when Zelensky points out that that 17% is not territory. It is the people living there that count. Not in Charap's mind. You get the picture.

Or look at how detached he is about JCPOA. We had negotiated with Iran the return of 5 hostages in exchange for release of $6 billion in sanctioned funds. A week later, Hamas invaded Israel and took 200 more hostages. Iran knew that was coming while we negotiated! That's Charap for you. Clawbacks indeed! He doesn’t even know we’re being played. Or foresee the possibility.

Sullivan says he has to present all alternatives to Biden, so hopefully that's what's going on with Charap's visits. Given how simplistic and sanitized his analysis is, I don't know why it's considered useful. But since Biden's giving weapons, Charap's influence may not be very important. What’s important to him is the invite. It helps his career.

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David Sheriff
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Any top level discussion must include a variety of inputs. The fact that he is a misguided person in my view doesn't mean he shouldn't be there. It's Biden's show.

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Hugh
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Thanks for your investigation. Sounds almost like he's at least a Russian apologist, at worst a potential Russians spy.

Jack Griffin
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@Hugh, And he is influencing the BRIBEn White House on Ukraine policy. A similar pro-Iran “mole” was in the BRIBEn Administration advising to lift economic sanctions in Iran claiming economic parity would generate peace. Iran is now sending jet powered drones to Russia.

John
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@Jack Griffin, troll "Jack Briben Griffin". Russia thanks you for your service.

Oh by the way the orange potato you say will save Ukraine (contrary to what the other MAGA cult leadership state), had during his former presidency (...arghhh) told the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that he was not only going to pull out of NATO, but also would never defend it. Here's Rumps words according to French European Commissioner Thierry Breton who was in that meeting "You need to understand that if Europe is under attack we will never come to help you and to support you,'" EU's then-trade chief Phil Hogan was also present for Trump's comments. He apparently also said "And by the way, you owe me $400 billion, because you didn’t pay, you Germans, what you had to pay for defense". I am assuming he meant owed the USA, but given the many crimes he is now charged with, one never knows whether he intended to keep any such payments himself.

Rump said essentially the same thing to Canadian Leadership and also commented he should never have let Canada leave the USA (we were never part of USA). He also levied huge traiffs on our key industries after saying we were a national security threat.

He is bad, bad news for all democracies. Intelligent people know that Rump would greatly hinder Ukraine's ability to defend its sovereignty. That's why putin works so hard to brainwash the weaker minded electorate in the USA

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Jack Griffin
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Finally Kyiv Post you are peeling back the onion exposing the BRIBEn Administration is not a friend of Ukraine. The Kyiv Post needs to ban the nut crazed pro-Russia/snti-Trump trolls on these threads. The are shameless idiots.

John
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@Jack Griffin, Hi putin paid MAGA troll jack.....having a bad day? Read my above comment to you and maybe you will feel better. Hope you get well. Cheers.

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Lord Paul
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Like many associated with the present US administration bloviation and obfuscation is all they are capable of. This clown is definitely pro-putler.

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John
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To have any credibility, those proposing concessions from Ukraine, should first offer similar concessions from their own assets. You know...set an example. They can then send these assets to Ukraine to make up for the losses they expect them to take.

I'd remind folks of the truth's shared by former president Roosevelt on the necessity of entering WWII:

""unhappily necessary to report that the future and the safety of our country and our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders.” 
"the democratic way of life” was “being directly assailed in every part of the world.” not just from military actions but from the “secret spreading of poisonous propaganda by those who seek to destroy unity and promote discord in nations that are still at peace.”

He goes on to say that peace with a dictator “would bring no security for us or our neighbors.” .....“never permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and sponsored by appeasers.” “that enduring peace cannot be bought at the cost of other people’s freedom.”

Those truths being recalled, it's time to get back to business and supply Ukraine with the tools needed to decisively defeat putin's invading forces.

Imokru2
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@John, John, are you and I the only ones capable of a civil conversation? I think it is possible that Jack, Bob and Lord are all the same person.

John
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@Imokru2, Maybe he's parsed down his real name "jack-bob lord" in an attempt to have 3 separate troll accounts / paychecks? Apparently it takes a lot of rubles to keep a russian pantry stocked these days.

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Golfballblowhole
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A leftist, Charap is just plain wrong and always has been. He probably thinks he is right.

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