Ukraine

Don't Send Arms to Ukraine

A report says the Trump administration is on the verge of sending arms to Ukraine. That's a terrible idea.

|

Markiyan Lyseiko/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Ukrainian politicians anticipate that the Trump administration will soon decide to send "lethal aid" to their country, which is embroiled in an armed conflict with Russia along its eastern border, Foreign Policy reports.

Sending arms to Ukraine would be a terrible idea. It would needlessly escalate tensions between Russia and the West while inviting Moscow to ramp up their own intervention in Ukraine.

The idea is one that the U.S. has avoided since the conflict began in 2014. Former Obama officials say they wanted to send lethal aid to Ukraine but were thwarted by Barack Obama and his national security advisor, Susan Rice. Abstaining from sending arms then "became the de facto policy, and then the urgency slipped away," Max Bergmann, an Obama-era State Department official, told Foreign Policy.

Nevertheless, the U.S. spent $300 million on "non-lethal defense aid" to Ukraine in 2016 alone.

Last year, the Trump campaign worked to remove a plank from the GOP platform that called for sending lethal aid to Ukraine. That move, which made the GOP platform less bellicose and brought it in line with the Democrats' stance on the matter of aid to Russia, was smeared as a "pro-Russia" move.

Not even European officials, who have a very vested interest in limiting the Russia's influence in Eastern Europe, particularly support the idea of sending lethal arms to Ukraine.

Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany and the longest serving head of government in the European Union, has opposed arming Ukraine to fight Russia-backed separatists as far back as 2015.

European leaders were similarly wary of sanctions the U.S. imposed on Russia earlier this year, fearing such measures could put Europe's energy supply at risk.

And that's the crux of it: The U.S. has no vested national security interest in what happens in Ukraine. Regional players like the European Union do. If they decide arming Ukraine is in their best interest, they have the power to do so. The United States should not insert itself into the situation, not to "prove" the Trump administration isn't beholden to the Kremlin nor to assert its dominance vis a vis Russia.

As a candidate, Trump appeared to understand the U.S. was involved in all kinds of international drama it had no business in. He should resist efforts within his administration to ramp up Washington's involvement in other people's conflicts.

NEXT: House Narrowly Passes Budget, Twitter Bans Ads from Russian Media Outlets, JFK Files to Be Released: P.M. Links

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Nevertheless, the U.S. spent $300 million on “non-lethal defense aid” to Ukraine in 2016 alone.

    Funds are fungible. How much firepower can 300 million freed-up dollars buy?

  2. I’m all for Ukraine self defense (I’m half Ukrainian). Still, they have to pay for it. We shouldn’t just give away arms. Because soon enough people find reasons to use them. And need lots more.

    1. Amen. If someone insists on giving lethal aid, I could use some. There are several MS-13 members who live or ply their trade not far enough away from my house in LA that I’m aware of. Anything belt fed or electric Gatling style would be fine. Preferably in threes so as to maintain even cover over the blind spots. If there are mini-Predator drones available that could do overnight sorties that would also be welcome.

  3. How do ee get into a place where one article is giddy about the prospect of Catalonia breaking away from Spain and another pearl clutching about giving minimal help to Ukraine to defend its territory from a violent aggressor?

    1. I’m also a bit confused on how you unquestionably bolster free trade in all forms in one article but oppose sending aid/arms to the Ukraine on anything beyond an economic basis in the next.

    2. Has anyone suggested sending arms to Catalonia?

      1. Void NAFTA and the arms will suck themselves there.

      2. “Has anyone suggested sending arms to Catalonia?”

        If not, count me first! Airdrop “Saturday night specials” and ammo, to the oppressed masses, EVERYWHERE, where power-hungry power-pigs oppress the locals, and do NOT allow then to split off!

        Northern California would be a GREAT place to start!

        (I wonder what the gun-grabbers will say?)

        1. Saturday Night Specials? Screw that. FGM-184s and .338 Norma Magnum MGs or GTFO.

    3. Perhaps – and I’m just floating a crazy idea out there – Reason doesn’t require its authors to march in ideological or policy lockstep. They may even disagree on which cocktail parties would be best for their social signaling.

      1. Bullshit. They should all agree with each other, and they all should all agree with me.

        1. Absolutely! Moscow Mules for everyone!

  4. RE: Don’t Send Arms to Ukraine
    A report says the Trump administration is on the verge of sending arms to Ukraine. That’s a terrible idea.

    But if we don’t send arms to the Ukraine, how will we get into any decent quagmire that will drain our money and kill off more of our best young men and women?
    Did Ed ever think about that?

  5. This is one way to destroy the whole Trump/Russia narrative, i guess.

    1. Considering how much time Trump has been pissing on Russia’s allies(Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Turkey?) that’s unlikely to be the case.

  6. Ukraine is weak!

    1. +1 reference to the old boardgame Risk

      1. You think Ukraine is game?!

        1. You think anything isn’t a game?!
          Bishop to Queen’s Kabul 9.

  7. The U.S. has no vested national security interest in what happens in Ukraine.
    It hurts Russia’s aspirations to annex Ukraine.

    It also shows that Trump is not such a friend of Putin.

    On that note, Ukraine is in Russia’s sphere of influence and how would the USA like Russia sending weapons to Mexico?

    1. If America invaded Mexico, how much of a right would we have to complain if Russia intervened?

      1. If we invaded to launch an aggressive war to illegally still a chunk of their territory, none. If we invaded because Mexico was attacking us or more likely unable to prevent groups within Mexico from attacking us, then we would have a big complaint.

        1. I was sort of taking the former circumstance as a given.

    2. The only reason to invade Mexico would be to build a far shorter border wall across Mexico’s southern border and save 90% the cost as Mexico would happily split the cost.

  8. … the U.S. spent ….

    Ed,

    Would you consider using a phrase such as the “the government of the United States” or “the U.S. government” rather than “the U.S.”?

    In addition to you I intend to ask some other writers whose articles I enjoy reading.

    Best regards,

    Charles

    1. “squandered tax payer’s dollars on”

  9. “non-lethal defense aid”

    I used to think I could speak English.
    Either you are killing the invaders, or you are not. If so, it is lethal; if not, is is not defense.

  10. And that’s the crux of it: The U.S. has no vested national security interest in what happens in Ukraine.

    Even if that is true, why is it a bad thing to help people defend themselves against an armed attack by a hostile nation? What exactly is the downside of Ukraine being able to defend itself? Ed doesn’t really seem to know. He just knows it is a bad idea because TRUMP!!

    Jesus Christ this is a bad article. It is just horrible.

  11. he United States should not insert itself into the situation, not to “prove” the Trump administration isn’t beholden to the Kremlin

    Sure sending weapons to Russia’s enemies that will be used to kill Russian soldiers doesn’t say anything about whether the Russians are really pulling the strings. Is this article satire?

  12. Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany and the longest-serving head of government in the European Union, has opposed arming Ukraine to fight Russia-backed separatists as far back as 2015.

    Because nothing says international legitimacy and competence like Merkel. I swear sometimes you just can’t make this shit up. And since when did Reason renounce the right of self defense? Ukraine was invaded by a hostile neighbor. They have a right to self defense and there is nothing wrong with helping them do so.

    1. You know what other German opposed arming Ukraine to fight the Russians?

      1. Hey, no one respects sovereignty and peaceful coexistence like the Germans.

    2. “”the chancellor of Germany and the longest-serving head of government in the European Union,””

      Did we lose WWII?

      1. Did we lose WWII?

        I hope, 10,000 yrs. from now, the first or primary archaeological evidence recovered from this time period is a few episodes of The Twilight Zone. It will be so much easier, faster, and more accurate than forcing those poor archaeologists to slog through and parse out the early anthropocene The Twilight Era.

  13. It would needlessly escalate tensions between Russia and the West while inviting Moscow to ramp up their own intervention in Ukraine.

    “Responding to the annexation of the Sudetenland would needlessly escalate tensions between Germany and the rest of the world, while inviting Berlin to ramp up their own intervention in Eastern Europe”.

    FTFY.

    (No, Putin ain’t Hitler.

    But the logic of “never fight back, never respond, it’s just escalation!” remains as infantile and vapid now as it was then.

    There might be a good argument against arming the Ukraine against Russian land-grabs and annexation, based on a real cost/benefit analysis*, but this is not it.

    The assumption that any reaction to an attack must escalate, rather than deter is undefended here.

    * And, if performed by Reason, I expect the analysis to include relative freedoms of both States, which this one pointedly does not.)

    1. You literally stole the comment I was about to make almost verbatim.

    2. You stole my comment as well. Your comment sums up exactly what is wrong with Reason’s view of foreign affairs and why people like Ed should never be taken seriously on these issues. Rarely do I see something on there that causes me to say “damn I wish I had written that”. Your comment is one of those instances.

    3. Definitely this.

  14. So I guess this signals that Reason staff is now trying to get back on Russia Today?

  15. I start with the assumption that Ukrainians know what’s in their own best interest and if they think they need weapons then we should sell the weapons.

    1. Which Ukrainians?
      I eagerly await your response since you seem to research an issue on the TV news.

      1. Sorry if you were waiting. I didn’t come back till now so yeah that’s a decent point you’re making. My research extends to the interwebs as well. To answer: we should sell weapons to the Ukrainians who haven’t teamed up with that bastard Putin.

  16. Typical Russian-loving stooge. The US has an obligation to support Ukraine militarily, as per the Budapest Memorandum, which Ukraine can easily cite should no weapons be given. If Trump truly wants the Russian allegations to go away, he’ll give Ukraine the weapons it both needs and deserves. The claim that it will make the situation “worse” holds no water; we’ve seen the worst, you haven’t. If no weapons are delivered to Ukraine, the situation will become worse for literally everyone else, including Ukraine. Save Ukraine, or enjoy the coming Nuclear Winter, courtesy of the ignorance and insolence of “writers” like Ed Krayewski. Besides, we’ve survived before in such conditions, you haven’t done so once.

    1. Brother, I’m on your country’s side here, but if you think ‘Muricans can’t survive a nuclear winter, I’ve got a Mr. Alaska on the line who’d like to have a word with you…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.