I have studied International Relations dating back to the 1970s and was in the military, stationed in Germany, for six years. I am frustrated and stunned by how wrong and inept our US government is. The world that my grandchildren will live in is needlessly being placed in deep jeopardy by the decisions made, or not made, by our politicians today.

There are several countries across the globe focused intently on tearing up the world order and they have demonstrated a complete disregard for human life and the rule of law in doing so. These are the “CRINK” countries – China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. We seem determined to allow them to get away with it.

The Biden administration (and Germany) dragged out the decision to provide tanks to Ukraine. Anyone paying attention at that time, during the fall and winter of 2022, will remember the drama. By the time tanks were finally showing up in Ukraine, Russia had dug its defenses in deep. Without air superiority, we expected great things of Ukraine’s offensive – which was set up to underperform – and now it is popular in the media and politics to refer to Ukraine’s “failed offensive” and wonder why we should continue to support it.


Enough not to lose, but not enough to win

The Biden administration has tried to carefully avoid angering Russia, while striving to appear heartily in support of Ukraine. The phrase “for as long as it takes” made a great sound bite, even though time is not on Ukraine’s side. We have insisted Ukraine not use any of our provided weapons on Russian soil – which Ukraine has complied with – but, we still refuse to provide the long range weapons they need to really hinder the Russian war machine and logistic supply lines well behind the front line, because those weapons could reach Russia. 

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Trump spoke for nearly two hours, in his first rally since being shot, giving a speech that rambled from the 2020 election and praise for North Korean and Chinese dictators to “criminal” immigrants.

We have essentially tied Ukraine’s hands behind their backs and said: “That’s all you get, now go fight – good luck.” It will be truly tragic if Ukraine finally gets F-16s, but we only let them use them to fire the gun, with an effective range of 2-3,000 feet) and drop gravity bombs.


Apparently, US President Joe Biden is listening to some of the guidance he’s getting that says: “We don’t want Ukraine to lose, but we really don’t want Russia to lose either – the Putin administration might collapse, and we might find the resultant chaos more difficult to deal with.”

News flash: One or the other will win. If Russia doesn’t lose, they will win.

So, the Biden administration has fallen short, but the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) Republicans, with Donald Trump as their guiding beacon, have been a huge monkey wrench in the works, and in power would be much worse. 

Trump has indicated his harsh attitude towards “globalists,” his willingness to dump our NATO commitments and throw Ukraine under the bus. Putin and his military would only need to hang on till more and more Ukrainian guns and Patriot missile systems go silent.

For all those with a pen or a voice – stop hinting, suggesting or pursuing the notion that it’s time to engage, or nudge Ukraine to engage, in negotiations as many politicians and the media are lining up to do. (I should say that twice.)


Risks of playing into Putin’s hands

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not negotiate – he evidently doesn’t need to. He can see the West’s commitment drying up and he smells a complete victory just a few calendar pages away. 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky will not negotiate – and he shouldn’t. It’s not his first rodeo!  He knows Putin will lie, will break any agreement, and will come back with more weapons as soon as he can. The negotiations after 2014, after Russia stole Crimea, were just a prelude to February 2022. Don’t try to tell him to negotiate.

If Russia does win, many US politicians (and people who voted for them) will conclude they really don’t care. Ukraine is – to their minds – way over on the other side of Europe and many of them would be hard pressed to find it on the map.

“It’s not our problem, what’s the harm to us, why should our tax dollars go there?” 

Whether living in Michigan, Texas or Ohio, you should care!

Many countries we can find on the map (Brazil, Cuba, India, South Africa and even NATO members Hungary and Turkey) are politically and economically straddling the “gap” between the US and Russia. 


If the EU and the US fail to get Ukraine out of Russia’s clutches (and under the NATO umbrella), how far might the allegiance of all the rest of the world drift away from the West?  How many countries, in addition to Ukraine, would stop buying Ford, Smuckers and Lockheed Martin products?

But it’s much worse than that. What agreements has Russia made with North Korea? 

If Russia is allowed to win in Ukraine, five years after Russia consolidates its hold over Ukraine (and Moldova?), it’s defense industry might provide the North Koreans (who helped Russia in its time of need) with weaponry and technology that allows North Korea to launch a war against South Korea. 

The US, so happy to have got through the Ukraine disaster (in this scenario) on the cheap and without committing any troops, might then find itself fully involved in all-out war in the Pacific.

The sons of the folks living in Michigan, Texas and Ohio, and my grandson, might be fighting from trenches in Korea someday. They, and their parents, will be furious that we got it so wrong in 2024. 

I’m not waiting. I’m furious now.

The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

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