Related: Should the US pursue diplomacy with Russia over the Ukraine? Should Ukraine negotiate with Russia? Should the Ukraine give up Crimea to end the war ?
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created the biggest threat to peace in Europe and the risk of nuclear conflict since the end of the cold war.
For many years following WW2 the United States and its NATO allies had been locked in a “Cold War” with The Soviet Union. The Soviet Union consisted of Russia and a lot of additional countries with which it shares borders. Many of these were in Eastern Europe including Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia to name a few. Ukraine was considered part of the Soviet Union but also part of Russia proper.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to the creation of many new countries – including Ukraine. However, Russian imperialism and identity make this a hard pill to swallow. Russia currently views Ukraine and Belarus as having “false” national identities.
Eventually many of these countries became members of NATO and the European Union – but not Ukraine. Generally, no NATO countries at the time shared a border with the Soviet Union; hopefully to prevent them from feeling threatened and an opportunity for engagement and interdependence
However, in 2014 in what is known as the Orange or Maiden revolution the overthrow of the previous Russian backed president and the ascension of Validmer Zelensky have helped solidify Ukrainian civil society as distinct and separate from Russia. Putin also has felt threatened as NATO absorbed former Soviet Union countries. Putin has desires that align with “Russian Nationalism” driving a miscalculation about how Ukraine and the West would respond. Not only has the west aided Ukraine but Finland and Sweden have also applied to join Nato. Nato is more unified than it has been in a long time.
Putin and Russia gambled that it would be an easy win but they were wrong. In fact, the tide of the war has turned dramatically with rapid Ukrainian advances and superior western technology. But the question is how does this end?
The United States, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members and other nations have dramatically increased their weapons deliveries to Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion. At first it appeared the Russians would easily overtake Kiev (Ukraine’s capital) and the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine. However, the Ukranians, with huge assistance from the United States have turned the tide and are now recapturing territory and winning on the battlefield but their success has also undermined Putin (the President of Russia) and risks unpredictable and catastrophic consequences (Putin has threatened nuclear weapons use and some speculate that he may order a dam to be blown up). Many Republican members of the house have recently signaled opposition to continued weapons deliveries.
*Sending this amount of equipment is depleting US and Western military stockpiles
*Military resources to Russia trade-off with military resources the US needs to defend itself
*Military resources trade-off with military resources needed to deter China
*More weapons make the war longer
*We should focus on harm reduction to innocent civilians and stop the suffering
* More weapons will not defeat Russia; they will resort to extreme reactions like the use of nuclear or chemical weapons possibly in a false flag attack. Designed to make it look like the Ukrainians used the weapons.
* The money for war could be better spent domestically on health care or even used to reduce the deficit.
Strategic Scarcity: Allocating Arms and Attention in Washington. This article argues that we need to save our weapons to deter China.
*The weapons are working and Russia is losing on the battlefield
*Supplying arms to the Ukraine is in the US national interest because the weapons are destroying the Russian military
*NATO and the United States have rediscovered their common mission of human rights and the protection of democracy.
*Americans support aid to the Ukrainians
*This military assistance has popped the bubble or myth of the Russian military handicapping Russian nationalist ideas of expansion or empire.