Ukraine could still lose its war with Russia. It isn’t for lack of skill or courage of the Ukrainians we’ve arrived at this point. For all the sacrifice and treasure expended to repel Putin’s legions, the invaders may still prevail. From Russia’s 2014 invasion to the present, the Obama and Biden administrations have been playing catch up in providing the weapons needed for the Ukrainians to win. Trump sent Javelin anti-tank missiles, while Obama sent only non-lethal supplies.
Only Ukrainian success in the initial battle for Kyiv brought forth supplies of modern arms. Our military and intelligence establishments expected a quick Russian victory and were unwilling to waste resources in a losing cause. They were unaware of the nation’s military improvements and the use of the weapons and other military aid they received from the Trump administration. The fact the Ukrainians had fought the Russians-backed forces in the eastern part of the country to a standstill was unappreciated.
I and others opined we should give Ukraine whatever weapons they needed as fast as their ability allowed them to use them. As they have proved to be fast learners, they should be sporting the most sophisticated arms by now, and the Russians are paying an unbearable price.
We haven’t given them weapons to shoot back This failure has allowed the Russians to inflict horrendous civilian casualties and infrastructure degradation. Instead of routing the poorly led and trained Russians, the war degenerated into WWI trench warfare.
It’s not that potent weapons never get to the Ukrainians; they need to get there quickly. Eventually, we send HMERs, effective air defense, better artillery, and tanks only to stave off defeat. Even now, we are doing the same dance over sending F16 fighter jets. Eventually, we will send them, but they should already be there.
Some Republicans are questioning the expense. Instead of Russian defeat and Ukraine being made whole, we have a war likely to drag on. The longer a fight drags on, the likelihood of war weariness appears. Democrats always have an anti-war wing.
Other powers might perceive it in their interest to keep us engaged in Europe. In China’s case, a U.S. bogged down, depleting our military assets gives it a more substantial hand in Asia.
Biden says he is relying on the weapons advice of the military. These are the same military leaders who failed so dramatically in Afghanistan and predicted a quick Russian victory in Ukraine. There is no reason to be confident in their advice. Bringing in new people at the joint Chiefs and Defence Department might get us on track to winning the war.
Russia will strike again if it can hold a big part of Ukraine and rebuild its military. The next time will probably involve NATO members drawing the U.S. directly, resulting in American bloodshed. We know this is true because Putin has told us his intentions.