As I predicted, we have a ringside seat to horror. The slaughter of noncombatants and the destruction of centuries-old cities are happening before our eyes. The war is a test of Ukrainian and Russian character, but it is also an assessment of ours. If we have a claim to humanity, we have to do everything to save civilians. Are we doing all we can to prevent another holocaust?
Along with many on the right and the left, the administration fears that if we do more, it will escalate to World War III, and it could go nuclear. Even as others believe Russia already started World War III, there are still actions we can take without raising the ante.
The idea of mercy flights akin to the Berlin airlift organized and run by humanitarian organizations delivering life-saving food and medicine to noncombatants in beleaguered areas is on the table. Flying well-marked planes on routes known to all combatants could save untold lives and relieve some war sufferings. In a war where one side is now mainly targeting civilians, can people with any conscience refrain from action?
We have to approach “nonaligned nations” for planes, volunteers, and goods. First, solicit China due to its size and capabilities. While China supports Russia’s territorial claims, do they embrace Putin’s methods?
A winning strategy in many things, including war, puts your opponent on the horns of the dilemma. Your action makes whatever counter move your adversary takes makes them worse off. Whether it’s a chess move or the pick and roll in basketball, your antagonist has to choose between bad outcomes. This strategy applies equally in war and statecraft.
If China refuses to help, the world will lump them in with Putin’s monstrous actions. The nation exposed having the same callousness to human life. If they weren’t already moving in that direction, its neighbors would look to protect themselves from the demon. Supporting Russians shooting down unarmed humanitarian aid planes wasn’t what China signed up for when they declared their “great friendship.”
If China takes part in the relief efforts, Russia isn’t about to shoot down anything Chinese. The supplies will go through. This move will only help the Ukrainians. Not only will many be saved, but instead of having to move food and necessities overland, freed up transport used instead for Ukrainian military purposes. Their position and morale strengthened while undermining Russia’s ability to continue the war. Either way, our enemies lose.
The question is, does the Biden administration ever see a winning strategy? Are they working behind the scene to bring about such an airlift? So far, they have been a day late and a dollar short on everything to do with Ukraine. Innocent people are dying. Time is of the essence.
My last post explored the use of contractors to counter Russia’s Wagner Group contracting mercenaries worldwide. Maybe the U.S. and its NATO allies are already taking this action. After all, this is why you have a CIA. As I pointed out, this only matches a Russian move, no escalation is involved. Given our combined resources, there is no reason not to do this and do far better than the Russians.
How would this work? A contractor hires people to do needed tasks in Ukraine. For example, the anti-aircraft-missile systems the Ukrainians presently use are old Russian ones. These aren’t state-of-the-art. The U.K. has excellent air defense, but operators need training. The contractor seeks out ex-military familiar with the system. They’re signed up and sent with apparatus to Ukraine. They operate it till they train Ukrainians to take over. At the end of the contract, they can go home or extend. Do this with lots of sophisticated equipment and special military groups. This course leads to Ukraine having ever-increasing capabilities.
Limiting our help to so-called defensive weapons is incoherent. Russia is launching cruise missiles from planes in Russia, but the Ukrainians can’t have these to fire back? This borders on insanity. Using a weapon offensively or defensively is only in the user’s mind.
The Biden administration’s adherence to this false distinction joins its many incomprehensible actions. Whether it’s waring on our oil and gas, strengthening our enemies, or spending trillions we don’t have and claiming it won’t raise prices and so many other actions; this administration flies in the face of any logic. After so many failures, isn’t it time to realize there is a problem in the way they think or don’t think?
Start with a plan to win in Ukraine. So far, we only hear of providing an off-ramp for Russia. Even St. Peters, an almost impossible longshot, has plans to win in March madness. Just ask super basketball power Kentucky. Providing the means for a Ukrainian victory shows we have it right. Leave it up to the Russians to ask for terms. Forget their threats to use chemical or nuclear weapons. Putin knows this would destroy Russia, not save it.
I’ve laid out some things we could do to convey our intention to win. Others have ideas to deliver the same point. The critical thing is Putin knows our objective is to win. Put him on the horns of the dilemma. The German cyclist Jens Voigt said it best, “If you try to win, you might lose, but if you don’t try to win, you lose for sure!”