Skip to comments.Boots on the Ground in Ukraine?
Posted on 04/03/2014 4:50:56 PM PDT by Kaslin
The United States government has a dangerous penchant for military intervention, so after Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea, it was a relief that no one talked about sending troops or deploying bombers. Sen. John McCain scotched any such notion by acknowledging glumly that "there is not a military option."
Silly him. For the most bellicose hawks, there is always a military option. After a brief lull, some of the people who beat the drums for war in Iraq -- and have done likewise for Iran -- now propose that we put American lives at risk on behalf of Ukraine.
This comes as a bit of a surprise because we have never made a commitment to fight for Ukraine. We have made such commitments to the 27 other countries that belong to NATO. The alliance charter obligates every member to treat an attack on one as an attack on all.
But Ukraine has not been included in the club, and judging from polls, Ukrainians actually didn't want to be included. To some commentators, it doesn't matter: We should use our military might to protect Ukraine anyway.
Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and a veteran of Jimmy Carter's administration, urges President Barack Obama to send F-22 fighters to Poland and make it clear he will use them if Putin advances farther into Ukraine.
Thomas Donnelly, a defense analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, views the failure of American politicians to endorse "boots on the ground" in Ukraine as "a crippling weakness." Writing in The Weekly Standard, he says, "Preserving the peace on the Eurasian landmass demands land forces."
Fox News' Charles Krauthammer, who exhibited calm indifference to the Russian invasion of Georgia under President George W. Bush, now wants NATO to dispatch military trainers and advisers. He favors a "tripwire" strategy that would "establish a ring of protection at least around the core of western Ukraine."
This notion brings to mind the response when a French defense official was asked the smallest British force that would be of use to France in case of war with Germany. The answer: "One single private soldier -- and we would take good care that he was killed."
What these proposals have in common is that they would interpose our soldiers as hostages, virtually forcing the U.S. to go to war should Putin advance. The assumption of the advocates is that by shackling ourselves to Ukraine, we will stop him in his tracks. The risks of fighting NATO, they argue, deterred the Soviet Union and would undoubtedly deter Putin.
But how can they be so sure? These critics accuse Obama of inviting aggression by failing to make good on his threats regarding Syria. Yet they somehow assume Putin would take this sort of gesture by the president as an unbreakable commitment.
What they omit is what happens if they are wrong. In that case, Americans would find ourselves fighting a war against Russia over a place that matters a great deal to Russia's security and none at all to ours. That, or Obama would have to slink away and admit he was bluffing, inviting doubts about every other U.S. defense commitment.
Contrary to myth, our 1994 deal getting Ukraine to surrender its nuclear weapons doesn't obligate us to use force to protect it. In case of trouble, the agreement promises nothing but consultations.
The idea that a few advisers or planes would check the Russians is based on hope, not history. During the Cold War, the U.S. deterred Moscow by drawing bright red lines and backing them up with massive forces and willing allies.
It also relied on our nuclear weapons in Europe. The ultimate guarantee against invasion was the possibility that we would turn Russia into a charred wasteland of radioactive debris. That threat is far less credible than it was then.
Committing ourselves to the defense of Ukraine is risky enough by itself. But it also means putting our fate in the hands of Ukrainian politicians who have longstanding grudges against Russia and may be emboldened by our presence. Once we put forces in Ukraine, we have no assurance our allies will act in our interest.
Sending NATO forces to Ukraine is like walking into a biker bar with an acquaintance who has a real grudge against bikers. Maybe things will go fine, and maybe not. If not, we'll wonder why we didn't stay out when we had the chance.
I don't think there is any significant appetite for sending troops. The history of troops in Russia is not so good, for Germany, France and Britain, France again, Sweden, even the Mongols were eventually thrown out.
There’s also a big difference between being hesitant to using military force, and starting off in a hole by announcing you aren’t going to use military force to counter military force.
"But how can they be so sure? These critics accuse Obama of inviting aggression by failing to make good on his threats regarding Syria. Yet they somehow assume Putin would take this sort of gesture by the president as an unbreakable commitment."
That's the price you pay when you're governed by weak-kneed imbeciles: once sufficient weakness has been displayed, credibility can often only be purchased in blood.
But that hardly implies showing more weakness is better.
The major point of this piece is to argue that our "boldness" in holding military maneuvers may lead the Ukraine to act in ways not in our best interest. But so may weakness: right now, in a rather remarkable turn of affairs, the Germans have agreed to send more air and air defense units to Poland and the Baltic states. More weakness on America's part may persuade them to do nothing, and Russia to do what it wants.
You make stupid decisions as we did in electing the Kenyan commie, and you pay the price in blood and treasure afterwards.
To pretend otherwise is simply an illusion.
I don’t think any one is talking about conquering Russia.
But when Russia fights, it gets beat a lot.
When one looks at this Chicago Tribune writer’s articles, he is pretty leftwing and libertarian.
Climate Change and the Perils of Inaction
Steve Chapman | Feb 27, 2014
A Ruling for Polygamy — and Freedom
Steve Chapman | Jan 05, 2014
Republicans See the Light on Immigration
Steve Chapman | Feb 06, 2014
The Myth of ‘Traditional Marriage’
Steve Chapman | Feb 09, 2014
Our Irrelevance in Ukraine
Steve Chapman | Mar 06, 2014
What could go wrong when the do-gooders and the NeoCons agree?
Some of these retards are in for a rude awakening...
Put that on the gravestone of nearly 10mil German Soldiers scattered from Stalingrad to Berlin.
When they get up a head of steam they kill as good as anybody.
“The German Army in fighting Russia is like an elephant attacking a host of ants. The elephant will kill thousands, perhaps even millions, of ants, but in the end their numbers will overcome him, and he will be eaten to the bone.”
—Colonel Bernd Von Kielst
Russia loses a lot and is not known for having a great military.
As far as their mass of humanity finally overwhelming their ex ally in WWII, do you want America to fight it’s wars like that?
Throwing enough human flesh against the enemy that you eventually wear them down?
The German Army lost 3,251,000 men in the entire war, their Navy and Air force losses added less than 400,000 to that, and they were fighting everyone, the Soviets lost close to 9 million in their military.
Do you really want to engage a nuclear power for the sake of the Ukraine? This is Europe’s problem, not ours. Haven’t we bailed them out enough over the last 100 years?
Including the former Soviet republics in NATO is nuts. Why do we keep trying to piss off Russia? It could be a vital ally in the important fight against Islam.
No, I want to do the things that prevent that, Obama’s libertarian reaction to Russia and national defense will cause problems down the road I fear, big problems.
The United States and other nations made commitments to serve as peacemakers if need be in support of the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the subsequent Charter of the United Nations. Failure to shoulder the responsibilities that come with such obligations have consequences no less painful as putting up an early deterrent.
Progressives and power; a deadly mix.