With violence resuming in the struggle for Eastern Ukraine, the U.S. has some hard decisions to make. For the last year, America has leaned to the side of caution. It, along with its EU allies have chosen to show its support for Ukraine with economic sanctions. This as we reported last week, has had little effect on calming the aggression by Russian-backed separatists. Now, as it is becoming increasingly less deniable that there are Russian soldiers fighting in the region, NATO has to decide its next course of action.
Almost since the conflict began, Kiev has asked for lethal military aid to resist the rebels. Claiming that Russian supported rebels outgun their soldiers, Kiev has insisted that the U.S. and her NATO allies send them the military equipment that would allow them to defend themselves. And until this weekend, all NATO members seemed to agree that this would increase rather than deter Russian involvement.
Now Reuters has reported:
The United States is reconsidering whether to provide weapons to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists, senior administration officials said on Monday, but that no decision had been made.
And CNN has reported:
A U.S. official now tells CNN that military leadership supports defensive lethal aid being part of the discussion, but the administration is still trying to assess what reaction it could elicit from the Russian government, which the U.S. maintains is backing rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The question then comes down to a determination of Russia’s involvement in the conflict. It seems to be widely accepted that Russian troops are in Eastern Ukraine. They are fighting in a support role for the Separatists. General Wesley Clark (U.S. Army Ret.) told Fox in an interview that there were roughly 8000 Russian soldiers currently fighting for the rebels. He is in favor of this policy shift.
So, what are we talking about the U.S. doing? Bloomberg view said this:
With Europe’s resolve to impose additional sanctions fading, it’s natural to want to find other tools to deter the Russian president. After all, Ukraine is in a terrible position. No doubt this is why a group of former U.S. security officials are calling for a $3 billion program to provide the Ukrainians with American drones, anti-tank weapons and other defensive lethal equipment. The goal would be not to defeat the Russians, the former officials say, but to deter Putin by raising the cost of attack.
They claim that the supply of lethal defense weapons would escalate the conflict. They further say:
Yet arming Ukraine is likely to backfire: It risks misleading the country — which is now pressing to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — into believing the U.S. will do what it takes to defeat Russia. It also risks encouraging Russia to expand the war, because it knows the U.S. and its NATO allies don’t have sufficient interests at stake to go all the way.
It seems the issue is very much brought out by this statement. What is our plan here? How far are we willing to go in the defense of Ukraine’s sovereignty? It seems that there may never have been a plan B., which points to a much bigger problem. The liberals, as I have pointed out numerous times, have no understanding of true determination. They cannot see anyone sacrificing for what they think is right.
Obama is indecisive because he cannot understand why sanctions have not deterred the Bear. There was no possibility in his mind that these tactics would not work. Obama and his administration thought that they could make Ukraine too costly. They have not, and this means Obama now has to decide, what would make this too costly for us.
There is also this reported by CNN:
On Monday, a group of former U.S. and NATO officials released a report in which they called on the Obama administration to provide further support to the Ukrainian government, warning that failure to stop incursions in Ukraine could embolden Russia.
“If the United States and NATO do not adequately support Ukraine, Moscow may well conclude that the kinds of tactics it has employed over the past year can be applied elsewhere,” the authors said, specifically highlighting concerns for regional NATO allies Estonia and Latvia.
If it was not hard enough, we are faced with the double sword. If we do too much, we will in effect be “poking the Bear” into a proxy war. If we do too little, we may encourage the bear to eat our friends. What should we do?
Not to let the president off the hook, but there is no easy answer here. The problem I see is that there should have been a harder line taken with Russia a year ago. That is when Obama’s indecisiveness was most clearly on display.