Now that President Joe Biden has overcome the awkwardness of the Hunter Biden scandal by doing so the ukrainian way– that is, ignoring it – he can focus on how Ukraine can be of use to the United States
This is of great concern to America, given the observation first made in the fourth century BC that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Ukraine is constantly threatened by what the Biden administration sees as our No. 1 adversary: Russia. They share a 1,200-mile border, and Ukraine is a stubborn obstacle to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans for parts of the former Soviet empire.
In 2014, Putin dispatched Russian troops to take control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, with the support of Russian-speaking residents. The Obama administration responded to this forced annexation by berating the Russian leader and ship Ukrainian blankets rather than weapons.
Then-President Donald Trump – rude buddy and playmate of the Russians, the media kept telling us – took office and suddenly the United States sold anti-tank missiles to the Ukraine. Like a transcript of the final presidential debate On October 22, 2020, President Trump described the stark contrast in his inimitable way:
“I sold – while he [Obama] was selling pillows and sheets – I was selling tank destroyers to Ukraine. No one has been harder on Russia than Donald Trump. And I’ll tell you, they were so bad. They took over the, the submarine port. You remember it very well during your mandate, during you and Barack Obama. They took over much of what should have been Ukraine. You handed them over. “
Very soon, our new president may have to decide which way to go: guns or butter? It is more than hypothetical. In March, Russia began to assemble more than 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s eastern border. He also sent warships to the Black Sea, which borders Ukraine to the south. The State Department delivered a lukewarm response: “We are absolutely concerned about the recent escalation of aggressive and provocative Russian actions in eastern Ukraine.”
At the end of April, Russian troops began to withdraw, their message having been delivered: don’t bother us, we can arrive at any time.
Ukraine lost Crimea without any sign of repatriation. Further on the eastern border in the Donbass region, two separate “proto-states” have declared independence: the “DNR” and the “LNR”, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. Russia played a decisive role in their genesis and encouraged them.
Russia is already exerting influence over Armenia, and it is gaining ground in neighboring Azerbaijan. Russia sells arms to both, but it has just negotiated a ceasefire of hostilities between the two nations to determine who controls the Nagorno-Karabakh region. It is populated by ethnic Armenians, but belongs to Azerbaijan. The deal, of course, has Russian troops stationed there as supposed peacekeepers, extending the Russian shadow over the two former satellites.
Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian journalist and political commentator, warned that the Kremlin may also try to station troops on Ukrainian soil in Donbass. “The Kremlin will try to impose the same option on Ukraine, namely” direct negotiations “with the Moscow puppets in the” DNR / LNR “and the deployment of Russian” peacekeepers “in the Donbass”, does he have wrote.
How to help Ukraine? Certainly every sovereign nation should have the right and the resources to defend itself, especially nations that have allied themselves with America. Rather than shipping pallets of deadly new material to Ukraine – or in addition to doing so – we could gain by helping Ukraine economically.
The high-potential nation has been held back by an inability to restructure and rid itself of an unstable and often illusory rule of law, entrenched and ineffective Soviet state habits, and an old system of oligarch cronyism. which dominate key economic sectors without regard to the Ukrainian economy. . Many Ukrainians seem to be focused on survival at all costs – and have lost their sense of not only national pride, but national identity as well.
The United States has bankers, consultants, and venture capitalists who are uniquely skilled at restructuring and streamlining business operations and investing in profitable businesses that make the world a better place to live. They could help Ukraine make its economy the growth leader in the region, in return for clearly empirically verifiable reforms and an overhaul of its sclerotic system of oligarchs and oligopolies.
… And so change the focus from guns or butter to carrot and stick.
Yuri Vanetik is a lawyer, investor, UC Hastings Trustee and Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.