Aid to Ukraine

I agree with the thrust of Daniel Runde’s argument in his op-ed at Newsweek to the extent that we should continue to provide aid to Ukraine. Here’s his peroration:

On its own, Ukraine will run out of weapons, and the morale of the soldiers will plummet. The government will struggle to finance both its operations and the war effort, leading to more Ukrainians leaving the country.

but I believe that I disagree with his supporting arguments which appear to be the aid we will have provided to Ukraine to date will have been wasted (it’s a sunk cost—that’s a fallacious argument) and that it will encourage China to invade Taiwan. I think that China will decide when and if to invade Taiwan on its own calendar and for its own reasons. They will do so or decline to do so regardless of what befalls Ukraine.

Here’s a counter-argument from Leighton Woodhouse:

If the counteroffensive fails and Russia maintains control of Crimea, the only way Ukraine could prevail over the long term would be with NATO troops directly in combat — a suicidal situation that would invite a global nuclear confrontation. And even then, a victory for Ukraine that comes years rather than weeks from now could come at the price of the total destruction of the entire country.

In interviews, Ukrainians have characterized the counteroffensive as a “disappointment.”

“I want the price they paid to be reasonable,” the wife of a combat veteran told the Washington Post in August. “Otherwise it’s just useless, what they went through.”

Her husband, who lost a leg to a landmine, told the Post that soldiers on the frontline are unprepared and unmotivated. Another Kyiv resident said that new soldiers last just two to three days on the front.

And yet, the Biden administration is pushing for another $24 billion aid package for Ukraine. “There’s no alternative,” President Biden said about continued financing of the war.

Ukraine is turning into the proxy version of Afghanistan or Iraq: an endless conflict in which victory is always around the corner, in which the Pentagon and the defense industry push for escalation after escalation regardless of the reality on the ground, in which deaths mount and a country is destroyed only to end in defeat or a Pyrrhic victory years later, once enough American voters have had their fill of war.

My view is that Crimea is lost and, possibly, Donetsk and Luhansk as well. Mr. Runde’s claim that Ukrainian elections have been democratic depends on your definition. They were democratic if you exclude most of those who might have voted against the present government, an interesting and inconsistently applied definition. Nonetheless we should continue to support Ukraine, using whatever leverage that provides us to encourage Ukraine to settle for less than its stated objectives. I also think we need to provide more oversight in how what we are providing to Ukraine is used but that’s a different topic.

1 comment… add one
  • steve Link

    “They were democratic if you exclude most of those who might have voted against the present government, an interesting and inconsistently applied definition.”

    What election are you talking about? When you made a similar claim shortly after the war started i looked at the comments of the US group monitoring the election and IIRC they claimed the irregularities were largely on the side voting against Zelensky.


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