Russian troops are amassed on the Ukraine border. Putin calls Western warnings “hysteria.”
With Russia’s military buildup on the border with Ukraine, concerns that Russia is preparing for war with the embattled nation are rising among Western officials.
- Warfare experts suggest that while Ukraine is stronger now than it was in 2014, the last major conflict in the country, they will still have to do their best and “pray for assistance from the West.”
- In the midst of the buildup, Russia and Ukraine are conducting military drills, with Russia practicing naval and air maneuvers in the Black Sea and Ukraine training on its border with Belarus, a strong Russian ally.
- The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine issued a warning to Americans not to travel to Ukraine because of the situation with Russia.
- Members of the U.S. Senate are attempting to increase Defense Department funding to help arm Ukraine as a result of the tensions.
- Former diplomats and Western officials point to the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia in which Israeli weapons purchased by Georgia proved difficult for Russia to combat.
- The New York Times raised questions about the Biden administration’s commitment to help Ukraine defend itself “as he fixates on competition with China” as a foreign policy pillar.
- The Guardian highlighted comments from Putin and the Russian government that accuse the West of provocation.
- PBS interviewed a former American diplomat whose work spanned several presidents, in which he contended Ukraine is “unfinished business” for Putin, who has twice been unable to bring the country back into the Russian fold.
- Fox News’ reporting also highlights Russia’s accusation of the West “artificially creating panic” after the release of satellite images showing a near-100,000 troop buildup on Ukraine’s border.
- Breitbart noted Ukraine’s moves to beef up its border with Belarus over fears it could do what it’s doing to Poland: push immigrants from the Middle East into their neighbor as part of a Russian effort to sow discord and political instability in the region.
- Newsmax published an opinion piece from Pat Buchanan, former presidential candidate and prominent hyper-isolationist, saying Eastern Europe should defend itself, that the United States has no vital interests in the region, and the NATO pledge to defend an attack on a member nation is “anachronistic.”
Thinking like Buchanan’s is what allows dictators like Putin and China’s Xi to act with impunity. Buchanan’s short-sightedness underestimates the threat the West is under: constant Russian and Chinese counterattacks, military maneuvers in contested territories, and the potential for economic skirmishes. Isolationists like him are engaged in 19th century geopolitical thinking while China is preparing for the 22nd century.
With respect to American intervention in Ukraine, there is a clear distinction between significant American assistance, like the selling and gifting of arms, and a deployment of the American military. Our asset assistance can be enough to turn the tide, as suggested by diplomats who argued Georgia greatly benefited from Israeli weaponry.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021