This is just mind blowingly wrong:
A senior Obama administration official, asked why the United States opposes providing lethal aid, said Washington believed Ukraine had enough such equipment and that the types of weaponry that has been discussed would be of only marginal value.
"There's no sense that there's an effective military edge that could be given that could change the overall balance," the official said. "Ukraine would be extremely vulnerable to a fully supported Russian attack."
Excuse me? This is a "senior" administration official?
How is it possible to believe that the only point of arming Ukraine would be to change the overall balance? Why is arming Ukraine pointless if it doesn't provide Ukraine with military superiority that allows Ukraine to defeat a fully supported Russian invasion?
Really? That's the measure of deterring Russia?
This is--if you'll forgive me for using a technical term--"stupid."
Let me begin by accepting one point that I've made repeatedly--we don't need to send big items like armored vehicles and artillery and aircraft. Ukraine has lots of this stuff even if it needs help to upgrade it and put it into service. And providing our stuff would take years and even decades to integrate into a military that is Soviet-designed in equipment.
But that doesn't mean we can't assist them in putting their gear into service and providing gear and weapons that allow Ukraine to fight more effectively--plus training, advice, and intelligence.
My basic frustration is wondering whether that senior administration official really believes that America is the only country sensitive to casualties if we go to war.
Russian society, despite its huge Putin crush that they suffer from, will not grant Putin a blank check for their sons' lives and limbs--not to mention the economic costs--to conquer all the countries on Putin's bucket list of former Russian imperial provinces.
It is not pointless to arm Ukraine short of allowing Ukraine to have a good shot at capturing Moscow or even just allowing Ukraine to build a military capable of inflicting a decisive conventional defeat on Russian invaders.
Russia needs to understand that Ukraine will and can fight a prolonged war and that just reaching their objectives inside Ukraine--whether it is Kiev or Odessa--will be costly.
And then Russia needs to know that pacifying any conquered territory will be costly as Ukraine carries on the fight from Free Ukraine.
And Russia needs to know that Ukraine can strike Crimea to make Russia pay a further price for fighting Ukraine.
Come on! Even China with over a billion people has a pain level of casualties that can deter their efforts to take one of their core interests and whose conquest is the focus of their armament efforts.
At some level, Russian casualties will defeat Russia, as the Soviet Union demonstrated when it left Afghanistan. And if Russia knows with some certainty before Russia launches a war that those casualties are likely, deterrence may prevent a war.
God, we suck.