America Should Send Weapons and Military Advisors to Ukraine

The White House has misread the situation in Ukraine and strong conservative values call for resolute action in the face of a direct challenge from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

america-ukraine-russiaDemocratic revolutions do not work. This is a simple history lesson that is endowed with the timelessness of having been reaffirmed by recent upheavals in the Middle East (think Tunisia and Egypt).

Essential questions come to the fore that should give reasonable pause to any senior officials involved in foreign policy-making:  Who will have the moral authority to lead; which opposition movement has the clearest public mandate; is it realistic to give equal political voice to all of the disparate movements that helped bring about the revolution?

Yet, to its utter embarrassment, the current White House administration has come to the support of just about every revolutionary mass movement it comes across – despite the fact that decades of diplomatic relations were severed in the process.

Moreover, as if it is not enough to simply give a voice of moral support to the demonstrations, the administration has also actively sought to insert itself into these upheavals and prop up new regimes in the place of established ruling institutions. Why should American capital suddenly become involved in the emerging civil wars of tumultuous nations? Where is the strategic value in a pro-American Ukrainian establishment supplanting the previous pro-Russian President?

A president’s foreign policy, being the associated ability to obtain national interests through diplomatic relations, relies foremost on following through with promises. It also rests on a foundation of deterrence, which as commonly referred to in the international relations discourse, is paramount to providing a strong image of a country. No other
country, as of this point, can claim the same defensive and military capabilities as the United States.

However, that once-common boast is quickly eroding and giving way to a ridiculous notion of “leading from
behind” – to borrow a term from President Obama.  Obviously confusing the differences between liberalism and deterrence, this president thinks he is acting in a morally justified way (liberalism) by supporting democracy
abroad and refraining from asserting military force. He also apparently believes that American allies should contribute more to international causes – as we have seen in the case of Libya.

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However, he has also increased the use of unmanned drones to carry out military operations on foreign lands that have remained logistically closed to landing American soldiers, which he apparently views as an effective use of deterrence. Is it, perhaps, not more likely though that America’s enemies will see the president’s reliance on scaled-down and unmanned operations as sign of reluctance to engage in large-scale operations? And, is it not impertinent
then, that the message of American military prowess should be deployed when a player challenges our modern notions of international security?

Vladimir Putin has committed an act that goes against previously held understandings by reasserting Russia back into Eastern European countries that formerly provided the backbone of the now defunct Soviet Union. And, given Putin’s unabashed pining for the restoration of Soviet glory, is it not all the more obvious that a challenge is now being laid specifically at the feet of the United States?

Yet, the White House continues to stand idly by and claim that it is too late to act. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that second-rate players like Putin will continue to make increasingly dramatic moves with little fear of repercussions from the world’s only superpower.

It is time for the current administration to muster up the conservative conviction that eternal peace between nations is unfortunately not a characteristic in our world. The Republicans are divided and unable to provide a united front.

The time is ripe for a democratic president to turn around this malaise called American foreign affairs. Sending weapons and American military advisors to Ukraine would be a good first step.

Gabriel Glickman is a doctoral candidate in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London.