When elected officials and commentators argue that funds sent to Ukraine would be better spent securing our southern border, it seems disingenuous. Does anyone actually think that sending the money to the Department of Homeland Security would prevent migrant border crossings?
To suggest we don’t have the money to support Ukraine is generally specious. Funding allocated to climate and green initiatives by the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan Infrastructure Reduction Act is in the trillions.
Additionally, when one compares the southern border to the Ukrainian eastern border, that again is specious. The crisis at our southern border is current policy, adopted by our own government, and is premeditated. Conversely, Ukraine did not choose the Russian invasion. The administration’s position of accepting a “minor incursion” of Ukraine was a permission slip to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Another argument is that we should not interfere in foreign issues. That would be novel, and Israel looms large. The United States has a history of putting boots on the ground in foreign conflicts when we had no requirement or prior agreement to do so. In Ukraine, there are no U.S. boots on the ground, but we do have an agreement to support Ukraine in time of conflict ― it’s called the Budapest Memorandum.
Ukraine complied fully, giving up their entire nuclear arsenal. Conversely, the U.S. has gingerly upheld their end of the agreement. If you want to stop supporting Ukraine, give them their nukes back.
As for funding accountability, some estimates show that less than 50% of the authorized funding has made its way to Ukraine, far less than the authorized amount. The State Department and Ukrainian government are both tracking the money — to whom it’s going and on what it was spent. Don’t be surprised when U.S. companies show up as funded arms suppliers, making a huge profit.
Another argument is that we are depleting our military capabilities. Yet, early in the war the U.S. sent Ukraine ammunition from forward-based stockpiles that were about to expire. Instead of being destroyed, they were put to use. Speaking of depleted U.S. military supplies, it’s not Ukraine’s fault if we are behind in restocking the military.
If we want to determine fault in regard to keeping military stockpiles, we need to look in the mirror.
Regarding corruption, the U.S. shouldn’t complain. Ukraine is still suffering from a Soviet corruption hangover, but they are making progress. Can the same be said about the United States?
It’s reasonable to question the strategy. The same question was undoubtedly asked of Winston Churchill when the Germans were bombing England. It’s easy to imagine that without U.S. support, England’s strategy was simply to stay alive until full support was finally sent. In this war, with a Russian 3-to-1 population advantage and the butchery of the Wagner Group, Ukraine has continued to stand.
The strategy to win the war depends on the assets and equipment Ukraine will have at their disposal. Allocate the weapons that win, and the winning strategy will follow. When one complains that Ukraine is not making enough progress in the counter-offensive, then we shouldn’t have delayed delivery of support by six months. That delay permitted Russians to dig in, which did nothing but condemn thousands of Ukrainian soldiers to a grisly death.
With the trickle of trench warfare support, which has cost the lives of thousands of soldiers and costs even more money when strung out over years, the Ukrainians are fighting just about the entire malign world. Russia has supplies from China, weapons from Iran and (allegedly) soldiers from Cuba. Yet, Ukraine stands and fights alone.
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For many reasons, the U.S. should not only continue supplying Ukraine ― and now Israel — but supply them with the weapons and armament they need to win. Not next year, and not in 18 months, but now.
Russia can argue a win if they gain any territory, and much more would be at risk. In any territory they keep, the Ukrainian population will no doubt be slaughtered. History shows us examples of that occurring in Ukraine during both World Wars and the Holodomor, or even Bucha just a few months ago.
If Russia gains control of Ukraine, they move closer to Kaliningrad (a former German city between Poland and Lithuania, now a far-western Russian province). Putin would most likely ask, why shouldn’t our lands be united? Who would question a much smaller “incursion?” China is watching, as are Iran and North Korea. Eastern Europe and Taiwan, however, are praying.
Bert Watson, international government relations consultant, Jacksonville
This guest column is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Times-Union. We welcome a diversity of opinions.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Arguments against U.S. support for Ukraine have no basis in fact