Friday, August 11, 2017

Make the Donbas Putin's Bleeding Ulcer

This article arguing against arming Ukraine makes no sense.

So Ukraine is a deeply divided country? That justifies Russia's invasion? So what if Ukraine is divided? So is America. Does that justify a Canadian invasion to absorb liberal Americans who pine for their fantasy version of Canadian governance? Does Mexico have an opening to annex California just because liberal Californians are agitating for secession from the United States?

Ukraine isn't an "admirable" state? Since when does that mean you are open season for predatory nations? If being admirable is some defining feature of the international community, a lot of thug rulers will be sleeping uneasily from now on. Like Belarus. Is it okay if Russia advances west there?

The Russians consider Ukraine part of their country? Really? The Russians want it--after giving Ukraine away (in 1945, on paper, insisting it was independent (Ukraine is a founding member of the UN at Russia's insistence); and then after 1991 when the USSR fell apart and again in 1994 under the Budapest Memorandum that recognized Ukraine as independent within their then-drawn borders)--and we are supposed to go along with it? Is America allowed to open up that "54 40 or fight" demand? And what about all that "when in the course of human events" stuff that we used to justify defying a power that considered us part of their realm?

Giving Russia anti-tank weapons won't deter Russia because they have 20,000 tanks? The Russians do not have anywhere near 20,000 working modern tanks. The journey of a thousand burning Russian tanks starts with the first burnt out tank. Pity we didn't start that journey 42 months ago.

Russia is willing to lose troops (beyond our ability to help Ukraine kill them)? Bull. Russia is sensitive to casualties and doesn't admit to them. Russia suppresses that news rather than celebrate their heroes because Russians aren't eager to die for the conquest of Ukraine.

Ukraine is of peripheral interest to America? Bull. We have an interest in defying Russia's gambit to rebuild the empire; a moral duty to help defend their sovereignty under the UN Charter and the Budapest Memorandum; and a vital interest in preventing Russia's military from vaulting hundreds of miles to the eastern borders of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.

The prior three rest on the notion that Russia can escalate at will and so resistance is futile. Bull. Ukraine has a higher interest in resisting Russian aggression than Russians have in conquering Ukrainian territory. That is the proper comparison and not one that equates America arming Ukraine with Russia dying to conquer Ukraine. If we help arm a Ukraine that wants to resist Russia, we can help make the price of Russian victory too much for Russia's people or Russia's finances to complete.

Arming Ukraine would play into Putin's narrative of a meddling America? So what? Putin is more than willing to lie about our alleged nefarious plots if we do nothing at all.

Help the Ukrainians send body bags back to Russia. That's the language Putin will understand.