Picture 2

Picture 2

Aug 28, 2016

Ukraine Can Handle Putin, If We Give the Right Weapons

Liberals are complaining that we should never have extended NATO so far east, because it upset Russia in general, and Putin in particular.  Just how many East Block countries would liberals have left to the not so tender mercies of a resurgent Russia?  It seems clear to me that a policy of appeasement always fails, and that a policy of appeasement is what liberals recommend.  Their complaint implies that we should have left Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia out of NATO.  If we had, these Baltic countries would have been overrun by now.  The Budapest Memorandum, signed by the Clinton administration in 1994, guaranteed the territorial integrity of the Ukraine in return for the surrender of 1,800 ex-Soviet nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory. It was signed by the US, UK and Russia.   The US has given no arms to Ukraine after Putin seized the Crimea and sponsored the separation of two rebel areas in eastern Ukraine from Kiev.  Our inaction demonstrates that our word, at least in executive agreements involving nuclear weapons, is no good.  We have done absolutely nothing to defend Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Putin has two big problems.  The low price of oil means he's broke, and his suppression of the Union of Mothers of Soldiers of Russia for counting casualties from the Ukrainian conflict, means he can't take large casualties.  Putin is trying to distract his populace from their economic problems with military victories.  He is currently building up forces near Ukraine in what looks like preparations for an all-out invasion.  President Obama will loudly denounce the invasion, and do nothing else.

The way to handle Putin is to give long range artillery and man portable guided anti-tank rockets to the Ukrainians, along with the training to use them properly.  The 40 million people of Ukraine are very willing to fight, but they need more effective weapons to increase the cost of Putin's adventurism.  The Russians have been fighting us with proxies they armed since the end of World War II.  Putin can hardly object to us if we use proxies against him.

This course of action doesn't even have to cost us anything.  The Saudis would probably pay for it because they want the Russians forced out of Syria.  If Putin is defeated in Ukraine, he will have to retreat from Syria.  If Putin is defeated in Ukraine, he may lose office and, without his position to defend himself, he may lose his life.  The last time oil prices were this low, Russia went bankrupt, Boris Yeltsin was forced out of office and Putin gained power.  It could easily happen again.

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